Monday 5 November 2018

4 Poems by G. W. Down


Blue but threatening, the schizoid sky

Tramples its horizon,

As though to merge with earth,

Blend with placid waters

For one monochromatic vista.

Perfect solitude, marauding hopes

Nourish such compulsion;

Time is a healing splint,

Yet slow for some fractures,

And even the sky can be lonely.


 Wrapped in the spandex throttle of motion,

Driven by the drab motive of self-shape,

Heedless of the grandeur that surrounds them,

Puffing a broken-steam-engine track-scrape,

The joggers erupt in arrhythmic ash

Jerking along the measured Saturday matin,

Tumbling toward the destined cigarette

Or brewed palliative or caffeine mash.

Pedestrians in their path take more care,

Twirling the facets of jewelled nature’s vision

Through all their senses, carat by carat

To catch memories from the lustrous air.

They drink the majesty of pearl mountain

Rinsing its health in shade marine blue-grey,

Climb the reflection of look-out station,

And glide the aqua expansive walkway.


The pain is at once chronic and acute,

The biceps rebel at emptiness when

Embracing the vestiges of a man,

Holding shoulders that have shrunk to fibrils.

But in the mind's reach those shoulders are broad

As when they tossed a trembling four-year-old

To the sky, and those knees are still as strong

As when they bounced a joyful six-year-old.

That abdominal oedema invades

The eyes and swells all four lacrimal ducts;

Like its failing heart, that concave chest droops

After more than six months of suffering.

Those hands grasp the aching fingers tightly,

With assurance, shaking solid welcome;

Comes that voice, robust in recognition –

And pain dissolves like dew in the morning.


She wore the suit of vaunted nothingness,

With blank face and hypodermic-pocked arm.

Ringed by thrall and bloused in self-absorption

She glazed through halls she thought she danced, 'til a

Door slammed and terror crept through the keyhole

To jacket her world with shapeless colour.

Nameless tones collided with her hearing;

She swirled in the skirt of brimming floodlight,

Drummed by a distant moaning, emptily

Indiscernible from her surroundings,

Cast among the spirit fragments, senses

Fugitive and screaming for the return.


G. W. Down is a poet, lyricist, editor and business consultant who lives in Hamilton, Ontario. Since 2012 he has been Editor-in-chief of Tower Poetry, the biannual periodical published by the Tower Poetry Society. He is also a partner in The Book Band, a company which does marketing, distribution and promotion for Canadian publishers.

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