Lanterns (For Alan Ross)

(Published in The London Magazine, June 2003)

Last Christmas I was told of your despair
And I saw in a dream you falling down
A dark valley bottom, but high above
On hills there were lanterns waiting for your
Return, keeping faith. A few months later
I read of your death from a heart attack.

But now, far clearer, I see you in a
Bright fishing smack coming into an island
In Greece, in the bluest sea at sunset
Steering with pride. The deck is full of live
And shining silver fish. You anchor, drink
Cold white wine and salute the harbour.

All along the hot, stony road from the sea
There are lanterns on the squat houses,
Each illuminates a cover
Of all The London Magazine you made.
Every lantern honours you.

Published poems

Jeremy has written poetry for many years. Although not all are available to read online, here’s a complete list of his publications:

Anthologies
1 poem in London Rivers, a Paekakariki Press anthology (2011)
1 poem in a Cinnamon Press anthology, The Ground Beneath Her Feet (September 2008), p. 45

Magazines
1 poem in Manifold, 48 (December 2004), p. 16.
1 poem in Manifold, 47 (July 2004), p. 6.
1 poem in Poetic Hours, 22 (June 2004), p. 11.
1 poem in The Coffee House, 9 (July 2003), p. 1.
1 poem in Current Accounts, 16 (Spring / Summer 2003), p. 36.
1 poem in Poetry Nottingham International, vol. 56, no. 3 (Autumn 2002), p. 50.
2 poems in Breathe, 14 (September 2002), pp. 17-18.
1 poem in The London Magazine, [New Series] (June/July 2002), p. 23.
1 poem in Links, New Series, no 1 (Spring 2002), p. 8.
1 poem in Exile, vol. 13, no 2 (Winter 2001), p. 8.
1 poem in Purple Patch, 101 (December 2001), p. 1.
1 poem in Iota, 55 (August 2001), p. 37.
1 poem in Rising, 22 (April 2001), p. 18.
5 poems in Understanding, 8 (November 2000), pp. 118-122.
2 poems in Sheffield Thursday, 8 (Spring 1999), p. 91.
1 poem in Rising, 14 (August 1998), p. 12.

Meditation on a photograph of the Romanovs, 1913

(Published in Understanding, November 2000)

The Tsars of Holy Russia!
How well you looked four years before your death
The girls smiling, on the boy’s head a sailor’s hat.

Standing in furs, snow hard upon the ground
And behind, a black wood tipped with ice.

Your open smiles defied the world
The private dreams, a family joke
While they waited in the woods.

How blind, to your names
dangling on Rasputin’s silver cross.

Serene you stand, arrogant no doubt, and yet
The elder sister’s hand upon Alexie’s head,
The mother’s touch upon the father’s arm.
And from the woods their burning eyes on you.

*****

Against the wall the family stood.
They fired so many bullets in your flesh
They left the shape of icons on the floor.

Stalin placed his spies in every private heart,
He made a nation of himself.

You waited as a family under earth
For over eighty years picked pure.
The icy winters gathered over you.

To St. Petersberg at last your poor and equal bones:
Do the bells across the steppes ring out
To call you home again?

Tilbury

(Published in the anthology London Rivers, Paekakariki Press, 2011)

Nowhere, Tilbury, the place,
the town square flimsy like a film set,
not a place of coming from
but arriving at, to go beyond.
Today a girl on horseback
rode in, then trotted out
into a kind of shrubland
with old shire horses, rusty
Cortina, dead plough.
here, where the East End ends
and the flat marshland
sinks to the wide Thames edge,
silver slivers of a ship’s funnels
leave England’s grubby bend
to everywhere.

Teatime

(Published in a Cinnamon Press anthology, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, August 2008)

Cake darling? Mummy asked.
Daddy smoked with shaking hand.
She drank from her smudged whisky glass
As the cherry winked on the iced cake.
Daddy topped up his milk with Grants.
I knocked the tumbler from her hand.
She ran from the house
Cherry blossom fell in the wind.

Morning Lane, Hackney: Revisited

(Published in Links, Spring 2002)

Morning Lane is falling down
and its dereliction is
like the end of time.

at 3am in the eternal night of
here, I stopped in this road
of compressed grief beneath
the sign ‘Morning Lane’

my lips mumbled ‘Morning Lane’
‘Morning Lane’ and I touched
the icon of its former self
the beginnings of its name
when milkmen’s carts clopped
over cobbles and vegetables
fruit and meat were swept in at dawn
to load the great city for its day.