2 New Poems by Janice Dempsey


The art of lying is a gentle one –

truth’s so often hard to give or take.

Lying can be kind, when all’s said and done.

Your smallest lies you can tell on your phone –

sincerity is not so hard to fake –

the art of lying is a gentle one.

Go further, lie bare-faced in even tones,

look people in the eye, refuse to break

bad news – perhaps, when all is said and done,

when truth’s unwelcome, a cocked gun

that must be turned aside for pity’s sake –

the art of lying is a gentle one.

Lie cleverly, sustain lies once begun –

with reputation, wealth and fame at stake

are those lies kind, when all is said and done?

I said I’ll love you always to someone,

made promises I later had to break.

Is the art of lying a gentle one?

Lying’s seldom kind, when all’s said and done.


The diagnosis was undisputed.

I took to London’s streets, not homeless

but at home only with strangers.

Addicted, I queued hours for theatres

that I feared to enter,

rode the Circle Line all night.

I boarded a train at Euston:

the Highlands’ silence soothed me.

The eighteenth century had cleared

a space for sufferers like me.

I pressed on further north

where flotillas of cruise-ships

jostled in melted ice-fields

carrying populations away

from the shrinking land.

In Berlin, Washington, Moscow,

I roamed ruined streets alone.

Cleansed by authoritarian laws,

teeming cities were scoured of crowds,

California, Brazil, Australia, Africa

already lost in flames, Antarctica

now a dwindling suburb of the Equator.

I long for the final clearance.

I’ll find Nirvana in the huge horizons

of this barren planet.

About the contributor

Janice Dempsey is from Guildford. She began writing poetry seriously after retiring from teaching art. In 2013 she published a collection, How to Make a Dress out of Silence, and has had poems published online and in print journals. Janice placed third in the Segora Prize in 2014.

Related Articles

Queens of the May and other poems- Catriona Clutterbuck

QUEENS OF THE MAY Mayday. White afternoon light in the white mouth of the year. Follow a blue thread of sound to the braid of girls in their convent-school...

Poetry by Rodica Draghincescu, Translated from the Romanian by Diana Manole

Diana Manole translates the work of important European poet Rodica Draghincescu

Poetry- Anne McMaster

Lost and Found inspired by Robert MacFarlane’s The Lost Words You might think we lose these words as one may, casually, lose a small cool coin behind the...


  1. I just have to say what wonderful, clear concise and inspiring poetry these two represent. They are obviously intensely personal delivering the full weight of truth with such a light touch. Unbelievable, and highly illustrative of what we should all aim to achieve. Subtle yet direct and persuasive.
    Oh and congratulation, so pleased for you!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More Like This

Remember Them

Remembering the poets of the Second World War.

Write every day, and be nice

It’s taken me years to learn to be nice to people. When I mastered that I started to get published.

Too Much. Short Fiction by Jessica Ciosek

Jessica Ciosek attended Michigan State University where she earned a BA in Marketing and promptly found her passion for fiction writing eight months after graduation.

‘(Un)belonging’ by Nathaneal O’Reilly -Reviewed

Emma Lee reviews Nathaneal O'Reilly's latest poetry collection , '(Un)belonging'

Finding a Way by Diane Simmons -Reviewed

Emma Lee reviews Finding a Way by Diane Simmons. As well as her position of Reviews Editor for The Blue Nib. Emma Lee writes regular reviews for The Journal, The High Window Journal, London Grip and Sabotage and ad hoc reviews for other publications. Her collection “Ghosts in the Desert” is available from Indigo Dreams Publishing. A pamphlet “Mimicking a Snowdrop” was published by Thynks Press in 2014 and her full-length collection, “Yellow Torchlight and the Blues” has been published by Original Plus.