3 Poems by Paul Waring


It happens 

in time it takes to blink 

or purge an itch   

days absence calls 

you to woolgather

wander parallel worlds 

while pigeons fuss-flap

play musical chairs on roof ridges 

bees lick flower lips 

air knits thick with pollen

and puttanesca sunsets 

slip linguine-thin 

down throat of horizon.

It happens –   

jolted from a dream 

you never had 

let back through a curtain 

by that subtle knife 

in the Pullman novel    

the moment it dawns –

elsewhere is a place 

your mind has been 

and all you care to know 

is how


after John McCullough’s ‘The Colour’

Post air mail letters

on Carpaccio unlined sky

bowl aquamarine marbles

over albino Ibiza sand

dive for salt sachet ink 

welled in old school crisps 

expose broken-vein Stilton 

and tangoed Blacksticks

paint jazz in improv shades

like Miles and Coltrane

rock downtown Memphis 

in Elvis’s suede shoes

be sound and vision 

gifts in Bowie’s room


arrives early in ’76, stays later than a pub drunk, 

bakes us in brick kilns, windows no-one dare 

close; Don’t Go Breaking My Heart on radios 

all day, stray dogs bark in revolt.

Sundays unrattled by mowers as gardens gasp 

for breath, now watering lawns or plants 

comes at risk of arrest; alarm of drought 

pressed in reservoir and lake.

Bare arms sardine onto buses bound for park, 

pool and beach; heat too intimate, clothes 

clinging like sticking plaster to lobster flesh 

basted in sun factor 4 or 6.

Ears always pricked for ice-cream vans, 

eons before afternoons inhale barbeque smoke. 

Balmy nights we map stars, sheetless waits 

for sleep in sauna beds, no whisper 

of breeze, owl soundtrack plays in trees, 

warm-up to birdsong jukebox. Summer 

we love and hate at the same time –

tells everything you need to know.

About the contributor

Paul Waring came second in the 2019 Yaffle Prize and was commended in the 2019 Welshpool Poetry Competition. His poems have been widely published in print journals and webzines. Debut pamphlet was ‘Quotidian’ (Yaffle Press 2019).

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