New Poetry, Fiction, Essays

4 poems by John Saunders

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John Saunders is a founder member of the Hibernian Writers’ Group. His collections are After the Accident(Lapwing Press, 2010) and Chance (New Binary Press, 2013). One of three featured poets in Measuring, Dedalus New Writers, 2012, he was shortlisted in the 2012 inaugural Desmond O’Grady Poetry Competition and is a 2014 Pushcart Nominee. John’s poems have appeared in journals in Ireland, the UK and America, on many online sites, and been included in The New Binary Press Anthology of PoetryThe Stony Thursday BookThe Scaldy Detail 2013, Conversations with a Christmas Bulb (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2013), The Poetry of Sex, (Penguin, 2014), Fatherhood Anthology (Emma Press UK, 2014), The Fate of Berryman Anthology (Arlen House, 2014)  The Launchpad Children’s poetry book and The Lion Tamer Dreams of Office Work, Hibernian Writers Anthology (Alba Press, 2015).




In the Sense


In the sense that every word has an agreed form he disregarded same,

instead, forged new interpretations of juxtaposition such that

meander might mean murder, or suite, a jacket and trousers.


In the sense that abbreviations were shortened words he viewed

them as another language of confusion and misinformation,

such that Dept. was a measure of distance and TBC to do with God.


In the sense that spelling was a rule bound taxonomy of letters

he viewed it as a bowl of soup that easily changed its shape

such that scrounge could flow into scrooge without notice.


In the sense that etymology is a history of origin and subject

to revisionism, was without shame in rewriting, such that

the Latin was obliterated by its Old English offspring; Bellum to Bellow.


In the sense that idiom shapes the direction and flow of sentences

he felt able to tear asunder well founded patterns and re-stitch

phrases such that to be or not to be became be to not or be to.


In the sense that all meaning is convention he ignored

the primary rules of syntax and semantics such that the precise

massage of hit wrotting war mearnin gloss ion this unnd.






He was ensorcelled by every new meaning

that he gleaned and slavered out of his mouth

in its own bespoke sentence or expression

to convey in a novel way an old connotation


and he delighted in the untangling of syllables

to find roots such that each word was laid

asunder on the page like a meticulously dismantled

engine, show how it was internally constructed.


Insouciance would settle if there wasn’t discovery,

lead to a dysthymia more common to disillusionment.

His concupiscence was indefatigable beyond the quotidian.

Sooner or later a random percolation of syntax


would overwhelm his cognitive synaptic pathways

resulting in a confabulation of heretofore unfamiliar

phrases and the only resolution lay in his confinement

to a room with celestory windows and gothic furniture


where a single one-hundred-watt tungsten bulb would shine

obediently on the expectant pages of an open

hardback first edition of Chambers Dictionary of Etymology.



Ode to my Garden Composter


An aromatic cauldron of decay,

vapours percolate into clean air.

Heap upon heap of peel, cuttings,

shavings, leaves and grounds

fulminate into a rich sweetness

that catches me off guard.


Scent of citrus, syrupy smell of sucrose,

a witch’s brew of carboniferous riches,

shit hot pile of nitrogenous gases,

the mellifluousness of putrescine.

Deep down in the dark abyss,


Thermophiles, psychrophiles, mesmophiles,

wigglers, sow bugs, springtails,

nematodes, perform in fetid silence,

a sweatshop of reduction


that funnels, tunnels, churns,

casts and recasts mulch to manure,

recycles the putrid to perfume.


This is the way of all life and death,

 in-between the gift of our breath


and after, disappearance into the cold earth.



Ode to my Ford Cortina


I think of you as an ex-girlfriend.

The beautiful one with vinyl skin

lightly tanned and a soft sheen,

that used to cause a stir in the crowd;


those curves that undulate across

your body shaped like a space ship,

the wow of your touch, inviting as ox

leather that smells of living and loving.


A reassuring thump of door closure

at the start of a dull day reels

me to ecstasy beyond imagination.

I caress your steering wheel,


savour the calm hum of the overhead cam,

high walls that express difference

and when the engine turns heaven

opens and a chorus of angels sings.


I don’t know why I let you go

to someone who did not love you,

care for you with tenderness as I had.

Did I put you at risk in another’s’ hands?


I live with doubt and regret, drive

the road of guilt every day

where I see others like you lovingly held.

You were my only true friend


and if I had a second chance

I would wrap you safe in chamois,

protect you from the panache

of twenty first century electronic hybrids.




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