New Poetry, Fiction, Essays

Michael Blackburn – a selection of the poems from a poem a day



here in the margins

life roots and flowers

around the words

words in a foreign tongue

about a foreign land


a boy up a cherry tree

has left his red shoes

in the grass below

where the farmer shakes a stick at him


two men thresh corn

oxen pull a plough

women carry fresh milk

in pots upon their head


the seasons like the rounds they sang


they in their pointy leather shoes

how cold their feet must have been

crossing the snowy fields






prophets with calculators

& Kalashnikovs

(here is no continuing city)

headlines they love

and more than headlines

prime-time tv

(here is no abiding stay)

blood is useless

if it’s not on the news

(and all the daughters of music

shall be brought low)






Botticelli cherubs

hunted down to extinction

for their silky skins

to be turned into ladies’ lingerie

and angels too

trapped and decapitated

till none was left

except in folklore

their powdered bones dissolved

in aphrodisiac tinctures

every part used

even the sigh the last breath

crushed from their lungs

smelling of hyacinth

and bubbled through champagne






I love irony.

It goes to the hot beach

in wellington boots

looking for someone to shoot

after mother has died.

Oh, it is so hot, it pleads,

my carbon footprint is squashing Africa.

All the words in my newspaper

fall out into the sand.

The tide is 100 metres away.

It can do nothing.

It is concerned only with being warm

and being a playground for stinky seals.

The words must fend for themselves.

Irony is superseded by plagiarism

which has just appeared from the dunes

wearing a green hat

and monopolising the conversation.

I would use my revolver

if I were tall enough

but EU regulations forbid

anyone under two metres in height

using a firearm in a lexical dispute.






time had alchemised

its own brand of Lethe

it’s washed the last seventy

of her years away

look she says at the trees

pointing out of the window

into the tidy park

they’ve planted them too close together

now she’s at home with mam and dad

and sister Peg

everyone else is a voice off

brother, sons, daughter

two husbands, grandchildren

we are the disappeared

even when we visit

bringing chocolates





and for Lincoln’s cathedral

tiebeams 46 feet in length

none but the tallest trees

for such keels as may be dragged

from Northumberland

to Walsingham


You might also like

Highly Commended

Our guest judge Vivien Jones made an initial shortlist of twelve entries from the over sixty entries sent to her. From this longlist she selected

Read More »

Share this post with your friends

You may also enjoy
Linda Stevenson is a founding member of Melbourne Poets Union,…