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Arthur Seymour John Tessimond

Birch Tree

The birch tree in winter
Leaning over the secret pool
Is Narcissus in love
With the slight white branches,
The slim trunk,
In the dark glass;
But,
Spring coming on,
Is afraid,
And scarfs the white limbs
In green.

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Tube Station

The tube lift mounts,
sap in a stem,
And blossoms its load,
a black, untidy rose.

The fountain of the escalator
curls at the crest,
breaks and scatters
A winnow of men,
a sickle of dark spray.


Submitted by Stephen Fryer

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Epitaph For Our Children

Blame us for these who were cradled and rocked in our chaos;
Watching our sidelong watching, fearing our fear;
Playing their blind-man's-bluff in our gutted mansions,
Their follow-my-leader on a stair that ended in air.


Submitted by Stephen Fryer

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Polyphony In A Cathedral

Music curls
In the stone shells
Of the arches, and rings
Their stone bells.

Music lips
Each cold groove
Of parabolas' laced
Warp and woof,
And lingers round nodes
Of the ribbed roof

Chords open
Their flowers among
The stone flowers; blossom;
Stalkless hang.


Submitted by Stephen Fryer

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Sea

1
(Windless Summer)

Between the glass panes of the sea are pressed
Patterns of fronds, and the bronze tracks of fishes.

2
(Winter)

Foam-ropes lasso the seal-black shiny rocks,
Noosing, slipping and noosing again for ever.

3
(Windy Summer)

Over-sea going, under returning, meet
And make a wheel, a shell, to hold the sun.


Submitted by Stephen Fryer

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Black On Black

Serrations of chimneys
Stone-black perforate
Velvet-black dark.
A tree coils in core of darkness.
My swinging
Hands
Incise the night.
A man slips into a doorway,
Black hole in blackness, and drowns there.
A second man passing traces
The diagram of his steps
On invisible pavement. Rain
Draws black parallel threads
Through the hollow of air.


Submitted by Steohen Fryer

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Wet City Night

Light drunkenly reels into shadow;
Blurs, slurs uneasily;
Slides off the eyeballs:
The segments shatter.

Tree-branches cut arc-light in ragged
Fluttering wet strips.
The cup of the sky-sign is filled too full;
It slushes wine over.

The street-lamps dance a tarentella
And zigzag down the street:
They lift and fly away
In a wind of lights.


Submitted by Stephen Fryer

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Seaport

Green sea-tarnished copper
And sea-tarnished gold
Of cupolas.

Sea-runnelled streets
Channelled by salt air
That wears the white stone.

The sunlight-filled cistern
Of a dry-dock. Square shadows.
Sun-slatted smoke above meticulous stooping of cranes.

Water pressed up by ships' prows
Going, coming.

City dust turned
Back by the sea-wind's
Wall.

[...] Read more

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Never

Suddenly, desperately
I thought, "No, never
In millions of minutes
Can I for one second
Calm-leaving my own self
Like clothes on a chair-back
And quietly opening
The door of one house
(No, not one of all millions)
Of blood, flesh and brain,
Climb the nerve-stair and look
From the tower, from the windows
Of eyes not my own: ...
No, never, no, never!"


Submitted by Stephen Fryer

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Cocoon For A Skeleton

Clothes: to compose
The furtive, lone
Pillar of bone
To some repose.

To let hands shirk
Utterance behind
A pocket's blind
Deceptive smirk.

To mask, belie
The undue haste
Of breast for breast
Or thigh for thigh.

To screen, conserve
The pose, when death
Half strips the sheath
And leaves the nerve.

[...] Read more

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