I find my place to make my stand,

measure with feet my dancing steps,

create a fiction, nearer truth

than factual paragraph of prose.


My primer coat is Latin phrase

or Anglo-Saxon early terms,

then later English verbal words

preparatory to painting phase.


The seasoned shades now honeyed, waft, 

sensed softly from foundation laid,

spread top-growth blooms reliant on

that fibrous rooted undercroft.


Like Jacob’s pillow, rocky rest.

as Rhein my rhymes and rhythms flow, 

plough poet turns my versus lines, 

stones build to weigh my balance stressed.


To withstand elements, lead tint – 

though few will see my undercoat,

still less guess wood pre-sealant brush,

means work with stable frame may print. 


A pastime pleasing listening ears,

the parable, a dig who wish; 

poetry archaeologists,

exposing skins through layered years. 




The mediating subtle owl

sees on behalf of those fixed-stare

back-watching blind,

held hostage by

the constituency gallery wall,

exhibits which must be satisfied

if exodus to be found.


Cutting babes to give each half

is hardly wisdom cloaked;

but face-saving,

a diagnosis much required,

more delicate that

few acknowledge treatment’s need.


The procedure enabling eyes to meet,

lips moved to talk again,

a keyhole which is art,

an opportunity, touching point;

the patients must believe

the surgery self-administered,

of own initiative,

an act of charity for others’ sake.


The theatre of operations,

be it at kitchen sink, office desk,

summit table, funeral wake,

death mask becomes again

the smile of child. 




Jacky was a stranger friend.

Older than I, the first I met,

as a fellow volunteer,

appointee hostel living space,

where we shared a bedroom box.


His accent Scottish, name as lad, 

longer hair, so far from home,

all were alien, but I,

courteous as my customed way,

surprised at his reciprocate.


Though more knowing street-wise words,

blunt, I had to pretend ease,

his usage not to cause offence – 

to him the norm, unnamed by me.


He shifted wardrobe, telling crude

he wanted bedded privacy;

the cleaner moved it back in day.


My black white snap, 

blurred image, sports-day race,

his flying hair, turning face,

check competition, would he place?


Our one December, unexpected gift,

a volume, slim, beauty bound,

boarding blue, gold embossed,

English Literature, Introduced

could not better chosen, found.


Others termed rough diamond.

That gift showed nothing tough,

naught uncut my left-home friend,

Jacky long-hair Robertson.


Paddy mud with Ronnie Adikari


Deliciously sticky, warm,

laughter as we flop around,

held suction-captive, Adikari, I,

the ooze squeezed between our toes,

paddy walking, Cambridge so far,

quartered lawns, gentlemen 

pushing bikes, less porter call.


I try reach-handing camera

to Assamese, my mentor, guide,

but Ronnie, now astride the bank,

sings warning, telling rice snake fangs

more poisonous than most in land,

which adds to incongruity,

and incredulity.


He understands my stressful need, absurdity,

so slurping of invasive grey-green goo

causes more crazed hilarity.


I see no snakes,

climb from the mire,

collect those caked trousers

dhobi returns as new;

and we are off to local church,

where I’ll not laugh; might dream of snakes. 


At least Four


I am told they look alike,

the sheep and goats;

not snapped by hounds behind

but led by olive, wrinkled, unwashed,

whose archetypes first stooping saw,

because as orthodoxy failed – 

they distanced from religion,

liable to hear heaven speak.


Though another’s first

were Eliot’s men, not compounded 

together in the school tableau

so that everyone finds a part – 

but distinct these readers, first.

Did they gain satisfaction,

seeing foreigners brought to book, or

wisely discern that prior discernment

came from the east months before,

ill-fitting fellows saw heaven speak?


Another, on course, 

knows little and cares less.

He has no story sophisticate,

reflective theology, developed nativity – 

but Time Lord with few places and no dates,

nightmare for a registrar.

He just knows the man changed lives

for the better

and if we only have one chance,

isn’t that all that matters

so get on with it immediately, from that place,

though tell no-one who may jump to wrong conclusions

because they have fixed views.


And leave to the other the cosmic strain,

Greek thought forms,

future dating disputes despite pre-existence

and logos not planned as brands.


While such theories, and knowledge itself attracts,

changed lives can change the world,

and I prefer 

a brutish, earthy, street-wise solution.


Stephen Kingsnorth, 67, retired to Wales, UK, from ministry in the Methodist Church (following the onset of Parkinson’s Disease)has had pieces accepted by various on-line poetry sites, as well as Gold Dust, The Seventh Quarry, Allegro, The Dawntreader, & Foxtrot Uniform Poetry Magazines.

7 thoughts on “Poems by Stephen Kingsnorth

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