“This Lovesong Isn’t Mine”


I was recently commissioned to write a lovesong. No other stipulations or requirements: just a lovesong. So I did: 


Verse 1


Those crystal eyes.

Up close, they have sky-wide span.

So I’m under azure skies,

Swearing I’m the only man

Who thinks perfectly of you.

And I’m sure he thinks so too.




Because this lovesong isn’t mine.

It’s about the happy couple.

You and he, so perfectly, entwined.


This lovesong isn’t mine.

It’s dedicated to the double

Lovers, and this lovesong, just ain’t mine.





That loving smile.

Up close, it must taste ruby-red.

But from the camera zoom of the waiting room

It’s pretty hard to tell,

Ready to sing for your first dance,

Just an act you hired for the wedding band,




And this lovesong isn’t mine.

It’s about the happy couple.

You and he, now legally entwined.


This lovesong isn’t mine.

I wrote it for you, on a crumpled

Invite for a night that isn’t mine.




I’ll wish you every best tomorrow,

And while the old bells ring the new,

Someone borrowed someone’s sorrow,

And someone sings the blues.





And this lovesong isn’t mine.

It’s yours, so take it for my troubles,

You and he deserve to be so fine.


But this lovesong isn’t mine,

So take it off my hands, and wear it

Like the gold band on the hand that can’t be mine.

Youth is Wasted



Youth is wasted on the young,

The shriveled Mr Siward said:

The final strains he ever sung


From his deathbed.



Wisdom’s wasted on the old,

Cried she: as, watching him depart,

The young man, with her folly

in his careless hold,


Devoured her heart.



My brother once wrote a very similar poem, in the second verse of which the “young” character fails an exam, causing him to rue a lack of knowledge, wasted on his elders. I decided to twist this, and put the focus on romantic wisdom. I also decided to stretch the otherwise simple rhythm for the final stanza, dragging out the ordeal for her, to wrench out her heart. 

Obedience, in Gold



Whereas I shall wear rags of tarnished grey,

I’ll dress you in gold, and make of you a prince.


Their thousand pleas I fail to obey:

You ask of me, and I obey at once.


Ask of me to stay, and I shall stay.

But if we both must stand, then let us dance;


And if you ask me dress you for one day,

Expect a garnished gold for you, my prince.




For Blair. 



None of this is infinite


thumbprint cloud


The slate, not yet wiped clean of every

Trace of daylight, chalks out dusts of cloud.

A message once was written, for the evening,

White thumbprints of a loving, childish god.


How every evening, in the cooling out

Of a once-bright sky, is always desolate:

How every summer night is always the last,

And takes its quiet sadness gently with it.


Remember, none of this is infinite.

The endless sky is only air,

Imprisoning colour, only light

Refracting light.


How even nights grow intimate

In death, and why we hold them there,

Imagining tomorrow in the sight

Of greying sight.

On Native Soil



I carry in my head my mother’s soil:

A cup of her mind. We share the same loam,

Dark and rich like an evening’s coffee grounds.


I furrow the dirt: just as I comb my hair,

Brown as hers once was, I rake thoughts over,

Turning the old ground, letting earth taste air.


A drizzle of water, or wine; a sacrifice

Of spirits to the soil, so in that loam

A thought may germinate, a grain might grow.


I tend this modest garden, tenderly:

Reading to the roses, and the lilies,

Tales of those who wait beyond the fence;


And imagine, an intruder on my lands

Might one day take his ripe, firm gun and plant

An iron seed into my dreaming earth.

Thin Talk



Every time your lips move, it’s the same

Cheap cuts. You serve a gruel which seeps

Right through your teeth in trickles. But where’s the beef?


With words so thin, you talk no taste: no pound

Of flavoured flesh; no marbled slab of tongue.

You hand me this cold broth. A bowl without sound.



This is a poem which really needs to be said slowly, out loud, so you can savour the dissatisfaction rolling over your tongue. If someone fails to talk straight – to chew the fat, to sink their teeth into it – spit it out.