The days will slowly stretch themselves,
I know, and I’ve watched many winters
come and go through different eyes.
Nothing should surprise.
Once they were those of a raw young
boy cycling home in the evening gloom
full of promise and expectation, eagerly
awaiting summer’s invitations, cricket
and tennis on seamless lawns, endless
seaside days, and, later, girls to cavort with
beneath the sun’s fading rays.
And now these eyes have become those
of an ageing man, and each turning year
another hurdle, an unkind countdown
from a time whose end, one always
thought, would never come, too young
to care, illusion’s snare.
Yet seeing dear ones vanish each fragile
year stiffens the resolve, reminds that
dark, light, dark, light is the way our world
revolves, gives you the will to fight on,
value all you have as, once more, the dark
dissolves around you, and light restores.
by Jeremy Robson
The Poetry Centre’s International Poetry Competition, judged this year by award-winning poet Helen Mort, is open for entries for less than one more month! Poems are welcomed from writers of 18 years or over in the following two categories: English as an Additional Language and Open category. First Prize in both categories is £1000, with £200 for Second. The competition is open for submissions until 11pm GMT on 28 August 2017. Visit our website for more details.
‘End of the Year Blues’ is copyright © Jeremy Robson, 2017. It is reprinted from Subject Matters (Smokestack Books, 2017) by permission of Smokestack.
Notes from Smokestack:
After breaking a thirty-five year writer’s block with Blues in the Park, Jeremy Robson’s new collection of poems is his second book in three years. Subject Matters takes us into a world that is both contemporary and timeless. Many of these poems are personal, recalling the pleasure of a smile, a landscape or a song, and the lives of friends like Ron Moody and Dannie Abse. Others evoke scenes and subjects from an earlier era – Dick Barton, Roy Rogers, Paris in the 1950s, London jazz clubs, CND rallies, telephone exchanges with sexy names – occasionally drawing on his Jewish experience to give context to his depiction of a modern world where violence explodes with increasing fury and the sirens rarely stop. All subjects that matter. You can read more about Jeremy’s new book on the Smokestack website, and more about Jeremy’s work in this interview.
Smokestack is an independent publisher of radical and unconventional poetry run by Andy Croft. Smokestack aims to keep open a space for what is left of the English radical poetic tradition in the twenty-first century. Smokestack champions poets who are unfashionable, radical, left-field and working a long way from the metropolitan centres of cultural authority. Smokestack is interested in the World as well as the Word; believes that poetry is a part of and not apart from society; argues that if poetry does not belong to everyone it is not poetry. Smokestack’s list includes books by John Berger, Michael Rosen, Katrina Porteous, Ian McMillan, Steve Ely, Bertolt Brecht (Germany), Gustavo Pereira (Venezuela), Heinrich Heine (Germany), Andras Mezei (Hungary), Yiannis Ritsos (Greece) and Victor Jara (Chile). You can find Smokestack on Facebook and on Twitter.
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