ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Warren grew up in London, England and graduated with an Honours degree in Mathematics from King’s College, Cambridge. Michael moved to Toronto in 1972, and then to Ajijic, Mexico in 2000.
Michael was a member of the “Blue Asterisks” poetry workshop for eleven years in Canada, and also a director of the Phoenix Poetry Workshop in Toronto. His poetry has appeared in many publications, and has won prizes in Origins and in Poetry Toronto.
His book of Collected Poems A Particular Blue was published in 2005. His poems also appear in the 2017 anthology Romancing The Muse.
standing at the bus stop, smiling
at the strange lady with the dog
in his little knitted jacket,
and, as I pass
she smiles again
not for me exactly but for happiness,
and I love her brown arms
and the way her hair falls
on her shoulders,
with her green shopping bag,
who sees her smile.
The lazy earth is turning. Yet
irt seems that summer’s gone too soon
as, basking in the afternoon,
we sit and watch the season set.
and, way out on the lake. a loon
is ruling out a line as true
as any drawn by me or you
to mark where we may love – or, soon.
Where we may mourn the residue.
The summer’s long this year – the sign
will need repainting if I’ve time
and really it’s long overdue.
Standing out pointing all the time,
it’s cracked so you can hardly read the name.
I think I’ll paint the words again.
I think I’ll write another line.
Vin cent is framed by Paul, his luminous blue
glows from the wall of a millionaire’s dying dream
shaped like a Roman villa from Herculaneum
perched on the cliffs above Malibu.
Madness extolls itself in perfect form —
there is no vision more extreme, complete
than these last lingering flowers of summer’s heat
becoming and dying, at the same time.
The alchemy of paint’s beyond analysis —
Van Gogh, insane, with buzzing in his ear,
places a daub of white just here, and here
there is a point of pain that must persist.
The canvas, not seen by Paul nor sold by Vincent
hangs on the wall, elusive, strange, magnificent.
Purple on powder blur, it’s hard to tell
where jacaranda ends and sky begins:
across the morning haze, a single bell
summons the faithful to confess their sins.
It’s hard to tell where living seems to end
and death begins. The tendrils ache
towards the blue, and move and blend
in silence with the wind — for living’s sake
they die, and flake by secret flake
carpet the earth which they once canopied.
The azure tent above shakes in the breeze
behind and beyond the village bell
I almost hear a sound — it’s hard to tell —
a memory of distant deep blue harmonies.
White birds wheel
through morning bells
as the holy world awakes
to yet another chant of days
and my soul sets out on its journey
now and forever alone, seeking to find
a moment of perfection in the bells —
my soul, O my soul is a white bird
wheeling through the sound
of sweet bells chiming
early in the quiet
Underneath the words
of other words, underneath your smile
another smile, each day an imitation
of a day already lived. These trees
this wind and the one waving grass
are marks on, a slate written
and re-written over and over.
The world is a glass kaleidoscope
with coloured patterns moving and falling.
Behind your hazel eyes other eyes,
other colours – with such an economy of means
you mirror azure, gold, chartreuse –
I need all of my arms and hearts to hold
a part of all your souls.
A painter must have come in the night
and painter you onto my eyes
for everywhere I look is you
walking : you
turning your head : you
shaping the air with your hand :
and when I close my eyes
all I can see is the image of you.
Your skin has been stitched
onto my skin and your mouth
onto my mouth :
every motion I make
every word I speak is yours :
I have become an instrument
through which you play yourself
like sweet music.
flow like water through my brain
my heart beats
and it is you singing :
you have taken my body
and written your name through it
even my silences
have become your speech.
in response to “There are so many kinds of awful men”
by Wendy Cope
There are so many kinds of awful dame
He’d foolishly invited to his bed,
He said he’d never make that crazy same
Mistake – a new mistake instead.
The poetess who sand and wept and bled,
She read him odes from Russia and Ukraine
And brought her bearded friends to smoke in bed –
There are so many kinds of awful dame.
The sexy broad who beat him with a cane,
It wasn’t as much fun as she said –
Indeed he got no pleasure from the pain
He’d foolishly invited to his bed.
The feminist who took him to Sex-Ed,
She told him that all men should take the blame
The world was in a mass and underfed –
She nearly drove him crazy and insane.
The bitch who stole his money and his name
And maxed out all his credit cards and fled –
Ah well, he’d not make that mistake again,
He’d find a lovely new mistake instead.
So the neurotic was at least well-read
Though high on pills and alcohol and shame,
Her Freudian love was mostly in her head –
He’d lived and learned and lived and learned, he’d claim
But then – there are so many kinds of awful dame.
SONNETS FOR MARIANNE (3)
You could not wait to see October
painting the leaves of yet another
golden fall; and now there is no time,
now that the earth drops down at end of year
there is no time, even to say goodbye.
You always were in a rush to get things done,
and now you’ve stopped the clocks,
put out the sun, censored the season –
gone without warning, and no words
can fill me from your open mouth.
After the funeral, as the sun sets
I come back home. Mysteriously,
on this dark day and in this empty house
four blooms glow on the hibiscus tree.
THE LONG ROAD HOME
She took the midnight bus alone
leaving me wondering where
and why she’s gone, too soon.
And now there are no words to share
these words we always left unsaid,
now there is only silence in the room
we speak silence instead.
Sometimes I see her in my dream
lovely as she was in the beginning
before she took the long road home.
I can almost hear an echo of her speaking
and when I wake in the cold hard dawn
over the waste of years and the hurt of loving
the early morning birds are sweetly singing
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