Poetry Niche – March 2023


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.


Aphrodite, glimpsed
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,
patiently waiting
with her green shopping bag,
not caring
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

green morning



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.

Your thoughts

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.



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.


(for Suzanne)

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

For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com

Mel Goldberg
Latest posts by Mel Goldberg (see all)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *