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Four Poems by John McKeown February 18, 2012

Posted by vscorpiozine in Veteran Poets.
Tags: , , , , , ,

Me & My Younger Self

I climb the stairs wearily

he climbs within, wearily.

I slump in a chair,

he slumps too.

I wish I could smoke,

he lights his tenth cigarette.

I weigh out a drink,

he fills up the glass.

I sit and stare at the window,

he puts on Ravel.

I wonder what life is,

he’s racked with sobs

by the music.

What is life but emotion

intensely lived?

I formulate the lesson,

he has no need to learn it.

Her Absence

Without her absence

The road wouldn’t be empty

The path to the star

Wouldn’t look desolate.

The hung heads of the trees

Would lack fullness

The shadows lack their cold depth.

Without her breathing absence

It would all lack

Edge, stillness, stolidity.

It would not be

This universe.


As I pass her it’s her breastbone I note

moving softly beneath the pale skin.

In that instant she is the perfect mould

into which I could pour every damned reserve.

And in that instant I fancy she knows it,

and something passes between us.

There’s a snap as of a wishbone,

a fusion, a recognition;

as our bodies pull quickly apart.


You’re dead but

left this tattoo

that renews

itself on the skin

of my mind.  It

means more to

me than you

ever could.

You’re dead but

left this tattoo

that renews itself

on the skin

of my mind.  It

means more to

me than you

could ever be.

Because I was

present at the

pain of every

prick of its



British Born  John McKeown was part of Liverpool’s  Dead Good Poets Society.  He lived in Prague in the 1990s and was part of the ex-pat literary scene there, and is included in the anthology The Return of Kral Majales (The King of the May): Prague’s Literary Renaissance 1990-2010 (Litteraria Pragensia). He has lived in Dublin as a freelance writer since 2000, and has collaborated on an album of songs, ‘Will’, with Leo O’Kelly of renowned folk rock group Tir na nOg.  His last two collections of poetry, ‘Night Walk’ (2011) and ‘Sea of Leaves’ (2009) were published by Salmon Press and Waterloo Press respectively.



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