Three poems by Robin Ford

Robin has had two collections  of poetry published,  “After The Wound” (2003) and “Never Quite Prepared For Light” (2004) both by Arrowhead Press. Early next year Cinnamon Press will publish “On The Brink”.

Robin started writing in his mid-fifties after a long mental illness which appeared to settle that seemed to ‘unfreeze’ the part of his mind inclined to poetry. Robin is immensely influenced by the countryside of the Isle of Wight.


bright dreams after dark deals

he makes a ruckus in a pub

bullets fire and fuse him

he fists his brain in black delight

from his wound he pulls

a string of diamonds

snorts lines of amethysts

before a mirror in the Gents urinal

contrives an angle that will let him view

a passage way into his temples

and crouched like Alice wanders tunnels

past many Knaves and walruses

through nauseous doors

this is what he bought and bargained for

his pleasure comes in perverse forms

as piper he commands the company

to dance punk symphonies

jar harmonies across the spheres

in unsuspected universes

rap poems out in colours

plays with living toys

sews Rothko wounds

in plush and felt

who would not trade souls

for prizes such as these

what’s a soul worth weighed against

such atavistic wilderness


Salt marsh   midwinter

calls of curlew  shelduck  lapwing

split ice-bound air

wind smothered by high pressure

moon-dragged tide

huddles up with gathered waters

south of the wood

sun weak and low

it cannot clear the trees

each finger of the creek

is chapped with frost

spars of it

lie thick as straw

I am alone

as meant to be

still as death

yet never more alive.


You don’t believe me, jibe I am too young?

Our lives overlapped by three full years,

my first, his last, even though I never was

in Hungary, nor exile in the USA

(war and youth is my defence).

But I heard muted sounds of wilderness,

creaks, cries in midnight woods, with him

whose hearing was phenomenal – bat cries,

owl shrieks, grubs burrowing in logs.

Once I dreamt the two of us set sail in boats

gunnel-full of those on vague but potent pilgrimage

to seek the seals.  He longed to hear the songs ascribed

to silkies, blocked off by limits of the human ear.

Despite the whirr and click of cameras, and though

the seals were silent, I think he sensed their song

and I was feared, as it is sometimes said,

they might assume a human form, lure him

to the sandbanks of the Wash or far-flung skerries

in the wild north-west – but he was more of land

than sea and maybe sounds that hug the ocean’s heave

are waves on different frequencies than those he heard.

I knew him, know him still, despite his death in exile;

there is no bar to knowing artists such as he. That harsh

music flows to me from him, preserver of the sounds

his century killed, peasant songs and dances,

Magyar, Bulgar, Roma, resurrected from the death

and silence of the camps so I, and you

if you should take to them, may sing them still.

When I walk lanes at dusk, gaze at stars

above the woods and sea, I feel him strong

as running waters.  Should you doubt our friendship,

I say hear me and stutter out a phrase so feebly

you turn away.  His rhythms, irrepressible as springs,

are plasma in me, inexhaustible despite the great

felled forests which birthed and sheltered them,

till Europe fell and died.

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