Roman Beads

16 Dec


            From out the purest

           Sands of Persia

           We roll like winkles

           Blown gobs of sea-glass

           Rolled and warmed

           In the salt-wet

           Lips of the tide


            Excited with the light

           We click against

            The next in line

           Adding to the elements

           Coral and glass

           Spat out from sea and sand

           To roll across the ocean floor

           And worry all the world


           Here’s one to tuck under

            A pile of forty feather-beds

           To make a princess toss and turn

           Because she feels

           Beneath the down

            That pee-wit’s eye

            Wide-open, staring fierce

           And blue as North


           A single bead

           To drop inside her ear

           Until it warms and melts

           And she can hear

           The tide begin to turn

           And suck us back to sand


                                                        Jean Holden




dancing off the string

6 Aug

dancing off the string

The Exhibits

4 Jul

Dawdling down
These Clapham backstreets
Late October
Lights on
At every window
Blinds up
To show us worlds
Odd as the Orinoco

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Enough is Enough

4 Jul

It could all do
With a damned good clear-out
If you ask me
Look at the stuff
Stacked to the ceiling
And it doesn’t stop there

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Rhythm of the fight

9 Jun

Rhythm of the fight

Remote Tribes

7 Jun

There are too many eyes
In this museum
All following you round the room
Eyes in spirals
Like Catherine wheels
Or fashioned from tea-cups
Or slits in a strip of bone
Too many eyes

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Assisted suicide

7 Jun

And then I came awake
Inside a glass lung
In Intensive Care
Where specialists pad by
Every hour
One glass box
In a row of glass boxes
All locked inside
The Seventh Circle
Waiting for it to end

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Inhaling the Dead

7 Jun

The lady archaeologist
Has no time for idiots
Who believe in Past Existences
And swear blind
They were once Cleopatra
(For it’s always Cleopatra)
And yet . . .

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22 Apr

Image Continue reading

Roman Glass

8 Apr

Someone in the class who also works at the museum said a few words about each of our chosen objects. I chose a Roman glass jar. She explained that the translucence in the glass – its beauty in fact – was actually caused by its decay. This made me think of an ageing Hollywood star.


You can’t be glamourous
In daylight
Glamour is for evening
And beyond
Leave mornings to children
In heat
Later on comes glamour
The old standby
To lead you into the dark
And whisper a trick or two
So even now
After a thousand years
And scaled in opals
Even now
With the light behind me
Angled just so
Even now
You stop
And look
And gasp

Jean Holden