Two poems by John Gohorry

Photo by Jonny Gios on Unsplash 


    Lines in rock


Words say waters flow
rocks weather ferns wither
winds blow times go
- Kathleen Raine, ‘Night in Martindale’


On an Ullswater shore
a poet’s words carved in rock;
I brush away oak leaves

and read in the rain light
her expression of transience.
What of us survives?

The poet herself
is almost twenty years gone;
mosses creep into her text,

lichens already stain
engraving of consonant,
line or enclosure of vowel

but her words transfigure
the rocks that display them,
the page where they’re written,

my voice also that reads them
aloud to the sodden oaks
of the Hallinhag wood

on this damp autumn morning
in the fall of my days.
Now, taking them to my heart,

I return to the footpath
with the small shoot of a verse
of my own in my mind, which time,

wind and weather may stifle
with moss, lichen, and oak brash
but today, in a dry place,

inches towards completion,
a salvaged patchwork of lines
made of memories, gifts

of mind, landscape and language,
a roughly hewn acroglyph
that dare speak of endurance.


    A Rosslyn acoustic


A stroke of horsehair
transforms a metal plate
into a dance floor,
the jive of sand grains

redefining itself
as notes reposition
in fractalled rehearsal
and the floor vibrates.

The man with the bow
scores his particle song
in sand, flour, salt grains,
each glyph of acoustic

the tail of a grey cat
in its dead alive shoebox,
a moonshine entanglement
of the shapeshift air,

the template of a poem
caught two centuries later
in the act of imagining
how its words might fall.


John Gohorry

About John Gohorry

JOHN GOHORRY was born Donald Smith in Coventry in 1943. He has published fourteen collections of poetry, most recently 'A Coventry Crucible' (Lapwing, 2021), a joint venture with John Lane celebrating Coventry’s role as UK City of Culture 2021. In the past two years he has published 'Squeak, Budgie!' (Smokestack, 2019), twenty-four satires against Brexit and Britain’s drift towards xenophobic nationalism, 'The Stock Exchange of Ideas' (Arenig, 2019) which among much else proposes the setting up of poetry playgrounds ‘nationwide, free, and open to all’, and 'Exploring Psalmanazar' (Shoestring 2020), fifty-two poems engaging with the eponymous eighteenth century forger.