John Gimblett: Poetry



Mister John (publ. Stride, 1991)

ISBN Pbk: 0 946699 76 3 Hbk: 1 873012 12 8

Inishfree, Co. Donegal ( publ. Stride, 1986)

ISBN Pbk: 0 946699 35 6

Water (publ. Making Waves, 1988) ISBN Pbk: 0 9511290 4 X

Shadows and Fireflies (with R M Loydell) (publ. Stride, 1985) ISBN Pbk: 0 946699 31 3

Magic Millions (publ. Trombone, 1994)

Twice (publ. lung gom press, 1995)




The Serendipity Caper (publ. Stride, 1994) ISBN Pbk: 1 873012 73 X

First Cuts (publ. Paramour Press, 1985) ISBN Pbk: 0 951373 1 5

Images For Africa (publ. Wateraid, 1988) ISBN Pbk: 0 9513466 0 1

Magazines and Journals


Poetry Wales, Anglo Welsh Review, New Welsh Review, Planet, Stride Magazine, Paramour, Ore, Memes, Gwent Poetry Society, Scrape, magazing, Frames, Global Tapestry, Spectrum, Folio International, Unique, etc.

Also included in several Web-based journals - a search on Google should find most of them, though you could start with:

Slope journal

Evert Robles's ezine

Aught journal

Fifty Word Fiction

Three Candles

John Mingay's Raunchland Press

TTA Press


A Morsel.


I absorb the


fragment by


until they are all


The pith

         is like jelly.

Cold, each


trapezoid, a



I am


of its


they aspire to

         solidity, and in


         all but

achieve it.

After a fashion.








My brother is gentle:

kisses the crown of Gabe's

head; a sparrow, its belly

full, pecking at rare seed.



Gabriel stumbles through a dream:

what in a two-day life is

there to feed such thoughts? We

learn he's working through the

trauma of birth, throwing it

out of him, like a buddhist shout.

His hands start in the Moro

response: fingers poke air,

hands making creamy pale

stars in bright May-light.

I stroke his fingers one by one.

He responds like my wife did

when we began courting - I'd

do the same then to her as she

sat still beside me.

Gabe quietens, stretching his fingers,

enjoying the touch. Opens his

eyes: I saw blue this hue only

in Greece, or spreading upwards

from stupas high in Ladakh.

Blue as the buddhas of Bamiyan

used to be, back in 500 CE.

A glass-blue, deep as languid

eternity puddling in galaxies.

Together, the three of us, we are




I'm called in


a medley of

screams, busy,

like a tall storm

stacking weathers.

My beautiful wife's

eyes are locked shut

imagining the business

unfolding below her. I

hold closely her tight


(later I'll write her

unspoken words

on the window:

coaxing the letters

through steam),

My gorgeous Gabriel's


peeps a crying

presence; his blue

body follows


I plan the

hagiography of

an angel.

Purple, astonishing deepness

like slight

light in space

faces me, crying.

Gabriel, my angel

my star of

magnesium brightness.

Sarah, my tired

dew-eyed wife

with a smile

rife with happiness


The first words he'll

hear of me

there in that

cold room:

a presence of held hand

a murmuring:

om mani padme hum.





Seven poems, written 10th May, 1986.

‘If men thought of God as much as they think of the world,

who would not attain liberation?’

Maitri Upanishad.



God touched the

spirit the

spirit split.

God sat the


down in water.

God spat and made

the water.

For a moment,

they were joined.

God pressed his

eyelids into


The impression

was blunt.

The shape was


God made God

two: spirit

and soul.

With God both.

And but one.

The spirit

touched God.



for R. S. Thomas

His hands shook,

stiff as flagstones

pale as firebrick,

pulling to the book

he read from,

monotone, the


all in the words.

Putting it to wood

for stability,

the phrases caught us

like bullets

or a stick.

Solid, we bent inside.




Switching at the throat

a sympathy of colour

and of note,

croaking at the nave,

whore’s nub of badge

brave and gloating

over something

we know not of.

Cryptogamous in outlook,


raised the probing

and pushed.

One breath crept past

the block:

one key had turned.




Subtlety was not his method.

Treading on the throat

he forced out one word

that word was silence

that word was silence

that word was silence

that word was silence.




He made sand

fall in fluted

glass to give

glass purpose.

He made song

musical so we could

hum it.

He made himself

as we are

to be laughed at.

He made the first

laugh loud and long

then ended.

He made us

echo him

in dying.

He made us

look to ground

for heaven.

He made us

look to heaven

for ground.

He made fire

unpalpable so we

could be touched.

He made us touch

then gave us skin

to rob us.

He made nothing.

Ex nihilo res fit.




There is nothing

here for you


Your final gesture

is to grasp

fists full of air

and crush them.

Blind, you see


but the taut

scagging of your


You would leave

but your roots

are to earth

not to box,

as they were.

Dead, you’ll achieve

something: air will

invade your space

and marry it

to silence.




(from a painting - Large Tikse Gompa, 1997 - by Simon Pierse)


Tikse: a city

of alleys, black

cells steeped

in the whisper

of yak-bells.

Etiolate, racks

of scrolls

rain a holy

snow; where we

go it’s winter.





The man on the

pavement –

skap-hand flat

on the phlegm

crusted square

slab of sidewalk,

has become

one of the


You have to

stare: it’s a


there’s a surplus

of body.

Or what

seems so.

His mouth is

open, his eyes

two mongoose-

stuffed sacks,

and he’s hungry.

Drop him two

coins and he’ll weep.

Set him down

three and he’ll

smile, maybe.

Stare and star-

mis-shapen limbs will

introduce themselves.

One cheek is

pressed to a kerb,

pulling up footsteps.

His knees bend


Sucking the last

square of chocolate,

passing him by

he dribbles, drying.

His tongue

looks healthy.





What's in the slow blood

pumps to a slow rhythm.

Backwards in time the stuff

of redness blends, slips

seamlessly into disaster

as if drawing on a spirit to

empty its calling. I am the

leveret bounding in a short

field, going nowhere. Up-

wards I am viable; there is

no other dimension worthy

of me. In Kashmir there is a

footstep I left: it traces the

death-flat marble of whiteness

flooring the Hazrat Bal. On

a bicycle I crushed walnuts,

twisting their etiolate juices

into the road. In Pahalgam I

died a metaphorical death;

climbing down from the

meadow to an iced stream,

it's as if the water pulled my

soul from my fingers. Now,

when I try to reach out and

grasp my existence, it flows

like so much sterile water

into the gulf. Die before you




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