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Aug 2011 · 2.0k
Coincidence
Thomas Thurman Aug 2011
Perhaps we lived a night and day away
and never knew the other one was breathing
and so we saw the sunrise stained with grey
but never fully realised we were grieving;
perhaps our eyes or bodies might have met
when on the Northern Line, or on a plane,
and left us cursed, unable to forget
and nursing till our death a treasured pain;
perhaps you read my story in a book,
how I'd been dust these seven hundred years,
the dreams I'd dreamt of you, and how it took
a dozen books to hope to reach your ears;
perhaps the Lord had mercy on us; hence
this coinciding's no coincidence.
Jun 2011 · 1.2k
Fury said to a fish...
Thomas Thurman Jun 2011
Fury said to a fish,
"I've a whim and a wish:
let us both go to war; you shall fight against me.
Come, I must make a stand:
we shall fight on the land,
and if you insist we shall fight on the sea."
Said the fish to the cat,
"The result of this spat
will be nothing but bubbles to mark where you sank."
"I'll be gun, I'll be bomb,"
said the cunning old tom,
"and I'll target my missiles and blow up your tank."
After "Fury said to a mouse..." in "Alice".
Jun 2011 · 1.3k
When first we met
Thomas Thurman Jun 2011
When first we met, I was so young in years,
I feared the unfamiliar smiles you give;
I found they were the keys to fit my fears,
to break my cell, to run away to live;
when first we met, I was so young in wiles,
I stumbled round the world at every turning;
I did not know the magic of your smiles,
the wisdom I could read there, and the learning;
when first we met, with slow and aching cane
my mind had lost the path to run and play
and dragged its feet through mires of mental pain
when first we met, when first we met. Today
morning by morning, in your smiles, I find
each waking moment makes me young in mind.
Apr 2011 · 1.0k
A love song
Thomas Thurman Apr 2011
The ones who breathe below the wave
have tales of how I should behave,
but should I sing, or comb my hair
when sleeping deeply in my grave?

There, deep within the murky green
I dreamed a man I've never seen
with trousers rolled and fading hair.
I offered him a nectarine.

Oh, does he take it? Will he eat?
I long to weep upon his feet
and wipe them with my golden hair.
He fades, and we shall never meet.
Apr 2011 · 2.0k
Not about any church I know
Thomas Thurman Apr 2011
Thou who sent thine own Anointed
once for all the world to bless:
Should we make our windows pointed?
Should our deacons wear a dress?
Should our candles light the dark?
Lord, remain within the ark.

Should our priests be mild and matey?
Should our men be nervous types?
Should our women all be eighty?
Art thou fond of ***** pipes?
Or dost thou, above the stars,
yearn for amplified guitars?

We shall sit around the fire, and
mumble of the Crucified,
preach his gospel to the choir, and
never mind the night outside,
where despite the rain and chill
winds are blowing where they will.
Apr 2011 · 1.1k
Song against Twitter
Thomas Thurman Apr 2011
I tried to  say: you make my life complete,
you put my puzzle pieces into place.
But then I tried to send it as a tweet.

It didn't fit.  I thought I could delete
one part, about the joys of your embrace;
I tried to say: you make my life complete,

but still it was too long.  I thought I'd cheat
ByMergingWordsAndUsingCamelCase.
But then I tried to send it as a tweet.

It failed again.  I must admit defeat.
Like Fermat's margin, Twitter lacks the space
to let me say you make my life complete.

It makes the longer forms seem obsolete.
But even Petrarch's work would meet disgrace
if cut and scaled to send it as a tweet!

And somehow public posts seem indiscreet.
I think I'd rather whisper to your face
the message that you make my life complete,
and far too full to post it as a tweet.
Apr 2011 · 982
So I was told
Thomas Thurman Apr 2011
The Bishop said, "You celebrate
the mass an awful lot.
I've heard the other priests of late
suggest that it's a plot.
You have to write the homily;
you have to heat the hall
three times a day; it seems to me
the congregation's small:
there's four, or even fewer folk.
It's almost microscopic."
The Priest replied, "The Lord once spoke
upon that very topic."
(Matthew 18:20.)
Mar 2011 · 3.3k
If Lady Gaga wrote sonnets
Thomas Thurman Mar 2011
How do I love thee?  In a way that's bad,
by which I mean so bad it's almost good.
I need you, and you know it drives me mad.
I want you more than any other could.
And we could write romances, you and me.
I want to hear your Hitchcock movie schtick.
I want your everything.  I hope it's free.
I want you in my window, and you're sick.
And yet you know my raving is a sign
I'd rather we were paramours than friends.
You're outlawed from the moment that you're mine
Until the day our bad romancing ends;
I'll love you in a leather-studded bra.
Rah gaga gaga roma ooh la la.
This is not the most serious sonnet ever.
Feb 2011 · 1.1k
Robert Dennis Thurman
Thomas Thurman Feb 2011
This day we lay the universe to rest:
behind this pair of eyes that lived and died
a mirror-image, faithfully expressed,
reflects a mirror-universe inside
all memories. This day we thank the Lord
for all these shining moments held within
this mind where human memories are stored.
And this shall be the moment they begin
to shatter, to become ten thousand stories
reflecting human life in all its beauty:
each smile, each poem, every sunset's glories,
that call to those remaining of their duty
to see this story speaks and never fails;
to call, recall again ten thousand tales.
For my grandfather, who died 10th February 2011.
Jan 2011 · 808
Oliver's eulogy
Thomas Thurman Jan 2011
It saddened me to know you from afar:
I never heard the whimpers that you gave
when scratched beneath the chin, or saw you save
your mistress from a cat, or passing car;
you never barked as I approached your door;
you never licked my face; I never heard
your nails on wood, or saw you chase a bird,
and now you’re gone, I cannot any more.
You know, it makes me wonder, Oliver:
I’ve usually dismissed as pious lies
those tales of rainbow bridges in the skies
where faithful friends will wait as once they were
to meet us in the lands beyond the light.
But since you’ve left, I find I hope they’re right.
A friend of mine moved across the country and found a dog named Oliver.  Oliver died before my friend moved back, so I never got to meet him.
Dec 2010 · 2.7k
Recognition
Thomas Thurman Dec 2010
I thought I recognised some guy
asleep off Berkeley Square.
His face had such a peaceful look
behind his ***** hair;

his beard, the scabs across his head,
I thought I'd seen before,
if anyone that I would know
was sleeping in a door.

On second thoughts, it wasn't him.
Or, well, I'll never know.
A glance was all the time it took
to pass him in the snow.
Dec 2010 · 2.2k
Turing's sword
Thomas Thurman Dec 2010
See you our server farm that hums
And serves HTTP?
It's spun its disks and done its sums
Ever since Berners-Lee.

See you our mainframe spewing out
The Towers of Hanoi?
It's moved recursive discs about
Since Babbage was a boy.

See you our ZX81
That prints the ABCs?
That very program used to run
With Lovelace at the keys.

Magnetic floppy disks and hard,
And tape with patience torn,
And eighty columns on a card,
And so was England born!

She is not any common thing,
Water or Wood or Air,
But Turing's Isle of Programming,
Where you and I will fare.
A rather silly homage to a rather lovely poem in Kipling's "Puck of Pook's Hill".
Dec 2010 · 1.7k
Three saints
Thomas Thurman Dec 2010
St Henry was for Finland, and before he took the land
He wandered through Uppsala with a beer-mug in his hand.
For through his understanding of the Finns and what they are
If you should serve him sahti, it must be in a jar.

St Patrick was for Ireland, and before the snakes were out
He ate a steak, and washed it down with pints of Guinness stout.
For since he was from Ireland, people shouldn't make mistakes:
Unless you give him Guinness, then you mustn't give him steaks.

St Louis was from France, and before he was the king,
He bought champagne and cheeses and he ate like anything.
For since he was from France, I must say it once again:
Unless you give him cheeses, then there must be no champagne.
This is all extemporisation on Chesterton's poem "The Englishman", about St George, which you can find online.

p.s. I know St Patrick was not from Ireland, so don't worry about telling me.
Dec 2010 · 831
Retweeted
Thomas Thurman Dec 2010
Jill retweeted what I wrote,
forwarding to all her friends.
Time, you thief, who loves to gloat
over hopes and bitter ends,
say my loves and lines are bad,
say that life itself defeated me,
say I'm growing old, but add,
Jill retweeted me.
More marginalia.
Dec 2010 · 1.2k
Spanyel
Thomas Thurman Dec 2010
Spanyel! Spanyel! Thine embrace
Places Paws upon my Face;
What celestial Factory
Dare fill thy doggy Heart with glee?

From what Furnace flowed thy Blood?
Whence proceeded all this Mud?
Was that a Cow thou hidst beneath?
What the Tongue? and what the Teeth?

What the Nose? and what the Jaw?
In what Quagmire was thy Paw?
Hast thou swum the Pond as well?
That perhaps explains thy Smell.

Spanyel! Spanyel! Thine embrace
Places Paws upon my Face;
What celestial Factory
Dare fill thy doggy Heart with glee?
Nov 2010 · 929
Funeral
Thomas Thurman Nov 2010
I don't intend to die, for I have much to finish first.
But if you plan my funeral, if worst should come to worst,
I want some decent hymns, some "Love Divine"s, and "Guide me, O"s.
Say masses for my soul (for I shall need them, heaven knows),
And ring a muffled quarter-peal, and preach a sermon next
("Behold, that dreamer cometh" should be given as the text),
Then draw a splendid hatchment up, proclaiming my decease.
And cast me where the lamp-post towers over Parker's Piece
That I may lie for evermore and watch the Cambridge skies...
I'll see you in the Eagle then, and stand you beer and pies.
Nov 2010 · 2.3k
Ballade of Adventure
Thomas Thurman Nov 2010
Go north. Go east.  Get lamp.  Get food.  Get key.
Get sword.  Examine sword.  It's glowing blue.
Say "plugh".  You watch the world around you flee.
You're standing near a boulder marked "Y2".
Put Auntie's thing in bag.  It doesn't fit.
(By Infocom.  Wherever games are sold.)
Such antics are the price for us to sit
where Thorin sits and sings about his gold.

You're standing west of house again.  You see:
a robot and a door.  The door sees: you.
You're carrying some fluff, some shades, no tea;
Be careful.  You'll be eaten by a grue.
Oh, now you've gone and fallen in a pit.
You're carrying as much as you can hold.
In Bedquilt.  You see shadows through the slit,
where Thorin sits and sings about his gold.

But Activision's little shopping spree
had turned the world to wanting something new.
It's sad, but still, I think we'd all agree
the Z-machine's demise was overdue.
The day when all the world went sixteen-bit
the era died.  I think they broke the mould
when pictures took the place of words and wit,
where Thorin sits and sings about his gold.

Prince of the numbers, worlds have watched you knit
the memories of processors of old;
you've made a better planet, I submit,
where Thorin sits and sings about his gold.
Another failed attempt at a ballade: it should be ababbcbc, not ababcdcd.  Still, it might amuse some of you.
Nov 2010 · 1.3k
Stations of the Cross
Thomas Thurman Nov 2010
I watched from Farringdon as Satan fell;
I’ve battled for my soul at Leicester Square;
I’ve laid a ghost with Oystercard and bell;
I’ve tracked the wolf of Wembley to his lair;
I’ve drawn Heathrow’s enchantment in rotation;
at Bank I played the devil for his fare;
I laugh at lesser modes of transportation.
I change at Aldgate East because it’s there.

The Waterloo and City cast its spell;
I watched it slip away, and could not care,
the Northern Line descending into hell
until King’s Cross was more than I could bear;
he left me there in fear for my salvation,
a Mansion House in heaven to prepare:
so why return to any lesser station?
I change at Aldgate East because it’s there.

Three days beneath the earth in stench and smell
I lay, and let the enemy beware:
I learned the truth of tales the children tell:
an Angel plucked me homeward by the hair,
to glory from the depths of condemnation,
to where I started long ago from where
I missed my stop through long procrastination.
I change at Aldgate East because it’s there.

Prince of the buskers, sing your new creation:
the change you ask is more than I can spare;
a change of spirit, soul, imagination.
I change at Aldgate East because it’s there.
Bother, I've got it wrong again. Ballades are ababbcbc, not ababcbcb. I think this can be saved anyway.
Thomas Thurman Nov 2010
For Pennsylvania is the Land
Where Men with Hearts may Understand,
And much the nicest part must be
The County of Montgomery.
And in that district I most like
The town that ends the Pottstown Pike.
For heaven's blessings rarely stick
to folk who live in Limerick,
and you would be the worse to know
the crimes that they commit in Stowe,
and heaven's wrath comes raining down
on men who live in Boyertown,
where sins are strange, and stranger still
are secrets hid in Douglasville;
they'd slit your throat for twenty pence
in frightful Lower Providence
and rumour tells me true that no men
are virtuous in Perkiomen.
But Pottstown, oh, but dear Pottstown!
Why, there a person may lie down
upon its riverbanks so stony,
or paddle in the Manatawny.
They laugh and love their life so well
They're purchasing a carousel.
(And when they get to feeling old,
A thousand senior Cokes are sold
with super fries and apple pie:
McDonalds, Hanover and High.)
This was fun to write.
Nov 2010 · 1.4k
Morning prayer
Thomas Thurman Nov 2010
Go praise thou the Lord! It's seven o'clock!
You cannot afford to slumber ad hoc.
Five times you've hit snooze, and you've wasted an hour,
Forget your excuse, and go get in the shower.

Go praise thou the Lord! The prayerbook awaits,
its words unexplored, so get on your skates.
It stands on the shelf for the start of the day,
For Jesus himself rose up early to pray.

Go praise thou the Lord! Praise him in the morn!
You seem to be floored. You don't know you're born.
I wake you at six and you wail that you're sunk
but just try your tricks as a friar or monk!

Go praise thou the Lord! Take heed what I say:
I know you've implored today's Saturday;
No more may you lurk with alarm clock ignored;
For praising takes work, so go praise thou the Lord!
I think I should set a hymn as my alarm tune. Something like this.
Nov 2010 · 2.4k
The Caller
Thomas Thurman Nov 2010
"Is there anybody there?" said the caller,
"Six ten eight oh one two four three nine?"
And his ears attuned to the empty hum
Of the long-forgotten line;
And an LED on the handset
Flashed, for a moment, red,
And he dialled the number a second time:
"Is there anybody there?" he said.
But no one replied to the caller,
No sound but the dialling tone
Came drifting into his waiting ear
As he held that haunted phone;
But only a host of phantom listeners,
Of spectres weak and strange
Stood hearkening to that human voice
That echoed around the exchange;
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
And his heart was afraid and nervous,
With his hand on the final digit
Of that number not in service;
For he suddenly tapped the receiver
And spoke on that line of dread:
"Tell them I called, and no one answered,
That I kept my word!" he said;
Ay, they heard him replace the receiver,
And his mumbled cursing later,
With the usual subdued but enthused delight
Of the switchboard operator.
(This is a parody of "The Listeners", by Walter de la Mare; you should read that first.)
Thomas Thurman Nov 2010
My talent (or my curse) is getting lost:
my routes are recondite and esoteric.
Perverted turns on every road I crossed
have dogged my feet from Dover up to Berwick.
My move to London only served to show
what fearful feast of foolishness was mine:
I lost my way from Tower Hill to Bow,
and rode the wrong way round the Circle Line.
In nameless London lanes I wandered then
whose tales belied my tattered A to Z,
and even now, in memory again
I plod despairing, Barking in my head,
still losing track of who and where I am,
silent, upon a street in Dagenham.
Oct 2010 · 1.1k
This is the poem
Thomas Thurman Oct 2010
This is the poem with something to say
that shows you the human condition.
This is the poem both deep and banal,
a triumph of juxtaposition.
This is the poem they'll write on a plaque
to show I was born somewhere near.
This is the poem that folks will recite
whose minds fill with worry or fear,
a poem to take in a book to the park
and ponder for passing the time.
This is the poem that classes recite
for children to learn about rhyme.
This is the poem those children will learn
that sticks evermore in their head.
This is the poem they'll print on a card
for people to buy when I'm dead.
This is the poem that changes mankind,
and teaches the world not to fight.
This is the poem that stands in the place
of one I intended to write.
Sep 2010 · 783
Hymn
Thomas Thurman Sep 2010
Oh, many bounds I've beaten well,
And many more I'll drub,
But through this maze I'll take the ways
That lead me to the pub.

Where worries may be left behind,
Where life's despair may fail,
Where peace has smiled on pints of mild
And blessed the winter ale.

Where folk may laugh, where folk may spend
A moment free from fear,
Where smiles may bless a game of chess
Beside two pints of beer.

And in my mind I see the bar,
The beers' familiar names!
The window-seat where old men meet,
Where children play their games!

Where still you'll find a Sunday lunch
On Sunday afternoon,
And God's own pie, denoted by
A number on a spoon.

Oh, many weary miles I've trod,
All filled with life's alarms,
But in my brains it still remains
My local Carlton Arms.
Sep 2010 · 2.5k
Translation
Thomas Thurman Sep 2010
Ah, would I were a German!
I'd trouble my translator
With nouns the size of Hamburg
And leave the verb till later.

And if I were a Welshman
My work would thwart translation
With ninety novel plurals
In strict alliteration.

And would I were Chinese!
I'd throw them off their course
With twelve unusual symbols
All homophones of "horse".

But as it is, I'm English:
And I'm the one in hell
By writing in a language
Impossible to spell.
Aug 2010 · 1.3k
Finals
Thomas Thurman Aug 2010
I knew an undergraduate at college
who spent his days asleep, or drinking beer;
he never needed academic knowledge
until the day of reckoning drew near,
when, as he found his time was growing short,
he’d borrow books, or photocopy them,
and, downing frantic coffee by the quart,
he’d burn the midnight oil, till five a.m.
It puzzles me a little when I find
the ones who press conversion at the end
expecting atheists to change their mind
in panic, like our coffee-drinking friend,
with fingers crossed and hoping for the best
in case this life’s continuously assessed.
Written impromptu as a comment on a sonnet by Roz Kaveney. ( http://bit.ly/90U8i7 )
Aug 2010 · 2.3k
Netherlands
Thomas Thurman Aug 2010
If anything should happen to The Hague,
if someday they abandon Amsterdam,
philosophers will take these strange and vague
descriptions, and derive each tree and tram
by mathematical necessity:
should nations shake their fists across the seas
with words of war, it follows there must be
a middle ground, a people loving peace.
And is this scrap alone a netherland?
Not so: we spend our nights beneath the sky,
and every country's low for us, who stand
a thousand miles below the lights on high;
if only I could learn to live as such,
and count myself as kindly as the Dutch.
Written, with thanks, for the organisers of GUADEC 2010.
Jun 2010 · 1.8k
A lamp to my feet
Thomas Thurman Jun 2010
I heard there was a secret metric foot
that David knew was favoured by the Lord,
and when he penned the psalms he'd often put
this pattern the Almighty best adored
amongst the endless praise and imprecations;
unstressed, plus stressed, suffuses through his pages,
though hidden by the English of translations;
pentameters still echo down the ages.
The spondee's spurned, and has been from the start;
an anapaest's anathema, and grim.
Though trochees may be near the Maker's heart,
you'll never hear a dactyl in a hymn.
There's only one the Lord thinks worth a ****:
the sacred, the unchangeable iamb.
I must get back into writing serious things again.
Jun 2010 · 958
Shattered
Thomas Thurman Jun 2010
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said... (I couldn't comprehend his speech;
he spoke a tongue I didn't understand.
It might have meant "a statue's on a beach"—
at least, he let me see vacation snaps
and there was quite a lot of sand about
and one old statue, African perhaps,
or Indian, I'm in a bit of doubt.)
So anyway, I saw the statue's face:
its nose was crinkled, like a lord who sniffs.
And then there was some writing on the base;
I couldn't read it.  It was hieroglyphs.
It all seems kind of strange, and far away,
but must have had some meaning in its day.
Jun 2010 · 1.5k
Leaping like calves
Thomas Thurman Jun 2010
Once, a young fresher was reading the rules, and was more than perplexed at the place where they state
"All undergraduates, if they are Anglicans, must be in chapel each Sunday at eight."
Wracking his brains, he began a small rumour that spread through the town on the weekdays that followed; he
was not an Anglican, nor Nonconformist; his faith and religion was mere Heliolatry.
Saturday evening, our hero retired with a smile on his face and his bin at his door,
only to wake to a thunderous hammering, made by the porter, next morning at four.
Ah, how a little lie, told with great frequency, gains repercussions that no-one expects!
"Dawn's almost here, sir, the Chaplain expects you; go down to Main Court and you'll pay your respects."
This is no longer the rule, but it used to be.  "His bin at his door" = standard Cambridge signal that you don't want to be disturbed in the morning.
Jun 2010 · 2.6k
Two creatures
Thomas Thurman Jun 2010
Two creatures' eyes have seen the sun,
and now their lids are filled with dust.
But if their eyes were blue, or brown,
I cannot tell, and yet I must.

St Claire's an Amiable Child
who sleeps secure and snug as Grant,
but who can tell me of his eyes?
(The city parks curator can't.)

And Johnson had a cat named Hodge
who fed on oysters, and was fine;
his coat was black, but not his eyes,
whose shade I cannot now divine.

Two creatures hold me in their gaze,
and thoughts of it I can't dislodge:
the nature of your eyes, my friends,
your sleeping eyes, St Claire and Hodge?
After Edward Arlington Robinson.  I make no claim for this to be good work; it just turned up in my head this afternoon.
Jun 2010 · 1.5k
Do not kowtow
Thomas Thurman Jun 2010
When I am old, as owned by wrinkled skin,
and not by thought, since I'm already old,
do not kowtow to what you see. Within
the wrinkled skin's a child of three years old,
a teenager in terror of his sin,
a twenty-two year old in love, an old
and bitter fool, whose inspiration's thin;
when I am full of tales, and sick, and old,
do not kowtow to old and wrinkled skin.
Jun 2010 · 916
Gods
Thomas Thurman Jun 2010
I have a friend who doubles as a god.
I'd seen the tell-tale signs I can't deny
for years before I realised it was odd.

A greener grass is growing where he's trod;
his bitter is immune from running dry.
I have a friend who doubles as a god,

a silent friend, who'd smile at me and nod;
I'd known him, and his one remaining eye
for years before I realised it was odd.

You're staring at me, thinking "silly sod".
But no, it's not just him: I don't know why.
I have a friend who doubles as a god:

her flesh is stars; with storms her feet are shod;
I'd noticed she was goddess of the sky
for years before I realised it was odd.

These people give my mind a gentle ****.
"The least of these you comfort: it was I."
I'd had a friend who doubled as a god
for years before I realised it was odd.
Still working on this one. Critique and ideas are very welcome.
Jun 2010 · 1.0k
The echoes of an amber god
Thomas Thurman Jun 2010
Electric sparkles in your touch,
the echoes of an amber god.
You fill my batteries with such
electric sparkles in your touch,
that Tesla would have charged too much
and Franklin dropped his lightning-rod:
electric sparkles in your touch,
the echoes of an amber god.
Jun 2010 · 1.1k
Mary
Thomas Thurman Jun 2010
Her soul proclaimed the greatness of the Lord
who dwelt within her belly, and her mind.
The light shines on, the humble are restored,
and food and mercy given to mankind.
That day she saw the everlasting light
she memorised, and treasured up inside,
investing for the fading of her sight
the hope that living light had never died;
till hope itself within her arms lay dying,
a frozen journey, ready to embark,
and nothing more is left for her but trying
to comprehend the greatness of the dark;
yet somewhere shines the light, in spite of that,
and silently she sighed magnificat.
There's something lacking in this one.  I keep thinking there's a straightforward way to fix it, but I'm not sure how.
Jun 2010 · 740
More deep than my heart
Thomas Thurman Jun 2010
More deep than my heart
or the roots of my brain:
the smiles you impart,
more deep than my heart,
pull me back to the start
and I'm falling again,
more deep than my heart
or the roots of my brain.
Thomas Thurman Jun 2010
Here deep in the city it is always night.
As I walk each street it is always night.
The men in their mansions drink their delight.
For those in the streets it is always night.
Those in the doorways step out to fight.
They slip to where it is always night.
Each plays a game to increase his might.
Each keeps his brother where it is always night.
We laugh, and lie about the lands of light.
I still light candles where it is always night.
Jun 2010 · 3.5k
Storytelling
Thomas Thurman Jun 2010
A dragon was the beast to fear,
With shining, perfect teeth,
And deadly spines upon its back,
And scaly skin beneath.
You'd see them fly across the sky
With dreadful wings unfanned,
In far-off days of long ago
When dragons ruled the land.

And as they flew they'd watch the ground,
With eyes devoid of pity,
They'd follow humans to their homes
And breathe upon their city.
The dragon's breath was instant death,
No houses still could stand,
In far-off days of long ago
When dragons ruled the land.

Then someone had a wise idea:
King Arthur and his Knights.
They travelled round the countryside,
And held great dragon-fights.
Each dragon's heart was split apart,
So triumphed Arthur's band;
And now no dragons linger
Any longer in the land.
This is a poem from my children's storybook, "Not Ordinarily Borrowable".  Let me know if you'd like to know about it (or just ask Google).
Jun 2010 · 855
On not being a cat
Thomas Thurman Jun 2010
Were I a cat, my love, I'd leave each day
a single dying mouse upon your bed;
but, human, I must find another way,
and honour you by leaving verse instead.
Thomas Thurman Jun 2010
Because I could not wire a Plug,
It wired itself to me.
The carriage held but just ourselves,
And Electricity.

We passed the school, where children strove
To gain some erudition,
Ah! what a shame I did not learn
To be an Electrician.

For who would think a wire called live
The life of humans halts?
My wiring style contains, I fear,
Two hundred forty faults.

Since then 'tis centuries, and yet
We drive for all we're worth;
The eternal heavens seem so live;
So neutral seemed the earth.
I think Emily Dickinson's "Death" demonstrates that the common metre can make even the best metaphor sound trite.
Jun 2010 · 688
Mother of trees
Thomas Thurman Jun 2010
I know a tree whose apples are more sweet
and nourishing and fair than any other:
a person it's a privilege to meet,
a maker, a maintainer, and a mother.
Her branches bring delight to every day
from each repeating month that I remember:
we lie beneath her blossomed boughs in May
and eat her rosy apples in September.
Yet as she gives, she lives as more than merely
a giving tree, that spends itself in giving:
for still she's not consumed, though shining yearly
with ever-fiercer fires of joyous living;
her roots in earth, and sunlight on her brows
and every blessèd child beneath her boughs.
My Mother's Day tribute for Firinel, mother of my daughter, and love of my life.
Jun 2010 · 886
The common metre
Thomas Thurman Jun 2010
Four and twenty ladies fair
attend St Martin's Hall.
And out then came fair Janet,
the fairest of them all.
She told me of her father's gold
as if it was a joke,
I saw no others laughing there,
and ordered *** and Coke.
She told me of her sculpture course,
and asked to write a ballad;
at such a form in moneyed hands
I choked upon my salad.
"I'll see what I can do", I said,
"to satisfy your itch,
but ballads are a pauper's form,
not open to the rich:
You wanna write in the common metre?
You wanna write how common people write?
You wanna make repetition sweeter?
You wanna churn out ballad stanzas all night?"
Well, what else was in sight?
I smiled and said, "All right."
With apologies to Tam Lin, and Pulp.
Thomas Thurman Jun 2010
In depths of darkness out of doors
in thunderstorms, in pouring rain,
the kisses on my mind are yours.
In depths of darkness, out of doors,
I'll bide my time until it pours
and lose myself in you again
in depths of darkness out of doors
in thunderstorms, in pouring rain.
May 2010 · 1.5k
Tell me, O shell
Thomas Thurman May 2010
Tell me, O shell,
what have you heard?
Into my ear
floats the cry of a bird,
and also I hear
pebbles, sea-stirred.

Tell me, O shell,
what did you see?
Into my eye
floats a glimpse of a tree,
a palm, on an island,
surrounded by sea.
I wrote this in 1985, when I was ten.  There were about eight stanzas, and my adult self has cut the bad ones.
May 2010 · 935
Crossing a bridge in fog
Thomas Thurman May 2010
I see for miles, yet all upon my sight
outside my carriage are the endless seas,
the shifting clouds of fog, the tops of trees
that rock a simple path through poisoned white.
And at their feet, some sodden deep in mire?
Some sunk Atlantis sleeping 'neath the weight?
or but a borough innocent of hate,
Not well in hearts, but dead of hope and fire?
A dormitory town?  Or have you died?
Though built by stone, your pulse is nearly lost;
though faint your breath, your bridge is still uncrossed:
return before you reach the other side...
O land so drowned in dreams beyond a doubt
dissolve your heartfelt fog, or be spat out.
December 1996, south Hertfordshire.

I liked this more when I wrote it than I do now.
May 2010 · 1.3k
As I love you anew
Thomas Thurman May 2010
As I love you anew
for the rest of my life,
I haven't a clue
(as I love you anew)
what other folks do
without you for a wife;
as I love you anew
for the rest of my life.
May 2010 · 1.4k
Complements
Thomas Thurman May 2010
When good hot tea
Encountered cream;
When passioned truth
Met passioned dream;
When all the sky
Met all the sea...
And I met Katie;
She met me.

When good fried fish
First met with chips;
When longing lips
Encountered lips;
When squirrel once
Met silver fir...
Katie met me.
I met her.
May 2010 · 810
May our minds overflow
Thomas Thurman May 2010
May our minds overflow
to the seas of the soul
as we love and we grow
may our minds overflow
from their riverbeds, so
two halves become whole.
May our minds overflow
to the seas of the soul.
May 2010 · 935
To sleep next to you
Thomas Thurman May 2010
To sleep next to you
when the weather is cold
is trusted and true.
To sleep next to you
is decades from new
yet it never grows old
to sleep next to you
when the weather is cold.
Thomas Thurman May 2010
For all the words I mean to say
that I can squeeze inside a book...
I've written them, another day.
For all the words I mean to say
I'll say them in another way
and give my love a second look
for all the words I mean to say
that I can squeeze inside a book.
Impromptu, written on the flyleaf of my sweetheart's chapbook.
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