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New poems by Mary Cresswell



The Way We Live Now


The supermarket lights are dim,

the books are ranked along the shelves.

Bestsellers crowd the veggie bin,


their lurid, new, exotic smells

of vampire lusts or long-dead queens

compete with cabbage. Other aisles


show tinned scripts and bulk-buy beans

heaped where they never will be missed.

Covers howl out, ‘Now you’ve seen


the series! Come and read the rest!’

Computers hum, but no one knows

where on earth they keep the Proust


or when the reps discount the prose,

or onsell Whitman, two bucks off,

or who cares. And so it goes.


a line, (a blue one)



Homer Contemplating a Bust of Aristotle


Given your analytic genius,

I reckon you’d find the Odyssey

long-winded, too discursive,

a work of total idiodicy.

If I didn’t think

you’d find it even sillier, I’d

point you at the Iliad.


a line, (a blue one)



On Yet Another Conflict Between My Day Job And My Commitment To The Muse


This is my poem for Wednesday.


This is the reason I didn’t come up

with a much better poem for Wednesday.


This is the manuscript agreed in advance

that needed the work of the world to enhance

the parts that the author had just left to chance

and put paid to my poem for Wednesday.


This is the muse with the twinkly eyes

who took over the job (to my happy surprise)

crossed all the t’s, dotted the i’s

sorted me out in a few quick tries

and gave me a poem for Wednesday.


This is the editor, aesthetically pure,

who’s starting to find he’s a wee bit unsure

deciding what’s fluff and what will endure

but he’s too much of a gent to call words manure,

so he’ll publish my poem. On Wednesday.


a line, (a blue one)



Impasse With Old Hippies


The answer, you say, is blowing in the wind.

I say the question matters more,

I say to you, old wanderer, old friend,

everything you say is running out of wind.

Answers, you insist, show where we should begin.

Dead calm, I say, won’t get us off the shore.

The answers, you say, are blowing in the wind.

I say the questions matter more.


a line, (a blue one)


8 x 8


I am a mathematician

so numbers come easy to me.

Not like words, which all cut and run.

Counting their blessings, women flee.

Just once, a girl spoke to me straight:

“Anal retentive!” she murmured,

working her way to the exit.

I still wait for her to translate.


a line, (a blue one)


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