Posted by: John Looker | 16 July, 2014

Where The Lost Things Are

.
Where The Lost Things Are

.
At the back of the west wind,
where the evening sun wakens a bird-rich isle:
that’s where the lost things are.

Where the hummingbird
quivers at a trumpet dripping with nectar
and clouds of scent rise over a turquoise sea,
that’s where they are, the things that can’t be found.

The golden sovereign that slipped between
the boards in the Tudor Hall; the Hall itself lost at cards
in Venice on the long Grand Tour;
they’re here; this is the spot.

Even the daughter, forswearing carriages and
pianoforte, who was carried away in steam and smoke
for love; and the son gone surfing in foreign lands;
they too are here. They all come here.

And therefore you.
You’ve raced across the foot-burning sand
to float like a starfish in the clear lagoon,
your tequila-on-ice waiting you back in the shade.

If only mine were too.
…….If only I were too.
.
.
.
ยฉ John Stevens 2014

(Written as an unsuccessful competition entry, on a pre-set theme.)

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Responses

  1. I feel like I just read an old tale from a culture that I’m not familiar with — curious but enchanting. Lovely work. =)

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  2. Such a mysterious poem ๐Ÿ™‚ Is it this hall? http://henhampark.com/henham-hall Lovely ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Not necessarily, but it could be couldn’t it? You know Britain extremely well Ina!

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      • I googled some key words ๐Ÿ™‚

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        • I prefer to believe you are extremely knowledgeable!

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          • Most knowledge comes from knowing how to use google search lol ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. Beautiful. I love the final two lines. Shared on FB. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. I find this a very moving poem, John, and will most likely want to say more, once I’ve continued to re-read and ponder awhile.

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    • I really couldn’t tell how this one would strike you, so I’d say I was relieved Cynthia; thank you.

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  5. Sounds very inviting — I’d like to lose myself there for awhile. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. It’s successful if you ask me. Like watching a beautifully shot 45 second movie

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    • Thanks Fred – I’d like to believe that were true!

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  7. It leaves me feeling both awe (for it seems like a good place to go, to be) and deep sorrow. Awe for that place and sorrow for the one left out of it. There is a dreamy feel to this poem and a yearning, perhaps, to find what is gone, what is lost forever.

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    • I’m pleased if it struck you that way Anna; thank you.

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  8. Lovely old song, reminds me of one of my childhood ‘s favorites, Yeats’ Celtic Twilight.

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    • I’m going to have to check that out Tom. It’s not in my copy of Yeats. Thanks.

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  9. Rather nice, John. I was drawn in by the whimsy, then unexpectedly touched.

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    • Thank you โ€” I’m relieved that you weren’t deterred by the whimsy. I might have been myself!

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  10. Reblogged this on Bonnie McClellan's Weblog and commented:
    A poem that’s just right for summer from IPM contributor John Stevens:

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  11. Some of these images, I’m guessing, are quite particular to your own family history, and others like Tudor Hall and the game of cards more general; but they’re all about absence, distance, loss, missing (as in “I miss you.”). At the same time, almost oxymoronically, there is a place—“this is the spot”—where it all comes home, to sadness, wish, longing. You often take us travelling, and the cadence of this journey is, as usual, impeccable; the arrival is not only pensive, but, to me, astonishing. In plainer words, I really like this poem, John

    P.S. Did you know there is also a Tudor Hall historic house in our state of Maryland….once owned and occupied by the Booth family, their John Wilkes Booth being the man who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

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    • I wasn’t sure if this one would work. It was a bit more fanciful and sentimental than I generally feel comfortable with, so I feel greatly reassured that you, in particular Cynthia, and a number of others, have decided it’s okay. The incidents are not, as it happens, drawn from family life here. I invented them to produce a journey in types of loss, plus a parallel journey over 4 or 5 centuries. But that’s my personal angle. The test is whether the verses work for others and โ€” phew! โ€” they seem to do so for some. Thank you for coming back to tell me.

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  12. A wonderful poem, John – every image, each detail, the emotions it invokes. I MUST get caught up here…!

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    • Hello Betty โ€” thank you. There’s no ‘must’ of course!

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