Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to support@standmagazine.org

This poem is taken from Stand 225, 18(1) March - May 2020.

Paul Mills Two Poems
The weather in Geneva

1816    in summer    out on the lake
colder than England    a cold wind    

just one sail and a rudder fighting the blast
no forecast    sky a coal-black seam        
water becoming wilderness as it thrashes

there with her husband and friends  
she can’t speak          
spray spits in her face    they curse God             

she sees slabs of exposed mountain    
outcrop where a single bolt
causes rock to shout    I am alive

they don’t know about an eruption    
in another place    in a dark hemisphere    
jets of ash covering half Europe

afterwards    indoors in a country of rain
they will build a fire and each tell a story

Byron will write ‘The Darkness’  and Mary    
will see a creature running without shelter    
its only camouflage  the night    


I am but what I am I do not know

beggars    thieves    the mad    the lost
jail-filth    brains fresh from the noose

at what point does he become human?
the vacancy in his yellowish eye lustering

he watches weddings    street parties    dancing
all the useful glue that holds them together
skin to skin    kindred to kin   their  kindness

the diary of his creator under his coat
draws him towards the secrets of his conception
that his life’s a solid lump of want

yet he tries    he must    so much appetite
blood of a rabbit    two wineglasses-worth     
fingers wrapping round the neck of a linnet  

brows bending lower and lower
studying the force of his own grip

all night in the woods    in mud    in the cold
each day waking smeared    his fluids weeping

spirit    purpose    high sentence    
put back furiously in the body
reason running amok in just its shirt

pithecanthropus waiting to be found

This poem is taken from Stand 225, 18(1) March - May 2020.

Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to support@standmagazine.org
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