November 29 – December 5, 2021: Poetry from John Delaney and Christian Ward

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John Delaney

In 2016, John moved out to Port Townsend, WA, after retiring as curator of historic maps at Princeton University. He’s traveled widely, preferring remote, natural settings, and is addicted to kayaking and hiking. In 2017, he published Waypoints, a collection of place poems. Twenty Questions, a chapbook, appeared in 2019, and Delicate Arch, poems and photographs of national parks and monuments, is forthcoming next year.

The following work is Copyright © 2021, and owned by John Delaney and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

At the Equator

Mitad del Mundo, Ecuador

You straddle a red line in the pavement
and inhabit two hemispheres
for a moment, or is that your brain
I’m really talking about, how thoughts
and feelings swirl in opposite directions
depending on your mental whereabouts.
The guide was pretty sure about it,
demonstrating with a kitchen sink
on legs and a pail of water, each side
of the proverbial line. We were wowed
by what appeared to be a magic trick.
In our photo, my son and I link arms
across. Later, we learned from GPS,
the true equator still lay north of us.

 

Entering Wyoming, 1961

We straddle the state sign. Mom takes the shot:
four kids on a cross-country road trip.
I’m almost eleven; my oldest sister
will graduate from college next year.
All of us are rarin’ to be somewhere else,
but Mom has corralled us for nine weeks:
a final roundup before time’s slaughter.

There’s a frisky breeze that ruffles our hair,
while the clouds in the distance horse around.
We smile meekly before the mountains.
You’ll never forget these things, she says,
promising me cowboy boots in Cheyenne.
Soon nature calls: the future wants our lives.
We get back in the car, and mother drives.

Christian Ward

Christian Ward is a UK based poet who can be currently found in Wild Greens, Cold Moon Review, Discretionary Love and Chantarelle’s Notebook. Future poems will be appearing in publications such as Dreich, Uppagus, Impspired and Spry. He was recently shortlisted for the 2021 Canterbury Poet of the Year Competition and the 2021 Plough Prize.

The following work is Copyright © 2021, and owned by Christian Ward and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Reclamation

The Thames has started to reclaim
suburban streets near Marble Hill. 

Swans and Canadian geese patrol 
the new borders, warding off dogs
and tourists alike. A palm tree, 
almost the height of a lighthouse, 

guides people to safety. Their shadows
trail behind like pilgrims; the lost streets, 
lucky bones of minor saints. 

 

Near Horley 

Buddleia nose the air
like inquisitive horses. 

A railside meadow 
regurgitated by bees
watches the trains 
retreat into sound,
a blur of colour. 

The sky is set to open 
like a picnic blanket later
to take it all in, 

enjoy everything 
to the fullest.

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