Paul Mortimer – four poems

Empty Spaces

What if there was no-one in your life.
I mean


How would you fill those empty spaces
crackling with tension?
Silence that isn’t
because noise is always humming
from sources beyond you.

Then you would realise that a clock
actually ticks somewhere in your house –
a metronome marking every vacant moment
as you sit watching the weather
shapeshift beyond your sash window.


Harsh chatter cuts through the baking
air seething across our roof tiles.
They are arrogant, ice-eyed, chopping up
a blackbird’s melody that’s been flooding
the river’s beat. Theirs is not birdsong,
just nature’s practical edge.
Functional. A rooting in the ordinary.
Like that faint rocking of traffic.

Wembury Beach

You are down there by rock pools
and the hard-packed muscle of sand.

A gentle surf swishing memories at your feet,
taking them away, bringing them back.

This steady heartbeat
teasing you with the past.

The Fire Has Gone Out

The fire is black as night,
even the ashes give
nothing back. Embers
lie dead on cooling ground.

We sit in quiet while
the spit and crackle
of bark is still alive
in our minds.

I want to hear anything,
but even voices
find no resonance
in this dark silent air.

Paul is a Welshman now living in Devon and a regular performer on the South West circuit. His debut collection, Fault Line, was published last year by Lapwing and is the inspiration behind an exhibition of 40 works of art by four artists which is touring the country throughout this year.


One thought on “Paul Mortimer – four poems

  1. merlin1941 August 22, 2016 / 8:49 am

    I liked these very much, Paul. I liked the fine evocation of the natural world and that faint recurring sense of menace.


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