Jonathan Humble – three poems

Man Without A Pullover

He wore his usefulness like a threadbare garment,
an image of time eroded mettle, twenty years’ experience outmoded,
rooted outside the woman’s door, all action lost,
while overwhelmed, his daughter wept alone.

Time was, on these occasions he would don the knight’s armour,
have the skills to see off whatever demons had surfaced,
become the arms and chest in the woolly pullover;
a dad pillow for a sad head.

And though, given the choice, he would be that man again in an instant,
on these bitter days, these later days on the outside of the room,
he had no dad’s pullover to hand.

Then It Rains

You ask on my behalf to rise and leave,
to dress without the hindrance
of bootlace worms returning at our feet.

In vain we anticipate permission from spiders
who watch in shadows, spinning webs
that constrain all action.

Standing, squatting, sitting, we are opposed,
resisted. We are tangled marionettes,
linked with quantum string, each responding
with confused counter movement.

Blink my dears; so many eyes feel the tension
of our unseen bonds. These rainmaker thoughts,
connected across a web of reverberating nonsense
and countless coils, speak to me with jaded explanations;

there are no options again today. So you tell me
that we have to stay and wait.
And I have to listen. So I listen.
Then it rains.

How Bad It Is

How bad it is when every note you play upon the keys
sustains the void within the waiting soul;

when it is accepted that this flow will not stop
and bring an end to all these helpful faces;

when your scent assaults my senses like a bludgeon
and takes me to a day I want to bury;

when an empty chest refuses to give way
under the repeated blows of expectation

and all experiences in time coalesce into
a returning and enduring disappointment.

How bad when the abiding thought is that at this point
it could get no worse and then to be proved wrong
and wrong and wrong.

Jonathan Humble is a deputy head teacher in Cumbria. His poetry has appeared in The Big Issue In The North, Poems For Freedom, Ink Sweat & Tears, Obsessed With Pipework and on BBC Radio. His short stories and poems for children have been published in The Caterpillar and Stew Magazine.


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