Each weekend you settle down, 

a chair, a drink, a bag of words

drawn blindly out

one by one

and used to scratch a scab.

The more the rasp, the more the hurt

insidious pleasure 

penance pain

blunt-edged consonants sharpish vowels

bullied flesh left to bleed.

On Monday the wound is glazed

by Wednesday thin-skinned and sore

Friday’s taut frail carapace

battens down for what’s in store.

Each weekend you settle down.

© Graham Sherwood 03/2019


Even the sound is insincere, such a

poor low-register word that is easy to drop

onto a mess, a betrayal,

with the lightest, dullest timbre

but the swift absorbency of an arse-wipe,

the quickest way to tidy up and go on one’s way,

the most catholic of words, free gift of the confessional

to clean one’s slate.

What is sorry? 

only you know, until the next time, 

and there will be a next time

that’s for sure.

© Graham Sherwood 03/2019


Everything is shivering and cringes in this wind,

these hooligan gusts charge wantonly 

snapping heels, callously clipping ears, stinging noses.

Invisible save for the humbled detritus 

littering our paths,

this threatening prankster, a bully-boy unchastened

safe to come and go, to bide its time, 

then strike with cowardly force, is

sometime an eager friend,

a dryer of clothes, a flyer of kites

then a flippant turncoat Judas 

that scorns and steals our warmth.

We shiver and cringe in this fickle

uncaring wind.

© Graham Sherwood 03/2019

Bathtub Messiah

I watch you like a hawk

day by day delivering speeches 

that only you want to hear,

somehow managing to keep and even keel

precariously immersed in word baths,

that let you float, buoyant,

in a paper boat of threadbare emotions.

Then you drink, you drink

from that fetid sea

and suddenly you are drowning,

thrashing and lashing

fraught to grip anything, desperate

to survive just one more time,

casting out beleaguered apologies

to the fading shoreline

that can be reused

time and time again

after each rescue,

your cynical bravado polished

with the tears of your sycophantic

frightened disciples

who really hoped you’d drowned

© Graham Sherwood 03/2019

The man who?

The man who claims he has nothing left to lose

is a fool,

the man who believes his dream has come true

is still asleep,

the man who confides that he is in love

is fatally wounded,

the man who shouts that he’ll kill

is forever haunted,

the man who becomes a father

is never at peace,


© Graham Sherwood 03/2019


Remember how the four of us

would sit like contented birds

amongst the canopy of our thinly disguised

tree houses,

keeping silent whenever an occasional walker

passed below,

pretending we were invisible

the way that little children hide their eyes

convinced they can’t be seen.

We were different

amongst those supportive boughs,

contorted sylvian fingers, cupped around us

as we rested on the gently tensile branches.

In those days we flew!


© Graham Sherwood 03/2019