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By Jon Stocks


The Montréal Review, March 2011


Thursday 7 Down, by Ben McLauglin, 2009, oil on panel, 4.5 x 6.75 inches. (At Heskin Contemporary, NYC)





The moon rises behind the tall birch trees,

They shiver in the coolness of evening,

Bend gently with the first, frost tinged breeze.


From a deep distance a muffled voice calls,

Like a cry of mourning or deep regret,

The wind moans, a scattering of leaves fall.


In the darkness, a shuffling blind badger,

Is seeking a soft bed to die alone,

A measured drift to oblivion;

Under the indifferent glint of stars,

As so many other lives are passing,

Whilst others arise into wonder,

Leaving the black light of the womb behind.


In the holly bush, the last bird singing

Of eternity, immense hopelessness,

Of light and strange bewildering beauty.

Another fleeting moment seems timeless;

Attuned to the length and breadth of space.



In Dijon


A cottage hooded with pitch and thatch

The black, cat scratched door

The heavy latch

Lanterns glimmering within.


I was sick here once and lay

In your grandmothers bed.

A strange half living thing

Still damp, I assumed

From her own death,

As moist as country loam.

Rain lashed the windows

I ached for my home.


A few hours passed in fever

Tossing, stirring in a cold sweat

And, for the briefest of hours

Fleetingly I belonged here,

Drifting, delusional

Between incense drenched walls,

Gazing at gaudy icons.


Until you came to take me back

To Dijon

Another of life's 'cul de sacs'


On Clearing my drawer


On a day of April light, scalpel sharp

I cleared my draw of receipts, tickets

Of fragments, tiny teardrops of poetry,

Contorted collage of narrative and dreams

Half stifled screams, image and resonance.


It leaked reminiscence, revived

Odd moments from my own mythology,

Dissipated love and death together

Torn, fading scraps, burnished with regret,

Pages shivering with souls deceived.


I weeded it in stages, discarding,

Deep piles, all except the most assured,

Marginalia, the rest just tossed,

Falling easily, like loves confetti,

Into the shredder of oblivion.



One day


One day you will rise and know

How beautiful you are,

Why heads turn when you walk in the room

And male eyes gaze, entranced.


One day you will realise

How your soul can glow,

Bloom with mystery;

Then draw from a well of wishes

A dazzle of ecstatic bliss.


One day you will yearn for something

Scarcely known or understood,

Then ache with torment; transient sorrows,

Feel the first ice of terrible regret

Of losing joy, too beautiful to own.


One day you will learn

That all good things must end,

That change must craft the shape of lives

With forces beyond the reach of reason.


And one day you will understand love

Be sure of this.


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