The Poor Ghost | Poem| by Christina Rossetti

The Poor Ghost
by Christina Rossetti

“Oh whence do you come, my dear friend, to me,

With your golden hair all fallen below your knee,

And your face as white as snowdrops on the lea,

And your voice as hollow as the hollow sea?”

“From the other world I come back to you,

My locks are uncurled with dripping drenching dew.

You know the old, whilst I know the new:

But tomorrow you shall know this too.”

“Oh not tomorrow into the dark, I pray;

Oh not tomorrow, too soon to go away:

Here I feel warm and well-content and gay:

Give me another year, another day.”

“Am I so changed in a day and a night

That mine own only love shrinks from me with fright,

Is fain to turn away to left or right

And cover up his eyes from the sight?”

“Indeed I loved you, my chosen friend,

I loved you for life, but life has an end;

Thro’ sickness I was ready to tend:

But death mars all, which we cannot mend.

“Indeed I loved you; I love you yet

If you will stay where your bed is set,

Where I have planted a violet

Which the wind waves, which the dew makes wet.”

“Life is gone, then love too is gone,

It was a reed that I leant upon:

Never doubt 1 will leave you alone

And not wake you rattling bone with bone.

“I go home alone to my bed,

Dug deep at the foot and deep at the head,

Roofed in with a load of lead,

Warm enough for the forgotten dead.

“But why did your tears soak thro’ the clay,

And why did your sobs wake me where I lay?

I was away, far enough away:

Let me sleep now till the Judgment Day.”

the last perfect day – a poem by RC de Winter


there you are
another sunny day
you’ve woken up
and smelled the coffee
(and drunk it too)
ambling along aimlessly
you’re taking time
to smell the flowers
you think your life
is a hallmark card
everything smooth
as the surface
of a sunlit sea
on the calmest day
that summer can gift
there is no turbulence
not so much as a rocking wave
when the crusher hits
hurtling out of a sky as blue
as the mater misericordiae’s robe
you have only a moment
to blink
and think
but everything was so perfect

RC deWinter is a writer/digital artist whose poetry has been anthologized in New York City Haiku (NY Times 2017) and Uno: A Poetry Anthology (Verian Thomas, 2002). Her poetry has appeared in print in 2River View, Pink Panther Magazine, Another Sun, Plum Ruby Review, well as in many online publications including Poetry Life & Times. Down in the Dirt will feature two of her poems in its forthcoming Jan/Feb 2019 print issue. Her art has been published, too, and also used as set décor on ABC-TV’s Desperate Housewives. ( Website:
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times his publications include All the Babble of the Souk and Cartoon Molecules collected poems and Key of Mist the recently published Tesserae translations from Spanish poets Guadalupe Grande and Carmen Crespo visit Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds) and his latest Collected Poems Volume at Next-Arrivals

One Hundred and Three | Poem| by Henry Lawson

One Hundred and Three
by Henry Lawson

With the frame of a man, and the face of a boy, and a manner strangely wild,

And the great, wide, wondering, innocent eyes of a silent-suffering child;

With his hideous dress and his heavy boots, he drags to Eternity—

And the Warder says, in a softened tone: ‘Keep step, One Hundred and Three.’

’Tis a ghastly travesty of drill—or a ghastly farce of work—

But One Hundred and Three, he catches step with a start, a shuffle and jerk.

’Tis slow starvation in separate cells, and a widow’s son is he,

And the widow, she drank before he was born—(Keep step, One Hundred and Three!)

They shut a man in the four-by-eight, with a six-inch slit for air,

Twenty-three hours of the twenty-four, to brood on his virtues there.

And the dead stone walls and the iron door close in as an iron band

On eyes that followed the distant haze far out on the level land.

Bread and water and hominy, and a scrag of meat and a spud,

A Bible and thin flat book of rules, to cool a strong man’s blood;

They take the spoon from the cell at night—and a stranger might think it odd;

But a man might sharpen it on the floor, and go to his own Great God.

One Hundred and Three, it is hard to believe that you saddled your horse at dawn;

There were girls that rode through the bush at eve, and girls who lolled on the lawn.

There were picnic parties in sunny bays, and ships on the shining sea;

There were foreign ports in the glorious days—(Hold up, One Hundred and Three!)

A man came out at exercise time from one of the cells to-day:

’Twas the ghastly spectre of one I knew, and I thought he was far away;

We dared not speak, but he signed ‘Farewell—fare—well,’ and I knew by this

And the number stamped on his clothes (not sewn) that a heavy sentence was his.

Where five men do the work of a boy, with warders not to see,

It is sad and bad and uselessly mad, it is ugly as it can be,

From the flower-beds laid to fit the gaol, in circle and line absurd,

To the gilded weathercock on the church, agape like a strangled bird.

Agape like a strangled bird in the sun, and I wonder what he could see?

The Fleet come in, and the Fleet go out? (Hold up, One Hundred and Three!)

The glorious sea, and the bays and Bush, and the distant mountains blue

(Keep step, keep step, One Hundred and Three, for my lines are halting too)

The great, round church with its volume of sound, where we dare not turn our eyes—

They take us there from our separate hells to sing of Paradise.

In all the creeds there is hope and doubt, but of this there is no doubt:

That starving prisoners faint in church, and the warders carry them out.

They double-lock at four o’clock and the warders leave their keys,

And the Governor strolls with a friend at eve through his stone conservatories;

Their window slits are like idiot mouths with square stone chins adrop,

And the weather-stains for the dribble, and the dead flat foreheads atop.

No light save the lights in the yard beneath the clustering lights of the Lord—

And the lights turned in to the window slits of the Observation Ward.

(They eat their meat with their fingers there in a madness starved and dull—

Oh! the padded cells and the O—b—s are nearly always full.)

Rules, regulations—red-tape and rules; all and alike they bind:

Under ‘separate treatment ’ place the deaf; in the dark cell shut the blind!

And somewhere down in his sandstone tomb, with never a word to save,

One Hundred and Three is keeping step, as he’ll keep it to his grave.

The press is printing its smug, smug lies, and paying its shameful debt—

It speaks of the comforts that prisoners have, and ‘holidays’ prisoners get.

The visitors come with their smug, smug smiles through the gaol on a working day,

And the public hears with its large, large ears what authorities have to say.

They lay their fingers on well-hosed walls, and they tread on the polished floor;

They peep in the generous shining cans with their ration Number Four.

And the visitors go with their smug, smug smiles; the reporters’ work is done;

Stand up! my men, who have done your time on ration Number One!

Speak up, my men! I was never the man to keep my own bed warm,

I have jogged with you round in the Fools’ Parade, and I’ve worn your uniform;

I’ve seen you live, and I’ve seen you die, and I’ve seen your reason fail—

I’ve smuggled tobacco and loosened my tongue—and I’ve been punished in gaol.

Ay! clang the spoon on the iron floor, and shove in the bread with your toe,

And shut with a bang the iron door, and clank the bolt—just so,

With an ignorant oath for a last good-night—or the voice of a filthy thought.

By the Gipsy Blood you have caught a man you’ll be sorry that ever you caught.

He shall be buried alive without meat, for a day and a night unheard

If he speak to a fellow prisoner, though he die for want of a word.

He shall be punished, and he shall be starved, and he shall in darkness rot,

He shall be murdered body and soul—and God said, ‘Thou shalt not!’

I’ve seen the remand-yard men go out, by the subway out of the yard—

And I’ve seen them come in with a foolish grin and a sentence of Three Years Hard.

They send a half-starved man to the court, where the hearts of men they carve—

Then feed him up in the hospital to give him the strength to starve.

You get the gaol-dust in your throat, in your skin the dead gaol-white;

You get the gaol-whine in your voice and in every letter you write.

And in your eyes comes the bright gaol-light—not the glare of the world’s distraught,

Not the hunted look, nor the guilty look, but the awful look of the Caught.

There was one I met—’twas a mate of mine—in a gaol that is known to us;

He died—and they said it was ‘heart disease’; but he died for want of a truss.

I’ve knelt at the head of the pallid dead, where the living dead were we,

And I’ve closed the yielding lids with my thumbs—(Keep step, One Hundred and Three!)

A criminal face is rare in gaol, where all things else are ripe—

It is higher up in the social scale that you’ll find the criminal type.

But the kindness of man to man is great when penned in a sandstone pen—

The public call us the ‘criminal class,’ but the warders call us ‘the men.’

The brute is a brute, and a kind man kind, and the strong heart does not fail—

A crawler’s a crawler everywhere, but a man is a man in gaol!

For forced ‘desertion’ or drunkenness, or a law’s illegal debt,

While never a man who was a man was ‘reformed’ by punishment yet.

The champagne lady comes home from the course in charge of the criminal swell—

They carry her in from the motor car to the lift in the Grand Hotel.

But armed with the savage Habituals Act they are waiting for you and me,

And the drums, they are beating loud and near. (Keep step, One Hundred and Three!)

The clever scoundrels are all outside, and the moneyless mugs in gaol—

Men do twelve months for a mad wife’s lies or Life for a strumpet’s tale.

If the people knew what the warders know, and felt as the prisoners feel—

If the people knew, they would storm their gaols as they stormed the old Bastile.

And the cackling, screaming half-human hens who were never mothers nor wives

Would send their sisters to such a hell for the term of their natural lives,

Where laws are made in a Female Fit in the Land of the Crazy Fad,

And drunkards in judgment on drunkards sit and the mad condemn the mad.

The High Church service swells and swells where the tinted Christs look down—

It is easy to see who is weary and faint and weareth the thorny crown.

There are swift-made signs that are not to God, and they march us Hellward then.

It is hard to believe that we knelt as boys to ‘for ever and ever, Amen. ’

Warders and prisoners all alike in a dead rot dry and slow—

The author must not write for his own, and the tailor must not sew.

The billet-bound officers dare not speak and discharged men dare not tell

Though many and many an innocent man must brood in this barren hell.

We are most of us criminal, most of us mad, and we do what we can do.

(Remember the Observation Ward and Number Forty-Two.)

There are eyes that see through stone and iron, though the rest of the world be blind—

We are prisoners all in God’s Great Gaol, but the Governor, He is kind.

They crave for sunlight, they crave for meat, they crave for the might-have-been,

But the cruellest thing in the walls of a gaol is the craving for nicotine.

Yet the spirit of Christ is everywhere where the heart of a man can dwell,

It comes like tobacco in prison—or like news to the separate cell.

. They have smuggled him out to the Hospital with no one to tell the tale,

But it’s little the doctors and nurses can do for the patient from Starvinghurst Gaol.

He cannot swallow the food they bring, for a gaol-starved man is he,

And the blanket and screen are ready to draw—(Keep step, One Hundred and Three!)

‘What were you doing, One Hundred and Three?’ and the answer is ‘Three years hard,

And a month to go’—and the whisper is low: ‘There’s the moonlight—out in the yard.’

The drums, they are beating far and low, and the footstep’s light and free,

And the angels are whispering over his bed: ‘Keep step, One Hundred and Three!’

To You | Poem| by Kenneth Koch

To You
by Kenneth Koch

I love you as a sheriff searches for a walnut

That will solve a murder case unsolved for years

Because the murderer left it in the snow beside a window

Through which he saw her head, connecting with

Her shoulders by a neck, and laid a red

Roof in her heart. For this we live a thousand years;

For this we love, and we live because we love, we are not

Inside a bottle, thank goodness! I love you as a

Kid searches for a goat; I am crazier than shirttails

In the wind, when you’re near, a wind that blows from

The big blue sea, so shiny so deep and so unlike us;

I think I am bicycling across an Africa of green and white fields

Always, to be near you, even in my heart

When I’m awake, which swims, and also I believe that you

Are trustworthy as the sidewalk which leads me to

The place where I again think of you, a new

Harmony of thoughts! I love you as the sunlight leads the prow

Of a ship which sails

From Hartford to Miami, and I love you

Best at dawn, when even before I am awake the sun

Receives me in the questions which you always pose.

The Mother | Poem| by Gwendolyn Brooks

The Mother
by Gwendolyn Brooks

Abortions will not let you forget.

You remember the children you got that you did not get,

The damp small pulps with a little or with no hair,

The singers and workers that never handled the air.

You will never neglect or beat

Them, or silence or buy with a sweet.

You will never wind up the sucking-thumb

Or scuttle off ghosts that come.

You will never leave them, controlling your luscious sigh,

Return for a snack of them, with gobbling mother-eye.

I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed


I have contracted. I have eased

My dim dears at the breasts they could never suck.

I have said, Sweets, if I sinned, if I seized

Your luck

And your lives from your unfinished reach,

If I stole your births and your names,

Your straight baby tears and your games,

Your stilted or lovely loves, your tumults, your marriages, aches,

and your deaths,

If I poisoned the beginnings of your breaths,

Believe that even in my deliberateness I was not deliberate.

Though why should I whine,

Whine that the crime was other than mine?–

Since anyhow you are dead.

Or rather, or instead,

You were never made.

But that too, I am afraid,

Is faulty: oh, what shall I say, how is the truth to be said?

You were born, you had body, you died.

It is just that you never giggled or planned or cried.

Believe me, I loved you all.

Believe me, I knew you, though faintly, and I loved, I loved you


A Robin Finnegan Poem. Video Audio Visual Graphics

Adam and Eve – The fall: of a once wallstrait oldparr is retaled early in bed and later on life down through all christian minstrelsy. James Joyce Finnegan’s Wake: thunder in several world languages, including French (tonnerre), Italian (tuono), Ancient Greek (bronte) and Japanese (kaminari) –
) = 100 letter word. Editor’s Note.


Robin Ouzman Hislop is on line Editor at Poetry Life & Times and Co Editor at and His publications include Voices without Borders Volume 1 (USA), Cold Mountain Review (Appalachian University, N.Carolina), The Poetic Bond Volumes, Phoenix Rising from the Ashes (an international anthology of sonnets) The Honest Ulsterman, Cratera No 3 and Wall Anthology, His recent works are three volumes of collected poems All the Babble of the Souk , Cartoon Molecules & Next Arrivals. A translation from Spanish of poems by Guadalupe Grande Key of Mist and Carmen Crespo Tesserae, the award winning (X111 Premio César Simón De Poesía), published through Aquillrelle., in November 2017 these works were presented in a live performance at The International Writer’s Conference hosted by the University of Leeds. UK. Further appearances are in the publications Aquillrelle’s Best, Aquillrelle’s Anthologies Selecting the Best and Aquillrelle’s Published the Best, all available at & main online distributors. He also appears in the recently published free online anthology 1000 Poets for Change. Leeds 2017, accessible now at &
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times his publications include All the Babble of the Souk and Cartoon Molecules collected poems and Key of Mist the recently published Tesserae translations from Spanish poets Guadalupe Grande and Carmen Crespo visit Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds) and his latest Collected Poems Volume at Next-Arrivals

Edge. A Poem by Debashish Haar

It’s 2:30 am, pacing on the terrace:
I see me ricochet against the edge
of an open window on the fourth floor.
I feel a strange numbness: a speck of ash
scatters, the end left to fall:
tumble and swing in mid air.
There’s no spark as the stub hits the ground.
I begin each day at 7:00 am
somewhere near the spot
where the stub hit the ground.

Debashish is a machine learning scientist, who has been published in literary magazines several times across the globe, including Poetry Life & Times, where he was interviewed twice. He is currently contending with a severe writer’s block spanning a decade, when he has hardly produced any publishable content. He is also losing emotional connection with his own work gradually, and spends more time to edit/tighten his old poems than creating any new content. Editors Note: Debashish Haar was interviewed twice in the old Poetry Life and Times, once by Sarah Russell then Editor & later by myself as a new Editor before it folded in 2008. The New Poetry Life & Times restarted in 2013 at site, Admin David Jackson.
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times his publications include All the Babble of the Souk and Cartoon Molecules collected poems and Key of Mist the recently published Tesserae translations from Spanish poets Guadalupe Grande and Carmen Crespo visit Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds) and his latest Collected Poems Volume at Next-Arrivals