Issue 22: John Welch


When I dragged it this far

To pull it into the sun it was

A moment to be still.

There was no one at all where I fell.

Lost in you

Is the pause I fall into.

Sculpting what has been lost

You had left me a space in the air.

What’s demanded of me, a random particle   

Being just enough here to rhapsodise

Is to care for itself,

Negotiate unseen commands.

It raises dark glasses towards the sun.

Words thicken into a braid,

A missing step   lurches me forward

Something to cover the place –  a pen

Held upright, one like yours?

Each morning starting to climb what I’ve made:

‘The thing that tears me apart is the thing that makes me’

And ‘The one true voice was the one that did not demand’ –

Was I trying to please all of you at once

Which is why I wrote my name, just here

On the silence of a wall?

Leaving footsteps behind

To turn aside, ironist saunter

A bird’s caught in flight

And shot clean out of the air

As an infant makes

Its passing sign.

I had shared out my voice

I can still hear its patient drone.

There’s something that takes my breath

Being not quite what I had wanted to say

To the one I’d imagined

Poised on the lip of the wind.

That paper trail layered with good intentions

Its almost extinct rustle.

What remains is more or less siftings.

A patient darkness falls across them

Gone into the void of sound.


And as I live the life

This being one not quite doing it

Is what I like,

The moment when it breaks,

Language as substance abuse?

It changes when it bleeds.

Most exhibitions are bleak little affairs.

Taking the language cure

As I said to the baby –

What did you find down there?

I forget where I just put it down

Is it something that falls from the sky

Like rain that waits but doesn’t quite fall?

It must have silent roots.

Still it hasn’t found me

John Welch was born in 1942 in London, where he still lives and where for twenty five years he ran The Many Press publishing pamphlets and books of new poetry. His own collections have appeared from Anvil, Reality Street, and Shearsman who have recently brought out his latest collection, In Folly’s Shade.

Copyright © 2019 by John Welch, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.