Posted by: John Looker | 1 August, 2009


(Well, here’s a third poem and a change of mood.)

This is not an ordinary morning.
The people seem at rest.
In the square the market stalls are missing;
the smithy has no fire; the yards no washing;
the town is a sealed chest.

Silence deeper than the Sabbath chills her,
on this most strange of days.
Windows tightly shuttered, blank, imprison
not bodies alone but breath, voice and even
sight itself. Or so she prays.

Heavily caparisoned and nervous,
the horse enters the fray.
Not however with his lord in armour
but a lady : sans silk, sans lace and linen,
sans rings, and hair astray.

Bare, her skin can sense nearby a thousand
imaginations. Face
draining, her voice soon fades to a whisper;
eyes, famously large, larger than ever;
body so out of place.

© John Stevens


  1. I love this Godiva one, dad!

    You have a great way of saying a lot with a well crafted turn of phrase, and theres a lovely sense of suspense too!

    Keep them coming!
    Laura x


  2. Sunday evenings I tend to browse, ( from which I may take a brief sabbatical) so here I am, looking at your figures from legend and Literature. This poem is truly lovely. I think I have mentioned the word “empathy” before in connection with your poetry, but how on earth can you, as a male person, understand the deep inclination to modesty inborn in a woman–?
    most women, I believe. “Silence deeper than sabbath”…is utterly beautiful and sums the mood of this. The falling rhythms of lines 1,3,4 in each stanza, in combination with the rhyme rests of 2,5, contribute to the gentle but inexorable pace as this moves toward what I see as a surprise ending–not the popular conception of it. What a nice, nice poem!


    • I’m really not sure about that empathy! It certainly wasn’t in evidence when I was a boy. Maybe I picked up a few tips from my wife or perhaps from my three daughters. That aside I am really glad you like the poem. Thank you Cynthia. Very much.


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