Posted by: John Looker | 10 April, 2018

To Love Thy Neighbour

John Looker
— Read on

I’m most grateful to Ink Sweat & Tears, the literary webzine, for posting this poem of mine today. I follow their posts daily by the way.

Tuesday 24th: at last, today I’ve had a chance to return to the laptop and update the formatting of the poem below.


To Love Thy Neighbour


So still, the street. The single patrol car
stationary, the team from the hospital
standing beyond the trees, the neighbours
behind their curtains. And the doctor
one foot on the step, frozen.

You’ll let them take me away, he’d said,
pulling the window shut, his voice
burrowing into her mind like a weasel,
digging out memories of a previous occasion,
hunting her conscience down.

Her eye fell on rubbish that was spilling out
from the cluttered porch to the patch of garden:
bottles and cans, wrappers – and something
that was surely the remains of a chicken. Softly,
I promise I won’t, she said.


(Posting this from a tablet and not my laptop, I cannot get the formatting right no matter how many times I try. But Ink Sweat & Tears have done a great job with the formatting on their own website – thanks again I,S&T !)



  1. John. This is new to me. Very fine. I hear that final whisper like a bell.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh thanks Tom – I really appreciate your close reading.


  2. I have just read and re-read this several times. Each time it bites – though that is the wrong word for poem with gentleness in every line – a little harder. Thomas is right, it continues to echo making you re-read. I have just sent a copy of The Human Hive to a friend.


  3. Hilary – thank you so much. I feel humbled. With best wishes – John.


  4. What an evocative poem describing a moment that most of us will face at least once. I love the details – the neighbors behind their curtains, and the rubbish spilling out into the garden, to quote a few..
    On a practical matter I have found that the way to defeat my WordPress
    automatic interpretation of my formatting in the form of double spacing is as follows: Go to the start of the line under the double space, press “backspace”; then the press “Control” or “Shift” (one or the other I don’t remember which) simultaneously with “Enter”; and the line should place itself under the line above with a single space. Nonsense yes, but it seems to work!


    • Thanks so much Jane. And for your practical tip too! Actually I usually do that myself but I’m having to rely on my iPad for a while and I can’t find a ‘control’ key! I’ll maybe edit the text later when I have the chance. 😊


  5. Very profound, John. Excellent.


    • For some reason I missed your comment at the time. Don’t know how, but thank you Tom!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. so powerful, yet simply said, without self pity.


    • Thank you Kalila. It’s good to hear from you by the way.


  7. The imagery here, the simile, the flow and the emotion together make this piece a joy to read…I am so glad I stopped by this one and congrats on the publication !


  8. Thank you Lynda. I’m very glad you stopped by too!


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