Thursday, April 17, 2014

Three Poems by B.T. Joy

Mountain Walk

You climbed here 
to make a mark on things. 
Now making your way down 
to river-tumble and low sequential hills,
grey chains in rock 
snake under floodplains, 
monoliths push, at earth-speed, 
chalky mole-snouts from black depths of clay. 

Somewhere above a kestrel turns; 
producing sound, 
whole-pitched, planet-round, vibrating 
in a treeless sky. 
Meant not to echo. Meaning never 
to stop; to snag on the world. 


The hills spill with light
interminably along the landscape’s endless lines.
Standing in these highlands: their enormity, 
and their rivered roots rolling in gentle tides, 
give you the impression of being 
very weak and very small.

On each extremity  
the furthest mountains in the range 
are blue clouds wilting, partially-unseen, 
against the blue sky. 

You have no idea where the river is flowing 
or where the mountain raven will perch 
among the upper-stones. 
Sometimes it seems 
not even to matter. 

So you cried with joy in the silence above the town. 
So the electric burn of your constant mental questioning 
died away in the tireless answer of terrain that steeped 
its forested body in geological time.
What does any of that matter?
The wide Grampians are still as impassable to you.  

Nowhere did you solve the puzzle of your life.  


We were not simply washing 
but conducting ablutions.

The tumbling pool was deep and green 
under gold flowering cassias 

and tracks were muddy where rain 
had raced down from the hilly paths.

We dipped the limbs in water 
that had dipped the punters’ poles 

into the Chiang Mai’s soft, brown flow; 
and remembering the hot journey

we tossed cold light into the muggy air 
horsing around at wading depth.

We were not simply washing 
but conducting ablutions.

How the water stored outside a mosque 
cleans the face and arms, the head and feet. 

Or those water fights in April’s joy 
that scud their cleanness into the inner body. 

How after the coolness and the beating falls
we rose and wandered out of water; 

our clean feet greeting the undergrowth 
as though entering a holy place. 

B.T. Joy is a Scottish poet and fiction writer living and working in Glasgow. He has published poetry and short fiction in journals, magazines, anthologies and podcasts worldwide; including poetry in Forward Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, Presence, Bottle Rockets, Frogpond and The Newtowner and horror stories in Static Movement, Surreal Grotesque, James Ward Kirk Fiction, Human Echoes, MicroHorror, Flashes In The Dark, SQ Magazine and Forgotten Tomb Press. After receiving his honours degree in Creative Writing and Film Studies in 2009 he went on, in 2012, to receive a PGDE from Strathclyde University and has since taught as a High School English teacher. He is also the author of two volumes of haiku In The Arms Of The Wind (2010) and The Reeds That Tilt The Sky (2011). His haiga have appeared with the World Haiku Association, Haiga Online and Daily Haiga. He was one of six writers nominated for The Ravenglass Poetry Press Competition of 2012; judged by Don Paterson. For further information on writing and publications please visit the writer’s website:

No comments:

Post a Comment