Category Archives: Martin Porter

The Writer Aged by Martin Porter

His life flows like ink from his fountain pen,
The type that sucks up the blackness by capillary action
Effortlessly, until one day
A blockage might occur in the feed
Or the sac begins to perish
And decay.

He wears his hat at a more jaunty angle
But fails to conceal the less distinct nature
Of his hairline, the smudged boundary
Between lip and chin, the creased parafiltrum
And the lines on his face drawn
With time’s fine nib.

He knows he is in the wrong stanza
Of a poem he writes, but
It is his readers who create the character,
He has lost control, is not who he imagines himself to be
And nor are we, drifting along his script,
And he is aged.

.

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shell by Martin Porter

his father unfolded the concertina
map, laying it in dunes on the table
he googled it, name in box, click
of a button, eyes on the screen
and zoomed in to see

every grain of sand,
a hermit crab caught, mid-
scuttle,

the met report told them it was
comfortable yesterday
comfortable today and
it will be…

i gently rest my finger on the sand,
raise it to my face, observe
the Single Fragment of Shell adhered
and rub it, abrasively, across my open palm

.

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The Host among the Crowd by Martin Porter

As soon as I arrived I made an attempt to find my host, but the two or three people of whom I asked his whereabouts stared at me in such an amazed way, and denied so vehemently any knowledge of his movements, that I slunk off in the direction of the cocktail table—the only place in the garden where a single man could linger without looking purposeless and alone.” — F Scott Fitzgerald

He has the show of power.
Stopping to share a word, he
Barely eats
As if he had fed prior,
Forgetting his invite.

Some say his riches
Are as illicit as
Brandy on his cocktail bar,
Not old as the label claims,
Or as proof. Some say
He lives on a little poker here,
Or bar-room brawls,
And some say worse.

He wanders ever hopeful,
With watchful eyes. Maybe he’s
Simply guarding his back, but
He seems to be searching
For the one thing he has lost.
You might get the impression
Life does not like him,
But I admire him and my girl,
She adores him.

.

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How to Grow Avocado by Martin Porter

“I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do” O Pioneers – Willa Cather

Choose your sapling carefully.

If planting bare rooted,
Ensure the roots can spread
In an elegant fan, else
Dig a pit just deep enough,
But not too deep,
To take the root ball,
Gently guide
The root tips downward to ensure
A good, firm anchor.

They say it takes
Seven summers
For this tender tree
To mature. That’s not
Too long to wait.
Rich, oily fleshed and puckered
Dark skinned fruit
Worth waiting for

Weigh down its broad leaved
Reaching branches,
So vigorous I have to prune it
To perhaps three
Or four times my own height,
Or reduce it by the
Careful grafting of its leg
Onto another foot.

And at its centre
The polished nut,
Seems almost systole, pumping
Future sap in woody veins to
Wrinkled skin on sunburnt lips, or
Palms of a gardener’s hands.

I lean on one leg on my spade
And wonder “Should I
Dig this pit through
The midpoint of the Earth
And out the other side?

But here, the air
Is much too warm,
The soil too rich,
To lose, by just one
Careless footfall
Slipping gently
To cold winter,
Rotting windfalls.

.

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Garden tombs by Martin Porter

“When our hearts are saddened, grieving or in pain,
By Your touch You call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.”

– Martin F Shaw (Oxford Book of Carols, 1928)

lamina thin
the green leaves of freesia
are already risen

hidden in the trowel deep trenches
are the baby-corpse
and the congealed lump
of the deathly unborn
waiting for the passing of winter

in this land of no winter
life springs at seeming random
spontaneous from the ground
enriched by dung
the coloured frocked bells ring out
the heaving seasons

autumnal Easter
or the occasional july frost,
the hope of a sultry christmas
in this a foreigner land

here is an alien
digging trowel deep
placing corms and
layered bulbs
embryonic folded adult
in a different soil
waiting for the everyday
to return resurrected

.

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Lambs to the Slaughter by Martin Porter

1.
To test the system God sent forth His wish
That Abram, who loved his son so deeply, should love his God to death
And slay his own beloved, his only boy,
So Abram took his knife up, to love his God and kill his joy.
But on the mountain, God repented of His command
And trapped a lamb for Abram, to fulfill His demand.
Yet Abram, being honest, insisted on his son’s life
And promised God his loved one would perish by his knife.
So God offered the lamb, and spoke, “Slay it and we will be as one”,
And Abram took up the knife and slew the lamb.

2.
To test the system God sent forth His wish
That Abram, who loved his son so deeply, should love his God to death
And slay his own beloved, his only boy,
So Abram took his knife up, to love his God and kill his joy.
But on the mountain, God repented of His command
And trapped a lamb for Abram, to fulfill His demand.
Yet Abram, being honest, insisted on his son’s life
And promised God his loved one would perish by his knife.
So God offered the lamb, and spoke, “Slay it and we will be as one”,
And Abram took up the knife and slew his son.

.

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Disregarding 12 O 2 by Martin Porter

(Sea of Tranquility, 20:17 UT, July 20, 1969)

30 seconds.

Twelve o two is crying for attention.
Overloaded, the god in the machine
Is in a state of panic
And demands that you stop.

But down below, the surface
Where you are going
Looks so interesting, so dangerous,
Grey, pored with sharp edged holes,

Tempting in the blandness,
But each block a risk of irreversible
Landing. Dust fans out
In long white streaks

And the shadow of the spider legs
Meet the spider legs.
The guys about to turn blue
Breathe again, the guys up there

Simply breathe.

.

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