Poems by Rob Jackson


Mixed tulips by the garden fence, mingled
With forget-me-nots, and forget-me-nots.
The small demarcation of paradise–

Finite summer, blind spots of hoverflies,
Memory games–could I recall all in
Ten years time? If, let’s say, I dipped my foot

Under Magdalen Bridge, would the cold flash be
Enough? Could I provoke colour again,
And what, if not, would happen then?


I can connect
with nothing–

the distance
with which




Season for sickness, I call this,
season of fever, seasons to see
decline, decay, etc. Season
of scarcity, sparseness–

of phantasia. Charmed season
when nothing is, but the ungentle
reddening image of things.
It is such and enough

to make me sing.

The New President

Striding stringent autumn air
I thought our way forward.
Magdalen Bridge burnt
          like all bridges
these days, and how to tread
the fire was my new concern.

Little answer had I
          but keep walking,
ash-foot and card-heart
through it, writ with tougher,
more flammable words.
You have to make
          an immolation heard.


What makes a measured
amount to come? Never
did I know that there
would be a mid-point,

and I would be stood
half-ten, half-none.
I’d wonder at it, take
time to wonder at it

half-gone–all but
for time, like time,
wandering on.

The Rowers

Spat from the Gut
the rowers come,
light heaved out
of liquid. Cleft

now are triumph
and loss, by each,
bladed catch
on water. How we

stood, watched,
cheered for these
the change made

on us, on all things.

The Greenwood Tree

Under the Greenwood Tree
(as I believe that hung shadow

of wires to be), I hear sung
‘Come hither, come hither,’

to the court in the Forest
of Arden. But like the Bohemian

Sea, I couldn’t find it
on any map–called hither–

come hither–as I am.

The Tortoise Race

Slow, my tortoise, slow, and make
this summer’s moment last. Dash but
slow, my tortoise, though a lettuce ring

may seem to you the edge of bliss,
and let me hear from ukuleles
serious music made, and let me

taste some cup of Pimms which
flows like so much water. I have
to pause myself–pause, enough

and say–
    slow, my tortoise, slow.