These poems were written when I was in the 6th Form of South Shields Grammar Technical School for Boys from 1963 to 1966

My Venus

Her fragile beauty is unsurpassable,

Her form enough a Catonian ascetic to bewray.

This dulcet Dulcinea, apparent dulcamara.

At sight - though beauty - quite frigid, she

would make through charm a lugubrious lover

The fisk to thieve, the sacrosanct fisc.

She inspires me, induces my cathexis.

God's principal idyll, she.

Her breath is warm, like a khamsin. O!

Would that it were as long on my cheek.

Were I a bee, would that she be Merops.

No epideictic tawpie this, my Venus divine.

Into the Night

Even the black cat had been frightened.

The road was long and I tired slightly.

A white, continuous line was my guide. The

Negative picture before me was fascination:

In the hedges I saw hidden black lions - or

Black maniacs - nevertheless black dangers;

Though invitation to solitude, privacy of a sort,

Was a paradoxically inherent quality.

I sensed the infinity of the universe, looking over the trees

Into the night, beyond the distant horizon,

Further, further, I touched a star….

Thought came easily, there was little distraction.

I became enveloped to the degree of attachment .

I was the countryside, I the late night,

I the darkness.

What sprang to mind was immediately relative

To my surrounds. I was my surrounds.

I thought, I accepted, I rejected.

The darkness was darker - my fear was terror.

Night holds unknown dangers - unknown reliefs:

In the black loomed my shape, my refuge, my home.

If We Can

When life is left and all that is

Is skin and bone and hair and rot

And foreign creatures enjoy our misery

And eat our empty stomachs;

And soil our robe, wood our bed

And rock our roof, stone our sky,

Perhaps then we will deny

Our life-long illusion of purple and gold

And rays of light and silvery existence,

A shining personage seated, accompanied,

A wooden cross behind to remind us

That once someone did give his son,

Perhaps then we will repent….

If we ought….

If we can!

The Bell

When day is done, the bell rings loud and clear,

The place of our travail is left behind.

We leave to find more work, an aftermath,

A vestige of left-overs there to remind us of life's great tax!

When life is done, the bell tolls loud and clear,

The place of our travail is left behind.

We leave to find no work, no after life,

No vestige of souvenirs there; but we have tasted life's e'en greater tax!

I died

They said I would


I laughed at them


I said I believed


I should live on


They said I would


And I


The error of their ways

The power of things present

Has led us far away

To goals we sought

And ones we didn't

Through woeful misdirection

Uncontrolled - too powerful!

Power received by some

To sleep well and remember.

Soon they will see

The error of their ways

When they are refused

The wish they wished

Through fear and hope

Of human minds

Which live their lives

And are conceited enough

To want, to demand

An extra quota.


Ages past were dull and blind; few lights shone.

Now my light burns far too bright; I see too much.

Melancholy and pessimism are of the past

When Chateaubriand and others pined away.

My heart too is heavy and large. My head is lost.

My light has led me far away and lost me now.Oh God, where are you? Who? I don't know.

What is this life if, full of love, we have no lover, no beloved;

No reason for loving, no reason for not;

Much reason for pleasure! Much hope for death!

A lost man found is worth a dozen others.

A lost man left is worth nothing on earth.

Not any worth can I find that is constituted of men.

No! Because I'm lost to all

Who live a free life and all who love their living.

I loathe my my life, myself, all me, all mine!

Unhappy me! Why should I live and loathe,

Why can't I love?

The bonds of humans, weak humans, are strong.!

Bars of diamond and gold!

People, and their thoughts and whims!


When the sun's ceasing embers

Grace the great structures of our

Society, with their diminished glow,

I die again

When the shallow horror of the night

Creeps into my wearied brain

And stirs my heart to wonder,

I die again.

When the cat's prowls I avoid

To maintain my sanity amid

A world of green and yellow,

I die again.

When alas the sky has fallen to

The depths of my race, and crushed us

Flat beneath its bespangled shield,

I'm dead.

A mountain and an apple

By the green pastures

the slime of the soot of the chimneys and the

smoke and the dirt and the grit and the

hate and the hurt and life and the

rain destroy the sun.

The joy of the green pastures!

The joy of those one-sided, moss covered

grass-eating poets who looked at a mountain

and said, "Look, a mountain!"

So, a mountain.

I look at a mountain and, if I

like the look of that mountain,

I gasp or smile

and I pluck the apple and I eat it.


When the dark of the night

Has splashed the coarse features of human dwellings;

And the moon's sharpened rays

Have pierced the strange solitude of nature's repose;

When the lights in the sky

Shatter the harmony of the night;

Or the street lamp glows

Or the lighted candle shows

The way to our dwellings,

We humans sense an end so infinite

that a new day must come

And we see in our death a life for tomorrow!


Sing, sweet starling

Of the time

I lived near you and

In my world

Were ways to

Love your singing.

For your sweet shrill

All day long

Has forced my hand

Many times to

Grasp at life

For ever more.


Hard hitting racket 'against the

Bold brick wall in the

Vast void earth which is

Soon so cold to the

Million mass standing

Near no help or too

Close to death even

Nine knurled men who were

Caught alive then were

Soon stampede out by the

Cold King Chance who had

Forced their hand in the

Nicest possible way!

Climb Down Now

"Son, climb down now;

The dogs are away;

The man is gone.

Son, please climb down now;

The storm is nigh

And the wind is wicked.

Son, I beg you, please climb down now.

I see afar the rent man coming

Our faults to detect while I pay.

Oh son, mercy, climb down now;

The earth is all shaking

And soon your fortress will crumble.

Get down son!

The branches are swaying,

The breezes are growing,

Climb down now you must."

"I told you to climb down didn't I?"

Said he would

He finished and didn't return. The man said he would.

He came in the morning worked in the afternoon

And left in the evening.

Three days the same

Would come, work and go.

He finished and didn't return. The man said he would.


When the man is in charge of the green sheets

Obey only him when he offers a bed

For your wearied wife in the warmth of a coal fire

Lit for your comfort, calling you to rest

In the furrows hewn in the cliffs of mortal men

By a force so eternal that God bows before it

Lest vengeance it seeks full well knowing

That sounds and shapes shall shave off full sloth

Of the gods all around in the gloom of the toil

Which is earth.


Kings should give up their crowns!

Falling in the distant mists

Of the fiery agile winter.

Above and below me,

I see, sense, desire the loves.

Beneath, marked out, is

Every pattern of my brain.

Flowers and rocks and gates

Shut them out of my sanctuary.

Landing so slowly, so softly on

Feathers, on feathers; so slender, so solemn,

Motionless, life hurries by me, swelling its veins,

And I own my desired in that hut

Where I soon shall meet my dreams

And cry for a death after life

In the cold, claiming

Kings should give up their crowns!

The Soil of my Land

Sighing since the soil of my land

Eroded. The rivers flowing down the mountain,

Hillocks' tears profuse and so salty

Caused by a sadness so grievous

That the earth has decayed in my time.

For the birds in the sky crawl

The ants look for new homes.

"Send the bread to another land!" You'd better

Or your bellies won't be fed. You cannot

Live in a land that is not there,

Else the seas engulf you

Or the winds will thrash you

Or the fires scorch the features

Into a grim grind on your face.


I sleep in the night time and grasp at those images

Of torrents and maidens

Of rainbows and gold

Even darkness and sweetness

Yes, happiness;

Crying out in the night,

"Call off your fiendish watchdogs!"


Sulk far in courtships lost to find

A lover ever so loved as you are now.

Your tenderest dreams, have they ever before

By any mind less rich been hoped?

Your breast's commotions, heart its pulse,

Have they ever in life's story been repeated?

Cries of ecstatic love, solitary, singular,

Did they ever fill this bay North-East

In a star-lit sky-covered moon-mist?

Even falls of the salt in the waves and the tears,

Sultry happiness, did they resist

Them in another year before you?

If you believe it, then you do not love,

You are not loved, you have not dreamt

Nor stirred your heart unconscious: your cries

Are insincere, mere engagement: and

Your tears are false glass, cut from

A vacant eye!

this page © 1966-2024 Ed Baines