Dredging Rockpools

Russell wondered why his Daddy stayed up so late,
for which shiny metaphorical pebbles Don used to sate …

Dredging Rockpools
(in response to Don Paterson’s “Why Do You Stay Up So Late?“)


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Russell wondered why his Daddy stayed up so late,
for which shiny metaphorical pebbles Don used to sate
the probing interrogation of his adolescent visitor,
the innocent queries of his callow inquisitor.
And here, I now flounder, also fishing for answers,
dredging rockpools for couplets and imagined advances.
But no shiny secrets show and no gem bonanzas,
no polish to polish somniferous, somber stanzas.
Instead, night long, I stare at a screen that remains bare,
in my eyes, small digital squares, the only reflection there.
Concluding, poems are pointless without brightness, colour,
and paintless verses are without question, undoubtedly duller.
So I sit there, steadfast, instead of ‘counting sheep’ in bed,
tolerating insomnia, “nibbling my mind and arousing my head”.
But, the problem I feel outstrips mere matters of sheer will,
being more down to sheer ability and also sheer skill.
So, no matter how much spit and polish it is that I can muster,
the poems and pebbles that I write, will continue to lack luster.


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About JFDerry

Writer. Darwin, science & more. 4 books: Piospheres, Darwin in Scotland, Serial Killers. Current project is THE DISSENT OF MAN. Born near London, raised near Primrose Hill and in Lincolnshire, and studied at the Universities of Bangor, York and Edinburgh for degrees in Biochemistry, Bioelectronics and Biological Computation, and a PhD in African Ecology. Mainly working in British and African universities, but also in Spain, Brussels, Mongolia and Australia, to date, publication history is mostly in academic journals, on aspects of computational biology, pastoralism and on Charles Darwin and evolution. However, also written for several national newspapers, various governments, several major record labels and independent book publishers. Fiction has appeared at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and poetry is at the Human Genre Project. Lives in Edinburgh, with partner and their two daughters.
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