Samuel W. James is a new writer from Yorkshire, UK, and his poems have been accepted by Allegro, London Grip, Peeking Cat, Clockwise Cat, Elsewhere Journal, Adelaide Magazine and Ink, Sweat and Tears.
On the wall by the bus stop
the tapestry depicts
the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Opposite is a row of local shops;
the butchers, where a goose once chased me,
the pottery shop, where they held an afterschool club,
the village store, where I never got ID’d.
And now the Christian kid is popular,
the poor kid sells weed,
the sad kid had his dad arrested for being a paedophile.
Those hymns and prayers are swinging back;
the year before they built the flood defences,
battles over planning permission,
brown water shooting out the drains,
the village filling.
Police ferried the children to school
in motorised dinghies, over water
through fog, I remember
waving at all the parents
as I sailed with kids from different classes,
the policeman smelling like aftershave.
I felt like DiCaprio.
Then arrival, and singing and chanting,
they stand, we kneel and mumble along,
thanks for everything.
The music teacher looked like Jacob Reece-Mogg,
he had a lot of power in this school.
The headmaster, an eggy, bullish man,
seemed to look up to him.
His piano stool was especially tall.
The headmaster’s eyes went wild when all the children
were made to sing, All Things Bright and Beautiful.
Maybe all things were
never quite flies up to its name.
when seen close up,
struggles to negotiate
the crags of its home.
is famous and typically shy,
seems uncomfortable sitting too long
in the sky.
maintains a steady, if ungraceful, cruise
towards some far off
The Landlord is deceased
and this modern art of mould and peeling,
I consider it a legacy.
Hard winter wore down the fences
letting me be, here, shivering, free
to find whatever entertainment there is.
I look down and wait for movement.
Trees of smoke grow from the chimneys
up to my floor, and between them pieces of glass appear
to me like a stream.
A shadow comes outside dropping its shopping
and picking it up, and apologising with its no-body
to emptiness itself.
I can imagine the skin around the mouth,
the thin cigarette, the way it looks back forward;
make a fortress work and defend it, the look might say.
The shadow is perhaps an old friend of the landlord.
This place will be knocked over soon.
It’s no problem, there’s as many other places
as winds or bulldozers, but I’m frozen for now
and fading, a crowded body, a legacy of a legacy.
Between a Stream and a River
The stream stores tones and listens to the great river
branching like a road, the leaves occasionally chancing it.
Laughter crawls like a brown spider on thin silver
as the willowy day eats its wasps, and ropes loop morning.
A few nights rolled in the river’s wake, soon gone,
remembering daisy clouds, clutches of song.
With a breaking blush, town delivers it’s boats,
thinks of the forests, thundering down their throat.
Mooring up the last of their weekends, they tie knots
as the bridge riddles the shivers of frogs and toads
and I taste the liquor of her wonder, drunk as harvest
or early mud, the dew’s rain, touches of wind
swept back like reeds at the bottoms of groves.
A light rain muddles like breathes of butterflies
the corn loads and worker’s ears, the sun’s verses sung
or hummed over fields, as they wipe away the prickles
of early tears. Alongside, the stream looks half begun.