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Here is a small sample of poetry written by Martin Vaux.

All rights reserved.

A Common Hazard


I am not a sympathetic beast

To etch on inky lithographs

Or reproduce on greeting cards.


No fox; a woodwose, wielder

Of dull clubs to bludgeon. My tale

Is ancient. Beard of savage fact.

A public shame, and boy-killer.


I am no thing for lusting on

Or to outright expose. No coquette,

Bare-shouldered on daguerreotype.


An un-ghost, monster, gazing

On through night, as if sympatico.

My shames whet no appetites

Save that of wolves, who howl.


I am not a fitting theme

For onto-lambskin-dabbing

In candled oily hues. No thing at all. 


A man instead, who lives. Loose- 

Tongued and base. To paint 

In broad-strokes, and disgrace,

Masquerading as a common hazard.

Where The Dead Men Groan



Under the grass where the dew hangs wet,

And the earth waits warm as a drunken threat,

There's space in the clay, the chalk and stone, 

Deep in the dark, where the dead men groan.


Ravens caw in the tall elm trees, 

Black as Death with his hollow wheeze.

Flesh stripped bare from every bone, 

Deep in the dark, the dead men groan.


Eyeholes bunged with sticks and mud,

Skulls run dry of dreams and blood, 

Smiling wide at the great unknown, 

Deep in the dark, the dead men groan. 


Music played on a fiddle or drum

Is fine and good ‘til the dance is done. 

Listen in close for their maudlin tone:

Deep in the dark, the dead men groan. 


Daughters wed in virgin white

Redden at the horror of the wedding night;

Forced to witness and postpone, 

Deep in the dark, the dead men groan. 


Shipwrecks lie in the murky depths

Where sailors drift in pirouettes, 

Lost and drowned so far from home. 

Deep in the dark, the dead men groan.


Most are buried, some are burned, 

Stars and moons are clocklike turned. 

Ash in the wind's forever blown. 

Deep in the dark, the dead men groan.


A promise breaks like all things do, 

Mistakes are made, don't misconstrue 

Sins for which they can't atone. 

Deep in the dark, the dead men groan. 


That grief is passed from son to son, 

As one begins another's done, 

And your father's father's all alone, 

Deep in the dark, where the dead men groan.




Trace a circle in the air

and make it perfect.

Smooth and equal round,

a circumference of silent

sound. A sigh of grief.

It is impossible. Imperfect.

This imaginary thing

is uneven. Try again.

Retrace the loop, like

artists lightly gripping

pencils do, for practice.

Loop a finger, up

and circularly down,

with poise and grace,

and raise it up and

round. Another failure.

Not quite right. One

cusp too thin or fat.

Edges bulging, that

side. An oval, flawed.

Try another time. And

fail again. Another.

Fail again. Again.

Agains again abound

bittersweet. It's all I ask,

mastery of this, the

simplest of tasks, to

make an imaginary

shape within the mind

discrete, a single,

endless line of invisible

art where no ends

beginnings meet.

To wind and wind

and cast a spell so

perfect, pure and good,

so right, so true, that

should another see

the world as I do now,

share my perspective,

perhaps not knowing how,

but with no doubt, no

caveat, even at a glimpse,

they might conceive

the beautifully rendered

whole, and the aching

dreadful chasmic maw

of emptiness between. 



Dead Friends on Facebook


The Internet has made me crazy.

I compulsively need to check.

Swipe down a greasy screen and pull the lever

Just to check.

Jackpot. People have checked on me.

I check on them. Signal proof of life.


When I have time, I scan their


Fleeting photos of baby, kid, student, clubbing, posing, marriage, reunion...


And what?

Same again?

Same again?

Or... a quiz?


What sort of soul am I?


God, I hate The Simpsons these days.


I think, sometimes, of what will happen

When people stop checking on me.

About what happens when my bones

Ache too much,

My eyelids get too heavy, and

I no longer have the energy to check.


I have dead friends on Facebook.

People who died IRL.

And their profiles sit like static tombs,

Still glossy,

Iced over with old photos

Containing too few pixels per square inch.

Smashed screens, spider-webbing.


They didn't have filters back then, of course.


And then there's others who may be

Ghosts. Maybe they are people who

Flicker, like lights over blue water,

On and off. Irregular users.


Some may be imposters.


I could be like them, I suppose.

I could delete it all.

Disappear like a magician performing

Their final trick.

Step out the backdoor, hat low,

And vanish into the night,

Screeching and cackling,

Then silent.


Would they miss me?

Can I be predictive?


I'm having fun, I think.

I think I'll stay for now.

I think I'll wait and see

And live a bit.


Cute photo.



From solid sod dead as Hesiod

Touched by pallid icy sun

Shift knots of mortal fury which

Amphoral clay cannot contain. 


The bitter face of warmth glares

And cloth is portioned, cut to fit

And some unworthy have excess

While others suffer scarcity. 


Each has a counterpoint, scale, balance, 

And each a shadow. White Death's bride

A sappy snowdrop clutch hatching. 


All sins break howling free in sequence.

For harvest comes a famine, health

Disease, grace sin, comfort pain. 


Bright berries bunched with poison 

Fall, eaten by the birds and spread. 

And from the thorny hedgerow base

Crocuses, bluebells, Wordsworths.


Revolutions rise and fall, crowns glow

And topple, bejewelled. Jackdaws hop

Seek glitter, rooks portend. 


And all about is chaos thriving bright

With colours rich, diverse and sweet

As leafheld dewdrops shining. 


Hope curls last from the butter earth

Petal wings bruised sopping raw


And Prometheus groans for Pandora.

O Mother!

O Mother! I am sorry

About your breasts, suckling

A mass of flesh, clung,

Twisted into nipples


Knotting pink beads

To thickset clots, rose

Weed-killer doused

Aphids on the leaves


Screaming pain, split

Your hips too hotly wide,

Slid rotten from your guts

To linoleum, reflecting.


Down the telephone line,

Grubby fingers in locks.

Your winding hair, twine

Curled plastic cable.


Poor joke. Piano lid shut

Firm, and out of tune.

Now the ivory’s loose. 

Elephantine rage, tusking.


Sleepless nights, black

The windows, pray for peace.

Hope this offers respite:

Nothing’s doing.


Hum outdoors, hang

Laundry on the line. Pegs.

The mower, throaty, spins.

Weed the borders.


Slide a blunt blade down

Into the margins, where slabs

Have become overgrown.

Cleave neat lawn edges.


Stare, silent at a screen.

Computer buzz, nails

Grown, manicured,

Clacked out by nature.


Dress in white, dance

At your graduation ball.

Grip a chosen friend for 

Choice was limited, then


Cut sandwich bits, spread

Up to the crust, pack

Lunchboxes shut as clams.

Pickled zing. Apple wax.


Peel the Edam too, thinly

Eating crackers, margarine

Worming through the holes

To stave off hunger.


Vanity table, your cheeks

Blushing, and the mole

Cautered from your neck

Into a pale moon scar.


One of many, melanomas

On your back, shoulders,

When a kid, ear cut, heat,

Sea, sand, like your father.


Grip screwdrivers, list,

Stern look and speech.

Fix conundrums which

Most would walk from.


On verandas, sit

Clink ice in your drink

As the haze rises, dull,

Not feeling as you did.


Pull at loose pages,

Scour, end-to-end,

Bedclothes, pool sides,

Both for ducking under.


Tape voices in turn

To send to the wilds

And bridge gaps; soon

Moving out of need.


Later leaving, struck

For human simple wants.

A home to build, sleep

No better. Still exhausted.


Count money, do work.

Makes you harder, though

Happy at a pinch. Friends

Fade, others rise


Like wine corks, popping

At the end of weary days,

That silent, cold house

Is not what you really want


Children grown odd, away

And from you, nearer to,

Rarely thinking as it hurts

Of those who never were


Despite your trying, hope,

Your blood, desperation,

Lonely, lonely labour

No-one deigned to note.


And now, smile, big

Whenever there is sun.

Serving, not so strong

But accurate as ever


While the winter waits

Grit your soft teeth,

Bracing, kept cool,

Yet feel it looming.


O Mother! I am sorry

About your breasts,

A mass of flesh, lying

Eyes bright. Penny pieces.


We mark in darkness, smiling, words

Between us dart like egret swoops

Or music chirped by laughing birds

In cursive pen-stroke dips and loops.

Our bodies are like paper sheaves

China-pale, for writing on,

Yet soft as fingered unbound leaves

Or feather necks of pairs of swans.

Together, in between our teeth,

We grip our narrative and bite

Into the marrow bone beneath

To feed the story of our life

In moonlight glow; our weave once spun

Outshines a thousand splendid suns.

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