Start to Finish

Start to Finish

Robert Ferguson

USD 14,99

Format: 13.5 x 21.5 cm
Number of Pages: 74
ISBN: 978-3-99131-754-8
Release Date: 12.12.2022
Wander through your life; the seasons, months, weather, national events, and personal pleasures. Sit with these poems, remember, and enjoy.

The following poems were first published in various editions of “The Cannon’s Mouth”, the quarterly anthology of Cannon Poets. They are reproduced here by kind permission.

“Second Sunrise”, “Tomorrow”, “What Have I Done?”, “Orpheus and Eurydice”, and “Winter Walking”


It is four years since the publication of my first collection, “Late Starter”, and I seem to have collected many more poems, so perhaps it is time for another.

As befits my advancing years, this one is something of a biography, with chronological and meteorological additions. It begins with memories of my boyhood and culminates in contemplations of a very happy and surprisingly active old age. Threaded through the content, the theme of time is recorded by reference to months and seasons, between which a number of notable national events are recorded. The COVID pandemic (2020-2022, and ongoing, though hopefully not for much longer) seemed at first to be a time of isolation, but in fact became a time of national and international online meetings with people from places we would not have dreamed of visiting, stimulating almost more inspirations for poetry than in the preceding busy, mobile years.

At the same time, groups of poets met online, and this collection owes much to the example and guidance of members of Cannon Poets of Birmingham, the neighbouring Solihull Writers Workshop, and Leicestershire’s Brightsparks Arts, to say nothing of the enthusiastic support of Midlands Poets Laureate, in particular Charlie Jordan. Hence, from time to time, poems appear here in various arcane structures from haiku and tanka to sestina and rondeau redouble, and almost everything between. Rhyming patterns, lay-outs, and stanza- and line-lengths vary, as a result of my having been encouraged to play with words and “see what came out.” The reader must judge their success. For me, they provide more pleasure than crossword puzzles or Wordle, but each to their own.

No one enjoys every poem in a collection equally, but hopefully everyone may find something in this one which they can enjoy, perhaps remember (if only in part), or something which makes them recall a similar experience of their own, and perhaps begin to write themselves for their own pleasure, and that of others.

Robert Ferguson,
Spring 2022.

Earthquake in Peterborough

We had an earthquake last night. In Peterborough.
Never heard of Peterborough? Not surprised.
Not much ever happens here, you may be sure.
Some people go through it, quickly, in trains
From London to Scotland or the other way on.
It stands here with the flat Fens on one side
And the low Midland hills on the other.
Not the place for an earthquake, you’d say.
Not that my Mum or Dad, or I, noticed it happening,
Only, Miss Tweddle our teacher said it had,
And some of the class, so I suppose it must have done.
Shook cups off their dresser, Billy Knowles said,
But then it would have to have happened to him, wouldn’t it?
I’m sorry to have missed it, I must say,
But perhaps there’ll be another one sometime soon.

The Library Burned to the Ground

Nobody knows who did it, if anyone did, or nobody’s saying.
It wasn’t much, poor thing.
Just a square brick building with a flat roof,
One room inside, lots of windows, and a “cloakroom”
The librarian called it, giving you the key
When you were enjoying yourself too much and got caught short.
No-one was hurt in the fire.
The librarian lady had gone home on her bike at seven o’clock,
As usual. But so much was lost.
Only a little branch library in a suburb
A bus ride from the big library in the town.
Perhaps they’ll rebuild it, restock it,
But the person who purchased most of the books is long gone
And their choices, their classics, their memories
Won’t be repeated,
And I loved them, stars, classics and new.
Just, that collection has moulded me,
Made me what I am, built up my values
Since my Dad took me in, far too tiny,
Ignoring the desk-lady’s scowl at the notice
About “no children under 8 years of age”

How They Brought the Good News

The first ascent of Mt. Everest, by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay in June 1953, was the subject of exuberant celebration across the world. In the United Kingdom, school children were taken to their local cinema – at public expense! – to see the film of the assault which had been taken from the Base Camp several miles below the summit.

The screen extends infinitely to left and right
Spear-sharp silver slices the hard blue sky
Camera closes in on mountains’ armour
Gullies pattern vertical shades of grey
Two tiny dots of black appear creeping
Like flies slowly upwards
Joined by a cotton thread
One bends to carve a step beside his knee
And then another and another, rests
Stretches carefully, flails his axe again
Companion lifts a tired foot, rises
Up the wall, pauses again and tightens
The umbilical that joins them
And then a widening band of blue
Appears above them, and the first fly
Hauls himself, bent, over the snowy edge
Turns and takes in the thread and his companion
Onto the very ceiling of the world.
Flags fly, teeth flash from beards and hoods
Amidst the pride and the worldwide applause

Waterfall, Betws-y-Coed
We walked down the valley by the quiet brown stream,
Becoming aware of a growing growl,
Then deafening, frightening, ROARING,
And we only see why when we walk past
The white rock threshold that crosses the valley
Down which the stream throws itself, bodily,
Now grown up, much wider, its white curls streaming
Down its face and into its frothing basin
And on down the valley, wider but calmer
We follow it, adult now, off to the sea.

The Dance Class

He’s a gent! He doesn’t hold me close
Even in the darkest corners. Even when we turn.
If only he knew, if only he could sense,
How very much I need to feel his body
To give me notice where to put my feet,
Feel his arms, his chest, his thighs. He’s very sweet.
I’m sure he needs to feel me too.
Too conscious of his need, too fearful of my judgement
But oh, if only he were conscious that, for me,
Our needs are one.

Weather for Ducks

Will we go to the flicks, he asked her
Easily, sure of himself
And what will we see, she countered sharp
That new one, they say it’s great
How shall I come, she asked, if it rains
Expect you at six, he said
Remember the idea was all yours
For I shan’t in bad weather
Or if the cat dies, she insisted
Remember your hood, he said
Don’t think I don’t know why you asked me
Unlock those chains, he said

Come Friday, outside the cinema
Keeping an eye on the sky
She stood in the rain disappointed

Flawed Diamond

Kimberley by name as well as nature
Gifted, sparkling with internal light
Drawn from rough earth, stood proud among her peers.
Once cut, she shattered, now worth but a shrug.
Why do we not examine our desires,
Especially their origins, before
We dream of fortunes not within our grasp?

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