Poetry: John Thieme

John Thieme

John Thieme

Animal Poems

There are poems that echo the beating of a frog’s heart
and poems that catch the footfall of a mouse.
There are elephantine poems that grow larger by the minute.
fleeing human folly and the slaughterhouse.

There are feline poems that hide covert meanings
and ovine poems penned in by routine rhyme.
There are canine poems full of soft devotion.
How I wish that any one of them were mine.


Running Poem

This is an impatient poem.
It wants to be over as soon as it’s begun.
It planned to be an epic,
but it lacked the stamina
to complete a marathon.
And besides,
it didn’t have the right type of trainers –
at least that’s what it told us more than once.
It turned itself into a middle-distance dirge,
but, even then, the finish line seemed far too distant
and it didn’t have the appetite for plodding on.
So it revamped itself again – now as a sprinter,
leaving its blocks with ever-fervent haste and, after many false starts,
dashing for the tape and putting as many words as possible into a single iamb-defying line.
It’s nearing its end now, breathless and wondering whether it could borrow a bicycle to get around the track more quickly.


            Sporting Poem

This verse was first a swimming infant,
with waterwings and a yellow plastic duck.
Wingless, it couldn’t float unaided,
and terra firma beckoned from a screen.
It put a shot through a neighbour’s window,
and vaulted into granddad’s cabbage patch.
With adolescence came the lure of soccer
and the promise it would never walk alone.
Tripping on a bootlace, it scored a fine own goal.
It turned to cricket, bowled out for another kind of duck.
Love-fifteen was the highlight of its tennis.
A lack of lovers stopped that score from coming true.
And now with greying hair, it looks back with acceptance,

playing chess with castles in the air.

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