By John Stocks

I am here
Tentatively teetering by puddles,
Their implausible intricate patters
Glisten, tempt and tease provocatively.
Their depth, like everything, uncertain–
Frozen forever in chipped winter light.

There is no ice in our innocent hearts.
We wear scarves, mittens, wellies and bob-hats,
Live purely in the present,
Our seconds stretched to infinity.

This is the only world I know,
A topography of Gennels
Snickets, secret lakes, green with algae,
Ruined churches, hissing steam engines,
Mysterious, half-ruined tunnels.

At night I see only stars,
Imagine the great moons of Saturn and
The grand canals of Mars.
I dream of seething sandstorms
To a rush of traffic on sleek wet roads,
Feel a purposeless exhilaration
Intimating something overarching,
A destiny evolving in the dark.


John Stocks is a UK-based poet who has had work published in magazines worldwide. He has also been widely anthologized. In February 2011 he appeared in the Soul Feathers anthology, alongside Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Seamus Heaney, Carol Ann Duffy, Maya Angelou, Sharon Olds, and others. He has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize and, in January 2012 and 2013, received a Mariner Award. He is currently the poetry editor of Bewildering Stories magazine.