Guest Poet John Simpson


Sable creature, shrouded in night's mourning mantle,
Chimera of symbolised chaos,
What ugly visions hide behind unseeing eyes?,
What painful torments prompt such fitful flight?.

Forbidding fangs, fresh fear, are my thought.
Tapering deposits, icicles in my cave,
Incessant drip inside head's blackened attic,
Torturous stalactite - state of fragile notion.

Brain-hanging threads of reason,
Erratic as the flow is unrelenting.
Rise up ye heart-formed stalagmites
And join thy pendant brothers!.

Evasion dictates the beat of this wavering wing.
Recognition, a foreigner with light.
I wronged thee, elusive friend
Pain and torment no more know you than I.

December, 1998

John Simpson's Questions:

A poem on the theme of facing up to life or running from it.

1. The rhythm of the piece - especially the third stanza-  is intended to mirror the uncertain flight of the bat. Does this work, or does it make the piece too unstable and erratic itself?

2. Would the piece benefit from deeper investigation into the nature of the bats pain and torment in relation to that of the poet? Do methods of evasion and recognition need further investigation, or is the final stanza self-illuminating?

Correspond with John Simpson at
with your ideas about this poem.

The Albany Poetry Workshop