Rodney Wood: Things We Told Ourselves

Rodney Wood worked in London and Guildford before retiring. His poems have appeared recently in The High Window, Orbis, Magma (where he was Selected Poet in the deaf issue) and Envoi. His debut pamphlet, Dante Called You Beatrice , appeared in 2017. He is joint MC of the monthly open mic nights at The Lightbox and is also the Stanza Rep for Woking. You can find more information about Rodney and his work at

‘I always look with admiration at poets like  Ken Smith, Matthew Sweeney or Paul Durcan who have a unified voice, vision and form in which they can express themselves. I can’t always do that but every now and again I try a new style. Between January and March this year I wrote poems that were short, simple, dreamlike and had a bitter edge before moving on to something new. I console myself with the thought that success is not the number of books or poems published but having the time and space to write. I think you should take poetry seriously but never yourself.’ RW




Rodney Wood: Six Poems


I edge along the wall of your house
until I find the brick that sticks out.
Gently I pull it free
& find hidden behind
the fragments of your memory

it’s like a madman had smashed
a statue with a hammer and I have to
make and remake the pieces
even though I’m parched
walking in the desert

towards the saltwater
of urine, tears & alcohol

For Jim Lindop

He asks for a bottle of whisky
xxxxxxxxxxxxxand I give him two
one for the pain
xxxxxxxxxxxxxand the other
for me to watch
xxxxxxxxxxxxxthe pain melt away.

‘We both knew we were doomed.’ Jessica Piazza

A simple sermon from the pulpit
convenient shorthand for uniting
man and god, man and woman
the lover and their love
even this life
xxxxxxxxxxxxxand the one before


autumn is falling
and wind threatens
clouds, leaves and feathers

pain is silent
says a stone
calmly reading the grass


drops of light
xxxxxxxpierce the dawn
your words a path
xxxxxxxthrough the forest
and all trees sway
xxxxxxxbeneath the sky
as if you’re
xxxxxxxcoming to meet me


beauty is seeing through
all this stuff and nonsense

I spread out the language of days
xxxxxxxxxxxxon the table
and remember those I erased

On the table outside I left a plate
and let the air eats its fill

I leave myself open
but then you’re supposed to
when you write

I wonder if our mothers
and fathers are related?

the sun has fallen
beneath the waist
of the dark horizons

the soul poisons the body
some carry it inside
to others it’s a shadow
walking by their side

love and the sea
asking impossible questions

I’m smiling the way
only skulls can smile

I don’t worry about grazing my poems
on the slopes of Mount Parnassus

you should see my inner sun
that allows me to live
in tropical splendour

I must write the last line
before I leave this poem


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