The poets tell us nothing is unfit for a poem.
Shakespeare would furrow verses from an amoeba
Clare from a broken blade of grass.

I sit in this Montmartre café
Eager, expectant, ready to make a poem.
Thankful that Paris boasts a pedigree,
Verlaine, Rimbaud, Apollinaire.
For isn’t this what poets do in Montmartre,
Watch and wait for the miracle to happen?

I catch the eye of a coffee cup on the next table,
Bring it a fleeting glance, now a studied look,
Attempt to conjure a relationship,
Intense in my lack of willing,
Hoping the it of the cup becomes a you, and finally an us as we fuse into verse.

Time glides on, chairs scrape the floor,
Voices colonize the space.
Trays are discharged of crepes and croissant,
While you remain unperturbed, content in your stillness.

And so we wait without intent or expectation,
My cup and I, easy in our togetherness,
Open to the spark, the sudden transforming burst of light,
That turns a poem.

Now you are lifted to a woman’s lips,
Tipped then tilted, caressed, and lingeringly emptied,
While I crave transference,
Desiring my own inner space to be similarly voided by the touch of lips.

Your function dutifully fulfilled,
You are gently set down.

The mouth now gorging a pastry,
The lips disfigured by berry juice,
I shudder at a troubling Francis Bacon,
The spell abruptly broken.

I pay my bill, shun the redundant cup,
Aware our closeness was a sham
That its decreed utility was all there was in our joining,
And that the poem that might have come
A forlorn grasping, a delusion and conceit.

About Terence Sackett

I am a writer and designer. I live in Nether Stowey, which is on the borders of the Quantock hills. I am a committee member of the Friends of Coleridge, and wrote and designed the booklet/visitor guide for the National Trust’s Coleridge Cottage. I look after the website for the Friends ( My novel about Siamese twins titled ‘Riven is now on Kindle. It can be read with a free downloaded Kindle app for an iPad, smartphone, tablet, or computer. The book is available from Amazon. What’s it about? Brief blurb below: It is the story of the Victorian painter Thomas Tait Genoa and his desperate flight through the West Country to save his conjoined twin daughters from the surgeon’s knife. This was before the era of anaesthetics. A 5-start bAmazon review: 'A masterpiece, truly deserving of the five star rating I have given it. The very human experience described so eloquently could not fail to tug at the heart of any parent who has ever gazed on a poorly child in the dark hours of the night and anguished over what to do for the best. This novel might be set in a very particular time and space but the heartfelt emotions of the protagonists are timeless, I have no hesitation in recommending this wonderful work to anyone who has a heart.
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