Three Poems by James Richards

Little Pity


Little Pity lives in the mind’s western field. 

He comes, he ploughs, he sows his seed and goes.

From the end of the hay wain’s track he sees 

sunsets, red clouds, empty sky, jackdaws.

Dreaming, often, in colours, in worthwhile 

leaps of free thought, he visits me and stays.

Ruthless and fire-sad, he rakes coals over 

in hours of parlour emptiness, boots wet,

then leaves by the way he came in, through

the broken gate, and I forget his name again.



The Reproductive Urge


You see that cloud bank up ahead,

the one that looms over the terraces 

like a purple plateau

tinged red by the rising sun 

– do not dismount your bicycle 

to take a photograph of it.


Enjoy it for what it is

and continue on your way to the station

to catch the train to work.


And when the carriages 

ungum themselves from Platform 5

and you force yourself into 

a crack between 

two of your fellow passengers,

do not, repeat not 

set your bag on your knee, 

contort yourself, and attempt 

to write a poem about it.



Night Before a Firing Squad


What with the ice

hanging beneath my wings

and the revolution dead,

my scarlet circumstances

are greater than dread.

Oh dance, martyr,

for our high endeavours

shall frost the rifleman’s headline

and out-carnival the enervating earth.



James Richards is a writer living in Cambridge. His poetry has appeared in Dream Catcher and Fire. He has written plays, short stories and a musical. He studied PPE at the University of Oxford and has a Masters in Professional Writing from London Metropolitan University. He has also acted in theatre and film.



Image credit: wiredforlego

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