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last update: 10th Sep19

 

 

Holiday Photo, Dresden                      Srirangapatna Fort

 

Van Diemen’s Land                      May

 

Holiday Photo, Dresden

The sky now has a tinge of nicotine,
a dirty yellow on the pigeon grey,
and even the profusion of the green
bursting from every shard of blackened stone
has faded into vague and smoky growth.
 
Above this rubble-mound, the wrecks of walls
jut hard on either side against the sky;
as hulking as the baths of ancient Rome,
yet seemingly suspended in the wind,
somehow they have survived the shattering fires.
 
Where once a church soared upward, dome on dome,
an empty space hangs in the autumn air
above the broken frame. Now you can see
a lesser dome behind Our Lady’s trash.
What force could burn so hard through flesh and stone?
 
Czechowski as a boy climbed on his roof
and saw behind the black shapes of the towers
a white glow swelling like a giant bell,
turning above to red, then solid black.
The poplars in the square bent in the gale.
 
And in the foreground normal life goes on
somehow: a group of students dawdle and chat,
as if a fence of corrugated iron
painted with gaudy and persistent swirls
could shield them from the silent monument.
 
And right in front you see the parked Trabants,
ambition of a yellowed time and land,
but nothing here, no chatter and no pride,
no gleaming reconstruction can conceal
the night when people burnt up on the streets.
 

Dennis Tomlinson

published in anthology 20-20: Twenty poems by Surrey poets for National Poetry Day UK 2018,
ed. Janice Dempsey, Dempsey & Windle, 2018, ISBN 978-1-907435-73-7



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Srirangapatna Fort

   Here
where the balance of the world shifted
   monkeys scavenge in the bins
 
   Here
where General Baird attacked the fortress
   tourists photograph old weapons
 
   Here
where the Redcoats stormed the ramparts
   women scrape weeds from the garden
 
   Here
where the fighter Tipu Sultan fell
   toilet attendants bicker over payment
 

Dennis Tomlinson

published in What the Peacock Replied: The Brian Dempsey Competition Anthology 2019,
ed. Janice Dempsey, 2019, Dempsey & Windle, ISBN 978-1-907435-88-1



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Van Diemen’s Land

Shorn sheep swim
in tawny grass.
Scorched trees flame green.
 
A hard road
through the rocks
to Port Arthur.
 
Windows barred
and roof open
the Penitentiary
 
rears up,
a broken mill
behind hoardings.
 
A ferry
shows tourists
the Isle of the Dead.
 

Dennis Tomlinson

published in Ink, Sweat & Tears website, 21 January 2016;
and in Paper Cuts: An Anthology by Poetry ID, 2016, Poetry ID,
ISBN 978-0-9542867-5-0



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May

Bird music:
young beans are dancing
about their poles
in morning light.
 
In the shadow
potatoes
rise pensively
one leaf at a time.
 
The bumblebee
meanders
around raspberries
wound with bindweed.
 
Under an arch
of ivy
sleeps that old serpent,
the garden hose.
 

Dennis Tomlinson

published in Lunar Poetry, Issue 2, 2014, ISSN 2056 3566;
and in Coming into Leaf: An Anthology by Poetry ID, 2015, Poetry ID,
ISBN 978-0-9542867-4-3



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