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John Whitworth (1945 - 2019)



August 2019:    The Summer/Fall issue of Light online poetry magazine is dedicated to John, who was a contributor. Read Light's tribute, Worth His Wit in Gold, by editor Melissa Balmain.




Dog Days


The Dog Days are the last hot days of summer which precede the autumnal mists and mellow fruitfulness.


Iíve been walking the dogs through the damps and the fogs and I love you,

           I love you I cry to the sky and the shuttering sun.

Iíve been spending my days counting all of the ways that I love you,

           And the sum of the ways that I counted amounted to one.

Itís the way thatís the best and it covers the rest and I love you,

           I love you forever since weather began to unwind,

Since the sauropod plod through the memory of God, still I love you

           Till the last lazy star fizzles out and the cosmos is blind.


Youíre a child of the light, youíre a ghost in the night and I love you,

           I love you: I whisper it low to the loitering leaves.

Youíre as flash as the flight of a meteorite and I love you.

           Youíre the cream of the milk, youíre as subtle and silky as Jeeves.

Youíre as pale as a bone and as true as alone and I love you,

           I love you: I sing to the crystalline ring round the moon.

Youíre as black as the tone of the membranophone and I love you.

           Youíre as luscious as honeydew sucked from a runcible spoon.


Youíre as soft as the rose, youíre as solemn as prose and I love you,

           I love you I shout it aloud to the teetering trees.

Itís the way your hair grows, itís the splay of your toes, yes I love you.

           Youíre as sweet as the scents of September borne up on the breeze.

As the North loves a magnet or cops love a dragnet, I love you

           In the darks of my heart, in the swells of the wandering wave.

As the Lady loves iron or Baptists love Zion, I love you.

           Youíre as pure as poitin of Knockeen, and as sure as the grave.


Youíre so fresh, youíre so funny, so bang on the money, I love you,

           As a packet of vinegar crisps loves a lager and lime.

Youíre so slick, youíre so smart, so exclusive as art, and I love you,

           As an old-fashioned poet loves patterns of metre and rhyme.

As an old fashioned poet I love you, you know it, I love you,

           Though Iím crumpled and creased and obese and as ugly as sin.

Iím a popper of pills and Iím late with my bills and I love you,

           And a world with you in itís a wonderful world to be in.

John Whitworth
in collection, Girlie Gangs, 2012,
Enitharmon Press, ISBN 978-1-9075870-5-4



   page at last update
12th June 2012

 John Whitworth photo
photo by
Jemimah Kufeld,
Poet Project No. 1.

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latest: Girlie Gangs, Enitharmon


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