Much as at the point when suddenly rain stops,
            or wind abates,
                        or cloud obscures the sun,

there is a moment just between
             breathe in and breathe     out
                         when shock stops the spin and hum of it all

and in the silence and the stillness
             we are changed entirely.

At this point the surgeon reads morbidity into
             the shift and twist of tissue,
             the plasticity of form,
             the salt and vinegar of spirit.

And from then, back on the street,
             you may glimpse over and again
                         around the crook of each and every corner,

mortality’s black sleeve flapping
             like a torn flag.


About Dick Jones

I'm a post-retirement Drama teacher, currently working part-time. I have a grown-up son and daughter, three grandchildren and three young children from my second marriage. I write - principally poetry but prose too, both fitfully published. My poetry collection Ancient Lights is published by Phoenicia Publishing ( and my translation of Blaise Cendrars' 'Trans-Siberian Prosody and Little Jeanne from France' (illustrated by my friend, the artist, writer and long-time blogger Natalie d'Arbeloff) is published by Old Stile Press ( I play bass guitar & bouzouki in the song-based acoustic/electric trio Moorby Jones, playing entirely original material. spotify:artist:07MDD5MK9MnRGSEZwbsas9 I have a dormant blog with posts going back to 2004 at Dick Jones' Patteran Pages - - and I'm a radio ham. My callsign is G0EUV
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7 Responses to FRAGILE

  1. barbara_y says:

    Ordinarily I’m not a big fan of typography as a poetic device (probably seen it too often badly done) but that pause before “out” is a killer. Everything falls into place around it.

    (Hi, Dick. you’re looking for more commenting readers? I only just now found the “follow” pop-up.)

  2. Dick Jones says:

    Many thanks for the comment, Barbara. A few months back I’d have agreed with you – stylistic devices are too often paraded as content. But after years of an OCD determination to corral my poems into tight stanzas, I hit the doldrums for 18+ months and when the voices returned, I found myself in the world of the unchained verse!

  3. loweb3 says:

    I’ve found it difficult to write about my current fascination with meditation — particularly the moment when the brain turns off and only silence exists. This touches on the power of that silence — even if it is about a much more frightening kind of “emptiness.”

  4. Dick Jones says:

    Hi Loren, thank you for this. Interesting that you should pair meditation and the moment of emptiness depicted in the poem. The ‘silence and the stillness’ is, of course, a frontier between the untrammeled consciousness and an acute awareness of mortality that will inform all process from that point on. This awareness has been at times suffocatingly dreadful and I’ve tried various means to counter its effects. The one discipline that I’ve found the most elusive is meditation. That ‘silence’ that follows the disengagement from the brain and its clamour is what I have most needed. I shall persevere!

  5. sackerson says:

    I like the suggestion of a black flag in the last couple of lines!

    The still moment between breathing in and out (and vice versa) is mentioned in, “Centering”, a pre-Buddhist text on meditation: “As breath turns from down to up, and again as breath curves from up to down—through both these turns, realize.”

  6. Dick says:

    I guess I may have absorbed this at some point. So much of what turns up in poems carries the traces of past encounters long forgotten. I like the quotation very much this time around, as I suppose I may well have liked it very much way back when!

  7. Pingback: Poet Bloggers Revival Digest: Week 26 – Via Negativa

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