Neal Pearce


When I was at college, a girl called Bridget

told me I was going to kill myself one day,

which was kind of her.

Down the years her words have haunted me

through many depressions; but I’m still here.

I’m sure she intended no malice.

It was just the way she came out with it;

I don’t think it was anything about her:

not even her red hair,

like rusty cemetery gates.


Me as a wedding suited harbinger,

squinting at the moon;

you as a toothless skull,

wishing back the flesh of your squandered being.

My children as candles burning down in another room.

Time as the impassive witness.

Our clock as an hourglass,

filled with the sand of pulverised rocks from eternal beaches.

The old man in the jaws of death,

as a shrivelled apple looking back on his treetop youth.

The world as a mollusc at the bottom of the sea.

The end as the beginning.

Neal Pearce © 2009

Last Thursday it was,

as two men who never wore hats we met;

sat filling our bellies with

the flesh of dead fowl and hogs;

pushing logic where

it oughtn’t to go:

“Have you noticed

there are no flies in my flat?”

enquired Brian.

“The reason there are no flies is

that you’re not dead,” I declared

with a dark smile that he returned.

Then I finished my coffee,

and turning left, I left

down the unlit stairs

into the night of rotting oranges.

Neal Pearce © 2009

[Note: these poems are from Neal Pearce's forthcoming debut pamphlet collection,

Crate of Fuchsias (Creative Futures © 2009).