Tom Jayston


The words don’t come. The page intensifies in its whiteness

Like a freshly laundered moon, and I resent its purity.

The pen is obsolete, a poetical firearm with a critical

Shortfall of ammunition. Perhaps a sharp jab through the


To allow the words to tumble out, or filter in.

The blood may at least stain forever the bleached

Sheet that scourges me, flays me with stark evidence

Of nothing. Nothing! It might even coagulate

In such a way that it creates a verbal universe

Within my evacuated mind. It disturbs me

To think I’m relying on the soul-blot of Rorschach.

The days, the planets, slide past.

Time has tiptoed away to a distant flaring sun

Fuelling a world of linguistic motion,

A place I despise at this infinity of now,

Where all thought’s directed toward the paper,

That milky rectangle, but the words don’t come

And my frantic hands, at last artistic,

Start to assemble an aeroplane.

The Piano Man

Black and white is too severe sans ascending gradation:

Fingers dance a rolling jig, spin a magical sensation:

A language alive in the digits alone speaking a sonorous tongue,

The music he conjures are songs never written, but songs that

can always be sung.

For the words we seek are form poor communications,

Verbal trash can’t replicate Antiquity’s vibrations—

Hammers fall on tense strings; springy smiles in the hospital room;

Twinkling chimes, repeating rhymes bardiche through amnesiac gloom.


Before the rings round Saturn scarred the universal calm,

An infinite thing, if ever there was, held sway on an infinite arm’?

Before “Let there be light,”and the paths that afterwards were trod

The darkness whispered savagely, “If you must, let there be God”.

Tom Jayston © 2010

These poems are excerpted from Tom Jayston's new collection

Reverie and Rude Awakenings (Creative Future, 2010)

A Losing Game

Melting into a mattress composed more

Of corpuscles, platelets, urea and sweat

Than fabric, stuffing and springs, I swat

The switch that kills the light.

A comfortable, blinding gloom settles


Over my coffin. I am alive.

The image that always drifts through my


Death-cluttered mindbox is laughable in

Its irony: with nothing worth anything

Around or in me, I dream of winning

The lottery—not of what I’d do

With the money, but with the feeling

Of winning. I’m still alive, dying of sadness.

Your Prayer

You knelt upon the cushioned grass and

Prepared yourself for prayer;

Larks hung, dipped and fell, and in those

Avian missiles a deity revealed.

Pursing your lips to breathe in their wisdom,

An unending thought of embarrassment

For you addressed your own knowledge

But called it ‘God’

And the larks pitched, banked and rolled and you knew

The betrayal was not total.

Tom Jayston © 2010