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Forgetful, in a stroke of genius,
you set the dictionary on a shelf in the fridge
where it lay all night in dark wordlessness:
rosetta of crystal, coomb of roots,
the house of language cooling like a hive.


                 from  Stroke  by Terry Jones 







According To Him




Precious stone








1 – BIOGRAPHY:  Terry Jones


Terry Jones won 1st prize in the Bridport international poetry competition in 2011, the same year his extended pamphlet, Furious Resonance was published by Poetry Salzburg . His poems have appeared in  journals, magazines, anthologies, and online including The New Statesman, Poetry Review, Wasafiri, Iota, The North, The London Magazine, Magma, Agenda, Ambit, Orbis, The Interpreters House, The Morning Star, Envoi, The Frogmore Papers, The ShoP, New Welsh Review, Planet, The Rialto, Under the Radar, Brittle Star, Dream Catcher, Mascara, The Literateur, The Butchers Dog, the Two Ravens Press (anthology) Entanglements,  the Robin Hood  (anthology) etc.  He lives and works in Cumbria.  Contact: TJones12@mail.com








It’s a matter of where you tread

nothing is hurt

nothing touched if you missed the nest

hid under the iron hearts of flowers

scaffold eyes on a root

and until you heard it

your ear would be in the dark

a bee coming in

on an unsettlable drone

for its version of the sweet



                                       one I locked in a bottle

settle and lifted

its furious resonance held

on the draught of itself

                                       where it hung then hit and hit

the inconceivable

atheist on an invisible wing

without dying  a bee

wills save its sting

for the real



                                       Is it saying ‘am’ or ‘om’

after its dance zooming

east or west?

hands curled in yellow-black fur

you could ride a bee

to the holy doorway of its hive

hold the note and enter.




                    According To Him


The morning chorus was bolder and louder, bright

as an orchestra tilting at full spirit, silver and bow,

and began earlier and had in it, dancing in coronas

of moth and midge, the million-song birds,

though for myself, I never witnessed such a thing;

and every call was perfect and the whole joined together

to wake you each day fired with unconscious joy -

which I can well believe, but have not myself experienced;

and milk was whiter and thicker, rabbits faster,

every fox almond-eyed and bushy, red as its myth,

each weasel on the jet of its stare, fire in your hand -

though I never touched or saw these, not for myself;

and rivers deeper, older, fussed full of trout,

fat on a tickle and quick as rainbows to the grass -

which I also believe, though I never tried such a thing;

but best of all, his brother, who I never met in my life:

he sang in the shower every morning, great hymns of praise

to water and light, mirror resounding and steam rising,

coloured and laced with the note of his whole voice -

which I also never heard in my life, but hear now,

as if I were him, and the singer my own brother,

alive on a cadence, as a bird on the song of his youth.


1st Prize The Poetry Kit Summer Competition 2017




         Forgetful, in a stroke of genius,
you set the dictionary on a shelf in the fridge
where it lay all night in dark wordlessness:
rosetta of crystal, coomb of roots,
the house of language cooling like a hive.
What were you thinking but this new winter?
Participles glinting, nouns to glass, I took it out:
an old terrain under ice, sub-zero of the word
where you traced clawed prints on a page,
found sound snugged and dumb in earth,
                    a world reformed in silence.

                  White-cheeked, cold-fingered,
tap it now with a tuning fork, put it to your ear
like the sun’s spring choir; say Corby, Eden,
Gelt Wood, place where spinneys raise letters
of boles, the ice shucked as a crow lifts into blue,
and your lost tongue comes to a litany of fields,
landscape of boundary and dyke, the mud lanes
returning in a shine of names and signs,
a familiar river rising on the grammar of rain.
                    What might it be but the start of thaw?

          Sit with me here, word hoard between us;
sense meltings, warmed breath on air, the whisper
of sibilants turned clear and hasped on the branch;
note hedges and furrows in rime: and there –
do you see it?  Watch it go:
                    a fluent rabbit in a field of snow.

1st Prize Mirehouse Poetry Competition 2014





After we have been married for a thousand years,

and Blackpool Tower is a crumple of yellow rust,

the children migrated to a different culture

and names and surnames are fused and changed;

after that time, when our toothbrushes are bare as spoons,

the mirror in the bathroom too forgetful to reflect,

cup-lips we drink from worn like steps,

plates polished thin as ice and the carpets dust;

when the cat, which is black, is turned pure white,

its claws stretched long as the wildest  thorns,

and the bed is grown Viking with webs and impressions;

after this, when the climate has changed,

so tramlines are grassed and flowered like ley lines

and the last optical cables are become black as bindweed;

after this, when the stairs have evened to a hill,

eaves come alive again, woken as a canopy of leaves,

and long dead bulbs are thick with dust as the moon;

if then I should meet you advancing in the hallway,

so we are side by side, two ghosts fragile as snow,

unwilling even to touch lest we crumble and blow,

or speak, fearful of the feel of Sanscrit in our throats;

when we stand there inclined as protected columns,

transparent to the sun’s antique fingerings,

and all the shadows stretch out long and slow,

do you think by then the endowments will be mature?


1st Prize Bridport International Poetry Competition 2011







Deep in prattle we’re caught off guard,

pianos of our bodies pink buds on the note.


You pull knees to your breasts, statue,

and we are assigned to widely separated mountains -


diminished, augmented, listening.

Light has changed so we should pass torches,


speak Greek: phusis, its flower smoking; ousia,

old walls sounding; 


                                  keraunos, apophainesthai


Sword of light at the window and we are lit,

skin of the house answering.






Precious Stone


‘This precious stone set in the silver sea

Which serves it in the office of a wall…’ Shakespeare – Richard II



The rat-ship has landed: came in with filth sails,

set of sun sails, rag sails, grey shirt sails;

came in with moon-slime wake, rudder-tail in water,

ghost tree masts; came in with chewed sails,

alive and swaying, beads of water rats running down the hawsers;

with baby hands, with flea ears, leaving flapping washing sails,

sweat and flesh sails; coming in hand over hand, ice-eyed,

its twitching cargo sniffing land-fall;

see them flop from the dirty pockets, hop ashore, teeth bared;


see them swarm grey stone, skitter through car-oil and diesel,

duck the shadows of cranes, dart and double

through the razor fences and the hedges and the gates,

and behind them the dirty ship weeping its flag;

they sprint to A-roads, flea-cargoed, spreading and certain.

London and Birmingham, Sheffield and Bradford,

Glasgow and the towns, villages, hidden dreaming hamlets,

buy paint for the cross on your door,  buy black paint

and listen for a bell now the rat-ship has landed.



A rat has come to my window, scab-pelted, hard-eyed,

a black rat has come with his wife ferocious and true,

her naked babies hang on her tits; at the double-glazing

with one old language they cling on the ledge, peer

through the glass blinking in the unusual light: ‘Safer for you,’

she says, ‘and simpler if our shared blood ran thin as water

and you could forget the pests you create us to be: 


                just to be here tonight we have endured the unendurable, war,

faring through thirst, chased into corners with bloody clubs,

in an existence of darkness forced to eat history’s shit, condemned

if we bared a tooth, despised if we wept. Is it that our voices

are pitched too high for you to hear, our movements

between the lines so sharp your fictions miss us?

Crouched hidden and dying, eaten by salt and moonlight


we saw your lights from the water: spread along the frowning coast

they were like precious stones that turned then to finger searchlights

pointing us back to sea.   Neither I nor those with me I love

carry any identification, but we see and hear acutely,

and our time in the shadows of the rotting ship is finishing.

Come here.  In a single reflection towards us

put your face to the glass, ears to the scratching at your borders.’






But he went early, by all the truth

never a man to see a touch of moss on his boots,

the future about him like a pet bird:


‘See this here,’ he said; its furious sky petal

sat steady on his finger, balance of his grain,

‘He’d warble out the whole carry on


like your soul was a long branch.

I bought him entirely for the dot of his eye,

ring feel of his feet on my finger


round and silver as the thought of him -

and no surprise at his light.

Less as he was taught to speak to the wing,


in my top pocket first he lived perfect

on the antinomy of seeds, tail tucked well in,

button of his head to a shadow,


till he grew to burn and I threaded him

a wound about the pulse,

so he’ll not be off anywhere to sing.


Put your face to him, the tameness







                                                                                                               When concussed green shines bud hossanahs

                                                                                                                          horizon’s flower locks the eye,

                                                                                                                     world’s blue ledge of breath and bone

                                                                                                                    smoke’s in the stem, breaks out to leaf

                                                                                                                 then blood flashes our common star’s rising,

                                                                                                                            clots the bole with exact light,

                                                                                                                      and cusps and fuses untuck in blindness

                                                                                                                     white melts of flowers, blue sprays of ice





INCIPIT  The opening phrase. Out of dark Northumberland,

                                                                                                             Its wild heavens, a letter rises: Gold letter: Sun.


It says: I am the light,  The embellishment of the word

Skin of calves and lambs, Codex of flesh and hair

The bright Chi-Rho, First letter of the illuminated text 

Now knot-like  knot-light as fine lines in silverpoint

Serve a guide for gold leaf over bole and pigment catches light

The entire text is on display. O smoking mirror:


Terminals fill with spirals in spirals intricate interlace; 

It is The Master of The Leaping Figures;

The majesty of its appearance A formal majuscule,

A palm leaf,  epigraphic dawn. Incipit:

The opening  phrase.  Out of dark Northumberland. 






Let X be the sun: between number and number the rage star burning; Xanthic  helllight, Sunflower, atom-pisser, imaginary ghost flower. 


Starts with clot of ochre, impasto sun-mould, the ur-text in outline; paradigm mud-pat

A child’s sun, isotope of yellow wax its surface storms. Upstroke the sun’s sign 




On papyrus, whirlpool of x-rays, a violent flower, at zero

Furious stalk the inferno uncodes: and black, it is black, a black funeral 

Feather, World-black negative dark flower - Gamma plant, blazer, Anarchist icon.



O common star, Sulphur flower the light star’s dark grammar 

Is hossanah, breath and bone, swastika, Solomon’s Seal: at heart it reads off Signifier Sigma


Sonne sunne A sol-fa its energy a base petal, pions’ spore, morpheme, it flashes out 

Struck flint Mi Mi Mi - The dawn flower, Alpha, Aaron’s Rod. 


Gospel gold-leaf

To liquid sets elixir the dusk rose Giaconda Will-o-wisp light text Glows oil out plumes out  

Marigold Madonn.  Yellow ink on paper Its syntax figured, complex Flowering, Kells Book wrought of roots enchanted,Carnival chromosome 


Writhing writing rag-and-bone strange rose, Torch of anti-matter, Old rope manuscript 

Ultra-violet hieroglyph


but penned








When we went back to university

in the Spring I was carrying with me

a dictionary, and you, unbelievably,

brought frogspawn, so my etymology –

all those words gathered and ready to be

let loose - and your spawn shining glassily

measured a difference.  Your ranidae

to be fastened you to your family;

my derivations and tracings were the

old roots to be unearthed deliberately.

Either way, our original forms were

meetings and partings simultaneously,

like tadpoles in a jar, entailed language,

impossible new pairings of history.





in the Universal English Dictionary

edited by Henry Cecil Wyld,

the origin of ‘apple’ is given as ‘unknown,'


as if the first fruit had no father,

or all its anonymous fathers

were wreathed in mist,

this one ‘apple’ a windfall.


It’s yellowing now, broken-backed,

the tomb my father grafted for.

By accidents of pollen,

quirks of breed,


my father, Francis, his seed.






Bee – Published by:  Poetry Review # 100: 1 – 2010; Poetry Salzburg (pamphlet series)– Furious Resonance: Terry Jones; ISBN 978-3-901993-35-0 2011; Other Poetry 2013.

Stroke – Published online by: Mirehouse Poetry Competition 1st Prize 2014; The Honest Ulsterman (0nline)2016.

Endowments – Published by: 1st Prize Bridport International Poetry Competition, Bridport Winners Anthology 2011; New Statesman 2011; Cumberland News newspapers (Feb 4 2012)

Thunder – Published by: The London Magazine (March/ April) 2013.

Precious Stone – Published by: Poetry Salzburg in Furious Resonance – Terry Jones 2011; Kim Moore’s Poetry Blog 2013 Planet: The Welsh Internationalist 2014.

Tame – Published by: Poetry Wales 2012; Abridged –(Version) titled The Tameness 2013;

Magma # 54 (November 2012; New Welsh Review (Spring issue) 2012; Ink Sweat & Tears 2016.

Sun – Published by: Poetry Review 2010; Poetry Salzburg in Furious Resonance, Terry Jones, 2011;

Mascara Literary Review (May/June)-2013; The Literateur  (on line mag) 2013.

Ranidae – Published by: The North # 44 2010.


4 - Afterword

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