Jon Stocks

Jon Stocks is a widely published and anthologised writer based in Sheffield, UK. His work has appeared in the Cinnamon press anthology, Shape Shifting, Type 51, a northern writer’s anthology and in November his work will appear in, ‘This Island City’, a collection of poetry about Portsmouth. Johns’ poetry has appeared in magazines in the UK, USA, Canada, South Africa, Pakistan and India, some of his work being translated into Urdu. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart prize.

In the day time John works as Head of Media and Specialism leader for the Communications faculty at The City School, Sheffield. He is currently working on a project with The National Portrait Gallery, producing song lyrics in response to the, Shakespeare and JK Rowling Exhibition.   John doubts that he could live without writing poetry.

Imagined You


Sunday morning, and you dawn

After too much Chianti you wake up late

To a crush of vibrant birdsong

In a violent light of city daybreak.


The languid bourgeoisie are still loafing

Smugly over orange juice and ‘Daily Mails’

Your eyes sting, face smeared with mascara

The face in the mirror blotched and pale.


A flood of images; Saturday night

Your thoughts drop like pebbles into water

Each with a splash of avowed escape

The ravenous dreams of an only daughter.


The iPod opens a drowsy subtext

Of other lives and Sunday stirrings

Sweet bathos of the loved and lost

You doss around for hours, long past caring.


If I could show your future now I would

The claustrophobic web of vague deceits

And the little spurts of assertiveness

Before your sullen, brooding late retreats.


I would find a city to fit your soul

Then pack your bags and check the times

I would book your wing and say a prayer

And find you space to say your last goodbyes.


Platform 8 for Camden or Bloomsbury?

With your books, your secret looks and violin

All packed and ready for a long sojourn

To save your dreams; but how could I begin? 



Birtwisles’ Pies


Three seasons in an hour today

As seen from the window of our train

That nudged its way from Chester.


Weak sunshine, light rain, then snow.


We stopped first at Delamere

At a field of stubble where fieldfares grazed

By birch trees broken by a storm

Or snapped clean by weight of ice.


You slept and missed Cuddington

And Greenbank where the blond girl left the train

Then teetered off on her high heels

To her distant suburban dreams;

As a flock of gulls left for the Dee

At Lockstock Graham where the sun appeared again.


You missed the peach cheeked girl at Plumley

By the sign for Birtwisles Pies.

The largest cemetery I have ever seen.


And, as we trundled across the plain

I doubted that I would ever see

Northwitch again.


Severn Acts of Mercy

First he would salvage the old photographs

The half lit Edwardian drawing room

Glimpse of another dimension

Faces gaze furtively wary of change.

The Shibboleth of all desires, here

Distilled in letters, old documents

Residuals and marginalia

The shards of benign fragmentation.

He will protect the tiny girl that died

With her daughter, haemorrhaged after birth

And the soldier on the Somme, alluding

To the consequences of indiscretions.

He will keep the prayer books from the library

Boxes full of tissued medals, trophies

Won on distant sun kissed playing fields

Evocative of languid, post war ease.

And this long lost, blurred, half focused world

The loose plasticity of flowing time

He will store in a corner of his mind

The heart beats, the tear stained miseries.


Cruellest Month

Has there ever been so fine a morning

after a winter when snow lingered

like a curse deep into April daze

perverse duality of grief and bliss?

Just as the frail and elderly expire

giving up the ghost to gaudy daffodils

the bodies taken, the flowers come in

with some of us a blink away from madness.

We who are too intimate with transience

too conscious, dreaming our recurrent dreams

knowing that only the words can save us

seek solace and balance from deep within.

From somewhere a blackbird begins to sing

just as the first storm clouds are gathering

in a world of endings and beginnings;

capturing the moment, heralding spring.

Mozart’s Requiem-Domme Salzburg

The audience seem lost, hushed

Faces closed by silent payer

Or entranced in fixed thought

Private litany, images

Distilled fragments of beauty

Dark fractals of decanted grief

The moment when you could have said

‘I love you. Please stay with me.’

We each have our own requiems

The still born dreams of distant days

Tonight, cleaved from our own souls

Our heaving hearts, the rising swell

Of choral voices, we will fight

To keep the tiny flame alive.

Copyright © 2010 Jon Stocks