No Going Back

For all of us that day
there was the long drive up the coast,
a late supper and a dressing of wounds,
and though each sat in silence,
not knowing the others,
there was a common thread
that passed between us,
from hand to hand,
like a shared cigarette.

This was a time of plenty
in the high country,
although we did not know it
and would not see it.

It was only after the passing out of cups
and the breaking of bread,
that the quiet sea crept up on us
and some wept openly.

Now there will be no going back,
no bus ride home on a winter’s eve
laden with rich offerings.

While in rock pools at the water’s edge,
tiny crabs scurry
against an energy of displacement
that seems to threaten all before it,
and then withdraws.


I have published under three different pseudonyms since the launching of this site: Nigel G., Edwin Best, Edwin Good. From today I shall be publishing under my real name: Nigel Good. This is a bold move for me but perhaps poets should be bold.

The Man Who Loved Islands

There once was a man,
a man who loved islands,
a man who rejected
the company of all.
Each island was smaller
than the island before
till nothing remained
but a rock with no shore.
Nothing is an island
without a quay,
an island in you,
an island in me.
Words for a pillow
and lines for a sea,
I’m just an old man
who loves islands.

[after a story by D.H. Lawrence]


Everyone knows very well,
when a tortoise loses his shell
then everything goes to hell.
Everything goes to hell.

Oh misery, misery me,
I’m as wrinkly as can be
and a book is no company
for the evening.

Now the girls won’t give me a look.
What fun can you have with a book?
The wrinkles was all it took.
Just wrinkles.


Sometimes, watching birds in flight,
I wonder what it’s like
to rise up too,
be raised up too,
like when your father
used to lift you shoulder-high
and you felt special.

That’s quite a fall,

to feeling not so special any more,
seeing heaven
like there’s nothing there at all.

You were just small;
are still just small.

And birds are small:

aviators of strange genius
that seen in flight,
move me to imagine what that’s like.

Much to admire -
I would fly higher.


Originally posted on Another Way of Saying:

I watched my father stooping on the path
to pick up all the rotten plums that fell
and made the old dog fart
before the fire.

I took him to the place I used to dwell,
showed him all four corners of the forest,
took him to the shed that we might lunch
among the cobwebs and old tins of paint.

I tried to tell him where I had gone wrong,
tried, while breaking bread upon my knee,
to tell him he’d been right,
right all along.

He smiled, while brushing down some fallen crumbs,
and said he must get back to clear the plums.

Now as the day recedes into the past,
I watch my father stooping on the path.

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