Malcolm Ritchie2

I’ve always worried over that phrase to

put it down’ referring to writing while

it suggests killing:

Old Saxon’ ‘writan’ means ‘to cut’,

to injure’, and ‘to write’.

The pen is mightier than the sword”.

Words’ is an anagram of ‘sword’

  • the pen already writing

in blood.


as i pick up my pen

no one can see the poem

stuck on its nib


my poem is a shadow a trace

like the recorded path of a neutrino

passed on


sometimes a poem appears unexpectedly

like a rainbow –

reminder of the promise held

within the invisible


no spell or magic no art or craft

no skill or aptitude could fasten

just this meaning to a sheet of paper

you me trembling on the brink of this

nowhere here now

NB ‘here now’ is an anagram of ‘nowhere’

soon all that will be

of myself will be

the poems where i’ve been


i should write poems in water

not this ink


for this moment i’m here and not here –

this poem tethering me/not me

like a dragonfly

to the nib of a reed


a wasp steals wood from my writing desk

to pulp paper for its poem-nest


while i sweat and struggle with words

under a tree

a crane-fly lays her eggs effortlessly

in the surrounding grass


wish i could write like

the breathing of a shakuhachi

*Traditional Japanese bamboo flute

Malcolm Ritchie’s latest collection small lines on the great earth was published in 2014 by Longhouse, Vermont, at www.LonghousePoetry.com

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