• Robyn Rowland


The Poem: In Defence of Excess


But I want it to run on, spilt;

to look out of control,

to lose the run of itself

when really, it’s just

a certain kind of drive or desire,

body urgent to burst or spill,

words weeping a little

to bring us together in an

act of public tenderness.


Why must I scrape it thin for you;

carve it to a marrow-slim waist,

discipline it to cleverness,

take the breath out of it;

tell the lungs, don’t breathe now,

when I want breath inside these bars,

or a sigh or a sob?

I don’t want it opaque, starved or strangled.


Why should I tighten the poem,

take the deco out, un-brocade it,

tidy up baroque flourish,

when all day long

everything I see is layer on layer of excess,

the ridiculous glory of peacock feathers,

the mackerel’s opalescent skin?


Why should I bow to form that contains,

chains up colour, dams the flow of my veins

when rainbows sweep past in floating bubbles

blown down the Hippodrome in Istanbul;

crowd the barrels turmeric through cayenne

in the Spice Market?


                              And stars;

should they take back all their childish glitter,

so overdone, so unnecessary,

so many cluttering up the dark?




Bright Moment

for Subhana Barzaghi Roshi, after her poems



this room is black

as the shade in onyx.

But outside the window,

full moon is ripe, swelling radiance,

its blown light pushing round

edges of the blind.


Pulsing forward,

its breath

soft and full of white

is puffing the window shade


then drops back,

as if like wind, it were

sighing through the cracks.



Reach out fingers to

curl around the

tassel spilling like silk,


falling from the hard edge of board.


Simply lift it. Let go.


Washed away,

            interior night;


            all dark mind;


            this flooded ancient ground.