Obscurity (or ‘Poetry not Prose’)

Not all that is thought must be spoken

Not all that is said can be clear

Meaning is born in the shadows

Where echoes and murmurs conspire

(after JRRT)


Copyright 2016 F.Watts


Misanthropy – blank verse

They are building fences,

where there were trees,

enclosing absence,

brash and ‘functional’, unnecessarily high,

with none of the beauty that might follow function,

just a barrier to the eye,

to keep in dogs whose highbred bodies cannot jump.

‘This is ours,’ they say,

this pile of turned earth, this parking space,

‘and we do not care how much our boundaries invade your space or shut down our view.

This is ours.’

With a closing, a turning of the back upon the world beyond the pale,

these wooden walls turn neighbours into ‘us’ and ‘them’.




Copyright © 2014 Fliss Watts

(With thanks to The Dancing Professor for a reminder and a trigger.)

September pastoral

Warm September morning

The geese are back, noisy and disorganised

on their daily commute.

A haze lifts from fields glistening with a heavy dew,

and eastward, above a band of bright cloud,

the felltops float.

The hedge is red with haws

and, bright against a pyramid of tight black silage bales,

a robin pauses in its insect hunt,

poses, ready for its close-up.

Swallows and martins still climb the air,

swerve and stutter,

pin-sharp against the clear sky,

training for the marathon to come,

but the swifts are already gone.


Copyright © 2014 Fliss Watts

Migration/Personal Identity – an Empiricist Poem (1988/2014)

Filling another suitcase and checking the weather over there…
Anticipations of a new beginning.
Who will ‘I’ be
there, re-located –

The mossy self seeps into its surroundings,
or they infiltrate.
How many transplants can it sustain?
How thin can its thread be stretched?

The risk of making the wrong place ‘here’
loosens roots.

Balanced precariously at a point of displacement
vanishingly small

But with the ramifications of passing time,
milestones like anchors, accumulate in memory.
A liquid, floating self emulsifies, nacreous,
coiled around the gritty concretions
of however many ‘here’s and ‘now’s.

© Fliss Watts 2014

Commuter train

(This short poem was written on a train in 2012. It might be seen as a companion to the story ‘Flight’, just added to my Short fiction pages.)


The carriage is full of private worlds,

waking and sleeping.

Filling the hot close air,

overlapping, not touching.

And out there more crowding, private spaces –

in houses, cars, streets… –

are separated from these sardine-packed empires

by only a narrow strip of unthought [reality] –

shrubby, twiggy, grassy embankment.


As the daylight ebbs and windows turn to mirrors

even that space is colonised by reflections of these reflecting faces.

Until the train escapes into open fields

and a streak of orange light between land and sky

cuts through the embanked mirror people –

a welcome sign of undreamt worlds,

free from mindedness.


Copyright © 2014 Fliss Watts