Free-verse poems

I wrote all of these back in 2010, back when I was on something of a poetry-writing kick. I’m woefully out of practice nowadays, though.


Mnemosyne, give me succour;

the present and its impulsions haunt me;

and your voice is my only friend.

Your whispers are my shelter;

your speeches my hearth;

your visions my hiding-place.

Mother Mnemosyne,

look after me; shield me from Today;

give me this day Yesterday’s truth,

and I will overlook the transgressions of the Present.

Mnemosyne, spare me;

spare me your hushed admonitions in my mind’s ear;

spare me your exhortations, your proddings and pokings;

you are air to me; invisibly cool on my tongue;

forever present; you envelop me;

I would I could escape you;

but you surround me, like a cage fashioned of air and spirit and mystery.

Abandon your cruelties; return to me with your goldwoven tales.

The Gilded Cage

you had me trapped in a gilded cage

filigreed and done with fancy traceries

looks really quite gorgeous outside

you’ve been so proud of your handiwork showed it off to your friends

a picture of seminal achievement

but like any other birdcage

it’s full of shit

Imperceptible Being

I press against the glass, hands covered in fog

I am immured, imperceptibly present

I am as true as the sky, the sea, and the air

I can look inside myself and see existence manifest,

but I am invisible, unseen, unknowable.

Rarely do I hear my name;

Rarely can I see myself as I glance into the mirror

Chills course through my spine, through my arms, and in my mouth

I think, speak, dream, plan, and imagine,

but those imaginations are attributed to another

My subsumption is drowning me.

A Minor Lament

My eyes droop precariously; my shoulders ache

I feel fifty years old but a score and a half younger

Old and weary when I should be young and spry

My head pounds subtly, like a brush on a drum

My fingers poised over the illuminated keys

Almost arthritic, but with subtle wincing pains

My shoulders feel hollow; my arms disengaged

I crack the joints quietly, attempting to alleviate in vain

My thoughts are intangible, floating away

I sit inert, wondering and waiting

For it to lift, for me to emerge, for time to settle.

The Price of Dreams

You can’t have dreams; you can’t afford them

Dreams are for the moneyed, the privileged, the well-heeled;

You must be a monk, hunkering down, and denying yourself

The pleasures of the mind, the pleasures of the flesh and the pleasures of the spirit

Because ambition, too, is the preserve of the wealthy.

Dreaming serves nothing; you must put such childish notions away

Know your priorities! Be realistic! Separate yourself from foolish fancies!

Asceticism is the province of the poor and lonely.

You will redeem yourself through waiting and patience and enduring

Red tape and still more waiting.

Listen to me, young man, listen to me.

For I know your future, and it will be attained through self-abnegation.

Don’t be fooled by their harps and Porsches and lyres and iPods and tapestries;

They are mere distractions, there to serve you no purpose

But needless wanting and wishing for something you cannot have.

They’ll promise you things that cannot happen,

But I know the plans for you, plans to give you a hope and a future.

Deny yourself; cease wishing; and it will be yours.


Your rough-hewn voice,

Subtly accompanied by the lilt of your harp

And the patter of your accompanist’s piano

You weave lyrics from magic faery dust,

plucked elegantly from the cap of mythical magicians,

and arcane vocabulary spilling from years-old thesauri

Your blessed brilliance soothes me, you bewitch me, like no other.

© Finn M Gardiner 2010-2018. All rights reserved unless otherwise specified.