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Reflections of winter

Reflections of winter

Reflections of Winter

Poetry by John Gough and imagery by Nick Hillman

More poetry from John Gough; published poet, author and academic. Again John has cast his eye over some of my photographs and has been inspired to put pen to paper and develop the stories around the images.

These are great and really add to the dialogue of the images bringing out key details and developing the story in the image. You can see them below with links to larger versions of the images, I hope you enjoy them…

Derwent Dam

You’d think someone had died:
Such is the dense glowering of two stone towers.
Even the waters are subdued, compliant,
Sliding like oil over the lip of the dam.

Bare trees, scratched into existence,
Find no consolation in the spray
That drifts over gentle buds
Desperate for the Spring.

Only beeches find any respite,
Dipping their branches into
Calmer, sheltered waters; tears running
Down their trunks in penance.

Two walkers dare to approach the falls, unheeding
Of the warning.  The towers reduce their significance
To the level of winter-bleached grasses, inconsequential
In the silent roar of stone-walled design.

John Gough 2018


Despite the relentless northerly, and an
Ice-rinked station plaza,
She sits outside on a cold bench, and lifts
Her phone to the level of her myopia.

Squinting and scrolling, she builds a playlist,
The wireless headphones
Connecting her to a private world, where
Only bleeped message alerts can encroach.

Looking through a window only a few feet behind her,
A couple can see her preferences perhaps better than she can.
At least their laughter won’t intrude
On the woman’s ice-cold privacy.

John Gough 2018

Winter concourse

Lines of ice and fire
Course through overflowing water
While, oblivious in the deepening blue twilight,
A commuter, her pull along suitcase
Snapping at her heels,
Drops her coffee cup
Into the new fountain.
The water gently cradles it,
Until a street cleaner, cladded against the burn and freeze
Of winter,
Plucks it free from the ripples,
And moves on to the next piece of tossed away litter.

John Gough 2018

Andy and Pete

After months of winter, Andy and Pete can at last
Sit outside, with a can of Oranjeboom and a roll up,
And shoot the warmer breeze.

A thumbs up sign; a rolled ciggie poised; both men flushed
With the tired satisfaction of another day spent
In the unforgiving destruction of a breaker’s yard.

Don’t tell the missus, says Andy, and grins.  Pete
Says nothing, the smoke from his roll up dispersing
Into a warmth that smiles on these fleeting pleasures,

Stolen from a forecast for hard frost.

John Gough 2018

New Year Revolutions

The snow-lined track, running straight as train’s,
Beckons you on.
Cold, ice-sprung air burns in your throat and lungs;
Eyes stream with last year’s regrets.
As you heart beats hard against fears
Of hardening arteries, a fat-sheened liver,
The trees shed some of their snow, a sudden,
Temporary blessing, even while your bike wheels communicate
A more urgent sense of skidding.

Still, your drive on, despite the lactic acid
In your quads, the risk of slithering into a ditch,
Until the realisation hits: that your resolutions
Are following an old, abandoned route
That now means nothing,
Except this: that you are present today,
Alive in a moment that demands action,
However trivial.
The snow will melt.  You’ll stow your bike,
And keep doing your best.
Whatever the forecast.

John Gough 2018

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Reflections of winter

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