Go, when I am dead
stand where I foresaw you would
on garden steps to watch the light of dawn
brighten the edge of a roof whose shape
dipped or lifted to the sound of inner music
which grew within me each gradual day
and now takes root in you
Turn as I would turn to grasp the handle
welcomed imagined for this door
in warmth to drift up mellifluous stairs
my thoughts drawn upwards
by light that drew me all my life
See how I contrived a window
and framed a distant view
to awaken your heart now
to this longing that has no earthly cure
that is nowhere and everywhere
yesterday and tomorrow
feel my embrace of stone at last
and know that I am you.

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The Fallen West


This may or may not end up being the cover (an extract from one of my late brother Ally’s most apocalyptic oil paintings), but this is the point when I announce that cult independent publisher Snuggly Books will be publishing my tenth book “The Fallen West” later this year or early 2018. Unusually, and interestingly I think, at the suggestion of the publisher, this will be a collection of poems and short stories and prose, all mixed in together. Because categories suck of course. Innovation and uniqueness are what we’re always after. I’ll probably never be successful or famous now, but I can at least promise to go on being Douglas Thompson, as long as life allows me to, if that means I’m writing strange things that some strange people want to read.

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Warehouse Windows

Warehouse Windows

Drowned world of blue memory
broken warehouse windows
in fragmented reflections
moons sail like flickering white flags
darting fish play among underwater ruins
the chimneys stand guard smoking guns
vandals throwing stones become doves
wings mapped frozen in afterimage
punctured glass glittering of jewels
frost across the no man’s land
unending indelible handprints
fluttering freedom renewed each night
moonlight data stream graffiti
indecipherable revelation
pouring down from the stars
this viscous elixir
in which everything atrophies
motion progress language

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The Rusted Millwheel

The Rusted Millwheel

Look now
how the old mill from which
the town takes its noble name
lies abandoned, boarded up
its water wheel no longer turning
stout heart and turbine of a golden age
rusting hidden behind overgrown bushes
the river rushing by unhindered
source of momentary power and potential
now lost, slipped beyond
numb fingers set free again
like failing memory, forgotten skills
of tradesmen long dead in wars
or the duller tyrannies of peace.
But some of us still recall it
as a child I watched it turn
beneath my shaking feet and marveled
at its juggling gaunt groaning
sparkling water diadems of light
and grasped in my young mind
a thing of love as well as genius.
And what since?
We’ve dug coal from the earth instead
oil from the sea floor, killed in droves
each other and the animals, the plants
everything that moved and much that didn’t
all for the miracle of motion, elixir of power
to drive our thirsty machines.
Soon all the wheels of the world will slow
come to a halt and rust as this one
until we see the error, accept the spurned gift
of the river still running by, laughing.

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Winter Moon

Each sunset now on these clear nights
bright Venus dances with the crescent moon
it’s that or Mars to choose from
Thanatos or Eros, love or war
Venus who’s too hot to stand on
and too fraught with fog to seeforest-by-ally-thompson
Mars an arid warning
of what a world of war will be
sex a mirage and hate a husk
a puff of powder or a fist of dust
let’s eschew these false idols
and choose the surer truth
that Moon who was torn once
from inside us as Eve came from a rib
is the form true love takes
a product of cosmic collision
never less than almost fatal
hard-won and ever-changing
sometimes full, sometimes null
in wax or wane yet even then
as a cryptic crescent foretells
a shape and light projected
from inside us cold and hard
as bone, timeless and eternal
beyond life and yet alive
adrift but pointing home.

(image inset is Forest oil painting by Ally Thompson, 1955-2016)

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Midwinter Vigil


I am not made of molecules
skin, sinew or bone
those are only clothes of words
layers of abstraction rather
I am made of darkness
absence, silence, memory
sadness, regret
questions without answers
How else to make myself
an eye to watch the clouds
above endlessly passing
than to become this stillness
passive, endless, bottomless pit
where I become the dark pool
of all the world has put there
that now once the clouds
have caught fire briefly
in sunset passing lights up
infinitesimally a trillion bright
fireflies of sentinel stars
reflected carnival lights
some sort of celebration this
faint constellation of atomic light
the equations of connections
inside me: I, like you, body and soul
a theorem of love chalked
across the blackboard cosmos.

(Picture inset above is “Listening To The Sounds Of The Night” by Ally Thompson, 1955-2016)

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Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson (1817-1875)

Eternally set stages awaiting the divine
their modest usher seeming still alive
to stand at our shoulder
and whisper in our ear
of light, the ancient sacrament.

To him every building a church
house or office becoming temples
consecrated by photons
raining, reigning always from above
as if travelling out of time
he who lost so much to death
his parents, siblings, his own children
entrusted in stone the only remedy
his necessary foundation.

The buildings tell his sermon yetholmwood-1_637292953
to those who’ll listen:
the God he speaks of sings
in many tongues, Etruscan
Greek, Hindu, Egyptian, pagan
effulgent foliage of fabled acanthus
wafting lotus wisdom
in the regal breeze of antiquity
eastern and ancient sophisticate
cosmopolitan magpie eye
aping urbanity.

And yet he duped them all perhapsstvincent_pulpit
albeit pleasurably, for this humble Balfron boy
was really only ever pharaoh over Glasgow
who never sailed the Nile
nor left his own Clyde to see
the ruins of Rome, Athens and Luxor
who built here instead within himself
his own Jerusalem
enshrined the mind a secular and sacred place
adorned its altar with the precious riches
of reason, geometry and order
the endless gold of light.


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