The Outdoor Poet: Ira Lightman

In this week's Outdoor Poet, the ukulele-strumming Poetry Sleuth, a.k.a. Ira Lightman, shares two poems and a video. Says Ira, "[The] 'Thru The Countryside' [video] comes from my four-year collaboration with Mike Higgins, a composer, in the band Come Flying. I wrote the words for this one, Mike wrote the melody and arrangement and we sang it together. Mike McGuigan on drums."

Thru The Countryside

Thru the countryside
mounts and streams
on the right: thief
on the pattern of the plates.

You can't wish away, spin or separate

Shift yourself
in the family
tree, fall off
spring to
me, cold eye warm to belief.

On an old pole put
a new cheque;
you can sign
not write.

Receding hair, once opened face

turns to
those. What blade
explored there? Lie down now. Hum hmmm.
Deep breathing.

Shouting shut up here,
past redress.
Stocks, I remember
from the receiver's end

calling in. I can see you. Now, kowtow begin.

Two think
that we spoke
what we knew
to hear before now.

Silent now
know how
to do
this water below

Get on my
nerves and ride, mine
then and there
chopping deep - all the
way to Shakespeare.

The Trick of A Walk Between Showers

In the path through the woods,
I must have always seen sky.
Today the dark cloud greys it.
The pines pine best, where
deluge concentrates
its teardrops
on eyelashes. I don't know why
I straighten. Anxiety
makes me a to do list
within, its own rain.

My child notices nests
I don't. Little wonder some
hear voices.
Childhood's dropped
senses: this honey smell;
that plant with peapods;
how bushes puff proud
to flank my slalom, roosters
quivery in a crowd of shuffle
cock and claw oblivious.

Foregrounds and midgrounds
of leafy, different, bladey greens
slot. A magician's cabinet in
my head. A Brownie.
Let lovely assistants emerge and bow.

About the Writer Ira Lightman has had several books of poetry published in the UK, and online at He is an artist, mathematician and ukulele player, and, during 2013, become the Poetry Sleuth, tracking down poetry plagiarism in the UK and Australia.

The Outdoor Poet is edited by Robert Sward, author of numerous books of poetry including, most recently, New and Selected Poems: 1957-2011 (Red Hen Press). He lives on the Westside with his wife, the artist Gloria Alford, and a poodle mix named Cosette. Participation in The Outdoor Poet is by invitation.

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