Another week has rushed by and it’s time for our fourth Talent Tuesday! This week I’d like to introduce you to Jersey-born and now New Zealand-based poet Martin Porter.

As well as the quality of the poems themselves, what I very much like about Martin’s blog, ‘Poetry Notes and Jottings’, is the accompanying commentary, which provides a rare insight into the origin and development of the individual pieces. In places, he includes samples from his notebooks and some poetic exercises, as well as explaining his reasoning behind the stylistic and structural choices he has made. It was difficult to decide which poems to include, but here are a few of my favourites:

In the Workshop of Joseph


I always imagined it to have more colour,
Perhaps beaten gold,
And a slightly rougher texture
As if the yolk and pigment were trying
To break into a leap,
Into a vigour.

There should be no angels,
They are not fitting in such a scene. The chalice
Slipping from the stalls
Should have been filled with red wine,
Not white,
This is no place for virgins.


No place for virgins. Even as I look
This birth is decaying,
The yolk has developed mould,
The canvas turned to marble,
Cream, creamier in veins

The artist’s preparation

After the last stroke is applied
The brush is dipped in spirit
Or dipped into water, bound in rag.
Hammers are dusted, chisels laid down in order.

The carpenter oils the whet,
Repairs the ragged edges where the steel
Has caught a shake. The lathe has stopped,
The belt is loosened,
The spinning never ends.

© Martin Porter 2003


Advice to a Squonk (Lachrimacorpus Dissolvens)

After “Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods with a Few Desert and Mountain Beasts” – William T. Cox

The trouble is,
you cannot become beautiful
just by wishing it.

Perhaps you should stop hiding
in the gloom of silence
mistaking it for peace.

Sure, you may be frightened of the dark,
afraid of the predictable,
but you can’t just sit under the hemlock

drinking vinegar
and gathering your own tears
in a teacup,

singing brittle songs that tell you
little about the substance of your love
in a voice of a celesta beyond repair,

played to the sound
of automata, hurdy gurdy
or muted music boxes.

It is not just the harlot’s desire
to search for something new,
something up-tempo,

its the remedy for dying,
the transfusion of blood
from young stallions.

© Martin Porter 2011


Only slightly lost, we find the paper
Folded in an inside pocket. We are there,
Somewhere, one to twenty-five thousand,
A mote of mobile imagining.

And a trickle of blue splits the landscape.

In the orange skein
We untangle a rolling surface pressed
Flat on the map, but filled with pebble,
Outcrop, blades of grass.
On close scrutiny of the stylised code
A shrubby plantation catches the eye
With its little lollipop trees
Springing from the rough green hummocks
Of a rough green pasture.

And a trickle of blue splits the paper.

On the ground
We find no deep black names.
No red carpets are laid on our tracks.
Hidden from the ink are the implicit sheep,
The thin, abstracted cry of a curlew’s mate,
The wide airy volume of the space
The loneliness
The unprintable emptiness of being there

© Martin Porter 1999

Sunday after the Slaughter

two days of rain
and slaughter fresh meat for the whole family
salt bacon sausage offal head for the brawn
blood pudding in the larder nothing goes to waste

gathering his coat
wandering down to sown wheat fields sprouting green
bringing up a bisected sun on intersecting
slipstreams in the sky congealing in the rosy light

down by the chooks
scratching out a living the boy hunts eggs
among the stainless steel a master cowhand
enters yields from every lady in a ledger

scuffing his boot
against the hoggin on the track breaks to the hardcore
just another mundane act in the process of extraordinary
and with a well paced kick he knocks away a stone

© Martin Porter 2013

To read more of Martin’s poetry, do visit his blog here: http://poetrynotesandjottings.wordpress.com/, and if you’d like to be included in the And a poem on the side, please Talent Tuesday, please get in touch. I’m always on the lookout for new poets to feature and the blog posts from here reach well over 300 followers already.

Contact me via Twitter @CallistoGreen or by email to vicki@callistogreen.com if you’d like to get involved. Even better, leave a comment below!

Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday!

2 thoughts on “Talent Tuesday #4

  1. Pingback: And a poem on the side please | Poetry Notes and Jottings

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