Author: Paul House

Poetry: Poem for Nelly

It is three o’clock in the morning.

The doors of the balcony are open wide

and the tattered green blind drawn low.

Still the heat creeps in from somewhere.

A sticky, heavy, airless heat

that drags up with it from the square

the sound of a guitar, of talking.

So few people have gone home.

It is so hot that no one wants to move.

The night has swelled to a huge blister.

Children try vainly to find some breeze.

Dogs stretch out like dried skin.

All of it somehow nailed to the ground.


I lie in the room you have vacated

not through tiring but necessity,

and wish you beside me once again,

not to love, to talk nor even to laugh,

but to fill some yawning, empty gap.

The heat, the chords of the guitar,

the children’s voices in the morning

all emphasise the lack I feel,

not through having failed at all,

but for never having done enough

whilst wanting to have done so much.

Sample Chapters

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Poem for Anna •  Mandelstam and Mayakovsky •  The Lighted Window  •  Alone with the Years •  The Poet Tires •  Something there is •  La Madrugada •  Postcard of a Golden Retriever •  Shellfish •  Miguel Hernandez •  At the Edge of the Ebro •  Gone •  Playing Cards •  That's Where I Belong •  An Abstract Perfection •  Pearls in a Glass •  Poem for Susie •  Mornings in Malasaña •  Leo •  A Garbled Message •  Gnome •  Old Friends •  More About Penguins •  Ghosts •  Poem for Nelly •  Good Friday in Salamanca •  T.L.P. •  What It Is About •  The Blind Man And His Guide •  The Smell Of Winter •  For No Other Reason •  Poem for Linda