Book Review: ‘The Sentence’ by Louise Erdrich

Poem: Host

adult black coat conceptual
Photo by OVAN on

Outside I sensed you, 
just a little warmth in the wind, 
perhaps a whisper of something said 
in a distant age - your rage against time. 

You are all around us some say, 
looking for a host, a creed 
I won't subscribe to 
in my antediluvian mind

copyright Francis Barker 2020

Poem: This Side of Domesday

Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

He dwells here in the rafters, they say,
among the bees nests and wood rot,
shifting like some spirit of the night
when modern lights switch on.
From Normandy he came
with looters and carpetbaggers,
led through England’s porous gates
to plunder and destroy,
to establish his lascivious life.
The only gates open now,
beyond haunting this crumbling pile,
are the fires of flaming hell.

copyright Francis Barker 2019



I stood alone
with you,
like it was the end of our world, an
eerie glowing sky reflecting my heart, with
the solstice on its way. You
turned to look at me, that smile
I knew so well, your gracious nod
I’d never seen in real life. My hand
went through you – you were not
there anymore, just an echo like the
sonorous bells over pantiles, made
uniform by the morning rime. You said
I looked ‘frit!’ in the dialect
brought across to your city,
the voice of your
distinction. ‘Your life is not
your own,’ you said, ‘even the sun
never stands still, only seems to.’
So you told me not to worry, not
even care, to let it all go
now, that it’s better to die trying
than do nothing,
a short life
with meaning and all its
tortuous crosses borne, can become
a pilot light of inspiration. You
walked towards the sea, smiling
once more and unafraid, before vanishing
out of time into the
low glinting sun, a promise
of far off warmth
and the revelation to come

image and poem © copyright Dave Barker 2012