The Eye of the Poet

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Poets and poetry lovers from other cities who are visiting London are warmly invited to join Poets of London at Waterstone's Gower Street and to participate in our workshops, projects and events.

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Stephen Pain lives and writes in Japan. He has four degrees, three in literature and one in law. He has written several poems, published online and offline. A play of his, 'Apathy', won a prize in an Eastern Arts Board drama competition. His greatest claims to fame are vicarious. He interviewed for school radio when he was eleven, Sir John Hunt, one of the team who first conquered Everest, and he also had shochu with the oldest man in the world on the tiny island of Tokunoshima in the Ryukyu archipelago.The poets whom he has the greatest admiration for are Osip Mandelstam and Edward Thomas. As to his own poetry, well, he sees it rather like litter blowing down a London street - someone might pick it up one day.
Stephen Pain's recommended poetry site:

Rain in Hiroshige Lines

rain in hiroshige
lines, perpendicular
to the highschoolgirls
with umbrellas
and mobiles
and high boots
smoking cool
defying all known
laws of physics
while riding their bicycles.

Hiroshige, the Japanese artist, lived from 1797 to 1858.

Liturgical Architecture
for my brother the Rev. Richard Pain

car park
is fit for prayer
when there is no
where else to go.

Raccoon Dog

moon was yellow
in the fall
like a frisbee
shoved down
the earth's pants,
and in a car
hitomi and i
listened to
mexican music
blaring from the stars
map soundtrack,
and a
raccoon appears
and in the headlights
he gives an
intelligent look
like why aren't
you listening
to mahler
der einsame der herbst
ain't you the lonely one,
and then he goes off
my very first
raccoon dog
and he had to be
than me!

To Dissect is to Educate
to all Leopard Frogs everywhere

to dissect is to educate
here is a frog
notice if you will
it has four legs
one, two, three, four
now if you can
hold it still,
look at its eyes
and tell me
what you think
the frog is thinking,
you think the frog
is incapable
of thinking
like US
and Mary
you think
the frog is asking
why am I so easily
in the US
I think you need the
bathroom, you are
excused, any more
no very well,
the frog my friends
is a stupid critter,
an unbelievably
stupid critter,
if you want to see why,
we can take
a look at its brain,
if it has one,
but first there is a
I mean science
logical extremely
ok now observe
its breathing,
Francis I meant
the frog,
I meant the frog!
does the chest cavity move
or is it the throat,
and I want you to think about
other forms of respiration,
now you can touch the eyes,
Francis the frog's, Susan don't hit him,
notice if you please the reaction,
the frog is unhappy, so would I be
if someone poked me in the eye,
Mary I thought you my little dissident
was out of the classroom,
I'm sure there is something
for you to do in the library,
now we can ask what
are its main predators?
Jon, we aren't talking about
stalkers and those guys in offices,
I have no idea what your folks
tell you, we are talkin' today frogs!
Gerry can always count on you
for common sense
snakes, foxes, birds of prey and so on,
now we can give the frogs some flies
watch them eat them
what's that Gerry?
When do we get to decerebrate the frog
hold on, the fun part comes later,
Francis will you kindly desist
you can't eat the leg -- now!
ok, there they go
ok now we can slightly etherize them,
no Jon, it is not a Biblical term,
I think you will find that is to sodomise,
you can now see how the
central nervous system
works and operates, make an incision
like so, damn mine isn't under yet,
someone be so kind as to catch it,
and remove the scalpel, don't take notes,
this is not part of the experiment,
ok, Gerry well done, but perhaps less force
in future, I think it is truly dead now,
ok, you all ready, Francis, put down the ether,
Jon you want to discuss the thumb pad,
well, yes it is true that it used in sex,
but not in that manner, in amplex, coupling
you know when the frog climbs on the back
and grips the female, you have seen mum and dad
do that, well ain't you the enlightened one,
now look closely at the tongue and how it is attached,
Mary I think you are excused, behind is the pharynx
and an opening, the glottis, we can trace the
air passage, and in the mouth you will; find teeth
by rubbing your finger along, Francis put away the toothpaste,
the frog is DEAD, and it doesn't use that brand anyways,
ok make some lateral cuts as so, note peripheral veins,
my God Francis I had no idea a frog had so much blood,
Mary take him to the bathroom with you!
Ok here is the urogenital system, shit,
Francis what the hell have you done, Mary you little anarchist,
I want you to remove that at once,
yes Jon this is the dirty part of the frog,
Gerry can you point out to us where the duodenum is,
Would you care to repeat that to the classroom, miss?
Well keep your tittering to yourself, yes that is its anus,
Ok, let's move to the circulatory system, you know all
about that because your old man is in hospital,
I'm sure you do, but he is in the order mammalia,
today if you did not know we are talkin' amphibia,
Gerry, yes that is the coliacomensenteric artery,
Now the pulmonary system, ok ok you want to take out
eyes, but don't play with them on the table, Jack the
janitor will play hell with you, I'm getting too old
for this, and now where are Francis and Mary?
She's taken him to where? To see an animal rights
what, you are kidding me, go and catch her, and
Gerry you can use all force necessary, I mean
all force, do you get to dissect her? We'll see.

Original art work by Stephen Pain, © Stephen Pain. Poems by Stephen Pain, © Stephen Pain, 1999. All rights reserved