Tuesday Poem: Tim Jones

And Not to Yield

Leave home, and your ego
blooms as the square of distance. Return
is a necessary corrective,

a diminuendo of corridors,
anxious crowds, missed messages.
Fretting at the baggage claim:

did they even put your cases on the plane?
And the knowledge that, not far away,
an angry wife is pacing.

Pity Odysseus. Penelope
(the suitors done and dusted)
is on the surface calm

but furious beneath: all that crap
he put her through! She lets it out
in flechettes of resentment.

Odysseus learns to dodge or hide.
All he wants is a quiet life,
a place to write his memoirs,

but she keeps inventing tasks for him.
"I'm not bloody Hercules," he says, and,
"Didn't I tell you there could be delays?"

Tim Jones, from 'Men Briefly Explained'.

This newly released collection from Tim is excellent. There are some very impressive poems in it, but I also liked the way the collection framed them - the flow of the narrative through it. I was very happy to review the book and Tim quotes a paragraph on the back cover.

"Tim Jones writes about how it feels to be a man, of male relationships – father, son, brother, friend, lover, husband – exploring territory that men traditionally don’t talk about, saying what is often unsaid, confronting stereotypes, and genetic imperatives. He writes with a blend of economy, humour and compassion that is rare in poetry, often finding the unexpected phrase - ‘a diminuendo of corridors’ - or an unusual, but exact, image - ‘mountains piled like thunderheads’ - to surprise and illuminate. This poetry is how New Women want their New Men to be – strong, sensitive and empathetic."  Penelope would probably have preferred Odysseus to be like that too.  Living with (or more often without) a hero is hard work!   Odysseus also features in the Derek Walcott poem posted by Mary McCallum this week.

For more Tuesday Poems please visit the website at www.tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com


  1. Love the 'ego blooms' - perfectly described. I shall have to dip into Tim's collection, my appetite has been whet - thanks for posting, Kathleen!

  2. Thanks, Kathleen - I need to upgrade my hat size now! - and thanks also, Elizabeth - I hope you enjoy "Men Briefly Explained".

  3. Another fun poem from this collection: I like the wry irony of this one. :)


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