Mark David Cooper

writer

Category Archives: poetry

Isabel’s Curious Machine

by markdcooper on September 6, 2014, no comments

Williams Carlos Williams said that a poem is a machine made out of words. That’s a fitting way to describe Isabel Rogers’ poem ‘John’s Curious Machines': a very efficient, inspired machine designed to evoke John Harrison’s ingenious marine chronometers. These highly precise clocks kept time even in rough, varied weather at sea, making it possible for a ship’s navigator to determine its […]

The St. Ives to Zennor Coast Path

by markdcooper on September 4, 2014, no comments

I walked the coast path with Hugh today. Hugh is a writer and artist whose poems appeared in The Inner Sea. It started foggy and cool but by midday the morning haze had retreated to the horizon. We saw a seal surface to watch the waves rustle through the carracks, and a stonechat flitting and chirping about the rocks. […]

Don’t crawl before you can sit

by markdcooper on July 20, 2014, no comments

Procrastination shouldn’t be such a dirty word. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing at a comfortable pace. Giant sequoias grow to nearly one hundred metres over thousands of years. The Mona Lisa took da Vinci twenty years to paint. In an ideal world, progress would be limited to that which we do when […]

The Clay Body

by markdcooper on June 25, 2014, no comments

A clay body, or corp criadhach, is an ancient Scottish curse. Once placed in a stream, the clay would disintegrate and with it the body of the victim whom it mimicked. Only by finding and preserving the clay body could the sufferer forestall the spell. i. Part of me loosens in a stream where mountains tumble […]

So long, Thomas Warton

by markdcooper on June 21, 2014, no comments

As we’re about to leave Basingstoke after nearly seven happy years, it might be appropriate to mention Thomas Warton who was born on the site of Glebe Gardens, not far from here. Warton was poet laureate between 1785–1790. This sonnet is dedicated to the River Loddon, which, now culverted in places, is said to run below ground at the […]

St. Augustine on the poetry game

by markdcooper on June 14, 2014, no comments

This is possibly one of the least profound purposes for quoting from Confessions of a Sinner but, nevertheless, it’s a reminder about what matters in the art: In public we were cocksure, in private superstitious, and everywhere void and empty. On the one hand we would hunt for worthless popular distinctions, the applause of an audience, prizes for […]

Katabasis

by markdcooper on April 9, 2014, no comments

No army marches faster. Having beaten us, the clouds dropped their arrowfall into the bay, blessing our deepest failure. News reached me on the wind. Yet more ranks of salt and hate but there I was, sharing a mind with water after months of hard dryness. Stars gleamed like arrow wounds. There was great, roiling […]