Enduring Solitude

 Not one word had passed my lips since dawn broke.

I roamed that winter park of beasts alone,

past empty pens, while through a stand of pines

swept a whispering wind, sharp as broken bone.


Between the stark, sleet-wet columns, I glimpsed

bison, like some far archipelago,

their moist eyes dully leaking out their lives.

The herd not heeding if I stay or go.


At dusk, I sat inside a vaulted café

of leather, candles, linen and champagne,

and other singles, caught in mirrors, mused

their fate. Should I go, or, perhaps remain?

Not a word, not one utterance since dawn,

then a waitress asked me: why so forlorn?


Copyright 2018 Clifford Liles



Shopping on the right

A passer-by looked like an old flame.

But no! Doppelganger-like, she’s not.

Similar looks, shrunk to a small frame.

I look, but not follow.


No one helps me, struggling in strange towns.

Boxy shops crammed just like a jigsaw –

jumbled vowels announcing their markdowns.

I read, but not follow.


Look up to see filigree trees sway,

tangling thoughts of trees from my homeland.

Look out! A car! Whizzing the wrong way.

Missing me somehow.


Enter a shop fighting reluctance:

chewing grammar; spitting the syntax;

out come the words triggering silence.

He stares, and not follows.


Copyright 2018 Clifford Liles

Published in December Issue 70, The Cannon’s Mouth Quarterly;



“Dissolution” Mural

Liles_20170312 Dissolution Mural_Adj

Image of “Dissolution” poem, Copyright Clifford Liles, 2018. Mural Artwork: Artist Colette Baumback and ‘Fresh Start Calligraphy’ group from Lower Hardes, with help from local residents, students, ‘ Friends of Westgate Parks’ and members of the Canterbury Umbrella Centre. Maintained by the ‘Friends of Westgate Parks’ as part of the ‘Parks for People’ Heritage Lottery Project 2013 – 2018 on a Kent Country Council highways management structure. Image post-production: Sanjay Kalideen.

Copyright 2018 Clifford Liles