David Ratcliffe – Therapy

Ratcliffe LE P&W April 2024

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing April 2024.

Therapy, poems by David Ratcliffe.


I study your face
for involuntary impulses
that defy bravado,
looking for signs of truth.

Unable to break through
I drift into the map
of nerves behind your eyes,
each line white hot and twisted,
branded by time.

In search of understanding,
I crawl through the valleys
of your frontal lobe
and bath in the stagnant
fluid of your mind
swimming through
a walnut maze of defiance.

I dive further into fatty tissue
challenging each cell to offer a clue
an explanation for your indifference
but what ails you
appears stolen forever
at the hands of your violator.

Yet, on retreating through the retina
of a bloodshot eye
I slither down the trail
of a single tear
which carries with it
a message of hope
and a reason to return.

Passage to Silence?

Can a flash moment be harnessed
by a gentle walk to a tranquil place?

Can caution deliver hindsight
at the point of eruption?

Could control be found
when molten vomit
rises in the throat of the beast?

Could you nullify the treat
by choosing another path at the signpost,
taking with you growing resentment?

Even if choice is possible
when passion takes hold
could you handle the threat
where you’d be left cultivating,
suppressing potential remorse
while encouraging
danger at the next turn?

Maybe a creative solution lies
within the passage to silence;
a place of reason
out of sight of the flickering kindle
that threatens to ignite the inferno?

So, when injustice moves plates
that grind in your head
when the crust feels a tremor
causing bead bleeds on temple veins
with no time for contemplation
would you choose evacuation?

Maybe beating the retreat
might diminish the recoil
before distress ascends
to the loneliness of anger.

Sending you scurrying
deeper into the river of your mind
to aftermath moments
where a smouldering swirl fuels regret
as flames lick at the feet of consequence
leaving your charred remains
to sizzle in the bullrush.

© David Ratcliffe

David Ratcliffe is a poet, playwright, lyricist and short story writer from the North West of England. He is a member of the international poetry study group Worldly Worders. He has been published in a number of magazines both on-line and in print. In 2016 his poem ‘Home Straight’ featured at the Fermoy International Festival.  The stage play ‘Intervention’ was produced for World Peace Day.

The main influences on his writing include; Ted Hughes, Ann Sexton, W. D. Snodgrass, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski, James Baldwin, Pablo Neruda and his favourite poet Philip Larkin. His poetry has been published in the following publications: Poetry Pacific Magazine, TRR Poetry, Sixteen Magazine, Mad Swirl  Tulip Tree Review (Print Version) Oddball Magazine, Poem Hunter, THE BeZINE, Creative Talents Unleashed, Drawn to the Light Press, Live Encounters and The Galway Review.  His poem ‘He Crawled’ was placed third for the Pushcart Prize in the Blue Nib magazine in 2018.

Also, in 2018 his poem ‘Pour me a Vision’ featured in VatsalaRadhakeesoon.wordpress.com for Dylan Thomas Day. His debut collection ‘Through an Open Window’ was released in August 2021.  David’s website contains poems from his book, along with new works. https://david-ratcliffe.squarespace.com/

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