About Alan Reynolds

Poet born and raised in North Carolina and now after a sojourn in England a long-time resident of the Netherlands. More than 3,000 poems, many published in US and UK literary magazines and on CD and in books.

An Egret’s Search for One Good Human (Episode 1)

An Egret’s Search for One Good Human

‘Why can’t you be nice?’ I asked.
‘We can’t, because we’re people,’
the humans beings replied.

The birds and the other beings
nodded. ‘That’s the truth,’
they all said together.

‘If you are born a human
you’ll be bad.’
I wanted a different answer.

‘Can’t some of them change?’
I asked. I saw shaking heads.
‘Maybe,’ said one chicken.

She walked to the people.
They killed her dead
just because they could.

Exit Left

We listened but we didn’t do a thing.
Oh, Samantha marched, and Luther read a list,
and I chaired meetings. Glenda did I Ching.
And none of us believed apologists

for industries who claimed their little bits
of damage to our home lands weren’t so bad.
But Do? But Fight? A third of us signed chits
demanding less pollution. We were glad

we’d been so active, while we’d stayed polite.
We stayed on in the cities. We consumed.
The storm clouds thickened; we turned up the light
and read our anthems while the rockets zoomed

and birth control was honoured in the breech.
Jehovah gave his day job up to teach.

Drawbridge by the Drommedaris

Haze eats the horizon as I stand my watch.
Flocked swallows settle in a second then
flit up into the one remaining swatch
of sky the storm clouds have not painted in.
A woman hangs wet watch to catch the wind.
A yellow duckling bobbles in boats’ wakes
and boys dive where the inner harbour takes
its leave of city and runs to the sea.
The grey comes down as softly as the flakes
of bridge paint that the rust and time set free.

The Drommedaris, built starting in 1540, is a historic fortress tower in Enkhuizen that is now used as a cultural centre and for special events.

Questioning Anon’s Logic

Logic by ‘Anon’ from The Faber Book of Useful Verse, edited by Simon Brett, 1981, p. 127.

Good wine maketh good blood.
Good blood maketh good humours.
Good humours maketh good thoughts.
Good thoughts bring forth good works.
Good works carry a man to heaven.
Ergo. Good wine carrieth a man to heaven.

For wine to make good blood, or even bad,
requires a highly fictive evolution.
And humours, unless the poet ‘Anon’ means fluids,
are not the same as blood in any way.
That humours might engender benign works
is so far figurative that it has no meaning,
for all of history teaches that good thoughts
result in nothing often, or in works
as often bad as good, so how can this,
this homily from ‘Anon,’ be any proof
there even is a heaven, much less one
to which a man gets carried if he drinks?

whip ugly stick

listening to hopkins whip an ugly stick
listening to hopkins whip an ugly stick
looking over mountains never seen

a lonesome dream intruding on the blues
a lonesome dream intruding on these blues
money crisis creeps across the world

people choosing to think that they are choosing
people choosing to think that they are choosing
which side they will elect to rule the losing

bird serenading to an empty nest
bird serenading to an empty nest
black bird singing to a whitewashed empty nest

one more time most of the people failing
one more time most of the people failing
to see the cliffs they are building to jump off

foreign worker needing nails to drive
foreign worker needing nails to drive
into the cross the rich man make him carry

free from your last spell you seek out another
free from your last spell you seek out another
can’t think about the things you made me do

dancing with my arms out like a windmill
dancing with my arms out like a mill
wondering what i’ll do if the music starts

hearing riffs and seeing candy dancers
seeing necromancers hearing stiffs
gandy dancers standing on my hands

slow tunes escaping from my weary head
slow tunes escaping from my weary head
bald as the goat found drowned at john o’groats

Altea Dawn

A shadow, first this week, slips on the stones
and falls in place. The plaza comes to life.
A sparrow watches cats cart off the bones
of cutlets from the tasca. Sparrow’s wife
welcomes back the sun with song and cluck
and curtsies to the cats as they pad by,
pause to stretch, and wonder if their luck
extends to lunch on sparrow. Worth a try?
A lizard who’s anticipating flies
tries his tongue out, flicking at the light
reflecting from the broken glass that lies
where the waiter let it fall last night.
I let the hot cortado chase my yawn
and thanks my stars for sun. Altea dawn.