Joan Byrne Featured Poet


viennaleopold_joanI slept with Raymond Chandler

He was terse to the point
of silence. No snoring.

No tussles over the duvet.
He didn’t kick or lash out.

Like a couple of babes,
we slept and I dreamt

of a hat, a coat and a gun.
When I came to, Ray

was flat out on the pillow,
the bookmark in place.


three novels re-viewed

Darcy, I get that you’re wealthy
and need to be wary you’re loved
for yourself, not for your fortune
but, really, how could you be so cruel
to Miss Bennett? You are fortunate,
indeed, that Miss Austen redeems you
and penned that you came to love
Elizabeth (despite her faults)
‘for the liveliness’ of her mind.
Her mind. What a novel thing to admire
in a woman.

As for you, Miss Havisham, get over it.
Others have been disappointed in love,
but were each to sit gathering dust,
why, life would be filthy. Get washed,
change your clothes. Open the windows
of your heart to more upset
and even greater expectations.

Now, Captain Ahab, sorry you lost
a leg to a whale but, let’s face it,
you behaved stupidly and animals
get hungry. Whether you needed to spend
the rest of your days risking the lives
of your crew to a white sperm
whale you called Moby-Dick
is another matter.
Too many pages later, I think not.

Published in Orbis

Joan is a poet and photographer. Her poetry is published in Obsessed With Pipework, Orbis, South Bank Poetry, Five Leaves book, Over Land, Over Sea and webzine Ink, Sweat & Tears. Nominated by StepAway Magazine for the Pushcart Prize in 2015.

Joan has read her work at the Conway Hall, pubs and literary festivals. She regularly performs in south London and beyond with the Rye Poets, a trio of poets of which she is one. They will perform at the Poetry Café’s Fourth Friday on 25 March 2016. She is a member of the Poetry Society’s Southwark Stanza.

Combining words with photography she has published two Blurb books, one documenting the zaniness of Peckham where she lives – Feckham Peckham –
and the other capturing surreal aspects of her local cemeteries – Grave Art.


5 thoughts on “Joan Byrne Featured Poet”

  1. Thanks for putting a smile on my face this morning – “Miss Havisham, get over it” – and “What a novel thing to admire in a woman”. Really good read, great analogies – thank you.

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