Mark Tarren

Mark Tarren is a poet and writer who lives on remote Norfolk Island in the South Pacific.

His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various literary journals including The New Verse News, The Blue Nib, Poets Reading The News, Street Light Press, Spillwords Press, Tuck Magazine and Impspired Magazine. He is currently working on a collection of poetry and a novel.

The Absence of Tears: Silentium

 There is something moving away from us,
 outside that last known field
 of tenderness.
 Here, at the edge of this dream.
 When there were still tears —
 that trembling, last known thing.
 Before we raised our flags for monsters
 that by our own hand,
 has crafted us all wretches common.
 Where, in between the pity and terror
 of our lives,
 we could still find the last tree to plant
 or the first flower that once held us.
 For now, dry eyes are killing us
 from inside quiet, clean respectable rooms
 and the tongue that tells them so
 is cursed,
 for their darkness has cowed
 the better part of them.
 For now, here in
 The Silent Garden,
 inside the glory of a hidden life,
 I can hear them pass over
 my doorway,
 hear the wind underneath my bed,
 hear the rattle of that broken
 thing inside them,
 like a child’s toy.
 For in the absence of tears
 grows in the dry earth,
 the flowers of evil —
 that trembling, last known thing. 


 When things came against him
 he was always aware of its cursive darkness.
 Such as tonight, when an unguarded moment
 attempts to change his world of words.
 In their boarded-up cottage of love
 a bullet sings against 
 the arms of intimacy
 holed across the wind-blown wood.
 Under the halls of their bed 
 they hide all their little hopes
 in the shared singular clarity
 of their own desolations. 
 Where — 
 the needle etches across
 the vinyl trenches 
 as Al Bowlly sings 
 My Hat's on the Side of My Head.
 And the war is very far away 
 wrapped up in the warmth 
 of cardigans, cigarettes 
 and cheap vignettes.
 We all have to dance within 
 our little circles of freedom.
 In our very small incomplete wars 
 out here —
 at the edge of the world.

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