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James Sutherland-Smith

Cover of The Bead of Blood
Welcome to my website.
These are my latest collections published in October 2022. You can find more samples of my work under the buttons Original Work, Translation and on my Weblog I have entered a poem from each year of my writing life from 1967 to 2019. I hope I have improved over the years.

from The Bead of Blood

2 La caravane (rêve,pendant la sieste)

I dream that you’re dancing
before the caravan beds down for the night.
I only see your hands drooping from lifted wrists,
not the tremor of your hips and waist
in the midst of the plaintive music’s undulations
before you gather up your veils
and tiptoe out of the light back into modesty
leaving smoke and conversations.


Snívam o tom, že tancuješ,
skôr než sa karavána uloží na noc.
Vidím len vlnenie rúk, zdvihnuté zápästia,
nie tvoje rozochvené boky a pás
uprostred hudby, čo vibruje, narieka
predtým, než zdvihneš svoje závoje
a kráčaš po špičkách zo svetla do skromnosti,
kde dym a hlasy už vnímaš len zďaleka.

Cpver for Small-Scale Observations My new collection, Small Scale Observations, from Shearsman Books


It is near winter in Celestial County,
flat clouds over mountains ribbed with early snow,
meadows cropped by sheep to a fuzz of brown roots,
the river still flowing, a moving mirror.

I have scrambled up through beech and tall pine
from my cabin to a sparser fantasy,
an avenue of aspen, clusters of birch
behind which could be shapes of beasts I can’t name.

I wish to see the angels who ride up here
on their grey stallions, high in the saddle
yet easy at a gallop, Wyoming style,
their yelps neither anathema nor blessing.

But the space is empty, the distances meek.
Above me I watch a hawk fold its wings and drop.

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