Neruda and the Bishop’s Heart and other poems

by John Saunders


Neruda and the Bishop’s Heart

Life is only a borrowing of bones

he said, his heart  coming to town

where he was treated like a heretic,

when they could not tell the difference.


They were dead even before the ship sank,

birds flying high over halted bodies,

revealing truth to those who watched.


The body that gives pleasure is the same one

that gives pain, the difference – perception .



The River Took Her


She came of the earth,

was of earth.

Breathed the air,

was of air.

Drank the water,

was of water.

She was of earth, air, water.

She ate the earth,

left the air.

Returned to the water.



I and the Village


Did you mean to forecast the future

where an upside-down world would dance

to the dogma of conflict and nationhood?

They look at each other, demon eyes

locked like sheep  in trenches

close enough to hear breathing,  smell blood

or perhaps it’s the frenzied

play of colour and shape

that spurns the natural order of things.


I and the Village 1911 –  Marc Chagall




John Saunders’ first collection ‘After the Accident was published in 2010 by Lapwing Press, Belfast. His poems have appeared in Revival, The Moth Magazine, Crannog, Prairie Schooner Literary Journal (Nebraska), Sharp Review, The Stony Thursday Book, Boyne Berries, Riposte, and on line, The Smoking Poet, Minus Nine Squared, The First Cut, The Weary Blues, Burning Bush 2, Weekenders, The Galway Review, Poetry Bus and poetry 24.

John is one of three featured poets in  Measuring,  Dedalus New Writers published by Dedalus Press in May 2012.

His second full collection is due to be published in Spring 2013 by New Binary Press.


Art by Sheila Lanham