This blog's poems are from my published poetry book Star Steeds and Other Dreams: The Collected Poems (CFZ Press: Bideford, 2009) and are © Dr Karl P.N. Shuker, 2009. Except for author-credited review purposes, it is strictly forbidden to reproduce any of these poems elsewhere, either in part or in entirety, by any means, without my written permission.

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Wednesday, 23 March 2011


The following poem owes its creation to a very curious snatch of conversation that I happened by chance to overhear one day on the radio, in which the speaker was contemplating whether it might be that many of the people that we casually pass by without interaction or see only from a distance are nothing more than ghosts, mere phantoms. And so, from this remarkable muse, sprang ‘Phantasia’ (constituting, incidentally, the longest single sentence to appear in any of my writings!).


Hear the echo of a lifetime
Doomed forever more to last,
Or a murmur drifting backwards
From the theatres of the past,

Whirling softly through a vortex
Spinning deep in silent Space
Like a whirlpool in the heavens,
Or an eye within a face

Gazing outwards, yet unseeing,
Pale as Dawn’s auroral birth
From the snowy dreams of slumber
Shrouding velvet, verdant Earth,

Like an unseen clock vibrating
As its lifetime ebbs away,
While its fingers trace the seconds
Of another unborn day

Through the silhouettes cast downwards
From the shadows of the stars,
Now a host of winging phantoms
From a distant world afar,

Flitting slowly through the evening
As the planets e’er rotate,
Each a windmill in a spiral
On a shining, spangled plate

Spinning outwards e’er to nowhere
In their orbit round their lord,
While lugubrious crescendos
Chase like half-forgotten chords

In a lonely helter-skelter
Through the avenues of Time;
They – the spheres’ eternal music –
Lacking syllables or rhyme,

Drifting downwards through the starlight
Lest their meaning fades away
To a ghost upon the moorlands
Of an evanescent day

Ever seeking ‘midst the future
For a future of its own,
As the souls of Past and Present
Soar like cloudlets to the throne

Of a duplicated kingdom
On Time’s unknown, farthest side,
Where their memory still lingers,
Round its universe to glide,

While they merge with more illusions –
None is real, for none can be
In this pseudo-world of Shadow
Cast from vacant Destiny

Like a set of footprints chasing
After footprints of their own,
Or a pool’s encircling ripples
Running rings around a stone;

Yet their messengers are present
In a hundred other lands,
Groping ever through their darkness
Like a metamorphic hand,

E’en within our crowded suburbs
‘Midst their noisy, raucous hosts,
Who could guess that most are shadows,
Mindless images, just ghosts?

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