Three Poems by James Bell

after the rain

no birds were sent out
to try and find dry land
so no dove returned
with a leaf or its like
held in the beak as a sign
that our travail with mud
and water-logged fields
had ended as flocking birds
like green finches are no good
for solo flights as a crowd
would confuse the task
fly in a perfect arc all day
and still expect to be fed – also
a glimpse of sun is no oracle
for it rained again last night as if
to say start to build now –
we have wood ready
something nobody else has done
in spite of contrary weather reports –
we know just where we are
the correct tools have been ordered
while neighbours call us paranoid


in search of a sign

the restaurant is busy with lunch
and a small spider
slips inside the door
invisible to diners and staff –
pauses on a large brown tile
as if it too could be another client
who waits for a sign to be seated – then
perhaps impatient it scuttles
on all eight legs further inside –
it is hot outside and the sun beams down
on the entrance of the spider
like a floodlight –
I eat fresh bread and sip some wine
hope this spider dines well on some fly in a corner


you and your smart phone

the face of your smart phone is smashed in –
still rings
and makes an electronic ping for email

I assume it has some kind of sentimental value
even when
the plastic crackles as you text

vitriol or words of compassion
in lower case –
it’s another way to reply indignantly

wonder if you winged it for target practice
or threw it across the room
as a substitution for scratching out eyes

I see it’s now kept as a memorial
for whatever raison d’être –
at times held cradled under your chin

last seen it lay dead in a fruit bowl on the table
screen grey with a diagonal crack
a crushed corner as if stood on violently

I know there has not been reconciliation
only a resurrection
of one gigabyte before the divorce is absolute


James Bell is Scottish and now lives in France. He has written and published poetry for twenty years. At present he is at work on his first short story collection.

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