Stonehenge, Bottle, Loss – three poems by Marcus Bales

Not much is known about MARCUS BALES, except that he lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, and his work has not appeared in Poetry or The New Yorker. His latest book is 51 Poems; reviews and information at


Here I am at last amid these stones

Watching as some hippie tries and fails

To hear the English tones or semi-tones 

From rocks once hauled a hundred miles from Wales;

Spiritually, I feel out-gunned

By others dancing barefoot, walking shod,

Or simply standing staring upward, stunned,

Imagining they feel some local god.

I still myself and reach both out and in

To feel the feelings they appear to feel.

The scent of grass, the light air on my skin,

But nothing seems to stretch beyond the real

From here and now to back to well before

The Saxons, Celts, or Normans came ashore.


In 1815 Joshua Bales, as well-known 

As any artist’s model, was a handsome man. 

Double-jointed, slim, with muscle-tone

That artists loved to paint, he soon began 

His trips to France, where many more could see

His nimble poses, not least of which was on

“The Raft of the Medusa”, which won the Prix

D’Or in the 1819 Paris Salon.

Earlier, to earn his work permit,

He’d posed for the same artist in a glass

Container even he could barely fit

Inside – a painting lost to time, alas,

     So family lore’s the only way we know

     That Joshua fit the bottle of Gericault.


South from Starcross lies the Cockwood Sod,

The bay along to Dawlish Warren known

For sandy beaches. We’d walk past Cockwood’s squad

Of older houses built of rubble stone

Against the marsh beneath the Cofton Hill

On which we’d picnic from the hamper you

Prepared and I would carry. The path is still

A lovely walk alone. I’m making do.

The poet says that we will all live on

So long as we’re remembered. I recall

You every day, the summer’s fruiting antiphon

Of joyousness to winter’s coming pall.

     As you implored, I try to laugh and sing,

     But I cannot imagine any spring.

Paris and Helen

Not much is known about MARCUS BALES except he lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, and his work has not appeared in Poetry or The New Yorker. His latest book is 51 Poems; reviews and information at

Paris and Helen

Perhaps the April sun shone every day

And I do not remember. Did the rain

Exclude us from our choice out-door café

While through the glass we watched it spot the Seine?

We lived in bed, and ordered in. The staff

Would chase us out to change the sheets and air

The room, and chide us with a knowing laugh

To see some of the city while we’re there.

Since we were born to work and serve, not rule

A Mycenaean city-state, we had

To leave at last to travel back to school,

And stop the pale pretence that we were mad

And bad. She married some old wealthy plod.

I get a smile and a recherché nod.