Twenty Words – Poetry Workshop with Quinton Duval


Take a moment to listen between the missing lines

Hear your heart as the beats count down

pulsing under scars that whisper

I’m still here.

Are you really, deeply listening?

Through cracked pane of window glass

the clang, clang of train rumbles past

in competition and your mind chases iron tracks.

Scratching pens on poets’ pads,

a cough, a sigh, a noisy worry,

a tall red drum rests in the corner silent

Yet even that – the lack of drumming, distracts

Take a moment and relax.

Can you hear those ten words or better, twenty?

The ones that if you had to choose

you could not live without?

Now – Focus

Jot them down quickly

Don’t judge them, let them fall

like scattered cells of finished skin:

children, laughter, thunder, rain, mountain, feathers, silver bark, lovers, sunlight,

autumn, meadows, spring, elk, green, home, blue, horse, gold, stream



Filed under Poetry, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Twenty Words – Poetry Workshop with Quinton Duval

  1. As Richard Pryor said…”I’m not dead yet” so I am able to enjoy this wonderful poem that you wrote…thanks…I enjoyed it!

    • I’m so glad, thanks for reading it. I heard on Monday that Quinton Duval died. I scrambled round and gathered up his poems, re-read them and then remembered the workshop I attended 2 summers ago. He did half a day with my group. This poem was written based on notes and lines I scribbled in that room. The editor of “Poetry Now” e-mailed and asked me to write something for the next issue, which will be dedicated to him, so after I polished up and finished the poem, I wrote a page for the magazine. How sad to lose a wonderful poet like him, yet happy us for still reading his words. I hope you’re planning on sticking around for a long time. You have much in you yet to share with budding old writers and readers like me.

  2. Don’t judge them, let them fall/like scattered cells of finished skin:

    twenty words that illicit many feelings and visualizations. I hate to admit I am unfamiliar with Quinton Duval’s work. I will visit some some thanks to you. Thanks for this poem.

    • I recommend his book “Joe’s Rain.” It’s a collection of 20 years’ work and covers the tragically sad, the deeply content and all the in-betweens in a voice that makes you feel as if Quinton is walking right beside you, hand in hand. A true humanist and such a gentle man. It was easy to like him.

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