Grant Tarbard – 2 poems

Vase of Caged Birds

after Flock of Paper Birds by John McCullough

I hurt for the father of my childhood to be gone.

I enamelled the thunder of his anger

into a vase of caged birds. They scratch out

alphabets with their keratin nibs, 

writing chainmail into my flesh, trailing        

like a dropping feather from the sky


into this poem, retching ribbons of nouns

as morning robins. A blackbird


makes its presence known, settling

on my tongue as an empty house


of dove-white words, making my father        

as translucent as the stem of a feather.



The Uterus Encyclopaedic 

She felt the grim maul of a cheap suited 

surgeon’s thumbs inside her birth canal,

nodding the plum feathers of gas and air

she felt the downy hush of a needle 

going into her spine, riddling across

the dispatches of her skin. We held hands 

as the likeliness of witnessing a 

transfiguration occurrence became 

Lilliputian. The point we joked about,

that you couldn’t award vital existence,

is acquiesced. Exquisitely grotesque,

your pink tissue origami stretches 

like an open encyclopaedia,

all the bawling world does a belly flop.


Grant Tarbard is the author of ‘Loneliness is the Machine that Drives the World’ (Platypus Press) and ‘Rosary of Ghosts’ (Indigo Dreams). His new pamphlet ‘This is the Carousel Mother Warned You About’ (Three Drops Press) and new collection ‘dog’ (Gatehouse Press) will be out this year.


Grant Tarbard – 2 poems 

 A Thought Captured 

inspired by Le Penseur by Auguste Rodin



in monument 

captured the persona

of a thought that bubbles away

in bronze.





A Trip to Cythera 

inspired by The Embarkation for Cythera by Jean-Antoine Watteau


Régence’s amorous revelry 

celebrates love with a staff of cupids flying,


ink absorbed sensuousness,

an acid bathed statue of Venus within the knotty stump.


Diana splashed with vermillion in a glaze, 

the anatomy of light in their passionate delicateness.


The party seem to be leaving rather than arriving,

at the foot of the hill the golden boat of wispy brushstrokes waits


with increasingly transparent sails, a hesitancy of moths wings,

a tryst glancing back fondly at the goddess’s sacred grove.


The hazy landscape is a puzzle-box

not giving anything up whether it is dawn or dusk.




Grant Tarbard is an editorial assistant for Three Drops From A Cauldron and a reviewer. His new collection Rosary of Ghosts (Indigo Dreams) will be released soon.