Crimson Flow by Stephen Kingsnorth

Stephen Kingsnorth | March 1st, 2023 | poetry | No Comments

Poet Bio

Where is the blood that marks this place,
like daubs, door lintel, chosen, spread?
Is it a signal to escape
the plague that passes overhead?

Bloodletting, leeches, draining cup,
hint of the upper room confronts,
then hell’s descent; when all is done,
talk of ascension through the air.

Foot tapping, place in queue, reserved,
as is the mood in waiting room;
Foot-pedal pumping, rising chair,
snip fast scissors, comb, clippers’ hum.

Binding fibres, gel glue applied,
smoother download, to firmer ground:
hand mirror trip round the shaved neck,
quick whisk of brush, flick cape removed.

It’s all of spin, the flow, red-white,
that upward turning of the pole
to warn, or advertise, within,
the cutthroat surgeon of the beard.

So for the doctor, dentist wait,
screened by cursor, docx applied,
in Sweeny Todd, they’re all combined,
the barber, doctor, dentist, blood.

What’s left over, flypast, drone,
siren alarm must clear the room –
the barber’s horror scene again,
sticking plaster, wisdoms gone.

Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church due to Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, including Poetry Potion.
His blog is at

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