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John P Webber

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Had Van Gogh Had a Day Job
by John P Webber   

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Books by John P Webber
· The Mischling
· A Slow Boat to Moscow
· Stan's Highway
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Publisher:  Indigo Dreams Publishing ISBN-10:  0955358981 Type: 


Copyright:  30th November 2008 ISBN-13:  9780955358982

Indigo Dreams
Indigo Dream Publishing

A collection of poems

A collection of poems


The smallest flicker of the brow,
the raising of the thermostat
by one degree,
the getting out of bed
just as I am turning,
the almost imperceptible
sugar in my tea.

You used to wash as I dried,
now it’s left
to the machine
and the ebbing
of the tide.

Every inch of skin
I used to love
now bones fleshed in contention;
To live with you
I have to lose the plot,
suspend my disbelief.

How well you know me.

Professional Reviews

Had Van Gogh Had a Day Job - review by Bernard M Jackson
Back here again,
with so much river passed,
there are certain scenes
to which a soul must keep returning,
without needing to know why.

The Valley Farm (Constable’s Last Suffolk picture)

Isn’t it truly amazing how the threads of circumstance can play upon one’s mind to such an extent that eventually, in many such instances, a poem is born? Indeed, not only does the title-poem of this fascinating collection give rise to the projected possibilities of its implied supposition, but effectively brings into sharper focus the work of a poet who is also, apparently, something of an artist, and therefore a person whose wealth of descriptive imagery constantly strives to faithfully recapture the tone, colour and very essence of each inspirational moment, as it lights upon his canvas, or otherwise emerges, in words, in the form of a poem:

There was something about the smell of the sea
and the way that the clouds occasionally
blocked the sun;
as though the earth
was trying to align
at just the right angle,
at just the right moment.

First Kiss

London-born John Webber has impressed greatly with his recently submitted poems to the IDP Booklet Competition, and such was the quality of his work that he was subsequently declared one of the worthy winners. His neatly-crafted poems range from the purely reflective to humour of the highly improbable, but even his occasional incursions into slapstick are handled with the skill and sensitivity of a mature writer. In his poem Run Away and Join the Circus, for instance, his imagination would seem to threaten to run riot through a progression of fantasised illusions, until ultimately called to order, in the concluding verse, with a terse, remembered utterance, purportedly echoing the prophetic words of the horse-riding lady who figures in the poem.

As John’s career occupation is firmly rooted in the computer field of industry, he is frequently thus technically engrossed, even on obliged train journeys; and two of his included poems, Young Woman Knitting on a Train, and, An Accidental Meeting Beneath the Sea, respectively tell of his distractions, from such ongoing tasks, by (in either case) the allure of an attractive lady Fellow-passenger:

Her autumnal beauty
accompanied me
en-dessous de la Manche
as she briefly slept
in the tunnel’s dark,
cheered my journey’s end
with hers beginning;
the ticket allocations
sometimes leave their mark.

An Accidental Meeting Beneath the Sea

The unrestrained passion of John’s romantic poem, End of a Drought, meanwhile, contrasts startlingly with the sombre mood of phlegmatic resignation permeating the ensuing poem Familiarity, in which the stark realisation of one’s advancing years is very much to the fore:

To live with you
I have to lose the plot,
suspend my disbelief.

How well you know me.


But by far the pièce de résistance, for me, within this excellent collection is John’s concluding poem, To the Palace of Bakhchiserai. Set in 16-verses of varying shape and length, this longer Free-verse inclusion describes with disarming simplicity, his journey to the Ukraine and parts of Asia Minor; at the same time, interweaving references to the writer, Pushkin, and the outcome of the tragedy immortalized in that writer’s famous poem, ‘The Fountains of Bakhchiserai’. Altogether a fine selection of poems, 30 in all, by a warm-hearted, approachable wordsmith who, poem by poem, unfailingly rings just the right note in his commensurate blend of pertinent mood and ascribed detail of perception.

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