Mark Reed – Two Poems

???????????????????????????????Mark Reed* lives in London with his wife Louise. He has a background in marketing communications and whilst he still works as a consultant he now spends much of his time writing, broadcasting and working in the area of voice-overs. He is currently working on his first collection of poetry.


Cormorants and swans

An Atlantic Friday in Galway.
Stoic, the ladies in their see-through waterproof bonnets
lean through the elements.
Perms will remain permanent today.

In Eyre Square dogs bark to themselves
and an old vagrant continues to read Tuesday’s Mirror
fag perched cleaning-lady style
crumpling pages to a bin as she goes.

On Shop Street buskers strum their stuff.
Outside the King’s Head
Father Christmas like, a bearded man plays three instruments at once.
He’s happy.

In Dubray Books, Mary awaits her next learned reader
fine works here
no Mills and Boon,
Wilde’s more the fare.

In Quay Street bars offer homage,
heated by a thousand bodies
ice melts fast.
Artists hard at work.

At street’s end the wind picks up,
Father Griffin’s hoolie.
The Corrib lives today
fed by her bloated mother upstream.

Weirs plume peat coloured water baywards
past eel traps
and the blue Cathedral pierces a darkening sky.


The Final Call

We sped to a crying widow,
a fine hotel
but what does that matter now?

Where it happened –
a table next to a gaming machine in a Maltese backstreet bar,
his last place a gloomy unbefitting shrine.

Passport corner clinically clipped.
“So very sorry – I liked his work.”
A thin young man not used to his words.

An orange pillbox mortuary stood alone on the hill.
White rubber aprons and oversized green boots,
staring staff waiting to see important people.

And there were none,
just us.
Those that loved him most.

*I am pleased to present here two wonderful and important poems from the pen of London based Mark Reed, the only son of film actor Oliver Reed. The Reeds are a remarkable artistic family. Mark’s great grandfather was the actor/manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree who built Her Majesty’s Theatre in London (then called His Majesty’s) and founded The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. It was Beerbohm Tree who first staged Oscar Wilde’s ‘A Woman of no Importance’. Mark’s grand uncle was the film director Sir Carol Reed, perhaps best known for ‘The Third Man’ and ‘Oliver!’ for which he received an Academy Award. His grandfather was the sportswriter Peter Reed and his father was Oliver Reed. In the poem published here, ‘The Final Call’, Mark writes for the first time about the tragic events surrounding his famous father’s untimely death while filming ‘Gladiator’. This poignant poem allows the reader to see the sad events from a very different and personal perspective. It is an important poem because it is the first time that Mark has published on the sad death of his father and we are privileged to be his publication of choice. A major factor in his allowing us to be the first to publish this poem was the warm welcome he recently received from the good people of Galway who fondly reminisced with him about his father’s boisterous visits to the city. Mark was in Galway at the time promoting the one man show ‘Wild Thing’ about his father and in his second poem published here ,‘Cormorants and Swans’, he recalls that short visit.
Gerard Hanberry
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