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Pilgrim Station by Dominic James | SPM Publications Poetry

James is indeed a traveller in an ancient and modern land. A true European, he risks loss of identity in his quest to establish it and in a remarkable series of anecdotes and vignettes we share his struggle in this muscular and fragile collection.
Peter Pegnall

These are rich, satisfyingly crafted poems ...warm, luxuriant observations of distant and exotic locations that make you wish you were there, and rueful, good-humoured moments closer to home. His compass is reliable. Dominic James always has his eye on the next destination.
Greg Freeman,
Write Out loud

Publication date: 19 December, 2016
Pages: 78
ISBN: 978-0-9935035-3-5
£7.50 + P&P |
Please allow up to 7 days for delivery in the UK, 14 days in Europe and 28 days rest of the world.
Dominic James - Pilgrim Station


… he crossed the border,
         the great river bed
with cold water whispering on the pebbles

and the distant mountain, snow-capped,
         steep and hard to reach
in black fatigues, no automatic weapon,
good army boots,
         a polished buckle on his belt 
the trip, nigh on impossible

yet he was strong in arms and legs
         and at the outset
strode upon the white stone shore where he met

two grey-headed men.  One asked him: 
         What is your rank?
They were in uniform black waistcoats, dhotis,
and were unarmed
         so a break would have been easy
but the young man stood his ground,

he told them and the first one smiled.
         He smiled and said:
What is your religion?  And as the river ran

he told him and the old man smiled
         then embraced him.
When they embraced the old man’s hands
were on his head and arms
         and so he leant upon his shoulder
wept for coming home.

The Follower

He limps along on no blanched foot,
no dab of pitch to mar his looks
nor feverish rapacity,
no pimp, plays more the smooth, card sharp

dealing out the negatives
from the bottom of his pack:
a bag of nails for everyone.
The copy of a man well-met

who first appears, to men in war,
a follower, a character
sometimes seen around the fire.
He passes by, familiar

barely noticed at first sight –
or greets each man in his own tongue,
easy with the right inflection
as if he took them all for fools

but men must parlay, as a rule
nights are long when fears enclose
the spine engrafted on to sleep.
He seldom is the first to speak.

Between the hiss and glow of fires
considered then, more than a spy
more one of their own company,
a stranger from on down the line.

Beside this timeless flickering
he casts about the counsel flames’
barbed shadows in the smoky air
of orange, in the bloody cold

has leave to pass without a word,
taken for another soldier
duty bound, left undisturbed
and proved no man to talk to.


Originally from the south east, Dominic James lives near the source of the Thames in Gloucestershire with his partner, Helen. For the last decade he has worked as a bookkeeper in the sports industry. A member of Richmond’s nomadic Bright Scarf group, James attends poetry meetings up and down the M4 corridor. As a latecomer to the form, and an admirer of Lowell and Blake, he has gained ground with both the guidance and example of the poetry community at large. Besides some prizes, his work has been published at home and abroad by, among others: Ink Sweat & Tears, The Cannon’s Mouth, Sentinel Literary Quarterly and Kudzu Review. His blog needs feeding at www.djamespoetic.blogspot.co.uk

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