John RetyJohn Rety – writer, editor and publisher, chess player, anarchist and pacifist – was best known in the literary world for his contributions to poetry, especially the much loved Torriano Meeting House events and Hearing Eye press. He has published several books and pamphlets including Banal Incidents from My First Period, Song of Anarchy and Other Poems and In the Museum.


World War Two

My mother wore a paper shirt
My father wore a hat –
The metal albatrosses
Soon put a stop to that.

I see them faintly smiling still
And a bit surprised at that
For mother sweet was fond of her shirt
While father was at one with his hat.

But fate and destiny jointly declared
An unequal war on my mother’s shirt
And their metal albatrosses
Destroyed my father’s fine hat.


The would-be shoemaker

I cannot cobble up other people’s lives
To start with, I’m not a cobbler.
If I were a shoemaker
Which I’m not
I would probably construct a shoe
That nobody in their right mind
Would dare to walk on
For fear of instantly breaking its heel
Or clumsily smudge its mis-spelt soul.

(from Notebook in Hand)


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