Your Eyes

Your eyes

   are bluer than the skies

      of summer. They shine more brightly

         than heavenly stars that sparkle nightly.

No finer line

   could ever define

      a shape more perfect in design.

         One look and I'm enraptured —


They have the power to hypnotise —

   your lovely eyes!

Copyright © Robert Haigh 1996

***          ***          ***          ***

For my wife






Author's Notes/Comments: 

This poem was a regional winner in the National Poetry Anthology competition of the United Kingdom for 2010. Three entries were selected from each region. My region was West Yorkshire, with a population of well over two million, and I was naturally delighted to learn of my win. However, after reading the forms I was obliged to sign, granting the publishers the right to publish my poem, I decided not to sign, and I withdrew my poem! By signing, I would retain full copyright, but the publishers clearly expected me to buy at least one copy of the anthology and I refused to do this. If my poem was to be published, I wanted it to make me a little money, not cost me money! The only poet to make any money out of the venture was the overall national winner, who received £1,000 in cash plus a handsome trophy to keep for life. All the other regional winners received no royalties at all!

When the publication came out, I was astonished to receive a free copy, even though my poem was not in it (I had, of course, refused them permission to publish it). My poem was replaced by that of a woman from Leeds. Even though I unexpectedly received a free book, I still think I made the right decision, and I have not submitted any poem for possible publication since. I may self-publish a selection of my poetry one day, but then again, probably not.

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allets's picture

awwwwww Shucks!

Pretty wife of Yorkshire! She knows how lucky YOU are!


Poetry a specialized audience - usually pay in copies. I sold a poem for $100.00 once in 50 years. HIPology - got 150 copies - sold em for $10.00. Book sold out in two years - publisher got profits. I get the historical notation. My co-editor died. 

2 Years ago got in Anthology of UK Authors. No compensation but hey, international publication - okay. Site closed. Okay - they have books to sell, I have a story to tell. :D




Silver_Birch's picture


Only a select few make money from poetry. I had several poems published in anthologies during the 1990s but I soon tired of that, as I never received any royalties! All I ever received was ONE free book — I had to buy the others in order to see my own name in print! So, I called it a day on the book publishing front, and settled for posting on line for free. An American friend of mine, who sadly died this year, had three poetry books and a novel published. I don't think the poetry books made her any money (and she was really good!) but the novel sold close to 1,000 copies, making her a modest profit. It is hard to break even, let alone make any money from publishing. Thanks for reading, and for your input. All we can do is keep on writing!

patriciajj's picture

Besides mesmerizing the

Besides mesmerizing the reader with a sharp focus and dazzling descriptions, so effectively that we feel we are peering into those same spellbinding eyes, you reinforce the magic with the shrewd use of indentation: the cascading movement of the dropped lines suggest a sense of breathlessness while caught in the gaze of enchanting eyes.


Congratulations on your award; whether or not you accepted it does not diminish your achievement. Poetry publishing today is a labor of love with publishers usually losing money or just breaking even. Most publishers require a reading fee to even look at your work, something I refuse to do on principle.  But self-publishing is entirely different because you keep the rights and maintain complete control over your work. To have a collection published traditionally has about the same odds of happening as winning the lottery, especially if you're like me and don't want to pay to submit your work or give up creative control or jump through the same hoops to promote it as you would if self-publishing. 


I'm finding myself in the same conundrum. 


This is a truly exceptional expression. A joy to read. 



Silver_Birch's picture

Thank you

Thank you, Patricia, for your gracious comments. Before submitting this poem in the contest I asked my wife is she would mind at all, it being quite a personal poem. She said she didn't mind sharing it with a wider audience, so I went ahead. In the end it didn't matter, due to my own actions. But such is life. Very few people make any money from poetry. I have more than thirty poetry books in my possession, but poetry is a specialised field, and I don't think many people buy such books, sadly.

Starward's picture

This is a beautiful poem. 

This is a beautiful poem.  The stanzas seem to move on the page, and the rhyme scheme keeps that momentum going.  As for paying to be published, while I, too, dislike the concept, I learned, some years ago, that the poet I admire most---Thomas S. Jones, Jr., a great spiritual poet who was forgotten in the crashing, crushing tide of modernism---paid to have his first book of poems published.  That book is worth thousands now, if a copy can be located.  I have been blessed with obtaining, at a very low and reasonable cost, a copy of his final collection, autographed by the editor who posthumously put it together.  That is probably as close as I am going to get to Jones, until (and this is a big if) I can travel out of state to visit his gravesite.  Then, of course, in Heaven . . .

   I applaud your skillful use of those stanzas, and the way you set them forth on the page/screen.  Was this the same form you submitted to that publisher for the contest?  This form, and this poem, deserved to win much more.  I am very glad you have shared it with postpoems!


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Silver_Birch's picture

Thank you

Thank you, Starward, for your generous praise regarding this poem. In answer to your question: yes, this poem has always been formulated in such a way. Back then, in the 1990's, I wrote every poem out by hand — I still often do that, although some of my poems are now written directly onto my computer screen. For some reason I wrote this poem in the indented manner that you see. It just seemed right for this poem, somehow. Glad you liked it.