Saturday, 5 September 2015


With what saccharine poisons am I thus afflicted?
To whose laced dart have I grown addicted?
Soft needle-like prickle, come closer to me!
Leave me bristled and splintered, delicately.
Lay me down sweetly; let’s make as a vine,
Constricting each other as we intertwine.
Throbbing lush bramble, pulsing with fruit:
Tempt me, spined fiend -- succulent brute!
Whet me and sate me, leave yourself at my lip,
And let me nourish myself at your hip.
May spike-feathered edges act as our tether;
Hooked gently, calmly, bounded together.
Come, sweet gardener! Make knotweed with me!
Let’s make this earth’s lawn our foul sanctuary.

L.R. Chapman
from Modern Melancholy, 2013

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Sonnet V

Ere long I shall be fodder for the earth:
My laurels turned to peat; my bones to dust.
Obituarors may well contend my worth,
Their posthumous contumely surely just.
Thrust forth towards life's only certainty,
Yet not a crumb of comfort does it bring,
The earthly but sublime facticity:
A dirge we all are duty-bound to sing.
An unentitled grasp into the void,
As meaning splinters hotly in the hand;
All incidental vestiges destroyed -
Condemned though sat behind the witness stand.
To pass the darkness on suggests no crime
But sentences the blameless for all time.

By L.R. Chapman
from Modern Melancholy, 2014


Temple, you have served me well,
With fields of verdant hue,
Your flora strewn on every peak
And trough within my view.

Beyond the hedge your willows weep,
As does my pining eye,
And pheasants now traverse the fields
Where as a child I lie.

Appease me with your gentle streams
And woods of amber-grey!
Shroud me with your peacock-sky
Forever and a day!

Walk me to the water's edge
Down by your mossy dell,
Then let me think about my past
Which once I knew so well.

By L.R. Chapman
from Modern Melancholy, 2004

I Would I Were a Nightingale

I would I were a nightingale so high among the trees,
To bend with every chorus line and dance upon the breeze.
To lark about with field-mice on idle summer days,
And bask beneath the setting sun’s delightful golden rays.
To swoop and soar ad libitum with wind beneath my wings,
To revel in the wonderment that Mother Nature brings.
Maintaining anonymity upon my garden seat:
So rarely seen but daily heard; unendingly discreet.
But O! Perhaps there’s more to my desire than meets the eye:
My wish for boundless roaming in a never-ending sky;
My dream for total weightlessness and unencumbered flight,
To sleep amid the canopy for every day and night.
I would I were a nightingale if only for a day,
To look down on this barren world and quickly fly away.

By L.R. Chapman
from Modern Melancholy, 2011

Friday, 11 October 2013

Sonnet IV

Consult me not on matters of the heart,
For dabbling in such a gambler’s game
Made blind my senses from the very start
And martyred me but gave no cause for fame.
Enchantment wily caught me unaware,
And though I wrested fervently, I failed;
The fox’s den became my greatest snare:
Thenceforth my soul was forcibly assailed.
Traverse with heed the snaking path ahead,
For though lush verges flank you all about,
Childlike, into darkness, you’ll be led,
Indelibly, to spend a life in doubt.
And though insensible, at my behest,
My counsel, truly, seeks for you the best.

By L.R. Chapman
from Modern Melancholy, 2013 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Ode to LSE

LSE, oh LSE,
I walked onto your territory:
The deathly stares
And hateful glares
Caught me rather unawares.

Don’t get me wrong now, LSE,
I’m for collegiate amity:
It’s UCL
Who come from hell
(And Royal Holloway as well).

C’mon, let’s face it, LSE,
We’re not so different, you and me:
We’ve brains aplenty,
(Some landed gentry),
But you didn’t make the World Top 20…

Now, I’ll be honest, LSE,
Despite my wish for bonhomie,
I can’t abide
Your poisonous pride,
Alas, our postcodes coincide.

So, while we’re neighbours, LSE,
Cut down on the hostility:
Don’t make us wait,
We’ll get irate,
And on your porch we’ll defecate.

By L.R. Chapman
from Modern Melancholy, 2013

Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Darkling Dove

To give a voice to this malaise should pull me from this darkling haze,
Confession to my journal only cannot efface my being lonely.
A world of opportunity exists for everyone but me:
Kept away from life’s array much like a captive bird of prey.
And how absurd seemeth this choice of compromise and noiseless voice,
The man to whom I freely paired became this net where I’m ensnared;
The only wingspan I can boast is thwarted by my hostile host,
Forefend the thought that I should fly -- to seek fulfilment in the sky!
Nay! Remain a flightless dove, endure this parody of love!
Now players stand where persons lay and husks of passion fade away.
Should I thus mourn the us of old? The hottest spring that turneth cold?
Why did we dig our nuptial grave? A casualty we could not save.
Our pronoun now an entity of paramount absurdity,
Where is the “we” that once I knew? The “he” I grew attachment to?
The Myth of the Immutable has proved itself refutable.
Now may this fledgling find her wings to seek a life of greater things.

By L.R. Chapman
from Modern Melancholy, 2013

Wednesday, 6 March 2013


Schopenhauer, O Schopenhauer,
Your words ring truer by the hour,
How fraught with such outlandish strife
Is this absurdity called life.

We move from fully-quenched to thirst,
From failure to a double first,
From hopeless boredom, true ennui:
We suffer never-endingly.

Not least we face the fear of death,
And choking on our final breath;
But even if will simply sleep,
Those left behind shall wildly weep.

And yet to cut our sentence short,
Though tempting as a last resort,
Proclaims a winner this mighty curse
Whose fanfare taunts us in the hearse.

So stare the darkness in the eye,
And listen to its wistful cry:
Do not impart this wretched fate,
On anyone but those you hate.

By L.R. Chapman 2013
from Modern Melancholy

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Sketches: Pencil and Pen

Self-portrait in pencil.

Still Life with Crystal Jug, Wooden Spoon and Banana in pencil.

Nude male in pencil (after G. Klimt)

Lobster in Biro

Crab in Biro

Self-portrait in pencil.

Acrylic paintings of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Costello.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Ubi Sunt

I miss the things I never had
And dream in days gone by;
I long for summer nights beneath
An ever-planeless sky.

I want for honest craftsmanship
And knowledge bought for free:
I strive to resurrect such
Unpretentious artistry.

I hunger on the final page
Of every ancient script,
And deconstruct until I breach
Its undefilรจd crypt.

I revel in the consciousness
Of such philosophy,
And feel myself transported by
The Hand of History.

But O! The hand becomes a fist,
And from my dream I waken:
Aware again of time and place
And how my soul’s forsaken.

My heart belongs to yesteryear
With Dryden, Keats and Pope:
To live as long, in memory,
Is my sincerest hope.

By L.R. Chapman
from Modern Melancholy, 2013