Today I stop to photograph
a backroad milestone which reclines
in fescue and rough dandelions.
The miles ahead, the miles behind.

Simple numbers all declaring
how far we’ve travelled from our source,
and how much further we may go
along our crooked, shrinking, course.

Perhaps some poet rested here,
to interrupt her daily walk,
and from this sun-blessed stone observed
a beetle toiling through the stalks?

“Poor Sisyphus! We’re all mere slaves,
fraught with delusions of freewill,
each strapped into our given yoke
while pushing rocks up endless hills”

The unschooled bug made no reply.
The sun, in yellow shimmer-chains,
stepped west across its prison yard.
My poet rose, moved off again.

I watch the breeze flow through the grass,
then photograph the shadow-trees
cast on the stone. I turn my back,
as time counts down, relentlessly.

Selected byJordan Trethewey
Image credit:Erik Mclean


Marc Woodward is a poet whose work has been widely published in journals and anthologies, and a musician who has performed and taught internationally.

He has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and commended for the Aesthetica Award and the Acumen prize.

A New Yorker by accident of birth, he has been resident in rural Devon, England for a loooooong time.

Recent collections:

‘Fright of Jays’ published 2015 by Maquette Press;

’Hide Songs’  published 2018 by Green Bottle Press.

’The Tin Lodes’ (co-written with Andy Brown) published 2020 by Indigo Dreams Press.


‘Shaking the Persimmon Tree’ published in 4/2022 by Sea Crow Press.

‘Grace Notes’ a collection of music related poems written in collaboration with Andy Brown is due out from Sea Crow Press in 2023.

He can be found on Facebook at

and on twitter @marcomando or at