HQ Poetry Magazine

A selection of poems from HQ issue 21, by William Ayot, Gabriel Griffin, Andrew Nightingale, Satyendra Srivastava, Coskun Yerli

Copyright 1998. Copyright remains with the authors.

Poems from earlier issues * next issue * To index * Back to HQ.

William Ayot

Suits collect in corners. Preening themselves,
they congregate in navy worsted groups
to practice competition and their golf-swing.

Suits are strong on imperfections. They know
that other's failiings, pointed out, can only show
they are themselves a cut above the rest.

Suits in mode like sudden  shears, rip and slash.
Instinctively feeling out each others weaknesses.
When it comes to friendship, suits make sacrifices.

Suits triumphant, sit in buttock-clenching  fear,
designing neat revenges, hounds-tooth ploys
to serve those they've striped and checked.

Suits, when pressed, admit to loneliness. Racked
at night by intimations that their lives, their plans,
their very dreams are meaningless and hollow.

Andrew Nightingale
Mullion, Cornwall


Like a neutral card from Smiths
Detail: Waterlilies (Monet)
I leave this poem
blank for your own message.

Satyendra Srivastava

Ancestral Cobra

For the children of Nagpuri
The cobra did not have
Any ancestral value
Yet the womenfolk left
A bowl of sweet milk every night
Near the women's bathing place
And the children's curiosity
Took them at the crack of every dawn
To find out if the snakes had come
And drunk the milk
In the night
And after finding the milk still
Unconsumed they laughed
And taunted their mothers
Why do you waste milk like this, Ma?
There aren't any cobras now
They are all dead

My mother with wet tears
And rolling eyes thereupon would only say
My dearest you don't understand
You are not a mother
A mother knows the pain of carrying
A child in her womb for nine months
In this old village one mother
Carried a cobra baby as I carried you
Thatt mother was bathing right there
A cobra passed by
She panicked
Folded her palms and prayed
O cobra, please don't hurt me
The cobra stood erect for a moment
And looked at her as if spellbound by her beauty
Spat out a white liquid that fell
Almost between her legs
Nine months later she gave birth to a cobra baby
In this family by providing milk
We say to the world that babies are babies
Human or cobra.

Coskun Yerli
Ankara, Turkey
(Translated by the author and Ronald Tamplin)

Three Renga

Curiosity was
futile! Behind the hill
nothing unusual

only silence in the pines
and the harvest on the plain.

See, on the Ferris
Wheel, the girl, as she looks down
and smiles, ascending

with melodies and with lights
to the full moon in the sky.

The circumcision
feast, the boy, lying in bed,
frowns, a kiss, money

in an envelope. Fathers
take their daughters to the dance.

Gabriel Griffin
Orta San Giulio, Italy

Two Haiku

long after the child's gone
a silver balloon
playing on the ceiling

leaving, you forgot
to take the warmth
out of your handshake

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This page last updated 7th December 2003