HQ Poetry Magazine

Brian Patten and the editor, Kevin Bailey

A selection of poems from HQ issue 27/28, by D M Thomas, Chris Powici, James Kirkup, Elizabeth Barrett, Michael Paul Hogan and A A Marcoff

This issue also includes poems by Jody Azzouni, Brian Patten, Peter Redgrove, Patrick Moore, Penelope Shuttle, Alexis Lykiard and Anthony Nicholls, among others.

Copyright © 2002, 2003. Copyright remains with the authors.

Poems from previous issue * next issue * Back to HQ.

D M Thomas
Truro, Cornwall

Winter Dreams (after Rilke)

Lord, it is time. The winter was too dark.
Remove thy shadow from the sundial,
And still the gales that deflowered the park/ 

Tighten the laces of the balmy night
More and more swooningly; and cause to blossom
The opulent curves of light, the hip and bosom,
Until new life is aching with delight. 

Who has no house now, will feel unencumbered;
Who’s now alone, will make the warmth his friend;
Will walk late; sit at pavement cafes; and
The happiness, and even pain, remembered,
Will seem a passing girl’s soft-brushing hand.

Chris Powici
Dunblane, Scotland

Like Rain

like rain this light that spills through
sycamores’ tangled summer yellow
upon the crumbling stone of the old
Kippendavie Wall turning to song where
the soft fury of the Wharry Burn flashes
between bracken and the wild violets’
indigo shine this light that gleams
in the green dance of a mayfly swarm
deepens to the gold dazzle
of a cock pheasant dressed for death
glimpsed among the scraggy pines

James Kirkup
Encamp, Andorra

  Voyage for Strings (from ‘True Tanka’)

   The cellists’ bows ride
the waves of their vibrant strings –
    instruments’ rigging
sings with the winds’concerted
musics, the main theme's great sail. 

    An entire fleet of
carved mastheads lifting, leaning
    to the waves’ rhythms –
each with a hand flourishing
flags of fingers, the bows’ spray…

Elizabeth Barrett

How It Happens

Like you might lose a book from your shelves –
not noticing for a while (three years perhaps)
until, one day, you look for it.
Confident at first, you become uncertain,
discomfited. Later – frantic, obsessed –
you climb on high stools to reach
impossible shelves.
There might be questions asked.
Not just what you did with it
but when you had it last –
whether you were careless,
mislaid it perhaps.
Or did you give it away?


You might want to accept it.
Not be sure, any more,
what you liked about it or why
it was important to you once.
But something must have made you look.
A passing reference on the radio,
that small detail from an obit in the Times.
Or were you reminded by eyes, or chance face,
passing by? Did you hear lost words spoken
by another mouth – like seeing a copy
of your book on someone else’s shelf?
When you realise it’s gone can you find it again?
Get it back? I don’t know how. It happens (perhaps).

Michael Paul Hogan
Palembang, Indonesia

Four stanzas from ‘The Orchid House’ 

Her breasts
are the colour of small money.
She is old photographs
where everybody
is the colour of toffee.

The writer watches
(it is now, now)
while his fingers crapshoot
the typewriter keys
against the paper.

She turns and stares
in his direction,
for whom walls
are only rice paper. 

The writer grins
through a glass of bourbon,
and lights a cigarette
with a match struck
on the ball of her eye.

A A Marcoff
Leatherhead, Surrey

Three Haiku

-   unexpected sunlight on wild water –

-   the impulse of snowdrops in this silent light – 

passing a broken wall
at dusk

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This page last updated 9th April 2006