HQ Poetry Magazine

Al Alvarez

A selection of poems from HQ issue 30, by Oz Hardwick, John Sewell, Nora Nadjarian, Lisa Parry, Bob Newman, Harry Guest and Mike Shields.

This issue also includes poems by A Alvarez, Francis Attard, Ian Caws, James Kirkup, Robert Morley, James Morris and Tom Vaughan, among others. 

Copyright 2005. Copyright remains with the authors.

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

Oz Hardwick

Museo Morandi

We tell no stories. "But the shape in the trees?"
No, that was you. We tell no stories.
We come empty-handed, with no gifts of meaning,
Seeming solid - yes - but insubstantial.
On close inspection edges feather.
"I thought I saw..." But you did not.
You were deceived. We tell no stories.
When he was here, he had stories.
"Where is he now?" He is not here.
"What were his stories?" We do not know.
Our life is still, our land unpeopled,
Our words electric but our words are static.
We tell no stories. We tell no stories.

John Sewell
Bakewell, Derbyshire

Sweet Pea

I would with this flower purse its four lips together
for the line of the inner lips' greater projection
        and suffusion of colour.

or gently spread them apart so the stipule inside
not pink like the lips, but a washed-through white with no
        scent to speak of, proudly stands out,

I would take each part to my mouth or simply look
and go on looking, and it wouldn't lose anything by this
        or grow ugly or commonplace -

quite the reverse: forgive me, but someone as serious
about flowers, as floriferous even, as you undoubtedly are,
        should know and understand this perfectly.

Nora Nadjarian
Nicosia, Cyprus

 Still Life

A bowl of oranges on a kitchen table.
A woman slowly peeling herself.
Everything is still.
                                So still.

Lisa Parry

Engagement Rings

They wear diamonds like crowns,
are lords over us and know it,
make us left-hand-third-finger spotters.

If they are absent we look for the scar,
unseen by men but always there.
It says: "I was asked".

No one gives them back.
They sit in boxes, biding time, vengeful
that we've divorced/died/changed our minds.

Once, I hear a woman tell how
she'd heard one of them calling out to her,
its voice like the creak of old bones.

Yet with age, the stones grow stronger,
their structures feed off each new girl.
The gold/silver band puts up with adjustments.

How else could the rings so tightly grip us,
promising a future bright and sparkling?

Bob Newman
Epsom, Surrey

literally a haiku

go west young man
go via Paddington
book a ticket for
a train to Oxford
on board look out
for announcements
on the electronic
boards at the end
of every carriage
their capacity is
seventeen symbols
and that includes
the punctuation &
blessed ampersand
& the spaces also
that is a strange
indeed odd number
in several senses
two senses anyway
what kind of mind
what mad designer
would choose such
stupid dimensions
quite indivisible
I could not avoid
asking myself and
after a moment of
thought I replied
perhaps he or she
is extremely fond
of haiku which in
Japanese versions
would exactly fit
an English phrase
that fits exactly
by the same token
we might consider
literally a haiku
so I decided that
that mad designer
could be forgiven
his or her poetic
idiosyncrasy then
though the bigger
question occurred
to me and worried
me and worries me
still and that is
why I was worried

Harry Guest
Exeter, Devon

Stone Circle

Fox-tracks on frost, the brook
less rowdy under films of ice

Between grey monoliths
logic has oozed away

We walk here, wonder, leave again

Shaggy cattle wander by
rubbing their flanks on uprights

In June the tiny yellow flowers
poke life up from thin soil

What happened here? A sacrifice?

No-one has ever found
a green sword buried
nor a skull in a stone box

Mike Shields
Primrose, Jarrow

from "Reflections"

    in the summer night
lying by one woman, he
        recalls another


    in his life's autumn
recalling one woman, he
        lies to another


        recalling his life
and lies to women, winter
    desiccates his nights

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