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.
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.
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.
A bowl of oranges on a kitchen table.
A woman slowly peeling herself.
Everything is still.
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?
Epsom, Surreyliterally 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
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
in the summer night
lying by one woman, he
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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This page last updated 9th April 2006