A selection of poems from HQ issue 31/32, by Bob Rogers, Angelee Deodhar, Robin Bell, Cid Corman, Robert Belcher and James Harpur.
This issue also includes poems by James Kirkup, Alexis Lykiard, Gary Bills, D M Thomas, Richard Bonfield and Yannis Goumas, among others.
Copyright © 2006. Copyright remains with the authors.
Poems from previous issue * next issue * To index * Back to HQ.
On hearing Sibelius is not popular in Italy
Earth, turned in a timescale not our own,
shifts on her axis.
The winedark seas congeal.
Implacable white armies, more ruinous
than Hun or Hannibal, advance across the Alps.
Snow swirls around deserted squares
where fountains crack like glass,
and marble nymphs are gripped,
groped, choked and split apart
by water in its other, ugly, mood.
Olive trees, wisteria, warm lizard-haunted rocks,
The endless meals among the trellised vines;
the Sabine farm and Arethusan spring;
the crucifixes, candles, hidden silent nuns;
and all those sweetly-laughing,
and all that art
- all gone.
Seals bask among the ruined domes.
Wolves howl along the crumbling colonnades.
the dog nudges me down
our moonlit path
so many stars
through the pruned grapevine
the buzz of mosquitoes
Two Romances of Chivalry
Counsel for Damsels in Distress
Beware the galloping white Knight
Take heed when he advances,
for knights charge helplessly behind
the impulse of their lances.
Counsel for White Knights
Beware of damsels in distress.
They thank you very nicely,
but they create a nasty mess
if you should rescue twicely.
Life is foolproof.
In the hills
for a few days
Gone further found
less - maybe
you know the place
a tree - how
one get - yet
To want to
dance with it
the way the
Isle of Dogs
Crimson roofs slant into the dock pool.
Aslant metal walkways and mirrored glass:
Legoland flats, empty restaurants, towers
Rising on all sides too bright to be viewed
Directly, like God. In their catacombs
Shopping malls materialise - the drab
Eastenders, out of place, amazed by
Sliding doors and endless moving stairways.
Trailing back along the quay, we find
A past age - a few terraced streets -
Kids in half-groups not bothered even
To rebel: a broken scrap of social fragments,
Bewildered, vacant as the streets.
A seagull on a streetlight shrieks, shits.
Brendan the Navigator
The naked hermit, cliffs of ice, the cold,
The island of the saints emerging from
Black fog as light, its shore of powdered gold
And apples ripening in every orchard
The youth who welcomed each of us by name -
These died around the settled fires of Clonfert
But Judas on his rock, wind-burnt, stripped wise,
Writhing above the slaughter of the sea
Remains pristine inside my deepest darkness
His eyes alert for the approach of demons -
I see them glowing as when we rowed away
And hear his voice above the raucous ocean,
'Hell is stasis, keep heading for the sun
And when you reach the light, sail on, sail on.'
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This page last updated 12th January 2007