HQ Poetry Magazine

A selection of poems from HQ issue 37, by Colin Savage, David Ball, Chimène Suleyman, Sebastian Barker, Peter Lo Bianco, Alan Brownjohn and Ikuyo Yoshimura.

This issue includes a longer extract from Colin Savage's poem below, together with poems by Gary Bills, Penelope Shuttle, Caroline Price, Ian Mortimer, Philip Gross and D M Thomas, among others. There is also a retrospective selection of the work of the late James Kirkup.

Copyright © 2009, 2010. Copyright remains with the authors.

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

Colin Savage
Great Cornard, Suffolk

from A Heart Stopped

two narrow panes of frosted glass in
the bathroom door and

you can see from the bed as
you wait in the bedroom

down the long landing her shape
now and now as she passes

blurred behind them


back arched hands flat on
her belly and regarding

herself this side then
that side in the tall mirror

she says of her dress do
you like it and she

looks not once at you
or the reflection thereof


in the morning you see her
lying in the bed with

you and you say to yourself
who am I going to be today

David Ball
Besançon, France

Tiger Tiger

Couldn't you pretend?
Throw yourself into it,
create a forest, make it dark...

They've given you a splendid garden,
gravel path and swimming pool.

We'd like you from time to time
to snarl, roar, flash your claws,
tear meat to pieces, and leap
against the glass.

Chimène Suleyman


I remove the pelt, wire-bodies supporting sewn-on cured skin.
I put inside rags, and cottons. Upholstered. Upheld.
Marbles instead of eyes, I open the wings wide apart.

Mourning, rather than stuffing.
In a pose, arms behind back, legs screwed down -
So long as she is quiet,
Mounted. Rather than posing.

Sebastian Barker

The houses nestling in the hills

Touch the earth and feel it free
The spirit of its poetry.

Volcanic forests clothe the land
Moulded by their maker's hand.

Floating clouds enrich the sky,
A silent music gliding by.

Busy wasps inquire of each
Rotund and summer-tumbled peach.

Berries of juniper surprise
Worlds of blue delighting eyes.

No greener leaves employ the wind
Than those inside my watching mind.

Lords of laughter, stately vines
Rise as royal light declines.

The stars in majesty proceed
Throughout the night to chant the creed

Of what is true and lovely brings
Hand to hand in wedding rings.

The story of the force of love
Never can be told enough.

The radiance of dawn distils
The houses nestling in the hills.

Peter Lo Bianco


How dusk misleads -
With sleights of hand
It first dissolves my hills of pines
Then freshly paints them back again
In that special ink
Of broderie perdue.

At last, the stage goes dark,
Until a footlight's lit,
The performance soon to start -
When a solo moth will rise
And glitter in its flight.

Alan Brownjohn

The malice of coincidence  

The head of the woman seen in the Council Jacuzzi
Two years before, an unforgettable head,
As her fingers threaded the water to and fro,
An almost Gorgon head, the hair like that,
Turns up above the neck of the brand-named uniform
Of a private paramedic... He said to the dog No, No!
But the dog sprang, and in the corridor of the Unit
A madman - or a happy man - was singing,
With hefty fprearms urging himself forever forward
Into the courtyard sunshine last the machine
Marked Coffee, but placarded OUT OF ORDER.
And would the woman remember his staring too long,
As he passed he rippling Jacuzzi on his way back
From the scented sauna to the Reception, where
You paid by the minute for the facilities, later?
He certainly recalled her censorious eyes
Which accused him later that afternoon, "You look too much!
You erode my dignity as a Private healthcare worker
Proud to work for the capital "C: in the company name'
- Who now, under the doctor's supervision,
Administes the first of several daily
Rabies injections to this forgotten starer.
What the man in the wheelchair sings is not relevant,
But I'll quote the unlucky first line of it,
An unlucky ditty: 'I dreamt I dwelt
In marble halls' - if I heard him correctly.

Ikuyo Yoshimura
Gifu, Japan

The birds flying north -
a posthumous anthology is open
on the desk

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This page last updated 1st August January 2010