A selection of poems from HQ issue 38, by John Kissane, Bruce J James, Rowena Priestley, Diana Webb, Helena Nelson and Sarah Lawson.
This issue also includes poems by Al Alvarez, Ian Caws, Peter Dent, John Sewell and D M Thomas, among others.
Copyright © 2010. Copyright remains with the authors.
Poems from previous issue * To index * Back to HQ.
The Chatterbox (A Riddle)
I often walked beside her half a mile,
Wandering through the fields, and all the while
She laughed and chattered, ran between the trees,
And leapfrogged every rock we met with ease,
And never spoke a single word of sense.
Until at last she ducked beneath a fence
And went her way, as I went mine, although
If I returned this very hour I know
She would be there all shining-eyed to go
Once more with me upon that self-same walk,
And not one word wiser in her talk.
(Solution: a stream)
Bruce J James
The bridge held the way above the water
kept two banks together. I'd stand looking down
at the white swirl beneath and fling my finished
cigarette into the depths; I'd lean on the thin
parapet and look along the river to see boats
tied up or moving away from me or towards me
as they chugged from one town to another. I'd
never been on a boat at all except when very
young on a ferry and remember the gushing
noise the water made; but today I thought of Jill
as I often did when I came here, who to quick
winters ago, stood up and jumped off into the icy flow;
it made me think of how the river never ceases to run,
but if it didn't, how we'd all jump too, asserting our faith.
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
Sky Blue Canoe
Now the sea
is blazing white
and there is just
one sky-blue canoe
sculling, sculling, sculling
& a bit of backbiting backwash
the tiniest nipping wind
prelude to changing weather
I can floar
in my sky-blue canoe
down to Camelot
with all the traditions
& tapestries of
flying fish and rooks
skimming beneath me
reflecting the sky
& the boat
& the myth of myself
shadowed earth -
sunlight stretches out
on the dozing pig
summer evening -
walking the trail
of an old dog's breath
I had a flower. Her name was Lily
until she fell for Sticky Willie.
He found her in the garden ground
and wrapped himself around and round
and round her stem and head until he
strangled her. No pain felt she.
I am quite sure she felt no pain
but both in sunshine and in rain
I waged unending pointless war
on Willie, grabbing him before
he rampages and kills again.
Wind makes graffiti
among the fallen beech leaves,
then rewrites it all.
The wind's second thoughts
happen too fast to take in -
what was that again?
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This page last updated 13th November 2010