Contracted Silences

1 Antonio Stradivari stalks the Forest of Violins, kicking trees for close-ringed echoes made later by his Messiah, now the Ashmolean’s, bequeathed on condition it be never played. 2 Debbie …

A Picnic

A Picnic At first almost nothing, an inkling of porcelain as of a wind-chime’s: then, breakers crash – windows web and give splintering rainbows, sockets fizz and pop, shelves pour …

The air itself

inside the tiny, inside the candy-coloured theatre, open to the beachfront, sweet to the retina and wriggling, you might say, in the palaver of its excess, is suddenly still as …

Annus / Versus

If you, in a park / peal spiritual let me come running – opal streak   & the sky grieves its sun- oracle foretelling, & the sky   rejoices simply …

On Not Being Gaudí

Cruelty, Cadalfach, to be at this hour hatched into the too-late world.   Your new blue eyes look out from your mother’s spent sleeping breast. You protest. You complain to …

The Lovers

They are the same person at sunrise, at noon they are Self and Self, at midnight they hate each other – doesn’t it exhaust them?   But who is it? …

The dark

The underlying thing is the dark And it is everywhere And the lights go on But you are not home There is a red lamb With black fur on its …

Winston

Nibbling my proffered carrot with prehensile lips, you bow that great head of yours in gratitude and I stare into the cloudy cobalt of your eye,   finger your muzzle’s …

the role of increasing concreteness

Put groups of things together under subheadings to believe them. Question the validity of order. The obvious answer is root vegetables but I perceived it as tubular. The pattern was …

Elegy for Olive Oyl (3rd prize: 2014 Competition)

I’ll go back to painters and whistles, shipwreck gardens Turk’s Heads, leaden hearts and let the winds their revels keep.   I’ll go back to the water for something to …

Nightjar (1st prize: 2014 Competition)

‘Du hast einen Vogel.’ German. Literally: ‘You have a bird.’ Figuratively: ‘You’re mad.’   What thing entered just now, its dive-knife head quite sailing through the rucked sail of my …

In Time of War

And so we stayed, night after night lying awake until the moons fell behind the blackened cypress, and bats returned to their caverns having gorged on the night air, and …

6 a.m. (2nd prize: 2014 Competition)

Love, I felt you leave our bed last night, I heard you dress and go. Hush-deep darkness hinted it was late. You barely left an indent in your pillow, your …

2014 Competition: Commended Poems

Paul Stephenson for ‘Oppositions of Want’ Tim Turnbull for ‘Happy Times, Old Man’ Geraldine Clarkson for ‘Love-Cow’ Bethany W Pope for ‘My Mother’s Keeshond’

Far-Fetched

Das ist der doux commerce! – Karl Marx   Ay de mi – a pin- prick of blood, scarcely more than a pore flaunting its friendship with a vein; bright …

Pareidolia

Melted likeness in the mountain’s landslide, like the prophet in a crust of bread, defers to the face in the brain that is part idolatry, part will to survive. We …

The Animals That Love You, At Dusk

I pass through the fig that is your body your compass rose in its ripeness it owns both nadir & zenith I pass above & beneath it while all around …

Stoppages

(after M. Duchamp)   A line cast over water settles on the water skin. Salmon engage in piscine trigonometry, track the crooked trajectory of light. Pouting courtiers, indifferent to our …