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‘After Tranströmer’ and four more poems.




After Tranströmer

The unfallen trees break in the ripples
as the lake is gone. And now is then the fine grey soil
is armies and in armies of your thought
you have enlisted
it is in the armies of your thought you have enlisted
where the wingless birds nest, and magpie foil to scarecrow
and the fine grey armies are scattered bonemeal like bouillon or the nitrates
seeding the raven-winged soil.

Il Porcellina

I return, inspired by my own sweat and dust
caking my clothes, to the cool hall
filling with water fulfils
like a prophet descending
with white stones under a burning August
and the cool breeze of my heart
beating in summer’s glare
to the sound of water,
and among the dust and my pulse
I am deserted, by flesh and spirit
to the clarities of the water
falling on white glazed clay.

The Starling



Starling swoop in gay careen past my window gathering

to pair in, missing man formation like flame flickering into existence, gathering shape
from dark as atoms rush together something that has never existed becomes ice
echoes within the glacier, groan of roots bullfinches rushing at windows, hawk
hovering; souls transmigrated can only think

of the self that created them as they fade into the walls of ravenna, tuscan slopes
extinguished in the murmurings of cypresses the distant clash of steel on steel.

Silences of the collision of silence spools far away from the directions of the sound
and makes its peace with atoms of silence through long lacunae of the moonlit
windows where shadows eclipse in the moving crescent.

The world is full of silences, sometimes echoed laughter from the moon’s dark side,
where they wipe their bloodied jaws on grass who have feasted on their own, seek
the blood to wash away their angry fruits.


— Look. Listen. The trees are bowing to speak

can you not see them? The trees that have no echoes

— they are only the broken palings, wind-blasted to shale the wood scattered on beaches

— But their branches smile into the indigo

— they are the fruits of leaves of the planets

the trees are only silence and their laughter the planets

He had the look of a broker, down where they were selling eels and she, feather boa’d of the House of the Four Winds

before the great wave took them both.

Now there’s a God and a Goddess on the beach

behind a seafood stall they built together

frying black squid and octopus, burnt aromas of kernel

as they turn to warm the quivering savannahs of skin

before the shield strewn plain.


memories of the long lit corridor lighted with candles on the night of peace

the collision of words with words

where you will wait for the glass of words

to spill into speech

— The candles are only branches flickering in moonlight

No, the candles are those who have gone to sip each drop of blood and thirst

against their broken fruit.

Woven by distractions until you fill

your glass of bitterness,

— the sand poem and the clay paean fired into sunlight


it is as if you held a broken woman

in your arms in the memory of all you had loved

and in your nakedness summoned to recall

the lost lovers and places

as your flesh met hers you were flame

with the spilled and broken fruit.

V. Starling

From my window I saw the coaster they had armed with radar and drowned in the bay move as though an octopus

And other voices summoned me to their tribunal — You are all we have of human kind why can you not judge us the less harshly?

The years grew angry and grew anger each year the radio played more dissonantly

– a chorus of sunspots cymballed

— Goodbye

the years had salted their faces as the sea gave up its dead

the echoes from planets’ far side.

The salt lake flowered in corpses.

The Years

che per quanti si dice pui li nostra
tanto possiede piu di ben ciascuno
Murmurs of interior monologue
they flesh to purr and brush
the bright pattern of thought
as metal lines whir between
footbridge and platform, ash
leaves imbricate sigh, rattle
as train comes, nostalgic for
its drop forge, seamed ore
you are not us though possess
us, in your whispers and hints
the smirk in the pool, face
in bathwater, dissolve steam
press on perfect O.

The Olive Garden

Glimmer cradled light on the waves of leaves
after the olive light on dusty leaves, after
the grey-green and black rain
into the nets, you he all of them
ritual, half-year’s rite to gather
threshing the filled branches with your canes
the olive rain, the hard bitter stones.
the angel of the olio tree gathers
white new seedlings, snub their white faces
through the black earth.
Nights angel reading each history of leaf
moving dusts the bitter taxus leaves
the eye of morning burned the day’s forehead
that wrinkled its disdain
as the morning’s angel spreads its nacreous wing.

Colin Honnor is a widely published poet in numerous magazines in print and online, a former editor of Poetry and Audience, a literary scholar and translator of modern European poetry. He runs a fine arts press in the Cotswolds.

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