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Two poems from ‘Hushings’.


Sunlight filtered through thin cloud at mid-day
touches the stone outside the Hare & Hounds.
The stone beams back its own shades, not
illuminated but responding, accepting the offer.
Such a spectre orders the regional ghosts
back to the tumuli and abandoned warehouses
where they belong. Such a spectre sets
history back in our own hands, the plug riots
on the road again, the great engines hiss and cease.
Plumes of smoke rising across the valley, and this
spectre in the throat, this hope in the hand, that won’t,
that just will not, abandon the children.



These spectres are no more than thoughts
but they are international. So I go to
the International Restaurant in Bradford
and think my way through a mixed thali
that all the hills and rivers are of course
the vocabulary of our lamentation. So go no
further than the foot of the hill, the stream pouring
over the stone and think to the heights, O waly, waly,
love is hard, as we know, and dearly bought.
And O the rain, and O the snow, but the truth
is held firm, shown to me in Bradford
as a necklace of mind trances on the chitraveena.

Fortnightly ReviewsPeter Riley, the poetry editor of The Fortnightly Review‘s New Series, is a former editor of Collection, and the author of fifteen books of poetry (including The Glacial Stairway [Carcanet, 2011]) – and some of prose. He lives in Yorkshire and is the recipient of a 2012 Cholmondeley Award for poetry.

Peter Riley’s latest books are Pennine Tales and Hushings (both from Calder Valley Poetry) and Dawn Songs (Shearsman, 2017). A collection of his ‘Poetry Notes’ columns has been collected in The Fortnightly Reviews: Poetry Notes 2012-2014, and published in 2015 by Odd Volumes, our imprint. An archive of his Fortnightly columns is here.

These are two consecutive poems from Hushings.

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