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Index: Poetry & Fiction

Five new poems.

Judith Willson: ‘Fragile as old film, the miners whistle their names’ thin tunes –
John Newton, Cageman. Tom Evans, Shaftman – lines of them
rising from the archives, red dust on their backs. ‘

Once More with Feeling.

Michael Buckingham Gray: ‘Fluorescent tubes replace the moonlight, and a bed supports him instead of a driver’s seat. A doctor looms over him.’

Three poems.

Colin Honnor: ‘Readied for the Push in drizzle
of Flanders in a blind November
they heard the music of the brazier
singing the chorus of the ember…’


Yves Bonnefoy: And always to quays at night, to bars, to a voice saying I am the lamp, I am the oil.

Nine small fictions.

Ian Seed: ‘They pointed up at us and laughed, but the laughter had anger in it. I led my wife by another alleyway back to the hotel. I hoped they would not follow us, but a large crowd soon gathered outside and began to shout and shake their fists.’

The Vanishing.

David Rea: ‘My life in the time-span of Edith Piaf’s ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’: sun-lit childhood days; my father vanished. I spent years with a variety of counsellors and psychotherapists. I became estranged from my mother. Intellectually, I rebelled against the hard sciences, turning to the social sciences; I became a reclusive academic, specialising in anthropology and folklore.’


D. H. Lawrence: ‘The glow of beauty, like every other glow, dies down unless it is fed. The idealists still dearly loved their things. But they had got them. And the sad fact is, things that glow vividly while you’re getting them go almost quite cold after a year or two. Unless, of course, people envy you them very much, and the museums are pining for them. And the Melvilles’ “things,” though very good, were not quite as good as that.’


Steve Ely: ‘The pagan origin of the pre-Islamic qasida is reflected in the fact that Æcerbot is a not merely a poem, but a spell …’


Maurice Scully: ‘Random
patches of fog now & then
obscured the view & hung
motionless in many places
above the swamp. The road
was bad. ‘

52 The Breakfast

Mirror 52: “Wink at your grocer and see what you get!” – the sweetheart of the toasted corn,
smiling from a cereal packet, wholesome, hugging a golden sheaf.’’

Six-way Mirror.

Robert Saxton: ‘It is in short, concentrated readings, and particularly divinatory readings, that the changing lines come into their own. For those open-minded about chance, intuition and destiny, and the possible connections between them, it might be fruitful to experiment with the poem as an instrument—a mirror—for oracular introspection in the manner of the I Ching. ‘

Six-way mirror.

Ed. Note — Robert Saxton’s ‘Six-Way Mirror’ is keyed from this page.

64 The Book

‘HARMONY PREVAILS WHEN like things resonate and unlike things are in balance.’ (The Great Commentary, from the Ten Wings) He reads to Borges in a shadowy sitting room under a Piranesi engraving: he speaks of summer night, the conscious being of the book. A servant is taken exploring by his blind master on a raft […]

63 The Twins

‘WHEN THEY COMPLAIN of waking from hideous laboratory dreams, just rattle off a couple of only child anecdotes.’ Modern life has become twin-friendly – there’s no longer any fear of people meeting themselves. Oddly, it’s an offshoot of the cult of the individual. Few twins are defriended. Some pranksters post a single photo twice with […]

62 The Mouse

‘EXCHANGE OF HABITS is a high-risk adventure. The town mouse drowns in butter, the country mouse drowns in gin.’ Scamperings never seem to denote an actual mammal – as if these creatures were merely proxies for flesh and blood, a scratchy reminder. Too quick, too small, too shy to feature in creative visualisation, they meet […]