Hear a Poem

On this page you can hear poems by Chris Williams, Alexandra Trowbridge-Matthews, Dominique Spearey, Mick Paynter, Stephen Oliver and myself. Don't forget to turn your loudspeakers on. The volume at which they're set is a matter of discretion for you.


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                                     LETTER TO AN ASTRONOMER

Stephen Oliver (accompanied by Matt Otley)

                                          Starry amorist, starward gone,
                                                         - Francis Thompson

                                        Make no mistake - we arrived here first, by pathways
                                        mostly forgotten, hinted at maybe, in the clinging moss on
                                        gutter and drain, by ruined foundations, under destroyed
                                        civilizations. Look no more, we are the visitors we
                                        seek come via starburst and interstellar dust, riding the cold
                                        chariots of comets, destined to make the biggest splash: -
                                        hominid, Neanderthal, homo-sapien sought to track back
                                        to what 'Courtyard of the Gods', multiple or singular,
                                        in search of the primal spark, can hardly be guessed at.
                                        Our breath might be read within the banded spectrum
                                        of your inquiry that magnifies the sky's falling domino;
                                        by wingbeat of light fleeing across the great glass lens.

                                       Looking down through the whirligig
                                                                               of immeasurable galaxies

                                        will lead back again to the filmic awe over the retina as
                                        you seek to locate by the interstices of deep space an echo
                                        in nothingness. Granaries of knowledge (gravity's burden)
                                        we laid down in ancient geologies; when we rested,
                                        cities rose, when we walked, cities fell. Make no mistake
                                        there'll be neither alien ship nor coded message exchanged,
                                        merely (coming in under radar) signs of our passing
                                        in time, most fluid of inventions - condemned forever to
                                        rush forward, condemned forever to rush backward.
                                        The orchard is rotten, the field beyond, cloaked in the
                                        dandelion or wildflower waits for the plough or the sword.
                                        Memory's digital code recounts something discarded,
                                        as though God looked away for an instant after creation
                                        and like uncertain visitors we fled from his hand as we fell.

                                        (from) Either Side The Horizon, Titus Books (2005).

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KOLONN SANS HWATH

Mick Paynter
rag an Artydh Skows Brian O'Toole

                                        War dha dowl, O'Toole,
                                        o, ty dh'omdewlel
                                        gans el, splann es howl.
                                        Hag war dowl an el
                                        genes dh'omdewlel
                                        heb drog bys merwel.

          Na Nev, na Ifarn, po Purjyans ragos, nyns yw.
          Ytho, lymner, lemmyn, y lymnis lymnans, yth yw.....

          Ottena, omma....

                                        Pinta korev, wosa dha Soedh
                                        gans an Arloedh, hag y golonn ev
                                        war y vron y sev, a'th hesya'n arwoedh.

yn Sowsnek:

Another Sacred Heart

by Mick Paynter
For the Scouse Artist Brian O’Toole

                                        The plan was, O’Toole,
                                        for you to wrestle,
                                        with an angel bright as sun.
                                        And the angel’s plan
                                        with you harmlessly
                                        to wrestle’til death.

          Nor Heaven, nor Hell, or Purgatory, for you, there’s not.
          So, painter, now, a picture I did paint, it is.....

          See there, it’s here.....

                                        A pint of beer; when your Work’s clear,
                                        with the Good Lord, while his heart itself
                                        stands up on his breast, signifies your jest.

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SHE HEARD IT ON THE RADIO

Dominique Spearey

                                  I'm just a rabbit in the headlights
                                  rabbit in the headlights
                                  A rabbit in the headlights of your love.

                                  Oh the treachery of memory
                                  It gushed up good and proper
                                  Yet - when all was said and done
                                  He was nothing but a rotter.

                                  But God he was so handsome
                                  His body poured in leather
                                  His winklepickers flashing
                                  His reputation as a raver.

                                  The smell of sweat enticing
                                  As she climbed upon his bike
                                  Her hormones starting racing
                                  As they rode off in the night.

                                  She was a rabbit in the headlights
                                  A rabbit in the headlights
                                  A rabbit in the headlights of his love.

                                  But.. ..he... really.... was .. quite... grubby
                                  His nails chewed to the quick
                                  And looking back in hindsight
                                  She just loved him for his prick.

                                  Oh the treachery of memory
                                  Often leading us astray
                                  Confusing glow of headlights
                                  With the cold clear light of day.

                                  I'm not a rabbit in the headlights
                                  A rabbit in the headlights
                                  A rabbit in the headlights of your love.

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THE MAN IN THE BED OPPOSITE

Alexandra Trowbridge-Matthews

                                  The man in the bed opposite is dying.
                                  Nightly his stench explores the room.
                                  Invasions of cables recycle fluids
                                  as his inner tubes perish.
                                  We try not to wish him dead but fear
                                  this unmannered dying will delay
                                  our own fragile recoveries.

                                  Each day from the bed opposite
                                  there is just one moment of flickering interest
                                  as George-the-trolley brings the dinner,
                                  (the dinner that cannot be eaten).

                                  Each day the same papery question,
                                  "Is there any cauliflower?"
                                  "Not today, peas today,
                                  perhaps tomorrow."

                                  George is lying.

                                  There is a three day rota.
                                  Peas.      Beans.      Carrots.
                                  There will never be cauliflower.

                                  Sedation melts the screen.
                                  Each day is a little life,
                                  a tabula rasa.
                                  Each day the man in the bed opposite
                                  has hope,
                                  where there is no hope.

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Chris Williams

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A PRAYER

Previously in Orbis
Also on the web site of the Poetry Society
Raymond Humphreys

                                  O Lord of our Days,
                                  save us from the standard-setters;
                                  the hush-voiced counsellors;
                                  the inspectors; the auditors;
                                  the therapists and the charterers;
                                  the petition-makers;
                                  the ethical advisers.

                                  Please keep us from the clutches
                                  of all doctors, lawyers and accountants.
                                  Spare us the priests and law-makers:
                                  (anyone in a long black gown).
                                  Close our ears to the lying politicians.

                                  Let us creep softly into fat-arsed middle age
                                  without the child within withering away.
                                  And when our minds become fuddled with years,
                                  or drink, or straitened thoughts,
                                  keep a few crystals of truth
                                  alive in some bright corner.
                                  Let not madness, nor yet cold sanity
                                  overtake us.

                                  And when the time comes
                                  to switch off the light,
                                  Do it quickly.

                                  But not just yet.

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