Category Archives: poetry

The Roses of Heliogabalus

November 8, 2014

The Roses of Heliogabalus by Lawrence Alma-Tadema. The Roses of Heliogabalus We were talking about art and taking wine with our sensuous king when a slave released the canopy and petals – their blush-making softness, their deafening of the skin – continued falling through us. And when the late sun reddened, guards turned the litter […]

Shigeru’s Cave shortlisted for Live Canon 2014

September 30, 2014

Poetry news! ‘Shigeru’s Cave’ has been shortlisted for this year’s Live Canon International Poetry Competition. It’s a series of three Italian sonnets imagining one of the fathers of modern gaming, Shigeru Miyamoto, as a kind of schoolboy hermit exploring Platonic territories. Miyamoto is (of course) the creator of the Super Mario Bros. and Legend of […]

Isabel’s Curious Machine

September 6, 2014

Williams Carlos Williams said that a poem is a machine made out of words. That’s a fitting way to describe Isabel Rogers’ poem ‘John’s Curious Machines': a very efficient, inspired machine designed to evoke John Harrison’s ingenious marine chronometers. These highly precise clocks kept time even in rough, varied weather at sea, making it possible for a ship’s navigator to determine its […]

The St. Ives to Zennor Coast Path

September 4, 2014

I walked the coast path with Hugh today. Hugh is a writer and artist whose poems appeared in The Inner Sea. It started foggy and cool but by midday the morning haze had retreated to the horizon. We saw a seal surface to watch the waves rustle through the carracks, and a stonechat flitting and chirping about the rocks. […]

Don’t crawl before you can sit

July 20, 2014

Procrastination shouldn’t be such a dirty word. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing at a comfortable pace. Giant sequoias grow to nearly one hundred metres over thousands of years. The Mona Lisa took da Vinci twenty years to paint. In an ideal world, progress would be limited to that which we do when […]

The Clay Body

June 25, 2014

A clay body, or corp criadhach, is an ancient Scottish curse. Once placed in a stream, the clay would disintegrate and with it the body of the victim whom it mimicked. Only by finding and preserving the clay body could the sufferer forestall the spell. i. Part of me loosens in a stream where mountains tumble […]

So long, Thomas Warton

June 21, 2014

As we’re about to leave Basingstoke after nearly seven happy years, it might be appropriate to mention Thomas Warton who was born on the site of Glebe Gardens, not far from here. Warton was poet laureate between 1785–1790. This sonnet is dedicated to the River Loddon, which, now culverted in places, is said to run below ground at the […]

St. Augustine on the poetry game

June 14, 2014

This is possibly one of the least profound purposes for quoting from Confessions of a Sinner but, nevertheless, it’s a reminder about what matters in the art: In public we were cocksure, in private superstitious, and everywhere void and empty. On the one hand we would hunt for worthless popular distinctions, the applause of an audience, prizes for […]