Sunday, July 1, 2018




Fox, crow, lamb, vain ladies and lastly pike are all subject matter of Ted Hughes poems.

Caffeine and poetry, early morning
A deck warm with sunshine and
Bird song,
A triple shot latte, the collected poems
Of Ted Hughes
And me poised at the entrance of
Another world.
I enter browsing the archives
Of a poem
And all at once I sense him beside me,
Poet at my shoulder
Reading his work aloud,
Millstone grit, granite, the geology
Of his language.
Poems hardened off and nurtured on
The nursery slopes of Yorkshire.
Each word delivered in the raw close up
In your face
Lethal as a bullet trajectory of a windswept
I find myself at a starless window watching
A fox gather his thoughts,
Listen, on the edge of a tear, to a lamb
Too feeble to stand,
Perch with crow in the high tops, all of
Creation beneath us.
Hearing the sharp intake of breath of
Vain ladies
Catching sight of their faces in mirror's
Of oak.
I mark the page, drink some coffee
And already
His presence is fading, his voice snatched
By a curlew
And trailed across light years of windswept
I close the book, drain the cup, the caffeine
Affording me one last vision.
A pike, perfect pike in every way, navigating
The channel
Between his world and mine.


Not for the first time I find myself
Listening to your voice
In that room that smells of cheap scent
And stale port wine
Where a solitary candle squats in a saucer
Of it's own mortality.
Though the structure of your voice is no longer
Of architectural importance
It still looms like a derelict monument to
The past.
I don't join in, ask a question and I dare not
Answer you back
Even though I'm well aware you can no longer
Render me mute
With a single glance nor dissect my words with
A sneer as sharp as a scalpel.
For the truth is I'm lost between then and now
And not for the first time
I find myself fast forwarding your voice until
Your words scatter
Like stars suddenly pursued by an atomic
Cloud of dust.
When the dust clears I find myself pinching
The candle's wick
Between damp thumb and finger,
Surprised by it's lack of resistance and it's
Brief angry hiss,
Thin ribbons of smoke rising like the last breaths
Expelled from your collapsing lungs
And with every flicker your eye's are drained
Of a little more light
Until only darkness and I remain in that room
Smelling of cheap scent
And stale port wine and the frazzled intestines
Of a candle.


At first you are left stranded
On the precipice of denial.
Then you imagine that you have imagined
The sound.
Between you the distance makes the sound
If indeed it is a sound at all.
You walk up through bracken tips and
Seed heads of grass
On a brown stalk of the hillside,
The sound, for you agree now that it is
A sound,
Recalculating the distance between you.
You come to an abrupt halt,
Startled by the effervescence of your reflection
In the swirling pool of a mountain stream.
The accent of water is musical
And you watch mind deep in the music
Of violin and cello and viola,
The sharp acoustics of a string quartet attaining
New highs in a deserted auditorium.
You step forward, kneel down almost reverently
As if the stream
Were now an altar of flickering sunlight on which
All sound is blessed.
You offer your hands, cupping the clean notes
Of the water,
Tasting the purity of it's sound.


DENNIS MORIARTY is fifty five years old and lives in South Wales, UK. He co owns a small business with his wife. Dennis enjoys walking in the mountains, writing poetry and reading, listening to music. He has five children and five grand children. Last year he won the Blackwater poetry competition and read his work at the Blackwater international poetry festival in Cork, Ireland.

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