Poetry Blog by Chris Hubbard

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Chris Hubbard on Be Yourself (4 days ago)

Chris Hubbard on Monster (Tue, 29 Sep 2020 11:53 pm)

Stephen Atkinson on Monster (Tue, 29 Sep 2020 05:45 pm)

Paul Sayer on Monster (Tue, 29 Sep 2020 04:32 pm)

Chris Hubbard on Desperation Road (Mon, 14 Sep 2020 12:50 am)

Paul Sayer on Desperation Road (Sun, 13 Sep 2020 08:13 am)

Chris Hubbard on The Orchestra Isn't Here Yet (Mon, 24 Aug 2020 08:10 am)

Shifa Maqba on The Orchestra Isn't Here Yet (Sun, 23 Aug 2020 07:21 pm)

Chris Hubbard on Clerihew By Starlight (Sun, 2 Aug 2020 09:13 am)

Paul Sayer on Clerihew By Starlight (Sun, 2 Aug 2020 07:09 am)

Be Yourself

Be Yourself

Silence burns because it keeps us sane

enough to listen with expectation

to the quiet music of a lived life's river

and is banished from the traveler's story

by insistent thoughts that echo and rebound

down hushed, clip-clop streets at sunset.

 

Each noise - thunderclap or whispered love -

is invaded, shamed by black memories

of what we must say but now ca...

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Vincent Sings the Blues

Vincent Sings the Blues

 

I'm Nederlander, from the South I'm born

Down Brabant way, my rough Dutch tongue

Betrays my place and home. Oh, I'm torn

 

Apart by life and love, but memory still is young

And my art strong. I paint and draw each day,

But often enough on the junk pile they're flung.

 

Father was a preacher, so in the fields I'd play;

An austere parson's s...

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Into the Storm

Into the Storm

The day darkens quickly from the West, sudden

Insult of sky galleons, billowing white cloaks

As Masters become Anger, catch passing Zephyrs

Blowing hot and cold into fire and furnace;

Envy gets the better - a cold Mistral flows

 

As black cloud gyrates silent spinning,

Remotely fixed to the Maypole of ribbon

Clouds, torn in shards reaching flower

Covere...

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The Lamplighter's Hamartia

The Lamplighter's Hamartia

 

I stand before you a broken man without hope or cause,

Bereft as the last forest tree left stranded when its final leaf

Turned brown in decay, its moths wrapped in infants' gauze,

Returning to the chrysalis if only to express their grief.

It's true I am a lighter of lamps that cast beams on shadows;

A dangerous task when called to discipline ignobl...

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A Keeper of Secrets

A Keeper of Secrets

 

These stones lie silent

as the graven images

upon their infinite repose.

 

The gods they composed

sanctuary for great Zeus

deity of sky and thunder.

 

Olympian of the thunderbolt

your temple lies in ruins

marked by scattered remains

 

in your dry and rocky domain.

Gold and ivory, your effigy

sat eons upon a gilded throne.

 

...

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Monster

Monster

He stands alone, enormous greystone arms across his navel,

Colossal beast of Swift's Brobdingnag, condescending

To righteous Lilliput, flung like a hand of gravel

Around his feet; tiny houses housing tiny people who cradle

The distant organ that plays the first bars of The Lark Ascending.

 

A rough-hewn monster drips moss from his back, slicked black slate

Displays ...

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Desperation Road

 

Desperation Road

 

It's lined with naked branches whipped thin by the howling of gales,

From its mouthing of spittle to unforgettable, unforgivable contempt,

Shouting longing and loud at losing bets, the torn up ticket fails

To subdue the call of next time, the next day; gathering, crowding, rent

 

By Metropolitan Police on horseback, pale geldings rear in fright,

a ri...

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Desperation Road

 

Desperation Road

 

It's lined with naked branches whipped thin by the howling of gales,

From its mouthing of spittle to unforgettable, unforgivable contempt,

Shouting longing and loud at losing bets, the torn up ticket fails

To subdue the call of next time, the next day; gathering, crowding, rent

 

By Metropolitan Police on horseback, pale geldings rear in fright,

a ri...

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River Stone

River Stone

 

Sweet as an Arkansas dulcimer

Smooth as a river stone

The satire of Lemuel Gulliver

A twist of seabirds flown

 

Paints in me a poem

About innocence divine

And the feel of imperfection

Without the need of wine

 

A likeness in a mystery

Comes clear to both meek and strong

Prisoners of history

The wonder of the song

 

Taken high by visi...

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The Orchestra Isn't Here Yet

The Orchestra Isn't Here Yet

 

Hush, be still, lay quiet for a time,

listen with attention to the cadence

of silence: its metre, pulse and rhyme,

the beating heart of aloneness. Latent

 

fire crackling as damp sticks thrown

on its guttering shocks mourners

with its desire simply to burn alone,

and snuggle into the furthest corners

 

of a used-up shabby furnace,

...

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Endless

 

 

 

Endless

 

“Don't look at me, voyeur!

she demanded, no, pleaded:

Did you really believe my mind

insufficiently kind to qualify

for admission to Dante's unholy

inferno?

C'mon then! Start the car and

let's go. Let's fire it across Italy,

that ready-made nest of vipers,

and of lambs.

Let's seek out the majesty

of lofty cathedrals, hollowed out

b...

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Clerihew By Starlight

 

CLERIHEW BY STARLIGHT

 

Boris Johnson stood transfixed at dusk

In a garden where the breeze was brusque;

His head thrown back to see the stars,

Avoiding a sentence he had to parse.

 

For the evening held a sharp surprise,

Luckily, with no Moon's rise.

He thus beheld celestial sparkle,

A speedy diamond with which to startle

 

The astronomically uninformed

...

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You Drive Your Car

YOU DRIVE YOUR CAR

You drive your car

and you see your life retold

in the smears arced on the windscreen

from the slow rain.

Here and gone. Here and gone.

But never really gone;

the smears are left behind.

 

You take the river ferry

on a windy day.

And the wavelets that appear, breaking

white on the water's surface,

stain the sky's reflection for a moment

...

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Untitled

UNTITLED

Dreams are a simple way to make sense

of the past, often used as a mental grip

on the bafflement we feel

when choice engulfs us, not just hems us in.

 

Shall I become that which I know I am not?

Perhaps, an empty shell, I will be found out:

a shameful gambler like many,

and primed to receive his just deserts.

 

Or, better, to receive the same without regre...

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Memoirs and Reflections

Memoirs and Reflections

 

Music sustains and surrounds us; colour

in memories dropped on street corners

as swift blanking years suffer ruinous palour,

sloughed gentle and silent as graveside mourners.

 

How can I, with clarity, recall without anguish

early times so demanding attention?

Can a Rachmaninoff' rhapsody grant a wish

that may lead me towards my redemption?

...

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The Night

THE NIGHT

The night, that dark and rancid cloak,

contains within its half-drawn claws

a certainty I cannot match,

nor merely approach; my fear prevents

such posturing.

 

Darkness wants for nothing,

save my peerless pride

that so often burns down to hubris

and faithless self-promises

written distractedly in flowing water.

 

Now I rarely leave my house

(the ...

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Ludford Churchyard

The Ludford in question is the one on the Lincolnshire Wolds, not the one close by Ludlow in Shropshire.

 

Ludford Churchyard

 

Bellowing past the close mown grass,

big wagons thunder at ancient stone

to drown a chorale's seeping. Prone,

the organ's praiseful chords sublime

are couched within its sanctuary; crass

conceiver of everlasting life: His, not mine.

 

The ...

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The Truth

 

The Truth

 

“Where's the truth, then?”

coughed a scabrous beggar,

eyeing me from a Portuguese pavement,

“where is it, you faker, where?”

 

“Really want to know?”

I smiled back: “Try this:

 

“Truth lies, really lies,

through its teeth

lies like a clumsy dentist

who never hurt anyone,

pretending cleansing truth

lying underneath the pain.

 

“Nev...

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Things Seen Less Clearly

I'm not sure that Michael Portillo and Griff Rhys Jones would agree with these sentiments.

 

Things Seen Less Clearly

 

In this world, at this time,

Young ambitious neophytes

Are condemned as

Mere passengers, trapped

On white-pointed trains

That do not stop.

Carried to oblivion

Without their permission

They study their own

Shadowed, flickering faces

Starin...

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Arc of Silence

A recent visit to majestic Saint Petersburg was the catalyst for this rumination.

 

Arc of Silence

Please hold my hand

Until you're completely sure

That you understand; I am

Not as I was (quoting Hitchen

As his death drew near).

 

Please hear my pleas, comprehension

Being the triumph of years

Expended or forlorn. Draw

Down the blinds that obscure

A countenanc...

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Outside Painters

Outside Painters

I will admit, if pressed for time,

That Graffiti Artists make telling points,

Expressing their fragile selves sublime

While pulling on apocryphal joints.

 

It's hard work peering round threat-laden corners,

Snatching moments that fashion the ego;

Time's their enemy, these spraycan performers,

Not the dying curse of autumnal Dido.

 

The self's domin...

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Nirvana

Nirvana

Poets tire of endless impositions

which, though not enforced upon us,

remind us yet of lifelong treks

outside ourselves, while digging thus

a graven willingness to tolerate

the possibility of writing something on the minds

of younger people, so soon grown to tend bitter,

sardonic if essentially kindly

human egos. Trodden down by fear

of painful endings in fore...

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