We were breathing in acetylene,
high up, a region of pure ether
and aesthetics, so cold the river
saw fit to take a pulse before it
slit our wrists and left our fingers
to burn and bear the brunt. Only

those fluent mosses groomed
by the current over the weir
could hope to dress such wounds
as these, which were beyond
pain, inflicted without blood loss,
while we, under anaesthesia,

looked for skimmers...flat, birth-slimed,
kept under the tongue for longer
than most, the thinner the better,
each stone knowing the element
that had shaped it, the river’s
language wearing it down over time.

My fingers, a core of pegs, red raw,
were numb and burned like shame,
a white shame, until they thawed
and I could send the stone I’d picked
skipping across to the other side,
travelling, or so it always seemed

to me, beyond it means, plane
meeting plane askance, the stone
leaving nothing in its wake but
rings of little consequence.
I wanted more – perfection - for
the river’s skin to remain

unbroken, no drops of tincture
left to mill about, the skimmer, a
sliver shaved from a second
glance – possessed of such lightness
of being it would fleece the surface
of any contact. Or pay lip service

only, like the skater which moves
across the water in a spell
of its own, unperturbed; or the lure
which lands succinctly and by dint
of weighing next to nothing leaves
barely a ripple behind to quell.

So cold, dusk, snow falling slowly,
the river black and in denial.
I knew that ice would turn a blind
eye on us when we turned our backs
and headed home. Such paltry flakes
at first, like scratches on vinyl.

🌷 (2)



Profile image

Tony Hill

Fri 13th Oct 2017 09:26

Chuffed you like the poem, Suki. I've popped back to post a few poems before departing again. I'm usually disappointed with my end products. The best I can say is that this poem is less disappointing than many others. Tony

Profile image

suki spangles

Fri 13th Oct 2017 00:05

Beautiful poem Tony. And welcome back. Great to see you here again.



Profile image

Tony Hill

Thu 21st Sep 2017 18:10

Thanks for the kind words, Stu. Have been away quite a while and lured back by Ray Pool, who was kind enough to contact to ask what I was up to. As far as the poem goes, some come easy, some don't. This bugger hurt. Struggled for yonks over certain images. Well, keeps me off the streets.

Profile image

Stu Buck

Thu 21st Sep 2017 17:35

brilliant to have you back tony (were you ever gone, it seems that way but my attendance has been brief) and a great poem to return on. thick and clever, i felt more of a man for reading it.

Profile image

Tony Hill

Tue 19th Sep 2017 20:20

Hi Ray, thanks for the kind words and for luring me out of posting retirement, as it were. Glad you enjoyed the poem. Yes, there is a link between the act of skimming and writing the poem (though that was not my original intention), both enterprises being doomed to failure. The river is the Wear and my brothers and I were always skimming stones. On this particular occasion, my hands were so cold I could barely feel the stone. Tony

Profile image


Tue 19th Sep 2017 19:43

Well worth waiting for Tony. All the ingredients - loving detail, full of mood and towering imagination. I enjoy the grittiness and sensuous word use combined. There is a sense of perfect art concerning the act of skimming, an almost religious awe follows it. Am I going on a bit?
Great to see you posting . Thanks for alerting me too.
Such poetry can only serve to inspire.


Profile image

Tony Hill

Tue 19th Sep 2017 18:09

Thanks for the kind words, Philip. I'm much older now but I continue to skim stones at every opportunity. Tony

Profile image

Philip Stevens

Tue 19th Sep 2017 18:01

Epic writing Tony... real word smith at work

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message