The house in Aberdeen where we used to live had a large garden surrounded by woodland and fields. My initial enthusiasm for filling the borders with pretty flowering plants was soon tempered by the fact that the garden was a happy feeding ground for rabbits. They bred like their proverbial namesakes – in a matter of months, one or two fluffy little bunnies gambolling sweetly at the bottom of the lawn became a dozen or more, brazenly nibbling my roses and petunias.
Half of you is listening. Half of you sees the mountain, hard lines pushing against the sky. Half of you senses air’s faint breath, feels warmth like fingers where sunlight has sneaked beneath your hat. Your left hand acknowledges my touch. I only half listened that day last year, as we walked through the fynbos on the slopes above Camps Bay. You spoke in the voice you used for children or for childhood, for stories of Piglet and of Pooh and how you were at school with Christopher Robin. When the time comes, I want a Daddy to hold me by the hand. I smiled, said nothing. We were a long way from The Hundred Acres Wood. Spiked crests of birds of paradise ignite above their leaves. Half of you is present. Is the other half hidden, like the mountain when the south-east wind spreads a tablecloth of cloud? Or has your Daddy taken your right hand gently in His own, to lead the missing half of you past Lion’s Head into the light? I don’t ask this, but I think this in the shadow of the mountain. Half of you listens to my silence. All of you cannot speak.
Callon Waldron-Hall was one of the recipients of last year’s New Poet’s Prize, an annual competition organised by The Poetry Business. His debut pamphlet, Learning to be Very Soft, was published in June and is a worthy prize-winner. Written in clear, unadorned language with gentle, fluid rhythms, the poems use everyday experiences – a car journey, a visit to the doctor, winding in the lane ropes at a swimming pool – as windows into the inner world of boyhood with all its vulnerability, awkwardness and shame.
Penteract Press has a reputation for focussing on formal, constrained and experimental poetry, for exploring the interface between poetry and visual art, with careful attention to detail in their publications. Science Poems, an anthology edited by Anthony Etherin and Clara Daneri and featuring work by Christian Bök, Gary Barwin, M D Kerr, Kyle Flemmer and Pedro Poitevin among others, is no exception.
Tributes have been paid around the world to Eavan Boland, the Irish poet, feminist and academic who died on the 27thApril. Her writing is distinguished by clarity and depth, by the precision of her language and her ability to pull together details of simple, everyday experiences, opening our awareness to their profound underlying truth.
a rabbit sneaks over my windowsill spills oblong light across the floor viscous as cream curdles in a snarl of salamanders fluorescent on the walls that bloat bulge suppurate burst the air hums bees in my hair crawl over my skin i grope for some hold-fast but corners collapse light and shadow striate fish swim with the waves against the waves darkness lifts where the ceiling used to be a shriek of gulls flecks on cloud not bombs or planes but birds the colour of blood spills on to rooftops and moon-shadowed stairs to nowhere war a game played without rules pieces drift in liquid light teeter at a precipice floor dissolves in darkness i cling to an edge while all night long an unembodied voice detonates the news
In dawn’s faint light I construct lines, squares, rhomboids, hexagons, to plaster absent walls with tessellations.