Ralph Hawkins: 14 Poems

Oh What A Glorious Feeling

there was milk in the rain
created twilight
falling over happiness
she learned to dance her way through it

is that what we do en stages
stopping here and there
to study a line of idiocy
perpetuated by plight

a part two:

he was as a small boy
walking oft times
alone in landscapes
painted by Kurt Schwitters

a grotto full of relics
and a toy tossed boat

see you what there?

imagination apparelled

blood seeping from small frogs
and plastic ducks

the forest turned to charcoal

watching a dance sequence come to wet fruition




imagine being and not knowing of slime mold

it was difficult to distinguish in monochrome

at times you hope it will never happen again


dramatic music raises the threat level

there is mass bobbing on the sea

let flee torpedoes like a Toulouse sausage

a beehive in Blow Up


how to get through this

(fog) (time) (idiocy)

Gericault’s raft of tasty limbs?

austere judgement

keeping us entertained

if there is time to be so

and wholly forgotten

which is no time at all



Thus Sing A Song

looking at the grass in high summer

alone in the middle of a field

there’s a certain celestial mechanics at work

a fine star-mesh over all

a deterministic chaos

sweeps through business parks

a coloured tattoo of signage

high rollers buying up vacant properties

islands by the boat load

the rooms are without decoration

dogs one after another

swimming in the sea

made of red mud and rubble

plant life coming into its own out of the ruin

bean, wheatgerm and flower




linked to pioneers
he told the story
the singing of a bird
in the meadow

at five he’d go to the well
realising that the
of animals
is perhaps more
dreamlike than ours

water and air
holding a silver fox
to breathe slowly
and patiently,
the protein switch
coding our genes



Italy after Mussolini

ice cream
and then coffee

ships off the coast

we are looking

and I wrap you

the band playing
in the piazza

an alien fallen to earth

swimming in the pool

clinging and wanting

handing me your hand

to buy a paper and
some hubba bubba



The Growth of Memory

tender displays
in a worn book

seals mate

or off the coast

yellow and bright orange
towards the waves

we are wrapped
against the weather

down a screed slope

your first steps
like a toy duck

to the ring road
and back again

you respond with




the hares stop and look, undisturbed

there are no fences

so the cattle can read the sea

the first eagle dips, dips again

the only store is filled with junk

you can buy knickers there

his eyes following you

waiting for the plane to land

they have gone now

left you sweating seeing

the clouds above hang below the buildings

and wander the coast



the duck wears shoes of tar

a little robin from the charnel house

and those wearing cone hats circle the moon

what a trek

I thought him honest but not open

exploring himself in his work,

in conversation he was guarded

he’d disappear for days

trying to punish those who loved him, gave him hot milk

who took away his dog

I don’t think, I said to his wife,

I’d ever met a kinder person

he worked at it, held out two sparrow eggs




it lasts about as long
all the effort
as lilies in a vase
set in a window

I fetched him a coffee
and something to ease the pain
the child distracted
kicking his shoe

but without him
I would never be with you,

my friend asked me
if I ever wanted to return

I enjoyed the park

on the look out
for expensive clothes
and well-bred dogs

learning Latin in the evening




the whistle of the wind
as sharp sand
through the trees

the fallen blossom
splitting the river

counting the days’ numbers
in percentages and footfall

the winter wood stacked
meeting the melting sky

Ah, coming in for
the news, he says
I’ve seen this one before

extras from Exodus
or Lifeboat

the sea’s inflatable hope



Bunter Goes Way Back

a crème anglaise sky hung in the boardroom

William of Orangeade one in a line of twats

the trees go far back towards the conker rule, escorted by slaves

his horse Noddy wearing a bright shabracque

I felt a ripe lemon in Orange County*

I have visited Lemon City**

he poured it over a sweet pudding of oranges

his porcupines lined up in the bedroom

I waver between understanding and anger

shaking the dust into the crowded ether

the poet’s husband waiting in the wings

from a high window they throw scraps as they have ever done

they feel the pressure mount but they know it will pass

Bunty sucking a lolly ready for a perm

humming my sticking-pin curse into their parliamentary hobbies





Banking on You

I saw her
the other day

I wondered
at what she felt

and the girls

a life he gave up

a necessity as to
who he thought
he was, could be

the extremes of
which seemed never
to leave him

the girls running
through a wheat field
the dog, happy

the snipe placed in a box
and buried

turning his back
on the estuary

outside an ATM



The Tree fosters a line of Mushrooms

when we are gone said a little bird who will fly

marry with the dropped ash, spores

we are careful as though stopped and afeared

peeping from an eyehole from a closing membrane

the sun O the sun’s piping of golden sand

and the girl, my niña, with her hoop running

I am shrunk into what I think, the little bird

a meadow pipit one to another again and again

breaks a little free from one curtain to another, anxious

there is no answer turning the soil over and over

take these moments in, a blackbird and then a robin




frost gathers
at the base of the mountain
the toes tingle

the wool is coated
dragged off the sheep
and mixed with polyester

the kettle hisses
‘cuppa’ standing by the door
she listens for the howl

waste upon waste
of ululation, damaged birds

move south in large numbers
pendent over cavity
they begin home building

far off Fuji glitters
on framed wall hangings
the window reflects
a concluding sky
discernible you are
a small dot on a large wave

studying a tide table



Ralph Hawkins latest work is leaf o little leaf from Oystercatcher Press 2019. Recent work can be found in Snow, The Fortnightly Review and Litter.


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