Norman Hadley – four poems


A flapping leg beneath the summit
so I summoned help.

A dozen bobbing torches
slit the drizzle
so I blew my whistle.

I shouted names of all the saints
but they just looked right through me
and stretchered away the silence.

The Bracken Path

We ran and hid beneath these creamy-scented
fronds to raaar at slowcoach Mum and Dad.

Three decades on – a different ‘we.’
Our children know the game – they
crouch and pounce and we recoil
in terror just the same, the way
the fractal fronds self-replicate,
receding, ever smaller, till
you’re squinting – swear
there’s branching
in that final

Archduke Ferdinand Reflects

Lucky I wore
my bulletproof vest
in Sarajevo yesterday


In time, I learned my magazines
objectified. It wasn’t right; there’s more
to women than their skin.
I cancelled my subscriptions.

How I missed those Misses,
gambolling in unfigleafed Edens
sinking winsome, grinning teeth
in pink-fleshed apples, blushed with innocence.

It was explained to me her magazines
were better; true, the women wearing
not much more. The key distinction –
little pink – no human skin on show.

Instead, the make-up team
had daubed them all in shimmering
metallic sheens, concealing
any hint of raw humanity.

Goldfinger’s victims, suffering suffocation
turned to shopping-precinct mimes,
their faces blank as plates
and plated statue-rigid.

When not writing children’s fiction or short stories, Norman Hadley is a poet with five collections and an abundance of new material, having frenziedly participated in the “52” poem-a-week project that accidentally became one-and-a-half-a-day. As penance, he is now co-editor of the 52 anthology and prompt-setter for the extended project, “52+”.

Norman’s website is at


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