Simon Williams – four poems


was the Inca name for the Sun, which astronomers now
give to interplanetary dust, as collected by the Stardust
probe from the Wild 2 (VILT-two) comet.

More universal than stars, planets,
rocks in the Oort cloud, is dust.
The black specks in this Aerogel –

the traces, like meteors
in a Perseid shower – hang on the
wild comet’s tail through its ellipses;
no corners to settle into, beyond Jupiter.

Inti is the exotics: magnesium, aluminium,
minerals not formed in the absolute of space,
only near a star, via the heat of its hydrogen.

I sweep the kitchen floor – skin flakes,
leaf skeletons, the grit abraded from tors.
Perhaps, by the chance that orbits stars,
inti is driven through the bristles of this broom.

A Wolf Explains The Howl

In his book, The Philosopher and the Wolf, Mark Rowlands
tells how his wolf would sit howling while his mother cooked.
The wolf was asking for cheese, which it loved.

As we sit out under lupine constellations,
lay our heads back, roll our tongues, breathe deep,
we’re not calling to our mates, challenging our rivals
we don’t do it to integrate the pack.
So few of you have taken time to study,
so few know how we long for Wensleydale
how we lament the lack of Limburger in forests,
yearn for little Edams in the vast, cold tundra.

Why else would we howl so under the full moon?
Even the ponderous trappers know the way it looks.
Don’t come with guns to keep your fluffy mutton safe.
Don’t send your puny dogs to save your chickens.
In the frozen nights, where all we have for life is what we eat,
bring us cheese. O, bring us cheese.

Operators of the Puffing Devil

Richard Trevithick‘s first steam-powered road vehicle
caught fire and was ruined after it was left by its
operators in a gully, while they went for dinner.

I wasn’t saying he was crazy,
it was a prime thing and I could see its worth,
carrying people up Camborne Hill
like half a dozen horses.

I would say its wheels were thin,
more like a cart’s than an engine’s.
To take that weight a bit of spread
would have stopped them making runnels.

When we ran that gulley, I never
thought we’d make it out again
and Arthur was a bit lam-handed
with the steering and the throttle.

There’s no way we could move it
once stuck there in the hollow
and it was getting late and us pair
devilish hungry. We went to eat

and no-one could begrudge us that,
though looking back on it, we prob’ly
should have doused the firebox first.
We went over to the Skinner’s and had goose.

A good roast bird it was and as we ate,
I said ‘Now that’s a real machine,
no steam, no rachets, cams nor valves
and one as can go on water, earth

and air with equal versatility.
It’ll take a while for Dick Trevithick
to better that one… and to give it taste.
We finished with a quart of ale, before the fire.

from dream

The First Time Ever I Kissed Kate Bush

was last night,
in some old lecture hall,
perhaps an Oxford College. Jesus.

I don’t recall
what the event was –
sitting next to Kate Bush, you wouldn’t.

She looked young,
probably all the dancing
and running up hills.

Remembering Kate
doesn’t discuss her family life,
we talked of music and movements:

red shoes, kangaroos,
the contemplation of Pi,
what she’d been up to in the last 35 years.

The others filed out.
It was going really well,
till at last Kate had to leave.

The kiss was unexpected,
so slightly fumbled at the start,
but there were tongues.

Simon Williams has five published collections, the latest being A Place Where Odd Animals Stand (Oversteps Books, 2012) and He|She (Itinerant Press, 2013). His new pamphlet, Spotting Capybaras in the Work of Marc Chagall, was published earlier this month by Indigo Dreams. Simon was elected The Bard of Exeter in 2013 and founded the large-format magazine, The Broadsheet.


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