Chris Hardy – four poems

Catching Up

He chases a sparrow
that flies away
when he gets near

then lands and
as he catches up
flies off again.

I want to tell him,
but cannot work out how
or why,

that life is a sparrow
which flies away
when you get close,

and if you ever do
wrap your hands around
its frail, winged body

the frightened heart
beating beneath your fingers
will make you
let it go.

Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile

With one hand on a wooden rod
she holds her reed boat still.
Nearby a rock, shaped like a turtle,
flickers with light.

The river flows through the lake
then goes thousands of miles
to push an arc of mud
into the sea.

Shallow water between islands
beneath the sun, that can see
this brown green eye
looking up from the mountain,

and the woman leaving her home,
taking eels and millet to market,
moving across
the centre of my life.


I walk up to you,
you read the name
pinned to my shirt,
and that first tussle
on the bed comes back,
white muscles
turning above me
as your top came off.

I say, You haven’t changed,
to your sprayed face and
upright posture
in the wheelchair
against the table,
where your name is stuck
to a plate.

You see through me
for the last time
as we watch the past
on rewind in a cinema
of ancient strangers.

From Start to Finish

Standing by the kerb
the stall holder waits

What will you have
After a while
you answer,

Tomorrow I will have
my baby.
He smiles and offers you
an apple.

Next morning
in the hospital lift
you give birth
to our daughter.

Surrounded by people
from start to finish
you are alone
until it’s done.

There is only
one other thing
like it.

“I have been published widely in magazines (Rialto, Poetry Review, the North etc), anthologies (e.g. Forward Prize) and on-line (Ink Sweat and Tears, poetrypf etc). I have won a few prizes including one in the National Poetry Competition. My fourth collection is due out in 2017 from Indigo Dreams. I am in LiTTLe MACHiNe. We set famous poems to music and perform at literary festivals. We have recorded five albums, including one featuring the Poet Laureate and very recently, The Likes Of Us, with Roger McGough, who we are gigging with now.”


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