Magma 59 London Review Bookshop launch


Last night’s launch at the London Review Bookshop was a great evening, a friend said, “worthwhile and life enhancing”. There are so many poetry events going on that it is hard to make time to attend many of them, so this one was extra special because it was a brilliant venue, the poets reading were a pleasure to hear and Lorraine Mariner and Colette Bryce held the audience spellbound.

Roberta James and Alex Pryce edited this issue – they wanted, “poems of such creative energy, poems that show how words strain under the burden yet still let in the light.” I think they got them. If you haven’t thought about subscribing, have a think about it now and follow this link: Magma

A couple of poems from their site and, oh yes, one of them is mine 😉


By William Stephenson

Around five, when the Polish girl touches my elbow
to lead me downstairs to eat, the curtains ignite
like the shot-down Messerschmitt I saw;
struts exposed, ribs of a crackling corpse.
A hot turpentine wash as the drop-tank explodes;
the pilot dangles from his chute five fields away,
an exclamation mark punctuating the sky.

I assemble the memory. It comes in prefab parts
whose tapering extrusions grip the frame;
an Airfix kit I stick together, propeller, fuselage,
cannon. If my eyes could cope I’d find my old
darning tin, unravel a thread, hang the model,
tap it so it twists; evasive action. But cataracts
shrivel the world; residue flakes off a dry seam;

I see only the corpse of glue. Still, this evening,
when the sun crashes into room 209,
I teeter on the cockpit’s lip, bail out and
fly, leaving the shell to fry in kerosene.
Halfway from heaven, I watch the horizon
yaw and right itself, the silk dome fill.
The Polish girl screams, a plunging engine.


Nesting in the Wardrobe

By Abegail Morley

She takes her child-small hands from her pockets, shakes them
till her fingers tingle at the pads, shelters air in her palms
as if it were a white-blue egg that might just wake.

Her time ticks in shameful hours – cedared, Yardley-soaped,
she hides at the back behind black dresses, chiffon blouses,
knee-high boots until the lolling egg rolls from her grasp, white-blue,

slips from her fingertips and she watches it (as if in slow motion)
collide with the edge of the wardrobe door. Skull first,
it’s struck like plate glass and she’s stuck in no man’s land

with only startled air and centimetres between them.
Her voice, huddled in her throat, lets out only the slightest sound,
amniotic fluid flows in rivulets down her wrists, spills like silk.

2 thoughts on “Magma 59 London Review Bookshop launch”

  1. I heard from a reliable witness that you were at the opening last night and gave an excellent reading 🙂 Love both the poems you chose for here – they complement each other.

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