Martyn Crucefix

Featured Poet: Martyn Crucefix

Martyn

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The lovely disciplines

See Ginny’s son and Ginny’s daughter-in-law
rest useless hands on the raised bed-rail

stare down to where Ginny writhes and squirms
her slender left arm reaching O so high

while her bare right calf lies crooked across
the cold retaining bar as lucky Jane all day

scuts with her bird-like legs folded under
to clear the turning wheels of her chair

while she roams the ward her working shoulders
pump each shove as if she’d tear herself clear

of the purple seat while Michaela’s throat
goes sucking great holes in the hospital air

and rubs itself raw till she’s like a bull-seal
honking on a distant shore she may have once

defended open-eyed though no-one here
believes Michaela will stir—no brighter hope

any more for Linda where she settles quiet
in her purple dressing-gown beside her bed

neat as a serviette her eyes fixed on a man
from her V of hands while he stares at her

from his V of hands the woman who he moved
for years coterminous with who now prefers

distance and darkness and being dumb . . .
O no more those lovely disciplines

we reassure ourselves it’s human to pursue
and no more those sweet acts of will

we treasure briefly or we take for granted
consoling ourselves that we will be spared

the horror of long blue rooms like these—
the slack and supine and all the twaddle

of decay and we persuade ourselves
that the truth need not be so bleak

as it seems for these who hold the floor today
who turn barely more than one leaf turns

in being blown to the gutter who seem
as nothing to themselves if more to others

who come with names they cannot let go
murmuring Ginny Michaela darling Linda Jane

.

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Martyn Crucefix has won numerous prizes including a major Eric Gregory award and a Hawthornden Fellowship. He has published 5 collections, including An English Nazareth (Enitharmon, 2004) and Hurt (Enitharmon, 2010). His translation of Rilke’s Duino Elegies was shortlisted for the 2007 Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation and hailed as “unlikely to be bettered for very many years” (Magma). His translation of Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus was published in 2012. Information can be found at Poetrypf also see Enitharmon.

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Jo Hemmant

Jo Hemmant: Featured Poet

Jo Hemmant

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On the occasion of Mayer Samuel Houdini’s 17th birthday

He would be the one to invent a son.
Perhaps his greatest sleight of hand: letters
in that dramatic copperplate, Dear Mrs Houdini,
Mayer has his first tooth, is crawling, can say his name,
in full, our boy, tender anecdotes of bumps and scrapes –
trying to fly before he could walk, of course –
of night-time vigils, lisped funnies, tantrums, slapstick.
………………………………As if I’d have as little say

in my own son as I do in his act: ever the flunky;
the suspension of disbelief; the accessory after the fact.
He did allow him a likeness though – my dark eyes.
Little touches like that, they’re why he’s the success he is.
A locket with a wispy golden curl for Mother’s Day.
A scuffed pair of calf-skin baby shoes. And when the child
would have started school, the reports began, always
in a different hand – outlining academic glory,
popularity, sporting prowess. I’ve even an invitation
to his bar mitzvah somewhere.
 …………………………….He has never mentioned him
to my face; realises that would be too much to stomach.
No, I find the letters on my pillow every month,
about that time; a thoughtless gift.

..

Scratch Days

Now and then we have to let ourselves in,
knowing before we’ve unlocked the door
that inside it’s as if no-one’s home —

TV off, radio quiet as the hush
between each tick of the kitchen clock,
the only sound a distant rat-a-tat-tat.

She’s up in the box room
with towers of tins stockpiled
against famine and flood, hunched

over the Singer, feeding swags of polycotton
across its cool, metal plate
while the frenzied needle stabs,

retreats. Pins clamped between her lips
like threats, foot down like a racing driver
accelerating out of a corner’s rubber stink.

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Light Knows Cover 1_4.jpegforpostcardJo Hemmant lives in the Kent countryside with her husband and two sons. She is the director of Pindrop Press, a boutique poetry press that has published twelve titles to date. She is involved in local poetry, acting as Secretary of The Kent and Sussex Poetry Society and running creative writing workshops.

Her poems have been published in many magazines and anthologies, including Magma, Iota, Dream Catcher, Brittlestar, nothing left to burn (Ragged Raven Press, 2011), Jericho (Cinnamon Press, 2012). She has also won prizes in various competitions – including first prize in The New Writer Poetry and Prose Competition 2011 (collection category), second prize in the Torriano Poetry Competition in 2011 and runner-up in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition 2012.

The Light Knows Tricks is her first collection and can be bought from Doire Press.