Spring 2009

Table of Contents - Vol. V, No. 1


Poetry     Interview     Translations     Fiction     Book Reviews

Arthur Seeley


Early Lessons

Bum-banging satchel belaboured me
running the long street to school.

The mason, hand bunched thick
round the stock of a flat chisel,
watched me through glasses
frosted by a million flying shards,
returned to peck at that day’s shape.
Strange curves emerged
from a peck, peck, pecking,
patient as dripping water,
that discovered bits of houses
in the bones of earth.

The oily shed, home to an old tank engine
that seethed like a great black kettle on a hob
steam flowered from sprung seams.
I knew the sear of that coal-gulping maw
and the sudden vent of dragon breath
that filled the yard with scalding vapours
and belches of sulphur that engorged a sky
bannered with the smoke of a town girded for war.

In the farrier’s hearth,
a hoop glowed in its golden nest of coke
bellowed to a heat I felt feet away.
Mightily rang the anvil with his bouncing hammer,
as he fettled the sparking iron, plunged it back
into the belly of fire. Swarthy and grimed,
he chimed from the heart of a Vulcan reek
of quenched iron and burnt hoof.

Late as usual, I left to chase
into the place of hard desks
chalk and the long slow plod of hours;
a place where good French seemed a logical impossibility
and geometry was a foreign language.


Requiem: Spring 1943

Chattering with excitement we traipsed
up from the clamour of mills
to the deep woods, loud with Spring.

Lads! Raucous, war-lean,
muscled like skinned rabbits
daft as otters, dared the chill of the cut.

Spencer took me deeper.

The air rifle, hung broken over his arm,
slim levers and hinges relaxed,
sleek and well-oiled; pellets in his mouth.

Deeper he took me

to the bosky, brambled heart.
Spring shot lank swift life.
Gas-flamed leaves flared green

In sunlight leaking through a thin canopy,
a sudden thrill of song burst from a twig,
where a yellow hammer sang.

Levers and hinges slid and closed.
Bright feathers bloomed and spun
in the shattered Eden-light,

the unravelled bird bounced upon leaf-mould.
Spencer, his face mottled with triumph;
stole away looking for other things to kill.

The trees were stunned, shade
of unfolding leaf, as I trod a soft path
where the slow waters oozed.

A gaped and silenced beak
tipped with a bead of bright blood.


© Arthur Seeley



Poetry     Interview     Translations     Fiction     Book Reviews

Website Copyright © 2009 by Loch Raven Review.

Copyright Notice and Terms of Use: This website contains copyrighted materials, including, but not limited to, text, photographs, and graphics. You may not use, copy, publish, upload, download, post to a bulletin board. or otherwise transmit, distribute, or modify any contents of this website in any way, except that you may download one copy of such contents on any single computer for your own personal non-commercial use, provided you do not alter or remove any copyright, poet, author, or artist attribution, or any other proprietary notices.