Peter Hughes
Shadowtrain books
Index to Poets
Carriage 44
Carriage 43
Carriage 42
Carriage 41
Carriage 40
Carriage 39
Carriage 38
Carriage 37
Carriage 36
Carriage 35
Carriage 34
Carriage 33
Carriage 32
Carriage 31
Carriage 30
Carriage 29
Carriage 28
Carriage 27
Carriage 26
Carriage 25
Carriage 24
Carriage 23
Carriage 22
Carriage 21
Carriage 20
Carriage 19
Carriage 18
Carriage 17
Carriage 16
Carriage 15
Earlier carriages

From Behoven



         then we lost interest

      in such impossible pasts

    & lifted our heads towards

            the river elsewhere

        a new jetty stands beside

              the old beyond repair

                      time mended the boat

                   that slips its moorings

       & swings out into the current

       the kneeling figure works on

               pausing only to reach

                  for three more nails

                  & position them gently

             between her lips



    cuckoo   drunk   I

     come through hedges

        sideways in September twigs

               flick back & whip you

        in a list of

reasons to be cheerful

                      with asterisks


             screw up page & wipe stars

          appear & tighten

          screws on loft-ladder

            tip-toe between Bo

             Diddley & a Renoir lavender

                ribbons in a mass of red

                              hair run for the bus

                 bed pushed to the window

              head protrudes into the sky

                         a cantilevered plank

                   relieves  neck muscles

        vans bring morning in the rain

        however many nights the head

        stays out  the rent remains

         the same fuel bills rise & turn red

      skip to the loo

                & sing a ring

                   of shaving cream

                           & rust             no credit


         when the aerial stops oscillating

      hear clearly

        & sweep up broken plates

             hail Maria       ave Harold

 another raindrop starts trickling

    down the pane then sets off

     sideways at extraordinary speed

                     to reach the frame

              & kick back up into the sky

                    wolf cubs skip into a gale warning

                         we trundle diagonally downhill

                                     on an asymmetric sledge

                  towards the least attractive stretch

               of tree-line             a cough & a jump

             each path leads down as well as up

                but there’s only one way to go 

                               if you want bread      

                       oh   & bring it back


                       bring bonny back

                           to the dockside

                             freed by waiting

                          for a morning

                    of details

            tight trainers

     coffee containing pale grit

    a three-legged dog loping

     past smiling into the wind

       & the Copenhagen boat

                   was tending left

                         but several hands

               pushed it north-east to

                      more frosty stacks

                      of Baltic timber

  & potential passengers

  with indecision & fists

       stuffed in mufflers

                there is comfort in the story

                               sung without words

                           a sunlit liquid shiver

                     again we turned & tried

               remembering things

       we’d never known


  swept down natural steps

  to the pool at the bottom

  of the mountain

    water & other phenomena

        restlessly quest after

           lunch & in June

                           there was a lull

    where sweet English waters

           rose through chalk beds

              to dance through dips

        & cushions in the surface

            of the pool in dappled

                       alder shade

         this freshwater spring

             & water boatmen

                        the scrumping went

                              according to plan

                         brassicas netted

     there’s nowhere to roost

      if you’re a cabbage

                 white butterfly

Copyright © Peter Hughes, 2009