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Norton Hodges
Reino Unido
Pomes de Norton Hodges:

From Here To Here
for Athanase Vantchev de Thracy

He comes to me at night, 3 a.m., the hour of regret,
when sleep's as distant as water for the landlocked;
he asks me, that child with the troubled soul,
Is there any mercy for me in this world?

And often I'm too busy with thoughts of
what never was and never will be to pay him any mind,
though sometimes I growl through the welter of the past, the white
knuckle rides of the future:
I'm not the one to give you mercy.

But he replies, face scrubbed and shiny with hope,
They told me only you could give it to me, even though
it might be a bit nearly-new, a bit shop soiled,
and he looks at me pleadingly in his plaid tie and short pants.

Last night he came to me again, whining, smelling of soap,
and I managed to shout through the helter skelter, OK, damn you, take
whatever mercy you can find,
then I knew that I was treading the downstairs passageway
while he slipped past me through the scullery and out into the light.

'We live as lost children, our adventures incomplete.'
Guy Debord

I put away my toys, prepared myself for adulthood;
I would be a man like my father, sober, responsible, coldly kind:
once my wife and children were installed in the little house
all I needed was certainty, determination, to choose this.

But at night they crept out of the toy cupboard and
played in my head: the feral teddy bear, the bad bratz, the
little wooden soldier with the Kalashnikov, the depraved fairies,
and they stole away my sleep with their wild Dionysian rites.

After too many nights of peek-a-boo, I was forced to surrender:
then they opened the nursery window and let the cold air blow in,
and they put a pack on my back and on my head a white handkerchief,
and they sent me, beaten, weeping, free down the yellow brick road.

Walking On The Beach
'You've always taken up space.'
My mother

'Fortune bids me to be less encumbered.'
Zeno of Cittium

I love cities: the crowds filling the streets dressed
in the latest shades, everything teetering on the cutting edge;
I'm happy when I sit in cafes, watching the parade go by
or when I spend a little too much cash on the High Street.

But in the salt marshes at the back of my mind,
where the tide of childhood ebbs and flows,
a sudden shower sends me running for cover,
afraid of another flood of guilt and shame.

Is that why I keep imagining us walking on the beach,
more modest, needing less, our children grown
and the sky wide, indifferent, calling us on?

Is that why I think that what I want is simply years of peace
and, later, to occupy barely more than air
when someone tips my ashes into the wind?


Norton Hodges
taught Modern Languages in secondary schools in England for 22 years. He also has an M.A. and a PhD in Language and Literacy in education. After taking medical retirement with M.E., he worked as an adult literacy tutor, exam invigilator and book reviewer but now spends his time writing. His poetry has been published by The Affectionate Punch, Apostrophe, Awen, The Black Rose, Borderlines, Cadenza, Connections [London], Connections [Whitstable], Crystal, Eclipse, em writing and music, Envoi, Exile, Fire, First Time, The Frogmore Papers, Global Tapestry Journal, The Interpreter's House, iota, Journal of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry, Juju, Krax, Lateral Moves, Lexikon, Linkway magazine, Magma, Micropress Midlands Poetry, The New Cauldron, New Horizon, New London Writers, The New Writer, Poetry Nottingham International, Poetic Licence, Psychopoetica, Pulsar, Purple Patch, Roundyhouse, the Rue Bella, Sand, Sepia, Staple, still, Superfluity, Terrible Work, The Third Half, This is, Time Haiku, T.O.P.S., Understanding, Upstart!, Voice and Verse, Voyage, Words Worth and Working Title. His poems have appeared in several anthologies including 'The Art of Haiku 2000' and 'In The Spirit of Wilfred Owen' [2002]. Some of his work has been digitised by the Poetry Library and can be found on www.poetrymagazines.org.uk. and also on the Wild Honey Press website and the Snapshots Project [www.thedrunkenboat.com]. His translation of the poem 'Sainte Anne' by the French poet Athanase Vantchev de Thracy is to be distributed to pilgrims at the basilica of Sainte-Anne-d'Auray in Brittany as well as in other Breton churches. His translations of other poems by Athanase Vantchev can be found at www.athanase.org and at www.PoetryPoem.com/athanase. His translations of the French poems of Tho Crassas can be found on http://users.otenet.gr/~teopoet/. Norton Hodges won the 1998 Milton Keynes Speakeasy Creative Writing Competition. He has completed an Advanced Poetry course with the Open College of the Arts. He has also written short stories and essays He lives in Oakham, Leics with Jude. His first poetry pamphlet, 'Letting The Light In', was published by Rutland Weekend Press in October 2004. His first reading was at the Pork Pie Library Leicester as part of the Leicester Literature Festival 2004. He has recently been awarded the Grand Prix International Solenzara de Posie by a French jury from the Institut Solenzara.

March 2005



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