Thursday, August 22, 2013


 Perspectives on a Lake

On that shore small people move,
walk tiny dogs, sit on small benches;
on this shore birds patrol their grove,
slow and long-legged under green branches
that etch the unrelenting rays
in bars of complicated shade.
Stretched wide, out there the sunshine plays
easily on tree,  colonnade

and path. Perspective grinds them down
to semblance on a tapestry,
a distant likeness of the town,
pastiche of inches, lacquered sky.
Whilst here, an insensible curved rat –
still wet from the swim that made her great.


Saturday, August 03, 2013

Jazz Riff for Nigel Henderson

Italian Street Scene                    after                                   Nigel Henderson         Stressed Photograph 1951


space against space
                                  horse w/ cart
going up
              the street’s tiled zig-zag  
paved crazily
                      swirled in Henderson’s dark dish              

                      rippling up to white-walls
of a displaced convertible –
                                    merged into brick
                low door open –

white shirt hair slicked back
as if sprouted from his own car

it’s all been pulled back squeezed up stretched                                 
so not knowing
                which way to look
                                         you’re in the photo too

                                         coffee in the air
breadrolls flowers
like the bunch she’s carrying
                                in one hand
haloed by morning sun
as she arrives walking
                             too cool to agitate
unstoppable jazz walk
                                unstressed –
testing the hem
of her retro-for-real check-print dress
the staccato tattoo
of those heels
wins out in all the other sounds –
motor starting                      
an aria of an argument
                                neighing horse –
in the old cacophony
                                    a rhythm-awakening

Sunday, June 02, 2013

On Vivian Maier

The Eye of Fame


Resting alone, the eye of the coming storm,
nervously awake, her own space of mirrors and light.
Vanishing to the streets in style, her own style
made timeless by a Paris memory,
in these quarter-heal leather shoes she walks
and walks in; the restless streets, skyline

“…vivid against the little soft cities.” Demolition men
enter the frame, and a woman being canoodled,
incredulity that the camera lady comes so close, fascination
at this twin lens shooter, the steady aim. Cardsharps
interested as if: “Hey, a dame just took a picture.”




Kenneth hyam may 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Post Below

The post below is a coming together of my own thoughts and an attempt at a translation of Laforgue's Pierrots. Laforgue wrote these Pierrot poems as part of a longer work entitled L'immitation de notre dame la lune, which literally means The immitation of our Lady the Moon. 
Translation is always a dicy business. I realise that the first question is: how does the poet translator circumnavigate the problem that all poems are almost by their nature untranslatable? Has the poet/translator come up with a new poem> If so, how much is this a translation and how much a new poem masquerading as a translation?
I don't on my conscience know the answer to these questions. However , I will be as honest as I can. One of these poems is in fact a translation, the other is well....a transreflection, an extrapolation from the non-existence of a poem which does not have a material counterpart..


Pierrots iii

As dusk falls, these molesters
Of statues, deep in the parks,
Only offer their arms and attentions
To the least improperly dressed.

In a one-to-one with a woman
It feels as if there are three,
Mixing up tomorrow with yesterday,
Intensely demanding nothing.

Claiming, “I love you” with eyes
To the gods, ecstatically dead-pan,
Concluding their mad declaration
With, “Oh hell, shall we just leave it!”

…Until She, in forgetful daze,
Seized by one-knows-not-what need,
Drunk on moonlight, falls into their arms
Very far from respectable ways.

Pierrots After Hours

In a café over absinthe glasses
They stretch the tight rope of a gaze;
A tilting line that gently sways,
Linking them briefly to express

Mad steps with nonchalant disdain,
Twinned in the dim light where they drink,
Where to fly upwards is to sink
And losing balance is to gain

A new context for the curved Moon
the velvet sea she’s swimming through.
Their blood freezes: nothing more to do
Except fall; fallen, fly alone

Onto the blue cobbles where all’s well,
White clothes spread out, a drifting calm,
‘til whirr of metal, crash , alarm
As church clock grates its ancient bell.