All copyright © 2003 remains with the authors.
All copyright © 2004 remains with the authors.



Snapshots
Norton Hodges






Snapshot: Split Personality

Death is the postman,
shaved head and shorts,
shirt-sleeved and slight.

Death is the paper boy,
gangly and blond,
whose burden is light.

Death is Tim,
working all day,
and his manicured wife.

Death is old Jim,
sweeping the lawn,
he's cut like a knife.

Death is the kids,
who screech round and round
on mountain bike tyres.

Death is you,
weeding the beds,
making a fire.

Death is the painter,
rattling his cans,
all brilliant white.

Death is me,
survivor of day,
not always of night.

Norton Hodges, Oakham, Rutland UK, 11.01, 7/03/03

***


Snapshot: After

I wake and the pain's gone.
Yesterday, my cheek like
knives in spiders' webs,
teeth thrumming down to
the ground of my being.
Now this truce in which I praise
mute sleep and Nurofen Plus (tm).

What set it off? Well,
Sunday I attended the 80th
birthday party of my new
partner's father. I'm 54 for
Christ's sake! Too old to be
working up to it for days then
falling straight after into
the torture hole! Too old to
be wanting to hide in the
toilet until it's over!

Common sense says that
it's all in the mind - we blow
up the thing until it's a threat
even if it's pretty lamblike.
But since when did this particular
soft machine crank itself with
common sense??

Oh well, I live to spend
another day in the valley of
shopaholism; poor little
gewgaws we are, at the mercy
of the throb and thrum, still
aloft, just, where others
were swatted like flies.

Norton Hodges
Oakham, Rutland UK 10:20 a.m., 7/09/03

***


My Mother's Last Romance

Now she wants me to do
what my Dad did -
rehearse her symptoms for
Dr Singh ('They're always Singh or Patel'),
discuss what to pack
for her impending visit.

Strange how things turn
out - my sister gone,
me nearly divorced,
she now turning,
turning to me,
the vague boy, always
'away'.

Norton Hodges
Oakham, Rutland UK. 9.43, 7/23/03

***


Snapshot: What My Mother Sees

She casts a weather eye:
Black over there. Might rain.
or squints at the Daily Mirror,
sizing up Saddam, his dead sons.
Later, her look lights on
Jude's pots - Is that a penstemon?
and the little birds quarrelling over
peanuts. Or she just sits and stares.

It always comes back to the weather:
dark approaching clouds v. sailor blue,
the way it must look from up on deck
at 84, to a knocked about, wind-blown,
gnarly, sharp-eyed, jagged old salt.

Norton Hodges
Oakham, Rutland UK 9:45 a.m., 7/30/03

***


Snapshot: My Tabloid Hell

Never had a threesome
with a Page 3 stunna and
her mate in a blizzard of cocaine or
a red rose at breakfast
in a cut glass vase.

Never seen the sun rise
in the desert after
backpacking all day
taut with restraint
or arrived home to a
surprise shower from
fifteen close friends.

Never been dwarfed by
skyscrapers in a yellow cab
with a wise guy driver
who voted Bush or
romanced by a widow
with flagrant designs on my body.

Only lived with the
Chinese puzzle of an
untrusting heart and
wavered on the sidelines
across the doomed land.

Only made a faltering record
from short memory, desultory
emails and silence.

Only hid my face from
the moon with a well-done steak,
a birthday cake, a few cold ones.

Norton Hodges, Oakham, Rutland UK

***


Post-Holiday

Back yesterday, the lawn grown tall
and the starched kitchen chapel-like;
time to sort the postal debris, be glad
for no long white sinister envelopes.

I miss the sea: one photo, no pebbles
this time, just the long beach in my
head, the landless moments in silver
waves lapping, barefoot, letting go.

Norton Hodges, Oakham, Rutland UK, 10:30 a.m.

***


Snapshot: autumnal

Snorers should be put on
special machines which,
when clamped tightly,
facilitate a quiet night -

quiet night when the
moon smokes lazily
one foot crossed over
the other yellow leg

quiet night undisturbed
by family klaxons or
the calculations of
lost sheep (one, two...)

quiet night with sky
Magrittes of slipper, pipe,
dull background, boredom,
nothing doing (good)

quiet night of blank
jazz autumn cool
and stepping back
to jump again -

for when the fog
horn starts up on the river
and the blocked breather
begins her performance art

all my noisy ghosts
put on their Reeboks
and throng yakking
past my door..

Norton Hodges, Oakham, Rutland UK, 27.08.03 8:15 a.m.

***


Snapshot: Demographic

Radio One
We thought we were the
electric six, the kings of
leon but after the
thrills comes the darkness.

Radio Two
I remember my threads in all
their jagger, the dylan loons,
the chisel-toed carnaby-red
mccartney sharpshooters.

Radio Three
Upstairs I've still got all the
Brahms from my childhood but
I threw away my Miriam Makebas,
my Ewan MacColls long ago.

Radio Four
These days, rather than an acid Paxman,
I prefer a short story, a play,
a news update, a weather report.
Soon I'll be ready for Classic FM.

Norton Hodges, Oakham, Rutland UK 8:40 a.m. 03.09.03

***


Time to wear a sweater
use the manual override

close the curtain
fill the kettle again

time to curl into
that place near the radiator

that stops you thinking
of the dark and who's out there

lost, unbuttoned, last bus gone.

Norton Hodges, Oakham, Rutland UK 8:40 a.m. 10.09.03

***


First you're in a corner - soft and warm,
interesting pattern on the carpet,
could study it all day (after which there's
the skirting boards ), then someone
steams in and drags you out, maybe
your lover or your maiden aunt, leaving you
in the middle of the Axminster, awestruck,
blinded by the glory of an Osram bulb.

Norton Hodges, Oakham, Rutland UK ,17.09.03. 9:10 a.m

***



Poetryetc is a listserv relating to poetry and poetics which provides a forum for poets to debate their critical and creative work. The list has over the years run a number of projects for its members, of which Snapshots has been the most enduring.

Every Wednesday, Poetryetc members were invited to post short poems on any subject or in any form they chose. The idea was to make a poetic collage of instamatic “snaps” of that day that reflected the international membership of the list. The project has generated an astounding number of poems.

The first two runs, of six weeks each, and the first ten weeks of the third run, are archived at Wild Honey Press www.wildhoneypress.com under Poetryetc Project. The rest - amounting in all to a run of a year - are archived here.

Poetryetc, like its affiliate Salt Publishing (http://www.saltpublishing.com), was founded by Australian poet John Kinsella. Salt is managed by Christopher Hamilton-Emery (cemery@saltpublishing.com), while Poetryetc is owned by Alison Croggon (ajcroggon@bigpond.com). Poetryetc is now archived at http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/poetryetc.html. and anyone interested can join from that url.

To contact the listowner: Alison Croggon


These pages are designed, maintained, and hosted by Rebecca Seiferle, the Editor of The Drunken Boat. To email.


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