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Jacket 20 — December 2002   |   # 20  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |

Robert Hampson

Three poems

      the beacon

4 tony lopez

demob happy
on beacon hill
2 tankers
in the offing
& all the stars
going out
one after another
into the wider
the threatened
moment ripples
& spirals
the secret
muscular rush
of narrative
erased &
intensities of
hammers on
the roof
under the canopy
& the car
turns the corner
at speed
cuts in front
of the bus
& the car
turns the corner
the crowd
from the pavement
the car
turns the corner
in the bar
sit amid
of voices
the continuing
of narratives
hammerblows &
the sheering of
electric saws

no signal detected

i.m. nick zurbrugg

the contestable
status of parks
& gardens
on the secret
map of the city
the words float
but the names
stay in place
or shift through
traceable deviations
to be technically
literate is
no doubt
but somehow
not enough
in the dark
there’s no
switch on
the overhead
humans can
ride bicycles
but can they
fly driers
save trees
from paper towels
get ready

eroded marks

not to feel guilt for
the faults of the tongue
but only to drive home
‘the heartlessness of words’
as if to say
when the blue jaguar
tries to devour the moon
or the red mercedes
swerves in front
of the bus
the ascending smoke
from the wax
or the handgun
slipped from
the killer’s hand
the walls close in
the breath freezes
in the air
what does
the smoke say
with forever
diminishing returns
here & elsewhere
the tongue struggles
for words
the body strains
for breath
only the wound
& the smoke

Robert Hampson is a Professor of Modern Literature at Royal Holloway University of London. He has been actively involved in poetry — as poet, editor and critic — since the early 1970s. During the 1970s he co-edited Alembic, organised various poetry reading series in London, and organised ‘Saturday Courses’ at Lower Green Farm. More recently he has edited another poetry magazine, purge. His most recent book is Assembled Fugitives — Selected Poems 1973–98, Stride Publications, 11 Sylvan Road, Exeter, Devon EX4 6EW, U.K., on the Internet at

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Jacket 20 — December 2002
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