Ralph Hawkins - Six Poems

Ralph Hawkins

more data please

is this the way to go
more data needed
a heteronym, a reason

truth be known, sooth!

and his crew on a
mineral hunt in Greenland

a leafy plot of privileged
rime, rind peeled off
eglantine, sweet briar hips


palm oil, a greasy spot
on the sleeve
the hiss and wag of telling heads

a body of land with its
outposts, shale and slate
and the bark of a dog, ruins

under the effluent

his pockets revealed

1  broken dreams
                           scattered in pieces
2  a broken heart        
                           scattered in pieces

3  a cook, a thief and his mother (full of ontological insecurity)(ants, bitumen and fast fashion)

     stunt men and women played by an egg and a chicken or a chicken and an egg

a suggestion of liquid paraffin

where the land was once water, ocelot and ounce 

peeling an apple to its fundamental essence (cor blimey!)

both spring blossom and autumn fruit

a woodpecker in the woods

my mind in a mess 

and the dry cleaner removing a stain from the previous poem

did maisy meet gertrude stein?

before she was born Maisy 
knew she would become great
she told her mother so

she composed her first poem in Crayola
a town of bright colour and scribbles

it was based on a poem
by a Portuguese writer her mummy read to her

like lemons are lemons alike

unlike lemons were green, blue and even pink

the house was generic and in the Canadian town of Saskatoon, ice skating through the long winters

her teacher gave her a list of authors to read, a golden treasury,
copying passages from the german ideology and everyone talks about the weather

and there in bright orange (a citrus theme) and custard yellow
was the sun, insistent, driving everything forward like a big engine

it wasn’t long before she took up a paint brush and people died

in a series of scribbles

trickery and jiggery pokery

those early pioneers

grasping at insight

the raw unknown

so soon a confusion to the child

a heavy roundabout and a vertical slide, vertiginous 

but trees have their own way
of singing, with or without leaf

certain varieties of grass proved tricky,
sweet vernal-grass, wood melick and cock’s foot*

all with their secrets 

the silt of the river

and the morning’s winding gear

the thrill of his hair and her kind voice

always the raw application of instinctual knowledge 

*Cock's-foot is an abundant, tussocky grass of grasslands

mute trumpets stuffed with cloth

puffed fungi mute also

reeding under the blankets

who of an owl is Johnny Depp who of an owl am I

a mere actor who has done things, hoot

the credits scrolling in loose change

down to the river bank to gorge

on chanterelles and blewits

like animals blinking in the hour’s last faded light


betterment’s lapsed promise
we leaf through a tacit moral pact, 

fortune or not fortune,
ripe peach, sour plum

real Indian ink on our fingers
and stamps two-a-penny

birds calling, a lazy day, perhaps

submariners out of sight, toast put down

looking grave, clairvoyant, “I never
knew you had a cat”

rushed off our feet, you try your best

have you been naughty, 
yes, I have been naughty 


Molly’s a duck
available in five soft pastel plastics

and then there’s Barnard
the local thief of a landlord
contesting our monthly deposit

he spreads beef
dripping on his bread
with a cutthroat knife,

a John Lewis sales item
with a serrated edge 

mountains of vacuity lead
to the overcrowded hospital

the wound dresser witness
to the tented fields

with vague stories of social evolution

Copyright © Ralph Hawkins, 2021