Three Poems by Geoffrey Heptonstall

A Hart’s Death

And here the hart
capable of being broken
through this run down.
Insistent echoes are open
like the rhythm an earth life courses.

A creature of the dream
seeks shade in open spaces.
And there the hart cries
are heard in the mansion sound,
mausoleum of marble,
cool in an unfurnished mind,
walls of being in the world.

Leaping from the page,
the death seems natural
when the hunting book opens
on the empty highway
where the headlights catch the hart.

Peter Brook

What he touches turns to fire, then air,
then earth, then water.
Everything elemental,
acting out a primal scene.
His hand can gently
sift the dust encircling the world
of the mind at play.
The sound is the spring
that flows from harmony.

All that happens has been known
from the sun’s first rising
on an awakening life.
There is a space where imagination enters,
only to fly into the shimmer of noon
where once was darkness
and never dare be again.

The romance is familiar:
a question in the fabric of time.
Threads of being are woven
from clouds and a clear sky.
Reality the riderless,
truth a critical simile
harnessed at once to the onlooker’s eye.

A match for creation of a chrysalis
within the promise of late Lenten days.
All is waiting. And words, gathering wisdom,
consider the question ‘Why?’
‘When?’ is more certain.

The Century of Sarah Baxter

Both eyes of hers resemble the moon.
Her skin in the dawn is marble.
The hair in the wind falls wildly.
Or so I imagine how she was,
remembering that was then.
Think of her as history.
I am there, walking through time
to meet her who was young,
close by the sapling apple tree
that was felled in its prime.

Hunched with age, she spoke in sepia;
yoked with pails, she was a milkmaid.
Her burden belies the pastoral romance.
Then there came her marriage,
one of life’s obligations
arranged in layers, like an onion
ripening in the earth before harvest.
These rites are learned by heart,
beginning with a modest glance
before skirts swirl as she dances.

On the brow of the hill she might see
beyond the line the lives unborn.
They were to be her reason.
A haze of possibilities shimmers.
At her feet are the flowers that blaze.
Once there was a lovers’ season.
Sarah survived trials and temptations
among the remnants of her dreams
scattered through the pasture land.
Gracefully homeward an old lady wanders.


Recent publications include a novel: Heaven’s Invention (Black Wolf), and a short play, The Park, in Lampeter Review. Recent essays/reviews have appeared in Fiction Southeast, The London Magazine and Montreal Review. Recent poetry includes work in The High Window, Optimum and Poetry Pacific.

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