What we come to believe is what we want to believe
when the streets are paused to a standstill,
the surrounding hills our only retreat. For me,
the snapping of beech, the stirring of foliage,
was more real than the light that shone,
late afternoon, across from Marriage Wood.
When the two of them ran, we thought they were dogs –
at first – from the sound of their movement alone.
How quickly they made their way, one behind the other,
a maverick convoy of muscle and flesh
passing steadfastly to a destination only they knew.
Through the cover of branches, nothing was certain.
I could swear there was the lowering of bird song
and the sudden glint of an eye as they gathered pace,
surging uphill where no way seemed possible.
Still at that point of half believing they were dogs,
we waited patiently for their owner walking behind,
for a call at least. In the moments afterwards, the birds
regained their confidence but no voice was heard.
by Christopher Horton
You can hear Christopher Horton read the poem on the tall-lighthouse website.
As we mentioned in last week’s e-mail, this semester the Poetry Centre is showcasing the research being carried out by Dr Eric White into the American avant-gardes. Join us for ‘Shaking the Lights’, a series of free digital events, open to all, and beginning on Thursday 24 February with an online lunchtime discussion group looking at poetry by Langston Hughes. You can find details of that event and the others in the series on the Poetry Centre website.
And if you’re near London, head along to the Rugby Tavern in Great James Street on Saturday 26 February to hear this week’s poet, Christopher Horton, read at the launch of his new pamphlet. He’ll be reading alongside Sonya Smith, Alan Buckley, Declan Ryan, Mark Wynne, Jon Stone and Kirsten Irving, plus other readers. To sign up for this free event and for more details, visit the Eventbrite page.
‘Wild Boars’ is copyright © Christopher Horton, 2021, and is reprinted here from Perfect Timing (tall-lighthouse, 2021) by permission of tall-lighthouse. You can read more about the pamphlet and buy a copy from the tall-lighthouse website.
Notes from tall-lighthouse:
The poetry in Perfect Timing is, at times, unsettling and surreal but for the most part transformative. Christopher Horton writes about what endures among the ephemera of the city, the suburb, the village, office-life, whilst simultaneously peeling back layers of the ‘everyday’ to expose the eccentricity and hypocrisy that lies there. Read more on the tall-lighthouse website.
Christopher Horton studied English Literature and American Studies at University of Wales, Swansea, and subsequently taught in China before working as a Housing Officer and then as a Town Planner. His poetry has been widely published (including in Stand, Iota, Ambit, Magma, Poetry Wales, Poetry London) and he has been a prize-winner in the National Poetry Competition, the Verve Poetry Festival Competition, the South Downs Poetry Festival Competition (for the poem featured this week) and the Bridport Prize. Find out more about Christopher on his website.
tall-lighthouse, established in 1999, is an independent poetry press publishing full collections of poetry, pamphlets and anthologies with over 100 titles issued from more than 60 poets. The press has a reputation for publishing new talent, being the first in the UK to publish Helen Mort, Sarah Howe, Liz Berry, Adam O’Riordan, Rhian Edwards, Emily Berry, Kate Potts and many others. You can find out more about the press via the tall-lighthouse website.
Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers