Poems by Stuart Henson
Ember Music is the second Peterloo volume by a poet who won 1st prize in the 1990 Open University Poets Open Poetry Competition and 2nd prize in the 1992 Peterloo Poets Open Poetry Competition judged by Debjni Chatterjee, Dana Gioia and Michael Longley. This new collection opens with a section of haunting lyric poems, has a central narrative sequence based on the trials of Guthlac, the hermit saint of Crowland in Lincolnshire, and ends with a section celebrating the flora, fauna, and human activity in the immediate environs of the poets home near Huntingdon. There is a strong sense of the rotation of the seasons in this volume, which contains poems about the elements fire, earth, water; poems about rats, herons, magpies, and a peahen called Cleopatra; and a epiphany for “all worn-out, baggy, threadbare things.”
Stuart Henson’s first volume, The Impossible Jigsaw was published by Peterloo in 1985.
The Music of Water
In the beginning this was the first sound:
After the rush of chaos, sudden calm,
The stones in their places, waiting, the warm
Light splashing and dappling shapes on the ground.
Then issues from the womb of time a drowned
Boy surfacing: the first and naked Adam,
His lips gummed, his tongue thick, grunting a psalm
To Earth that aches about him like a wound.
Until he stops and cocks his ear to listen.
A stream, trickling and talking to his thirst,
And teaching him to speak in words that glisten,
Turn, drop, like water as it swells and bursts
On a thorn in the sun. And he is risen
Now, a man. Ready to fall and be cursed.
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: Michael Murfin, ‘The Old Earth’.
Publication: SPRING 1994 (69 pages laminated paperback)