Peterloo Poets

Poetry Publishers 1972 - 2009




CLUCAS, Humphrey

Gods & Mortals



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Poems by Humphrey Clucas


Humphrey Clucas was born in 1941, and read English at King’s College, Cambridge, where he was a choral scholar. He has been a teacher of English, most recently in a Surrey comprehensive school. He has sung fairly regularly with the choir of Winchester Cathedral, and elsewhere, and has been a lay clerk of Guilford Cathedral since 1981. He has published a little church music.

His poems and translations have appeared in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies, and particularly in Agenda, for whom he is a regular reviewer. This is his first full collection, though two booklets appeared in 1975: Small Comfort (Hippopotamus Press), and One For A Wish (Interim Press). He won first prize in the Michael Johnson poetry competition, 1980.



Condemned to colonise some barbarous spot,
(Pax Romana – a hard school),
He found that certain springs and groves
Were held sacred. Belief, he knew, was not
To be taken lightly: the spirit moves
If men believe in it. Such was the rule.

And so they feigned awe for guttural names,
Watched a dangerous, grim dance,
And chilled to the harsh cries by night.
No tall temples, no ceremonial games -
But the god was red Mars all right.
Knowledge turned to sympathy, and acceptance.

He’d watched his father dedicate the pine
That topped their house, and saw then
The numinous in the everyday.
Gods were about us, anything was devine -
Which helped the difficult years away,
And taught respect for property, and men.


Price 7.95 per copy post free (5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover design: The Fishbourne Roman Palace seahourse – part of a second-century mosaic from Fishbourne Roman Palace – is reproduced by kind permission of the Sussex Archaeological Society.
Publication: 1982 (48 pages laminated paperback)