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August 6th 1945               Body Beautiful

         Shooting a Fox           Mal


August 6th 1945


Went shopping that day. In the square

flowers in bloom, but on the turn.

I noticed how there is a sort of grandeur


in the passing of flowers.  Youth, the full flush,

cannot have it all.  The trees were turning too —

a curl and twist to each leaf,


some falling, some fallen.  Early, I thought,

too soon, too little time in the world.

I paused, put down my bags.


There is a bench near the post office.

I sit there in the summer, in autumn

and watch the birds, the children.


I sat there on that day and, leaning back,

looked up through the branches.  Did I

see the ‘plane or only hear it?


Three breaths, nine heartbeats.  Then the light.

And then the heat.  And then the sound.

And only my shadow left behind.



Dick Jones

published in Mipoesias, Vol 19 No. 2, 2005




Body Beautiful


I have become my bones.

I wear my skin

like a shield of leaves,

like wing cases.  I am safe

here at my core.


My mother grooms herself.

She turns and turns before mirrors,

buffing the peach, the downy,

the over-ripe as if

you can hide behind beauty forever.


My father watches apples

falling in October. No-one

will gather them now.

He dreams the old dream

of fruit that lies unharvested.


My lover drinks.  His eyes

burn at me across

the beaker’s rim. ‘What

is the nature of this journey

that she needs no flesh, no comfort?’


I have become my bones.

They are a cage for the dust

that is my element.

I diminish.  It is cold

here at my core.



Dick Jones

published in Qarrtsiluni, Sep-Oct 2008





Shooting a Fox


Up on Bell’s Hill, hours

after sundown; watchless

thus timeless; starlight printed

on the earth below:


all the lights of Exeter

in a black bowl.  We breathe

through our mouths.  No wind

in the hillside beeches


or the hawthorn hedge

we crouch behind.  Bob looms

at my side, log-still,

indistinct, yet electric


with attention, his cradled shotgun

staring at the ground,

round-eyed.  An owl quavers

in the ice-heart of the wood.


Movement at the field’s edge: shadow

on shadow; an elision of shape

and formlessness.  The fox slides

along a dark rail, single-


purposed, the fanatic’s way

hand over hand through

the long grass

at the field's edge.


Bob’s gun coughs twice,

dry-voiced.  Night cracks

like slate; shards fly

and the world tips up.


We stare, bloodshot, jangling,

into the bright darkness.

Shadows realign at the field’s edge.

Night self-heals, like water.



Dick Jones

published in The Interpreter's House, 10, 1999







Strange word, ‘stroke’  a gentle sleep

and then you wake up,

changed.  Caressed by infirmity

on the brown hill, kissed

by disability as you climb

the long drive. The farmhouse tips

and, heart in crescendo,

you embrace the grass.


Indifferent sheep manoeuvre,

crowding out your sky.

You lie in a lump, adrift

at the field’s edge, floating

on the dead raft

of your limbs.

The sun nails light

into your one good eye.


Near dusk her scarecrow voice

scatters your crowding dreams:

she calls you from the house,

the sound of your name

curling out of the past,

a gull-cry, fierce, impatient,

tearing at the membrane

that has dimmed your world.


Root-still, potato-eyed,

you are another species now.

Your medium is clay and saturation.

Mummified, like the bog-man

trapped by time, you lie dumbfounded,

mud-bound and uncomprehending

as the sun slips down

behind the hill.


The urgent fingers

scavenging for a heartbeat,

fluttering like bird-wings

at your throat,

are busy in the dark.

You feel nothing

of their loving panic,

their distress.


All love, all optimism, pain,

all memory, desire coarsen,

thicken into vegetable silence.

A dim siren wobbles in the dark.

And then rough hands manhandle

your clod-heavy bulk.

Night swallows the spinning light

and closes in like smoke.



Dick Jones

published in Envoi, 127, 1992


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