Poetry from ‘The Momentary Clock’ by Peter Hague

Clockwork Poems

You can wind my key and make me speak; 
make me reveal what I meant at the time. 
For I am a clockwork poem – poised for the telling – 
a creature in resonance with the envy of weapons. 
I am armoured with precision and subtle pledges; 
angled with a soft heart, made good with bone. 
I sleep one-eyed, behind the shards of palings – 
and the billboard clouds of enormous fences. 

I will return to my position via the autotomy of time; 
discarding whole decades in an easy process. 
The key that winds – unlocks the door 
and the truth of the poem steps out of its frame. 
You will shoulder me proudly – as a trusted stranger, 
stumbling with the duty of accepted pursuance; 
matching my steps through the space between ages 
and settling for adventure in place of doubt. 

I will guide you beyond the scope of your peers; 
past all experiments and beneath all pretensions. 
I will take you to the truth I found in mansions, 
and in all the crevices of the passing years. 
Your eyes have the energy of the coiling spring – 
your mind is the key that turns again. 
Turn it to trigger these clockwork poems 
and prepare for the dichotomy of a cog’s embrace.

Comfort Poem at Sea
To the memory of Hart Crane. 1899-1932 

It cannot be death without a poem – 
something to wrap my agony inside before I sleep; 
before I rest beneath this vertical tide 
that falls away so steep.

Write the words across my sheets – 
the billowing pages of unfurled letters 
are the only wrappings I can take; 
the only sails that will carry me forth, 
beyond the chains of a snagging wake. 

Can you not just see I want to sleep?
Let the weight of words 
carry me down 
and deep.

The Old Skills of Applied Austerity

We live our lives like fugitives in the rough and tumble –  
a chanting of souls who fear no evil. 
As bathers, without soap or water. 

When we are all strewn across the post-apocalyptic chaos, 
we, the eternal peasants, will be a revelation to behold. 
Accustomed to pain and the simple devotions, 
we will teach you all – 
you surprised and manicured people.  
We will teach you the skills you will need for coping 
in the face of a sudden and universal malevolence – 
in the jaws of an abyss you refused to revoke.

We live our lives like fugitives in the rough and tumble –  
stand aside and we will guide you home.

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Bio: Peter Hague has written most of his life and always returned to it, like it was some sort of duty - a way of explaining the world - or testing it. His five books of poetry, including 'Summer With The Gods', 'Louder Prayers' and 'The Momentary Clock' all display a landmark development of his talent - one defined in a period of re-invention which began to take place around 2016. Also available are 'Gain of Function', which is a collection produced during the febrile atmosphere of the pandemic, and 'Hope in the Heart of Hatred': a 'bridge' between his earlier work and the work he is doing now. A number of other books are in production, encompassing both his exciting current work and a revival of his early output, stretching back to the nineteen-seventies. He has finally decided to concentrate his remaining years on a quest to become a voice in poetry. Throughout the preceding decades Peter Hague was a creative director at a number of design and advertising agencies before going freelance. He has also been known as a digital artist, going by the art name of 'e-brink'. There is an e-brink web site displaying many of his creations. Website: https: //www.peterhague.com Twitter: @PeterHague