another plant (poem) in the herbaceous border – Ostraka

condemned as joyless ignorant of love
knife twisted in a false heart of matters
a civil execution deletes wisdom’s hope
— heaven — when just as you depart
their hellish ends start to be uncovered

A. Hurford (12th July 2018)

Spotlight on . . . Pause


her doors all shored, swan sanctuary sought,
simultaneously shut out
she’s been beating them down to let herself back
in to herself

all because
– all? –
stranger guards
denied her temple’s sanctity

distraught a vision pauses her
all too human task

of so many temple intruders past
wild ones in need of a Holy of Holies
doors broken down broken in
to stand, sit, kneel, lie with it, in it,
on it, by it, at it, from it, of it, to have it

how deep even in unknowing
the temple lay, in every way,
all around anyway

so she stops
to behold —
held in it

doors open

A. H/ K.H-H (19th September 2019)

spotlight on . . . stream song (v. ii)

a weeping heart sinks toward water
in low levelling finds her kin
a stream she dreams sat by singing
rill harmonies of tears gush seaward
from all her dripping siblings, trampled

A. H / K.H-H (17th April & 29th June 2019)

This version is a slight rewrite that I published just over a year ago — maybe a trans poem, but it goes far beyond that, a human poem. I enjoy writing these short, as it turns out kind of square in shape poems that I’ve tried to make coherent in imagery – there are a few I’ve written now. I was glad to read I think Auden thought writing such small verses was a good training, he related them to a Welsh form.

There are quite a number of my spotlit poems now, you can find them listed here:

spotlight on . . . xxv (’19)

something startling, to stay in one place
gentle gift, found seated on a grassy mound
half hour’s dying day, late spring
or early summer blurs, cloud drift cool
you start to feel that strange healing
present to yourself, hawthorn blossom full . . .

spotlight on . . . Homozoic

Oil and gas
rule the world
a bloodline whisper bleeds,
ancient conspiracy of trees,
our carbon must be freed.

Reptile blood interest
wakes with warmth,
watches, working us
they, silent, see:
stared toward their dream,

K. H-H / A. H (2016/2017?)

spotlit poem . . . tell me when

tell me when
just when
social masks
aren’t needed

tell me when
just when
the wind in the grass
is heeded

(c) A. H / K. H-H (21/5/18)

spotlit poems . . . daymare / daydream


world is ever as it was will be
world was ever as it will be is
world will be ever as it was is

world will be ever as it is was
world was ever as it is will be
world is ever as it will be was


yet still we hope . . . dream

as it ever was . . . ages countless kisses deep
as it ever is . . . new peak of three year olds’ dreams
at it ever will be . . . drinking tears

one day we will be free
free to let ourselves to be
understand wrong is close
still free dream
whoever you may be


K. H-H / A. H (27th September & 19th October 2019)

Spotlit poem . . . IV (’19)

coasted rolls turned rollercoasted
all those moles hammer broken
every day’s hall distortion
carni-valed incarnation
waltzered crowds press you on
every ride undodgemable
try them all find your fit
unique you think – become a myth
coasted rolls turn roller coasted
life’s freak show tracks
force these tricks
take your place, bearded lady,
got the horror?
ghost train to another town

A. H / K. H-H (18 February 2019)

spotlit poem . . . inquisitor

an ice dragon’s breath first freezes
then warms you, play thing,
grants you the freedom of his pen
invisible wherein he’s placed you
illusion of a life
slowly, from the edges,
his freeze-cold artistry creeps in
frosting this illusion
creeping to your heart
to show everything’s already lost
and everything you’ve found is taken
all your warmth denied
discounted in his polar certainties
one of those who claim to know of worlds
biased by his scaly skin
ice breath armoured with a fire
lord protector of the fearful innocent

A. H / K. H-H (4 February 2019)

spotlit poems . . . iii & vii (’19)


Oh Word, protect me from the words
of those so sure of your sense
to claim their limited vocabulary
your State, not the great unboundariedness


it’s obvious that i must turn to love
which brings a question — where to go
which brings a question in itself
solution sighted – on we go!


there must be an angel sitting near
holding dear all that we are letting go
careless carriers of our load

A. H / K. H-H (4th February & 18th March 2019)

a double helping with a spiritual theme at this time of year, i’m not sure these go together like this, but let’s see.

spotlight on . . . prayer

Make of yourself a light
– Buddha

i’ve always loved to watch the light
although darkness claims my shame
it is to light that I have turned
my night a grieving shield from hurt
dungeon to conceal myself, punish,
bringing only worse, cell for the frozen,
hiding from light’s encompassment,
mourning a drift on its lossless sea
of love

we must forgive ourselves
and each other . . .
our faults intrinsic
shadow-traps to our best makings
only define me whilst i refuse
to turn to sea, again . . .

A. H / K. H-H (19th September and 13 October 2018)

in the summer months of 2018 I read Luminous Light by Jacob Israel Liberman which was lovely, though I’m cautious about saying much he says, I know less, but he’s radical on it and it thoroughly stimulated me considering these possibilities and light, it filtered into lots of my writing in a summer of the start of a lot of reassessment. later i came across Buddha’s last words again . . .

it was published in Survivors’ Poetry’s Poetry Express newsletter number 54.

and was originally posted here – prayer

Spotlight on . . . Plight

Is it vulgar, to gambol, on both sides
of a sacred marriage? Not one thing or the other.
There is a smell of spring and a smell of winter,
the sound of a party and a wedding altercation.
 I’m unsure I’m invited to either.
 Small inside my puff pastry story
 I’m blowing on some ember – sometimes a flame,
sometimes cinders – dizzy oscillator.
Truth in both – true in neither.
A neuter case to curse the wedding night.
Unless, dance card spirited away, secreted
in some fold, I turn toward my song,
party of one, alone, seeking paradise.
A veil lifted, falls to outward celebration.

A. H / K. H-H (15th September 2018 & March 2019).

Spotlight On . . . xii (’19)

as time slips i sip the hours
suntime nonsense flower
dreamer amidst woody bowers
weekend woman springing out
feeling her breathy path by breeze
toward sun stance
hip swung nonchalance
among happiness in bluebells


i, not quite, of the bluebells
increasingly away with the flowers
giddy, sing-song, gone wrong
gossamer rhyme blossom
coming alive

not so much singer as song
not so much goer as gone

cowslip, daff
meadow sweet

flowering at last
a rose, as if

(A. H / K. H-H, 1st April 2019)

(with some debt to Alice Oswald’s ‘Poem’)

spotlight on . . . grace

“the experience of being delivered from experience”, Martin Luther

a figure awaiting her own sculptress
to deliver her from stone retreat
knows a dream – sun marbled skin uncovered
ease of limbs free to be observed
simply present, still, in every moment
truth ringing through her pose

A. H / K.H-H (7th November 2019)

originally posted at