GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2018 IS NOW OPEN
Stephen Bone has been published in magazines in the U.K. and U.S.
His work has appeared in numerous anthologies and his first collection In The Cinema was warmly received on its publication in 2014.
138 x 216mm
£6.00 + P&P UK
PUB: 8th January 2018
A castrato to a methane fuelled lamp, along with an aspidistra and Ariadne make up this cabinet of curiosities and emotions.
Each with their own song to sing.
‘Whether writing about a castrato, Victorian fern fever, picnics or a loved one's sick-bed, Stephen Bone’s poems are always assured and always genuinely surprising. He has an enviable facility with language and handles a variety of forms with apparently effortless ease. I loved these poems. Outstanding.’
‘Stephen Bone’s Plainsong is a cast iron performance of delirious and devastating love songs. A thrilling series of ‘exquisite framed diagrams’ by turns botanic, historic, mythic and melodic they are metaphors for the passion and pain of human relationships.
A remarkable collection.’
Boyhood of Senesino
Tremulous as a pot bound hare –
never before so close to wealth and title –
I poured into pomade scented air,
the gift God had graced me.
Pierced the spangled matrons' granite hearts,
drew from grown men a drip
of tears with songs of ache and loss,
then with a seamless switch slipped
into laughing coloratura, skylark notes
that threatened the Murano bowls,
panels of quicksilvered glass. Even my father,
face a map of hardship, swagged a smile,
weight of a heavy purse already in his hand,
eyes glinting like polished knives.
Senesino (1686 – 1758) was a celebrated castrato.
Dropped off on Sunday afternoons
we'd brave doorsteps of fish paste,
wince at Rose's lime, dream of Coke
and pizza, something then.
Afterwards cards in her front room,
ivy chintz clambering over chairs and walls,
windows veiled with net, the television
never on, except when time to lap up the worst.
Her decibels rising with her Embassy's
blue smoke, as looking far beyond
her held hand, she would shriek –
Cheat! Cheat! Cheat!
you might find encased
in a paperweight's glass
or snorkel over,
Ruby Slippers, Red Ink,
Pale Rainbow, each name
an exact fit
for these wetland lovers,
for a luckless gnat
each primed leaf
tipped with a glittery deceit,
a viscous hell
disguised as a dewy heaven.
Ariadne In Married Life
The spiral, serpentine,
the classic unicursal. Since Crete
he's grown a passion for such things.
Each evening finds him silent
at his board, an endless perfecting
of blind alleys, falsely hopeful paths,
his dog Daedalus – in the name of Zeus –
curled by his feet.
While in my corner – all lovesickness
cured – I embroider with my flashing needle,
the dear bull beast as I remember him. Snap
silk thread between my teeth.
A closing sun
spills across the lawn
jasmine and honeysuckle
dressing the air
the sky slowly netting
its glittery catch
for a mate
Still on the bathroom shelf,
the cologne you left behind.
swirled with rosemary, I used to think.
A glow of clove.
something more astringent
of sharp lemon,
has soured its heart.