For T. E. Hulme


Troop train boarding
steam, smoke and blur of faces
the cavernous crowd left waving
down the line, drowned
in English rain.

The Channel port a soldierly swell
monochrome and uniform
on the gangplank you glimpsed
an underworld, shed youth
and crossed yourself
across the Rubicon
to France

A cold soldier

Warm yourself with words
flame, enemy, seeing red
hot-blooded orders — but stars
look down in an ice cold stare
the greatcoat worn from wear
a ready-made shroud or nesting
for rats, neutral and grey as ashes.

Gunfire crackle, wood catching light
tracer arcs, sparklers, smoke from the bonfire
gas thick as a blanket
kept some warm

Last Quarter

Even here seasons spread
an influence, a hint
of something natural still
beneath embattled landscapes
snow, grass, poppy, leaf,
remembering Endon birthdays
and ruddy wonderment of moon
a hedge, pale childish faces

Where the shell hole puddles
a grimacing lunatic, profiled
behind drawn curtains
of cloud

September 28th 1917

Brevity of language
swift years for living
bullet, wound, tears
all – that – was, the inner
seeping out, earthbound
miasma a rose offering
to heaven. And your poetry
archived in the circle.

Fate decreed it briefer still
the Imagist’s full reverie, unhearing
that smashing shell to smithereens

A Belgian cemetery, a bare-boned epitaph:
‘one of the war poets’

These verses reference some poems of T. E. Hulme - nominal father of Imagist poetry. Through them I've tried to capture the aesthetic of this movement, according to Frank's prompt: Imagism revisited