Hermione Hoby
Four Poems


Four poems about difficulty and being stuck, in descending human chronology. Each built with lines taken directly from alternating Oblique Strategies and Grotesque Tables II.

1. Senility of partner in old age

Remember those quiet evenings,
we tried.
And they replied:
They age me like a heavy twig.
And, watching as they flicked peas from plate to lap, 
We stayed silent, same old oil of unease. Silent even when,
Virility! They shouted, with a cross frown at groin, willing peas to power.
And we thought, finally, we might elope by mere thread.

2. Pain and dread of childbirth

Would anybody want it? Was our main question.
This pet in pyrotechnic inclines
A something screaming, "listen to the quiet voice!"
Which if we heard right, was saying:
Just carry on denting the smooth paths - this rough way to the world!

3. Directionlessness following graduation

Towards the insignificant! 
An ice caved pact there in the air between flung hats falling.
All the disciplined self-indulgence doomed us to see
The frictionless latecomers we thought we'd be.

4. Agony of maths equations homework

Not building a wall but making a brick
In which no fissure enters, n plus nothing.
So we turn it upside down to check.
(Still no sense)
Always, we remember, first steps.

Photo: Nina Subin