Saturday, 2 November 2019

Illegal deposits


dare spend night condemned flat.  Online I found
no July game of public schoolboys scaling
a tower block's Heras fence, grazed to the ground,
hot on the concrete steps, higher each railing;

no afterwards: not ninepenny rainbow,
not weeping for the darkness in man's heart;
no record of the night -- what aged them so,
a great adventure from or at the start?

No bad deposits made in lack of water,
no newspaper, eerie from being old,
no noises for the night not getting shorter,
no one they met, and nothing they were told.

So probable, this tale, not mine to break.
Do you remember it? What is your take?


The phrase "a lot of food"
means more food in the sentence
"We've laid in a lot of food for Christmas"
than in "He'd spilt a lot of food down his jersey."
Poignant the difference in tense.


Ears pinch "e-legal", and the users know
libraryspeak's not theirs to understand,
when copyright means something else.  They go
and make do with the beige-flagged contraband.


Deposit -- deposition -- kings invite
put-down, counter-claim.  Did your sudden flight
involve such terrors?  Had someone had sight
of things you'd done that didn't match your fight?
What came?  Visit, phone, email, small-hours fright?
Still mystery, twelve years on -- day of night.

The above poems are my contributions to Illegal deposits, a small anthology of writing by staff at libraries within Cambridge University and the colleges.  The anthology was the brainchild of Simon Halliday and features cover artwork by Clare Trowell. It includes a contribution by Adam Crothers, whose debut volume Several deer (Carcanet, 2016) won the 2017 Shine/Strong Poetry Award and the 2017 Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize. 

To get your copy of Illegal deposits, contact Simon Halliday on snjh2[at]

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