Harry Owen

Stood Up


No, of course not – it merely feels that way.
Weren’t you stood up in Lime Street once? Didn’t
it hurt? Yet here, now, a coucal hunts you down,
ruddering across the stoep’s brick, along
the crew cut scalp of our neighbour’s low hedge –
sumptuously predatory, gorgeous,
deadly, burbling like a Stellenbosch red.

That long wait reappears as an olive thrush
tamed by your earned tenderness then bounds
through the branches like a loerie, crested
and bejewelled so that you gasp for joy,
knowing you can’t recapture it, knowing
you do not wish to: it has captured you.
So simply take up pad, pen and write.

You were stood up once. Be honoured.

Originally from Liverpool and the inaugural Poet Laureate for Cheshire in 2003, Harry Owen emigrated to South Africa from England in 2008. He has published six poetry collections, the latest of which is Small Stones for Bromley (Lapwing Publications, 2014).

He has also edited I Write Who I Am: an anthology of Upstart poetry, featuring the work of nineteen young poets from disadvantaged township schools in the Eastern Cape; and the international anthology For Rhino in a Shrinking World, in support of efforts to save this iconic animal from extinction. (http://rhinoanthology.wordpress.com).

His work is widely published in journals and anthologies throughout the world, including Magma, Orbis, The Kalahari Review, The Bastille, Stanzas, New Coin, Plume, MadHat Lit, Poems for Jeremy Corbyn and many others.

Harry Owen lives in Grahamstown, South Africa.