Harry Owen

Polling Day

On edge, and waiting. But for what?
Firewood in the big wicker basket, sharp
as a shattered femur. The TV’s nag
in another room, your ghost the faintest
satin touch of wood smoke on a dark stoep.

Who’s counting votes tonight, who tells the truth?
Those iceberg roses nod away a day
that for them’s like any other, a huff
of wind and rain, a day whose length and force
abandon Brexit, Trump, the ANC

a day whose breath and blood are clean.

Where are you, then, my love, my love?
Let me cast my vote in this stove’s red
flame, pause for what we know must come:
a licked delight, kisses, hot embrace,
the burn of yearning lives, embers

and ash.

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.