Panto Sphinx

St Martin in the Field

It was a world of

brown holland

of Miss Havishams and Estellas

until poverty was diverted

from the reading rooms of libraries –

 

an unofficial congregation sleeps out

full forty winks of prayer

touching reassurance in the oaken pews

remembering when life was new and Sunday-smelling –

 

secular sermons to ‘Mind your wallet.

Do not leave unattended valuables…’

the Church’s treasure is a dish of sunlight

that streams in through the unstained glass –

 

there is that rustling noise of silence

shuffling conversation and newspapers

taking little liberties with God –

this is the pit shift

 

St Martin in the Field

field grey down the tunnel of a gun.

Panto Sphinx deals with the effect of time on relationships, showing that even though there is tragedy, the passing of time brings its own healing process. These are poems that express the shadows only apparent because of the flashes of light. They show his familiar characteristics, lyricism, wit and word play at their best.

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REVIEWS

In Michael Henry’s collection there is a variety of narrators, tones of voice and intriguing situations. His poems reveal how much pathos attaches to the things – often the surviving things – with which a particular life had some connection. Quite ordinary details begin to shine. It is an honest, sympathetic and enquiring sort of verse.’ David Constantine

 

‘Michael Henry has an original slantwise way with words. His sad yet oddly playful poems worry away at the truth of things using snippets of learning to bring home the many-faceted nature of experience. The result is a poignant elusive poetry full of surprises, a clear personal voice.George Szirtes

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