Richard W. Halperin – Four Poems

photo 2Richard W. Halperin has seen over 230 of his poems published in magazines in Ireland and the UK since 2005. His full collections are via Salmon: Anniversary (2010); Shy White Tiger (2013); Quiet in a Quiet House (listed for Autumn 2015). In 2014 four chapbooks appeared via Lapwing: Mr Sevridge Sketches & A Wet Day; Pink, Ochre, Yellow; The Centreless Astonishment of Things.


I have torn up a friend’s poem which had made
My soul his, so, beautiful for a while, his gift
Remaining. All my life, I have had trouble
Discerning anything. I now think it wasn’t worth

The trouble. A fog. Two or three things since birth,
Not four or five, have entered me like bullets.
Lovers, not poets, have fired them point blank.
Maybe heaven is a bullet. Everything else

Is fog. Henry James sees fog as the only colour.
In this, he surpasses Berkeley. Fog is;
It is not perception; we are of it. Like Venice
And water. Like Henry James: those rich girls

In white dresses who scarcely discern anything
For eight hundred pages. The soul for a while.

Except when we were walking Milly
Thanks for yours of a few hours ago.
I’m glad you are well.
Something you just wrote
about Harry prompted a picture:

you and I running up a hill in Mayo
when you were; although of course
we never used to run up anything
except when we were walking Milly.

Yesterday Nora was asking after you.
I know. Who’s Nora? No idea.
Who knows how these things work?
‘She’s very well indeed,’ I said,

because I’d an impulse you were.
Thank you for that.


After a death, everything hurts.
Clothing hurts, articles of furniture hurt,
Wrists hurt, love hurts.

Animals are good to have around.
They absorb some of one’s pain.
Also prayer, writing.
Time begins to set in again.

Charlotte Brontë wrote ‘Monsieur’s Fête.’
There is all of English literature,
And there is ‘Monsieur’s Fête.’

Could you have written it that way, Miss Brontë,
Had your sisters still been living?

Reader, that is my business.


Did you look at me from the house we were never in?
I think you did. I know that look.

Did you think of me when the rain came down?
No one can tell me you didn’t.

Time marches on, of course, and you not in it.
I know lots of new people now whom you never knew.

At journey’s end someone might well ask me
was there anything that was not everything else.

That I know that look.

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