Richard W. Halperin – Three Poems

photo 2Richard W. Halperin has seen over 250 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. A new Lapwing chapbook, Blue Flower, has been published this month.

Fox on Beach

Following the line of the shore. Trotting.
I on a rock, watching or dreaming. Watching.
It was leaving prints. Neither hungry nor
Mischievious. It, not me. Not Christ-like

As some jolly good poets have pointed out.
A fox, only. What is a fox? – three letters
Don’t catch it. A small fox. Quite alert.
The sun wasn’t yet setting. Not much breeze.

Was it you? No. It was itself, entirely.
Trot, trot, trot. As beautiful as you, because solid,
Compact, warm. Not going too swiftly.
Didn’t want to miss anything. Was it to give

The sea a treat, poor old sea, slogging away?
Who would think of such a thing? A fox might.


I have seen souls
lifted out of bodies
like clean white handkerchiefs.
I cannot lament death
because I do not know what it is.

I have conversed
and in the middle of the conversation
an aubade.
Two friends in a mountain pass,
clouds cocking their ears to hear
amidst all those birds and waters.

I have dreamed
and on awakening have been
only too glad to forget
where I had been,
because you were at my side.

I have read (today) a poem
by a very fine poet
which made me actually miss
the sounds one hears in fog.

‘And the mariners were afraid,
And cried every one unto his God’
Tyndale’s translation of Jonas.
One does the same wrong thing
a hundred times each time
intending not to
and that intent is cherishable.

Does it live forever?
Yes, it lives forever.


A snow-wet day. A rising sun.
A red glow. A woman and her
small daughter walk along
the Boston Common.
A picture painted. Oils.
Long ago. They know
where they are going. To hop
a tram, perhaps. Next is
outside  the picture. Next
is the house they will visit,
the parcels they will buy,
the return home to tea.
Embers. Next, and they,
equally caught by the artist.
Morning light on dirty
urban snow, on bare
brown shiny branches.
The small child would now be
one hundred and forty years old.
A master hand: two human
flames; a city; a park;
an almost-dead red sun,
beginning its own day.

Two expressions of Beauty,
one unmentioned by Plato:
the eternal, and the vulnerable.
Plato was, yes, a master,
but he had not a master hand.
If the eternal were not
entirely vulnerable, it
would not be beautiful.
Any mother knows this;
any daughter, soon or
already, comes to know this.
Henry James knew this.
In my Father’s house,
there are many mansions.
Two of them are: Boston;
and Boston.


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