Issue 7: Aidan Semmens

Two sonnets from The Book of Isaac

bent writing, assiduous pen in hand,

beard unknowing as mine, a man

dead decades before underlies

by one eighth my genesis

in a twilight era from rabbinical composition

under secular thought logic

to weigh the weight of fire

pioneer of mill-ground clothworkers

farmers in a barrier of road escape

from hard land sweaty life, heretic

suffers no holy writ gladly

in vernacular of old places, the family left

to control of the secret police & he returns

pose, the unknowable, Minsk 1907


radicalism is not your mistake

your tub is a poison & the stink of later

is very deep dark & all unseen

the name of a flower is the name

of something else, respected citizens

First Guild merchant of hereditary noble

it is difficult to dismiss corrupt ideas

Thermidor & the rotten smell exuded

a moral concern for the betterment of all

when conflict between leaders & location

each side accusing the other of conspiracy

of the revolution’s betrayal

the privileges are granted bourgeois experts

& tillers per plant from the soil & stood as one

Aidan Semmens, former co-editor of Perfect Bound magazine and winner of the 1978 Chancellor’s Medal for an English Poem at Cambridge, read of himself in Jacket in 2002 that he had 'long given up writing poetry'. His poems have since appeared in print and online in several magazines, including  Blackbox Manifold, Shearsman, Shadowtrain, Stride, Great Works, Free Verse, Likestarlings – and Jacket. His first poetry collection, A Stone Dog, was published by Shearsman this year, and his second collection, The Book of Isaac, is set to be published in 2012 by Free Verse Editions.