Issue 18: Aidan Semmens
(Tom Raworth Memorial)

Three Vignettes

for Tom


the joke

about writing’s

in the words

he said


to see it

you have

to keep

an eye

the blind one


Ifs & Butts

barely furnished

in the little room

he employs

for ashtray

the lower drawer

of a desk

topped only

with a Remington



a single blank sheet

I’ve run out

he says



or coffee

or words

not cigarettes


the pack

he puts one

to his lips


the wrong end

it smells foul

I keep

doing that

he says

At King’s

something in the way she moves

attracts our gaze

from across the quad

or maybe it’s the light

glinting on the chapel glass

I can’t take pleasure

he says

in walking on the grass

when everyone’s allowed to do it

Aidan Semmens’s fourth collection, Life Has Become More Cheerful, will be published by Shearsman Books in October 2017 to mark the centenary of the Russian Revolution. Previous titles are A Stone Dog (Shearsman 2011), The Book of Isaac (Parlor Press / Free Verse 2013) and Uncertain Measures (Shearsman 2014). He edits the online magazine Molly Bloom and blogs at