Issue 19: Duncan Montgomery

The Heavy Horse

Feeble shadow, winter over-reacher,

                             do you big him up?

Blinkered, he misses the pity of children

wistful themselves for blinkers, for their own

redaction; ploughs his sodden corridor

we would trade vistas for – or, at least, this

berm to chipped bank, forested

                             dingy with garlic,

cupping the mist and the lights of the old A1 –

to test the sirens’ wail at Seaton Delaval:

‘Things ebb and flow, wax and wane in their specifics

without a deducible cause’, and worse;

‘with no net change but another house built

for the burning. Now as then it was paid for

by people in coffeeshops. What change there is

is petty’ – is enveloped by the sirens’ net.

Life Drawing with Royal Bed

Most machines will waste energy as heat.

The plug-in heater wastes our subs as sound.

It sits on the floor to stop the model

     getting cold feet,

                             as we sit in the round

behind our hirsute, heavy-grain paper,

whirring and emitting clicks (the heater,

this is) as her bathrobe drops to the ground,

     like the camera

                             that can split the done thing

or a fallen scarf. On the royal bedstead,

the banner seems to hang from tacks, rigid,

rather than fall. It shields the Adam’s groin

     and drops down,

                             via the back of his thigh,

over what would need to be appealing joints

to merit such a covering – denied,

you’ll note, to Eve’s right tit – whilst spelling out

     The Sting of

                             Death is Sin.

Stock-still in the actual act of arming him,

they can’t detect unlikelihood in what

strikes us as rather prudish of the wind:

     the banderole

                             blown helter-skelter round

what they don’t yet know is their modesty.

Ringed with contours, they were nonetheless flat

in meaning. There was nothing but body.

The Sea Defences

The terraces

of wire-caged rock

are grist

The rows of half-sunk

garden fences


The headlands

thinly villaged and pill-boxed


to sand.

I have come

to jettison abandon;

to let form

form Just As

and its resolution,

starting from the terraces.

Duncan Montgomery is a poet and wood engraver. His poems have appeared in PN Review, The Sunday Times, and in New Poetries VI (Carcanet, 2015).