Maya Horton – two poems

Our next featured poet who made it to our 2019 shortlist is Maya Horton. Maya has been published by The Guardian, New Scientist, Riggwelter, Dawntreader, Fat Damsel, The Linnet’s Wing, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and many others.

Guardians of the Northern Sky


time-sipped in perplexing winter

per aspera, ad astra

sandwiches placed on gingham cloth, breathing enmity
there is a moose on these tracks

and for not the first nor last time.

We grind to aching halt in this forest
and I pretend to be sleeping. It is neither the first,
nor last, time I have made this journey.
Tornetr¨ask stretches out dark and blue,
darker and bluer than I will ever see it.
The forest is dark and green.

This, too, is spellcast in cruel vedure;
time-moment’s frozen shades and tones
limping far beyond words.

And on my way here I traversed a street
that I will never walk down again,
though it will be close.

Life is a constellation of moments
in the rapidly inflating dark.

The Night You Died

& out the dusk you died in a drowned-penny moon
caught roseate westwinds in the city’s far-glow fog
blinded by street-sparks, wrested by parked cars,
with distant-blaze headlights par-veiling sycamores

(I didn’t even know there was a road there, I daze).

Across the highway roe deer bound, beset by hawthorns,
encased in silver shrouds: rainsteam halos, tarmac-hot
still shrugging off the summer sun. With twilight
painting oakwoods I see your ghost in privet hawkmoth
hedgehog, hedge-banked, wren near-sparrowhawked,
breath lightningpulsed. Tiny heart and tiny feathers

like the masks that your wall wore: caress of peacocks,
Buddhas, masquerades; a Buddha-ball in masquerades.

It is very Zen, this illusion of things. & on this night
when starflakes sparkle with noctilucent ionospheric ruffles
and shimmer-ghouls refract the seeing with bleary eyes –
an old troll’s mirror – and we no longer know which

galaxy we’re looking into, or out of (this demon-twisting
archaic game-playing), I / we sigh, who are remaining,
candlewaxed with pianoforte longing. We sit outside

in lichened graveyards, silent, distorted Vespers-vigil
(you / I / we always made up our own rules), saintly, counting
turquoise in hexadecimals: civil, nautical, astronomical.

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