‘Bright Strands EP’ by Ken Steedman


Track 1: Those bright strands

Another day of sky
passing wordless
behind the same trees.

The tape sparkling in the branches
might hold bird song.
I could tease out strips
from twigs and nests
and reassemble glory.

More likely music
on those bright strands.
I have no patience
but if I closed the long magnetic silences
deconstructed music might come out
clunking and scratching to a new beat.

From behind me
you mistook the movement for a small bird.

Track 2: 8mm

I am taking a crazy dance
half speed
across a field of muted tones.
Shorts and tee-shirt
ankle socks, gym shoes
flash of a smile.

Interlude of grainy white

Soundless rushing of water
leaping of fishes long dead,
eaten maybe.

Track 3: On the light box

Shadow forms
smoke trails
sharp edges,
distinct from the numbers which frame me

Teeth bejewelled with the heavy gems of dentistry,
a necklace form.

Track 4: Shade

Twenty-six years since I last saw you
longer since we shared a love
of light and dark.
Still have my photograph of you
and yours of me
adolescence smiling from the mass of greys.

Leaving a dark room
the shock of light
at once numbing
later is an unexpected catalyst
for thoughts of you.

And then your death reported to me second hand.
The flattening of detail
at that distance
a surface scratched
and nothing in between but dust
floating in projected light.

Track 5: Flotant


The four of us
flank a sunset shield
of trees and castle ruins mirrored
feet lost in the fold of our legs.

Battlements of heaven and earth
drowned in one another.
Clouds brush our faces
birds peck at our eyes.

Crossed blades of grass
are jewelled with armoured snails
on trails of dying light.

Deprived of moonlight
we sit out the long night
discussing the campaign
sinking our enemies’ lazy craft
with nothing more than rain.


Never mind the Lady of the Lake
and her jewelled sword
this river’s throwing up diamonds
thousands of them
leaping and dropping in the cloud-light
all their noises rhythmed
into one.

Track 6: Waiting

Buses come in their many colours
through puddles
heat haze
or grey dusk.

Iron will rust
will stain marble
will bleed.

Winds feed nimbus animals
into the jaws of continents.

I can no longer feel my feet.


Ken Steedman has previously had poems published by Carnivorous Arpeggio Press, The Near East Review, The Reater and Metre.