Poetry by Kieron Winn
Kieron Winn was educated at Tonbridge School, where he later briefly taught, and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he was awarded a doctorate for a thesis on Herbert Read and T. S. Eliot. His poems have appeared in magazines including Agenda, The Dark Horse, The London Magazine, Oxford Magazine, Oxford Poetry, Poetry Review, The Rialto and The Spectator, and in a short film about his work on BBC1. A selection of his poems appears in the Carcanet anthology Oxford Poets 2007. He was awarded the University of Oxford’s English Poem on a Sacred Subject Prize in 2007. He lives in Oxford, where he is a freelance teacher.
Read a selection of new, previously unpublished poems by Kieron Winn in issue 3 of the print edition of Plectrum.
A British Veteran
A hand that held a rifle on the climb
To Passchendaele now bears a bubbling flute.
His hand is strong and rubicund, his frame
Mobile and actual as he toasts his eight
Australian great-great-grandsons; woollen cloth
Is covering his body now as then.
That hand will soon slip under the stream of myth.
No one thinks Agincourt was fought by men.
(Author’s Note: The poem is based on Harry Patch, the last British soldier of World War I, who died on July 25th 2009; and on Claude Choules, a former mariner, who lives in Australia and is now the last surviving veteran of the British forces in World War I.)
© Kieron Winn 2009
(remembering West Kent Youth Theatre)
Springy, with bright but half-inhabited skin,
Scarcely in time, still waiting to begin,
Travelling half a dozen to a car,
Heading towards some vague but certain star,
We ran together with a single nature,
Unset, with fewer props, as if one creature,
And after every party fell asleep
In house or barn in a sprawling animal heap.
Our charm to adults was the hope of some
Lineless utopia that will never come.
Now almost all of us have sprung apart,
And rich but private chambers form each heart.
© Kieron Winn 2008, originally published in The Interpreter’s House number 38 (2008)
The Great Old Poet in Bermuda
Swimming, as ever, helps with all my ailments.
My tender wife is singing in the bedroom.
I have become a classic. I look at my book
And contemplate changing the species of a crab.
The spirit sleeps in such places. Let me enjoy
My yellow silk pyjamas, I am no Dante.
My heart is going: I would enjoy some sherbet.
Later today we may go out to buy some.
In this afterlife I need not exert myself.
Now I have done my work. I whistle and live.
© Kieron Winn 2006, originally published in Oxford Magazine number 248 (2006)