AUGUSTUS YOUNG        light verse, poetry and prose

  a regular webzine of new and unpublished work


A Single Skuller

Living Skin

The Final Whistle


The Island

from Rosemaries



My Dominant Characteristic

Life as a Serious Person

The Little Talker


Perfect Peace


The angler only moves
two fingers and a wrist.
The water breaks and smoothes.

The stillness of that stone
beneath the surface is
something more than its own.

And the heron’s image
serrates what should be clear
waters beyond the weir.

Bullrushes at the edge
and the slightest of winds
satins moss. And the dredge

stirs up as with desire
clouds of silt and bright things
like stainless steel barbed-wire.

Stone, turn and show your fins
before it is too late.
Which shadow takes the bait.

Coming of Age

My father died when I was twenty-one.
Most of my growing up had been done.
I loved him like a father would his son.

It was his death I hated and not him.
Old tennis-partner, I would let you win.
You who despised the drop-shot and topspin.

I could have killed you with my serve and smash.
But lobs and baseline rallies, made to last,
kept the ball live between us on the ash.

I knew that you were dying from your play.
And I was growing strong. I kept at bay
the urge to take advantage. Now today

twenty years later I’m once more your son
missing the drink you brought me when you won.

Bad Dream

Being buried
by a riverbank.
A procession of bishops.

There are no trees.
Only some rushes.
And a choir in the distance

like a forest.
The music is sacred.
The event solemn.

I am responsible
for the success
of this sacred and solemn event.

My body is lowered
in a canvas gown
into the mudflats.

The cortege chant.
The bishops bless.
But my body won’t sink.

The head and one arm
refuse to stay down.
I am embarrassed.

A sacristan
attempts to keep me down
with a pole. But he fails.

Only when my mother
pushes her way through the bishops
with my brother, the priest, in support,

does my body give up.
It sinks down into the swamp,
and the burial is complete.

I can feel
the shame of a body
that won’t be buried.

And the relief of a body
that is finally