4 Quintains by Huck Astley
A poetry submission
It is almost breathtaking to watch
a people choke and fall beneath the dust
and censers of regression. What defence
can beat the spectre of a lurid statue
coming alive? The past will have its revenge.
We lie awake, the day is yet to come,
though soon the birds will mutter, look for crumbs
of grainy light. While at the future end
of Europe, morning unveils an old libretto—
Eruption in full-throated song, red ode.
A narcissistic culture—who could lead
the West away from this without himself
becoming a celebrity, a face?
He’d have to go unnamed—then how to find him?
Each of us would have to take his place.
These neoliberal poets with whom I must
compete don’t understand that poetry
is not a vehicle for change—it is
a vessel for the changeless. (Ask the guy
who uses language like ‘with whom I must’.)
Humphrey ‘Huck’ Astley is a poet and musician based in Oxfordshire, England. His works include the three-part album and stage-show Alexander the Great: a Folk Operetta (PinDrop/PRSF, 2013-15), The Gallows-Humored Melody (Albion Beatnik Press, 2016), and A Christening Sprung from Her Science (Rain over Bouville, 2021). His writing has appeared in various publications including Agenda, Apocalypse Confidential, The London Magazine, and Poetry London. He is founding editor of The Crank, and an occasional critic. Follow him on Twitter at @aboredlittleboy
Illustration by Adam Lehrer