Belfast on Weather Reports, by Antony Owen

I was eight years old when I first truly saw Ireland
Michael Fish stuck sunshine over Belfast and it fell off
They got the weather wrong that week it rained there.

I was eight years old when I first truly saw England,
Humans smeared a dirty protest over prison walls
Rib-cages and iron bars served the same purpose.

I was eight years old when I first felt England invade me,
Bobby Sands bled from a mural on a once ordinary house,
Men who never went to Ireland clinked tankards in glee.

I was twenty-one years old when I first felt Ireland,
A horse with a severed rope chewed roses on Dundrum road
Nobody was bothered, it was bothering nobody.

I was twenty-one when I first felt England in Dublin
A stag night from London turned Garda blue and ugly
It was the end of the troubles yet those lads invaded me.

Trolls of the Aioi Bridge by Antony Owen

“Well come along! I’ve got two spears and I’ll poke your eyeballs out at your ears; I’ve got besides two curling-stones, and I’ll crush you to bits, body and bones”

From Three Billy Goats Gruff



Once upon a time in Hiroshima  –

Mother’s read fairy-tales and omens

of trolls under bridges to fearless children.


Atomic rivers were cauldrons of men

women, and children gobbled up into trolls.

Human monsters queued up to join them.


I want to write a war poem without monsters

where all of us live happily ever after

but this would have to be a fairy- tale


where the ending is decided by hell makers.

Hell by Antony Owen

Enter this kingdom through drawbridges of tongues.

Read the black text authored by man and weeping gods –

that dark rain, that black page of sky; that waxed stamp of sun;

drown in fathoms of iris moats that held a million tender memories.


Listen to folklore of ghosts leaving mouths as they are marooned

like clam black shells that died by rivers slowed by bone.

Look at the water it is full of red demons once white

as chrysanthemums on mile wide graves.


Please do not leave this kingdom that the greatest minds built.

We must rebuild our learning before new cities

and look into eyes of those who remain

to see hell is only made by the blind.

Spring Letters by Antony Owen

Those trees write essays of blossom and fall
and sometimes strike twigs of lightening
to show us that roots lie in all things,
branches bellow in our blood
of strange white blooms,
clockwork leukaemia
hands stop moving,
radioactive graves
jigsaw pictures of
petri dish ghosts.
Scalp Hiroshima
back to bloom
I was human
our roots
are similar
inside we are all the same –
red blossoms are made of blood capillaries.

Koventrieren by Antony Owen

(Koventrieren – A word introduced after the Coventry Blitz into the German language roughly meaning ‘to destroy a city from the air’)


I heard unspoken communions made

which old people keep until death beds.

The wine of her wounds on bomb glow breasts

exposed by luftwaffe and a deep rooted shame

you had to admit before guilt and cancer ate you.


If only you had laid him three yards to the left

you would both be arm in arm down high street now.

Mother and son in a beautiful chain of events

that began in the blitz and ended in your crib.

This never happened because you fed him on time.