Monday, 27 January 2014

A poem by Simon Williams

The Lion of the Black Face and the Lioness of Skull

When summer came
with all the hot stars of the empty months,
the birds flew high and always
out of reach, circling alone.

The lion of the black face
and the lioness of skull sat 
beneath the Katachu tree and hoped
their wings would break.

Every day they dreamt of cloud,
every day they wished for claws
to climb the tree, surprise the birds,
fill their lion bellies.

They waited under the branches
through all the peaks of heat
til neither lion could remember the taste of bird,
or the feel of feathers on the tongue.

At night the lion god of sky
came by and watched them sleeping.
In the blue dawn the lion god of underneath
came by and watched them wake.

At end of summer, the birds flew north.
The lions left the Katachu
and went to drink. The river flowed;
the lion gods went hunting.

The lion of the black face
and the lioness of skull caught antelope,
okapi, fed until they needed no more meat
and then the brittle stars ran cold.

Simon Williams has written poetry for 35 years. He makes a living as a journalist. His poetry ranges widely, from quirky pieces often derived from news items or science and technology, to biographical pieces, to the occasional Clerihew. He has five published collections, the latest being A Place Where Odd Animals Stand (Oversteps Books, 2012) and He|She  (Itinerant Press, 2013). He has a website at, is currently The Bard of Exeter and founder of new magazine, The Broadsheet (

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