Peter Hammill

Poems - Killers, Angels, Refugees



It's funny...
on your first un-schoolgirl day
your aura of innocence fell away.
We made love in the afternoon
and afterwards a shadow came,
past presence touched me.
Now I see
you're not innocent
not gullible
not a child.
And it's funny...
when all that innocence went,
some of it must fell on me.
Ha ha ha.
hee hee:


A Door With No House

The candidate for pity turns his back on mirrored walls
as fate's last jester... but who knows? ...hurries from the room.
A pilgrim's tale lies splintered on the hearth.
Six eyes stare through the gating.
I'm thinking, maybe I'll be here forever.



Suddenly, I remember sharpness,
in place of relativity
and pre-childhood.
I squatted on the floor in the sunlight,
reading Biggles.
Later, lying in the darkness,
staring at the writhy,
coiled ceiling, I was scared to death...
and couldn't find a reason to be there at all.
Even now, sometimes, coffin-laden, snakes-infested jungle
stretches before my single, feathered
Even now, sometimes, I am scared.



As I opened the back door,
two flies were copulating on the cooker:
I found this very significant.
Late at night, my hand groped
for the aerosol.
They stayed together for the first
few seconds, wings scorched in the sudden fire,
minds disintegrating in the deadly mist.
Quite suddenly, the male tore himself away
from his penis
and dropped to the floor.
She remained, rolling around on the white enamel
and then fell through a crack into the oven.
Perhaps she had been a virgin
and though this was what always happened.
I ate my egg
with a few pangs of conscience.
Later that night these disappeared
when another fly
shat on me from the light bulb
above my bed.


Galileo Galilei

Isolated stones turn faint edges to the moon.
Roughly, in the rock-marked faces,
you examine the universe.
But you are yourself a universe,
and the black trail of your always cloak
traps it to finity.
You contradict yourself,
turning a sceptical mind on existence,
and washing away belief in your wake.
Clinically, as in a battlefield surgery,
with tar,
you amputate comprehension.



Sands toiled.
Steel shards.
Black-clack needles strike the hour.
Something scrapes on her spine.
Something opens her lacy eye.
The sudden dry flood.
Palpitations of the partly dead. Croak.
Close the silent fountain and the vacant tap.
Decomposing already.

October 3

My attitude toward you has changed:
it's not that you don't live in the way I would,
nor (are you amazed?) that I can find no way to tyrannize your soul.
Is it that you fall to trust me with your truth, or even with a lie?
You speak to me in words between the two,
and I am sad, for somewhere I have lost you.
Now, with hollow laughter
and static presence you only talk
behind my back.
Maybe soon I shall forget
and rediscover you,
with golden bear, flower, laugh and hair unchanged.
Yes, maybe soon I shall forget myself.

Out Of Step

My eyes, sad, are reflected in the windows of
the early morning train
and I am alone.
My mouth is so full of words that they
clog my tongue so silence,
and the hand which, long minutes ago, made house with yours
now gathers tired and too-worn phrases
to express the confusion in my head.
We've fallen into an old game of protective opposites....
I think It's called lying.
You talk to me of love
from your throne of ice.
I speak of friendship
from the rack.
Last night, beside you on the unstained floor,
arms ached with love,
mind at the edge of control,
I wanted to hold and hold and hold you.
I watched your sleepy features;
I turned away...
one touch could lose the tiny part of you
that's left to me.
Now you are someone else's love.
On Thursday next, remember me,
for a year ago then it began...
and something I wish
my feet and arms had never danced in time
to my heart.



in the basin
on the stairs
you in concert?
if you dare. I'll make
in the basement if
but the bread while
is the vacuum in my
is tense is trauma
isn't it clear?

Life is linearly boring
at four in the morning,
rehearsing, encoring...
I'm practically snoring
I fear....


Someone's Been Lying

Maybe it's about time you wrote another song:
watch the way your weariness stretches
and embraces you in a sickly shroud of relaxation.
Or is
my whole life some sort of complicated
consecrated burst of creativity,
every breath I take tuneful?
If this is so, someone has been lying all the time.
Look: it's not wholly necessary for you to scream
and climb atop the tower...
your parachute is only there for show;
your words
are only there to let you know
that you're alive in silent moments
you really shouldn't worry for them.
If this is so, someone has been lying all the time.


The Mount Hotel

Your voice sounded lost,
calling through the flying winds of the moors.
I can feel your eyes,
scared in the darkness, as you struggle to talk.
I can hear you.
But do we, any of us, really know
why we carry on the way we do?
And do we all fall automatically
in the category of our work?
What do you want me to say?
What are the questions
behind your questions?
You are scared by my worlds?
You are scared by the silence?
You want me to soothe your fear?
I thought you knew me better than that.


The Tinier Worlds

We wait.
On this blade of grass,
untidy black garden backwater of creation,
we have lived
in random order,
in perpetual entropy,
in fear.
Now the universe is
about to explode.
Now the murderous footfall
is upon us.
We cannot shout loud enough
through the dark years.
We wait.

Russian Peter Hammill / Van der Graaf Generator Page
Sergey Petrushanko, 1998-2023