Issue 14 – Summer 2008 – Jack Alun

Jack Alun


(mountain pastoral)

glass morning
ice tranquillity
lake scoop
over birthmark 
slow pink rags
of ripped up cloud


high azure
still buzzards
trace a vortex
of shrill vibrato


dark avalanche
shadow slope
cowbells drift 
dulling hollow 
brown goats
full uddered 
down a dusty track


light into heat
old van potholes
grey fumes 
up a knotted road
hacked slate
cuneiformity to 
roofs of houses


blear frame
in a flake shade
ruffled figure
fleshy from long sleep 
bone heavy 
with permutation


(weather report)

sun pearl in ochre sky
grey underwater light
heat in rivulets
yellow grass browning 
vine leaves grovelling
with a parchment thirst
blue prophecy in the firework lavender

birds are hesitant 
geraniums bleed
lizards desert 
only hibiscus
in stupid certainty

confusion in air suggests
nodding the purple 
heads of buddleia 
ravelling swallowtails 
in tangled flight
complicating bindweed

rumpus at bass note of the day
the hinge between light and night
but no blind hope
no revelation’s flash 
no knee-bend piety –
a fattening contrail
demystifies the high



(notes from on the ground)

“see the pale hare pursued 
by dogs, the bristling boar bolt 
from the maize, pick walnuts by the side 
of lanes, pull chestnuts from their pricking
pods, finger the figs that burst 
blood, gather grapes from the blue
bitter vineyard, coax a brandy
from a bruise of plums, be suffocated 
in mist, blinded by a too clear light,
taste apples more red than alive”—


or so the story goes —but

no smug hibernatory conclusion
full-bellied reflective 
just dry leaves chill mornings
winds sharpening 
and instinct that sick sense 
scrolling through the downloads
of quasi-content




thaw the big bird into being
sculpt feather bleak and talon
on the crooked arm of a still tree

already present — in the
grass not breathing 
sun under grey muffle 
snow beneath the slashed
veins of bramble 
hedgerow in contortion 
and the agony of the arthritic wood

only the soon dead eye
can catch the silence of wing 

maybe it’s the cold sweat of the season
that makes the face burn and fingers
numb and mind’s eye fix
on the rictus of the bird’s beak 
or maybe it’s the ankles’ twist and crack
across the ribs of this picked-clean land



Jack Alun was born in Cardiff, Wales. Reviews for Shearsman magazine (as John Couth) and conducts interviews  for Argotist online. Published widely in print magazines and web journals; in process of compiling first collection and completing novel. Currently lives and works in France.