TITLE: The Road Taken

AUTHOR: John Hudson

FORMAT A5, Paperback, 102 pages 

The collected edition of three sequences of poems by John Hudson, all based around journeys. Shapeshifter is a revised edition for publication of 10 poems written for a circular walk around a small French town; Stride is a revised version of poems written for an 11 mile walk across the London Borough of Waltham Forest, a major installation of 44 poems that formed a focus for the Words Over Waltham Forest Festival in 2013; A Strange Guide to Places is a previously unpublished sequences of 23 poems for a "Voie Verte" or country path in France.

PUBLISHED: March 2016.





















From Shapeshifter

Poem 7, The Windmill

You ask me how air becomes the human race?
Here is how air becomes the human race.


Some say
The mothers of giants
Brought their new-borns here
To dry them after birth
And let them feel the breath of morning
On their limbs
Till as they dried they shrank to the race of men.


Some say
These were great wings built to propel the land
Far from the reach of tyrants
And others say
These wings of freedom were clipped
To keep the fields in chains of starvation
And that this war's bastard offspring
Became the race of men.


Some say that these gears and hubs, beams and sails
Were built to stir flesh and bone
Into sky and onto stars
On the greatest of journeys
For the sails of these ships
Were never of our Earth
But elytra of another sun and air
That brought strangers in their galleons
Who became known as the race of men.


Some say
That after the skillet of creation fried
The corn of space-time into being,
The once great turbines
Turned the plasma-cloud like creamed custard
And the eddies
Aggregated into bones and heart, legs and spleen,
Eye and hand, and in the world's first blink
Of recognition they joined
To become the race of men.


From Stride

Ice Station Zebra

The submarine beneath pack-ice,
black-grey against white-blue,
running silent within the walls of the cinema,
netted by silver threads of cigarette smoke.
As it rose to burst the ice-cap,
into arctic light,
water surged around us,
even at our feet it was so bright,
and in the flood
I saw the empty chair.


The credits rolled,
Mum got up, the seat flicking her skirt
as it folded to the vacant row-end.
Outside, we queued,
caught the bus home.


From A Strange Guide to Places 

 4. Resting Place

You will not miss me.
I do not miss them.


The yawn
left by a jet overhead
or boat adrift downriver
is filled
because it's abhorred


and gradually the universe smooths over
even in the wake of the best of us,
the brashest
or most mild and moving;


even the love we knew and shared
becomes a whisper, sigh
then silence,


what is meant by rest.