Andrew Kerr lives in West Yorkshire, studied Religion and Anthropology at Goldsmith’s College and now works as a Counsellor. He has had poems published in the Rialto, Ambit, Obsessed with Pipework, Smith’s Knoll and the Manchester Review. He has had a pamphlet, ‘Sweet Talk’ published by Smith’s Knoll.

Tomorrow the mountains will separate us

Contrite, Du Fu heads into the city seeking
oblivion – trying too hard, again, to gain
a great reputation! Now it’s time to get drunk.
Old acquaintances greet him, make room –
say never abandon us again. So he tells them
about the Yangtze, the wars he fled,
valleys emptied by disease. They listen long
into the night until he becomes content.
Rare, such a thing. The gatekeeper bars the gate.
Under his breath he is chanting, chanting,
still the swallows leave.

© ADW Kerr


Kakhovka from a Distance

An intercept catches two talking, one telling the other
It wasn’t meant to be so bad. From some angles
they too appear to be cogs, even mannequins… maybe not
victims. Landmines clunk gently against chair legs.

It’s just one thing after another – so my mother
would have said, smoking her Superkings,
watching t.v. – her window onto the world.
Strange how some get to sit and watch, perhaps

for the whole of a life in its entirety.
Others go through the rigmarole of seeing the sites
all the while waiting for the coach driver to wake up
and drive them back to the hotel; It’s all too much

to take in one says to his wife and sinks back into
his seat. I don’t travel much myself to tell the truth,
I stay home and organise impressions
on your behalf, making a neat pile of everything

essential, or so I like to imagine,
like a boy on a long empty beach – though
my boy coughs upstairs in his sleep and sometimes
cries out loudly.


© ADW Kerr