Geoffrey Heptonstall

The City in Mind

The view from here is familiar.

We see how far it is

From the urban ideal,

Then we may propose

Where to begin living again.


A city of cypress easily burns.

A house of glass reflects on us all.

Then there are the cedars,

Cool in the shade of noon,

Shelter for lovers in a storm.

Though the ground may give way,

The fears are fire and flood and plague.

This city has seen them all


The City Discovered


And we wonder who lives here

Where the threads of attachment

Are woven in complex patterns.

Who calls the strangers’ case

In a city of shadows?


Truth may take every room in the house,

Only to be homeless again

Now a hard hand directs us.

Some may find a private place

In the light of experience,

The engine of imaginings

Written in unsupposed styles.

We seek the stranger within.



Geoffrey Heptonstall © 2013

The City Exposed


Beneath the streets sleeps the anger.

Behind the anger is the blade

Glistening in the low light.

When money talks there is a sound

Out of the measureless depths.


The walls are whispers

From the world of chances

That float like feathers.

Consider the hope of the hanging man.

He dreams of seas in storm.

His words are wounds:

An autumnal afternoon,

Anniversary of war.


The City Remade


What rumour is heard,

Returning to source:

Raw like a wound,

Deeper than a dream?

Late leaves fall on stone and steel.


Better voices speak in the rain

Washing those elegant walls.

The woman in her café corner,

Accustomed to silence,

Smiles beneath the sunflowers

Painted on a sea blue wall.

Children are amazed by the rainbow

They follow all the way home.



Geoffrey Heptonstall © 2013