The Bursting Shell – by Oz Hardwick


The Bursting Shell
                    after Christopher Nevinson

Sightlines curve, break, I
see spirals, trace shadow-shards,
splinters split from darkness, I
hear colours, smell fear,
exhilaration of blazing sky,
flying fragments of still night
surprising stone, rising, I
hold breath, blind to colours,
bright light splinters, spirals
traced in black, bloodlines,
wood split, rising in eyes
that can’t blink, can’t think,
curve up to dark noise,
strict discipline of chaos
spun through hard shadows, I
choke on broken fear, flying
down to blazing roots, ripened
fruit of fire, ripped sky,
spiral light, sightlines split,
my eye closed, closed, I
close my eye, never unsee
the vortex of sharp unbelieving,
light shearing skin and bone.




Oz Hardwick is a York-based poet, photographer, and academic. His latest poetry collection is The Ringmaster’s Apprentice (Valley Press, 2014), and he is co-author, with Amina Alyal, of the Saboteur-shortlisted Close as Second Skins (IDP, 2015). He has delusions of musical competence, and his one regret is that he is not Belgian. His website can be found here.

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