4 Poems by Patrick Williamson

Patrick Williamson, a British poet and translator, who lives in France. I also work with music and filmpoems (Afterwords, set to music by Mauro Coceano). My work is increasingly focused on Italy, where I have published two collections Beneficato(English-Italian, Samuele Editore, Pordenone, 2015), and Nel Santuario (Samuele Editore, 2013; Menzione Speciale della Giuria in the XV Concorso Guido Gozzano in 2014). Editor and translator of The Parley Tree, An Anthology of Poets from French-speaking Africa and the Arab World (Arc Publications, 2012). Recent and ongoing translations of poetry by Italian writers Guido Cupani and Erri de Luca.




What shall we do?


All these meetings of eyes

on this bus, the street, anywhere

where we say let’s, but

the next step will lead us


not where this glance

might have, meeting my eye

across the crowded aisle, bussed

from south to north, rushed

& fluttered as we exchange

our temporary destinations. Do you

leave first, or do I lead?

When will we get off? I ask you,

this has much to do with trespassing





It runs deep



from body to knife

from urge to thrust

from touch to scream

from horror to pain

from lust to blood

from anger to shame

never satisfied

from knife to blood

never satisfied

when body is weapon

when urge is life

when touch is scream

your anger is shame

never in my name






Smash the glass


The city flickers blue, truth slips away,

eye measures up to block stump,

he peers out, tight lipped, levels the scope,


leaves fall, through the dark

they are shimmering,

marked down, they amass, shouting out


that man filling the machines

took away our hours

the bright lights, the sleeping safe,


the dreams we had once

lost in the madding crowds







I near the end, shifting

the shadow of clouds.

I avoid touch

seek sanctuary in quest.


I break my bonds,

distance, coil up,

seek out the darkness.


Time passes. The black crow

cloaked by shadow –

slump into an armchair.


Huddled, the flickering stops

abruptly, hum, listen.


Siren screams out there.




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