Robert Harper’s poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Interpreter’s House, Acumen, Lonely Crowd, Ink Sweat and Tears, And Other Poems, and New Welsh Review. He was Highly Commended in the Poetry Book Society Student Poetry Competition 2014. Robert is the editor of Bare Fiction Magazine and is currently researching a PhD at the University of Birmingham in space & parenthesis in the poetry of the Objectivists. He also founded and continues to run the Shrewsbury Poetry Stanza.


The Judge

the tired falls from his eyes  a drooping
a lacklustre lilly-pungent flop  a stuck
dreamflight  tarmac-idle  8 hours shifting
sleepself  to unself  & backself   before

the drop  before he  unknows day
before his wings shake off the gownweight
of eloquence  gavel-greased  before calling
silently  into the blacks  of his eyelids

order  order


First published in New Welsh Reader 111, Summer 2016


Inefficient view of a happy man

I only saw him briefly,
as the train sliced off
a second of his life

to put beneath a pain of glass.
He carried branches
in his arms. On his face

a look beyond
contentment kept him
from sinking in the grass.


First published in Nutshells and Nuggets, and subsequently appeared in The Everyday Poet (An anthology edited by Deborah Alma – The Emergency Poet) 


It doesn’t matter if I’m a clown

If you need me to explain then let me
tell you simply that my brain doesn’t work
in the same way you think
it should. It has a hinge
not unlike a piano lid; my teeth
the keys that play Beethoven
across a tongue speaking
Chopin as a prelude to good-
bye. I can dress up

sentences with taffeta, twinkling
lights to shine some sense of what
was that to our discussion today. I
can fill your ears
with consonants that pop
your synapses and play tricks
on temples that pray
for regularities and seventy-five beats
or less at resting. If you need me

to explain, I know that I’m the one
who sees the clown is happy
when his mouth’s the wrong way
round a custard pie, upside down, bleeding
diamonds into cheeks that rub
frowns away beneath a big top, hopping
on one leg. I can tell you once
again but this time boxes
and not parcels; this week
isn’t next; I told you yesterday

at dinner, you were listening to—
who was that—something else and then
we talked with eyes instead of words,
both understood. Our daughter
knows. I’m sure she’s heard it all
before in the way you think; I tell you
simply that my brain doesn’t work.
If you need me, too, explain,
then let me.


Highly Commended in the 2014 Poetry Book Society National Student Poetry Competition, published in the pamphlet “I am part of that generation”, and subsequently appeared in #2PoetryAnthology’ (Vanguard Editions, 2016)

One Comment

  1. Pingback: An Evening With Carol Ann Duffy And Friends At the Royal Exchange Theatre | lizzyreadsalot

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.