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Antony Owen

Winter of 1987  


Snowfall at fourteen is like a first kiss  

I remember watching the factory turn to Cair Paravel  

the halogen lights of Scandinavian cars aglow like Turkish delight.  


For me the winter of 1987 was like God took a shotgun to the angels  

their dirty feathers be-felling the pure adolescents  

trying their best to avoid the lie and cage.  


I thought of digging myself an igloo and drifting away from nurofen  

three months later I would swallow them like snowflakes  

feeling my down like tawny icicles my unmaker made.  


Snow makes everything new for a while like a liars promise  

you melt away into those you place your dream  

I was a boy inside a wolf that lost its song.  


When my daughter comes of age, we shall dissect the snowman  

and I shall show her its DNA is made of hands that formed it.  

We shall toss the carrot and the hat into the brook and hug.  

When Men Mansplain to Men  


A man once told me he was qualified to correct me  

that his PhD in poetics trumped what I read in a survivor’s eyes.  

“Only soldiers can write poems about war this is why I refused your poem”.  


Academic men love intellectual cockfights with working class poets,  

they repudiate that poems are found in Ladbrokes or the pub  

all of this is far too filthy in the abductors oak panelled lair.  


A man once told me I would never make it as a serious poet  

he said “beware Kerouac was a drunk and dreamer”.  

I immediately read Kerouac and the beats.  


A poet once told me that I should go to an Arvon class to learn poetry,  

the following year I went to Hiroshima instead.  

I saw Kerouac on sale translated into Kanji.  

Antony Owen is a writer from Coventry. His collection The Nagasaki Elder was shortlisted for the coveted Ted Hughes Award and he is one of the leading writers of war and peace poetry active in 21st century poetry. His work is taught at regular poetry workshops in Hiroshima and also appears in a national UK peace education resource by CND Peace Education. The poems published at Peace Direct will appear in a poetry collection with poet Isabel Palmer who Owen rates as one of the most important peace poets of our generation. He has won the Bread & Roses Working Class Writing Award 2020 (joint winner), the Museum of Military Medicine Prize 2018, the Peace & Reconciliation Award for Coventry Community Cohesion 2016. Poetry collections: The Battle (forthcoming, KF&S Press, 2022), Phoenix (Thelem Press, Germany, 2021) Cov Kids (KF&S Press, 2021), The Unknown Civilian (KF&S Press, 2020), The Nagasaki Elder (V. Press, 2017), Margaret Thatcher's 

Museum (Hesterglock Press, 2015), The Year I Loved England (Pighog Press, 2014 with Joe Horgan), The Dreaded Boy (Pighog Press, 2011), My Father's Eyes Were Blue (Heaventree Press, 2009).

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