Herms by R. M. Francis

This third incarnation
of thirteen stiffs semi-circle
Sheldonian’s stern -
still, indifferent, stoned
and sometimes crowned
with traffic cone, wren shit
hufflepuff scarf. One or two
have humour for it. All stare,
unblinking at map gripped tourist tracks,
inert undergrads - ghouled
by samsung screens,
blinkered cyclists and white vans vying
like Tamesis Pike and Carp wrestle
Osney Lock currents. Thirteen Herns
are angler fixed - baits weighted for
another incarnation,
another three-hundred years
when our postcard pics have weathered
and our server farms are lost, after palm oil
took precedence over air, the babewyn continue
to unhook themselves from gutters and spires
and run jokes past the emperors, about parallel lines
crashing together in infinity.

---

R. M. Francis is a poet from Dudley. He's a Creative Writing lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton and author of five poetry pamphlet collections. In 2020 Wild Pressed Books will be publish Bella, his debut novel, and Smokestack Books are publishing Subsidence, his first full poetry collection. In Spring 2019 he was the David Bradshaw Writer in Residence at Oxford University.

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