Paddy’s Day Poet – Antony Owen – Four Poems


PURPLE CHALK“Her marriage was cancelled by her fiancé when he discovered she was the

Daughter of an Atomic bomb survivor”

 Atomic Bomb Survivor.


Years after the bomb startled water,

koi engulfed the egg-flecked banks

spawning shockwaves of life.


Years after the ill star was born,

shy women revealed themselves

to men who took their blood and husbands.


Months after the first silent births,

a mother took her unnamed life

and then her soul in a whispering river.


Weeks after, this girl with the handprint face

explained she was counting to ten, then a flash

printed hide and seek on her face.


Days after, a boy wrote his name in purple chalk –

his yo-yoing eyes spilled across his frame;

they washed his feet before he died.


Before he died he asked why me?

The boy on the human bonfire

returned to water with koi.


Looking down upon monster’s, gargoyles remember

the tender hands chiselling them to life

as cities turn from stone to ash.

On Jacques rooftop a squall of starlings pack their songs

and come December in the ISIS sky

these little migrants rest on Arkan’s bedframe.

In Paris, lanterns of I-phones burn for what is lost and 

Pierre has lost his sister in the connected crowd

he is yelling her name and no one helps him.

In the Ionian sea candles of stars are going out in Arkan’s eyes

she is shouting for her brother but he is a ship now

blow out the stars my beautiful sister and arrive

in safer places like starlings.



“Nearby birds burst into flames in mid-air!”

Department of Energy


I wonder what became of Nagasaki sparrows,

story has it, one flew headfirst in a little boat,

it was no inconvenience but they were startled.


I wonder how far they flew blinded for,

bellies filled with insects and dawn song;

earth curve eyes pulled back to moonstone.


I hope they died on earth’s blotched face

pressed freckles from blue corrupted eggs,

hatching man’s miscarriage in the bloody new dawn.



If we stab a fork into fish, we consider it ours like

flag gouged land claimed by immigrants who murder savage natives

then banish them as migrants to allocated areas.

If we free that fish from its cellophane tomb and

lay our tables correctly we can discuss the proper etiquette of dining,

and flick through Sky with a brief stopover at Gaza;

then giving in to complaints that it’s all too depressing

we all watch Homer drink Duff like there’s no tomorrow because

there is no tomorrow for fish and what do I call them?

So in my family of two and four chairs I said to my love

that President Kennedy was the most popular American President

and I was corrected that he was a great man and may I say migrant?

My cat left us a present and it was literally the head of a brown mouse

but there are plenty more where that came from and life goes on

unless you’re a mouse or a migrant or a cat castrated to be orderly.

Antony Owen was born in Coventry and was raised by working class parents. His poetry subjects are diverse with a general focus on forgotten people and the consequences of international and domestic conflicts.
He is the author of four poetry collections by Pighog Press, Heaventree Press and most recently Hesterglock Press who published his latest collection Margaret Thatcher’s Museum.
His work has appeared in several literary journals worldwide with translated works in both Dutch and Japanese war poetry anthologies by Poetry International Europe and Coal Sack Press (Japan).
In 2015 Owen self-funded a trip to Hiroshima to interview A-bomb survivors and meet various schools who have been taught some of his poems. His work has been exhibited at various peace centres including the International Convention Centre, Hiroshima