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Christian Ward is a 31-year-old London-based poet. He graduated from Roehampton University with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing and has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London. His poetry has appeared in Poetry Wales, The Warwick Review, Iota and is forthcoming in Poetry Review. He has won, been short listed and commended in a number of competitions, including a 2009 Eric Gregory award, 2012 Jane Martin Poetry Prize and the 2010 East Riding Open Poetry Competition. In January 2013, he was accused of serious acts of poetic plagiarism; I maintain this post as a record of an earlier, more innocent time, but not an endorsement, of this author.  [editor's note, on January 13, this post was edited to take into account new information].

Christian Ward


i.m Nazim Hikmet

A little unknown folktale
is that Nazim Hikmet could tune
into radio transmissions using
the power of his heart alone.
Guards at Bursa Prison noticed
he used to stroke his breast
and a loud transmission
would start to come out of his
mouth. He liked to listen
to broadcasts of Shostakovich,
the news, underground speeches.
Months before he died guards
reported that he was curled up
in his cell, frantically trying
to tune into the weather report,
eager for news of thunder.


He's the ideal flatmate: clean, tidy,
never drinks or smokes. Doesn't get music
but that's okay. I've learnt to stop staring
at his ears in case he grips my neck
and I collapse like laundry on the floor.
Some days, late at night, I hear him muttering
'Captain, Captain, Captain' into a shoe
and laugh to myself. Spock, fine as he may be,
doesn't make for the best company. Everything
has to be logical: call centres, mangoes, even sex.
My girlfriend says he's a pervert whenever
she’s around, that he leers at her in a strange way,
as if something is trapped under his skin
and he's desperately trying to get rid of it. Weirdo.
And, if you're wondering, never talk to him
about poetry. He bloody hates it. You can almost
smell the dactyls bubbling on his tongue
as he drones on, how illogical it is to describe
emotion on paper, before becoming still
like a heron about to dive into the dark of a pond
it’s never seen before.

Girl on the District Line
Reach into her eyes
and you might scoop
a handful of koi
turning the carriage
walls gold and orange;
a smattering of lily
pads, frogs, water
boatmen and sticklebacks.
If you're lucky, a heron
still at the water's edge.


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