I hope these poems will speak for
themselves, but, if they prove baffling, it may help to know that they
attempt to do four things:
1. Describe some aspect of coin that evokes a flavour of the times they
2. Say a little more than is needed for simple description, i.e. build
on the larger responsibilities inherent in the words, creating a
penumbral echo of meaning that further develops the historical themes
3. Draw on the approach of the earlier Geoffrey Hill, with its broken
rhythms and white-space patterning. Unlike his work, however, the poems
both start and end with material circumstances, i.e. do not indulge in
Hill’s abstruse speculations which usually enclose lacunae of meanings,
either because Hill has not rounded the circle of his thoughts or (as
Postmodernist theory asserts) because meaning is inherently fragmentary
and incomplete. These poems are not Postmodernist, but make their
meaning through the verse structures that draw the sense together.
4. Explore the possibilities of the rhymed hexameter, a challenging but
rewarding medium in English.
Bar the first and last poems, which provide a background to my early
coin-collecting days, each piece is a tightly compressed meditation on
the coin illustrated. Much could be written on every exhibit, many
thousands of words, no doubt, but the text accompanying the coin should
provide entry points, and anything obscure can be checked on Wikipedia
and the like.
Stress verse, six syllables to the line, is used throughout, and the
rhyme scheme follows that of the Shakespearen sonnet. Because the
rhythms are often irregular and broken, I have made the end rhymes
conspicuously heavy, giving the poems a solidity they would not
A free e-book
in pdf format.