Ian Hamilton’s “Familiars”

Ian Hamilton is a poet from the second half of the 20th century whose work I greatly admire and love to champion. You can find a listing of more of his poems on the Book of Pain here and watch a BBC TV special on him here.


If you were to look up now you would see
The moon, the bridge, the ambulance,
The road back into town.
The river weeds
You crouch in seem a yard shorter,
A shade more featherishly purple
Than they were this time last year;
The caverns of ‘your bridge’
Less brilliantly jet-black than I remember them.

Even from here, though, I can tell
It’s the same unfathomable prayer:
If you were to look up now would you see
Your moon-man swimming through the moonlit air?

Could anyone else leave a better sense of lingering loss and sadness in the air than Hamilton? The man was surely a master! For more on Ian Hamilton, I refer you to his Wikipedia page.

Thank you for reading Ian Hamilton’s “Familiars”. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


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