Richard Skinner

Richard Skinner

Richard Skinner has published four books of poems with Smokestack, the most recent of which is ‘Invisible Sun’ (2021). “Atropos” is taken from his forthcoming pamphlet, ‘Dream Into Play’. He is Director of the Fiction Programme at Faber Academy. He also runs a small press, Vanguard Editions, and is the current editor of 14 magazine.


How I love the wisdom of crowds—
it’s the kind of knowledge no man grasps
on his own. But, then,
just like dew,
all that apprehension
melts away.

I am not inflexible as they say, it is just
that no one can offer a compelling argument.
Why cede to the arrogant?
I hate do-gooders. In the end,
you will be punished for your kindnesses.
I always let murderers see out their days.

And you? What have you done?
If I stopped your heart, would it not be heard?
And what of dreams?
The illusory is always a part of reality.
Any description of the world that omits our dreams
would only be a dream.

Subjects don’t know it, but I visit them
three days after they are born
to imprint their lives.
You lose objects in the same places,
hum the same tunes.
It is all over before it has begun.

The twins, Hypnos and Thanatos,
egg me on. They are snippy with me.
They laugh at their joke
at my expense. But I hold my tongue and,
when the time comes, I measure twice,
cut once.

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Poetry in this post: © Richard Skinner
Published with the permission of Richard Skinner