Chris Hardy

Chris Hardy

Chris Hardy has travelled widely and, after years in London, lives in Sussex. His poems have been published in Acumen, Stand, The North, The Rialto, Poetry Salzburg Review, Poetry Review, the Blue Nib and many other places.

He is in LiTTLe MACHiNe, performing their settings of poems at literary events. ‘The most brilliant music and poetry band in the world’ (Carol Ann Duffy).

Chris Hardy’s fourth collection, ‘Sunshine At The End Of The World’, was published by Indigo Dreams. Roger McGough said about the book, ‘A poet as well as a guitarist Chris consistently hits the right note, never hits a false note.’


We can walk, then climb that last bit.
Orchids fill the meadows.
I am breathless at the top,
though it is not high,
but recover instantly.
The plain is green, purple,
yellow, white,
beneath a hurrying sky.

I have a name for this place,
and know where the wind,
scattering drops of rain
with a red speck of sand
inside each, like an ant
in amber on my shoes,
comes from. Somewhere else
in this world.


Tris Boukes, Skyros, 23.04.1915

The sun in the west
dropping behind a mountain,
the dark following
from the east,
keeping its distance,
knowing it must win,
and the sea
cool, deep,

In the end
a rectangle of iron and marble
shows where they stopped.

Thirty minutes climb
with their awkward load
through rocks and trees.

An hour’s digging,
lower the body
into the trench.

Ram the cross
into the dirt
above his head.

Stand back,
shout the order,
fire in the night.

Turn away,
shouldering spades,
pickaxes, guns.

Not the first
or last
to be forsaken.

Row out
to the city of ships
glittering in the bay.
Sail at dawn,
the sea road that
Achilles took,
north east
for the Dardanelles.


I’m a professor in New York.
My parents are from here so
in those woods I built my house

and made the garden that hides it.
We come down to bathe,
run the dogs, clean the beach.

One dawn the Syrians arrived,
asked for the police station,
said they were doctors, teachers,

no longer afraid of a uniform,
a room with a lock on the door,
now they were here.

We cleared their life-jackets,
the RIBs were more difficult.
Chain saws sliced the gunwales

into thick strips of PVC,
but the heavy keels remain
beneath the shingle.

These marble pebbles
are a gift from the sea.
Touching the smooth surface

water and stone have made
brings back a morning when
it was warm enough to swim

and walk the shore again,
searching in the light
for perfection.

RIB – rigid inflatable boat


where the sea reaches and plays
then with a rush
catches you out.
Look up along the beach –
a few wanderers, everyone else
asleep, or going to work,
the mountain lying on its side
awake with light.

Check the time, twenty minutes out,
twenty minutes back to where you wait,
untroubled by the clock, knowing
we will always be on time.

like a gold coin that cannot rust
in the sand between my feet,
that we will leave and
like so many places, everywhere,
never return,
and pick the coin up though
it will burn an empty circle
through my hand.

You thanked me for leaving the window open
so you could sleep in the waves’ unceasing whisper,
knowing the sun wakes me early before I’m done
with the dark.


The chameleon
ate the fly
that drank the sweat
of Telemachus
as he rode through reeds
from the Cow’s Mouth.

Where is my father?
He asks the king
who says Before I answer
you must bathe

and calls his daughter
who takes the boy
helps him into
a low clay bath
sealed with painted
dolphins and blue waves
and with her fingers
presses salt and dust
from his pores
tips jugs of water
on his head then
lifts him by one armpit
to stand beside the tub
rubs scented oil
into his frame
takes a blade
peels a skim of oil
and skin from spine
sacrum sternum
belly breast
re-anoints him
with a lighter balm

so he is ready
to hear Nestor say
should have returned
ten years ago.
You are alone.


She might remember to tell you,
though she is busy
running the café.
Also she is young
and might not know
what we meant
when we told her how
we came here
and camped on the beach
before she was born.

We met fishermen,
a woman driving a bull,
the Chief of Police, children, and you
who’d once made pastries for Farouk
in Heliopolis,
and gave us coffee, water,
cakes and wine for breakfast.

We watched above the shore,
swam, picked up mail,
rubbed olive oil and vinegar
into our burnt skin,
and waited for something
or nothing.

Something came –
work, daughters,
a slow accumulation of weight
to hold us in one place
and press us into shape.

Many others bought
your powdery confections,
spent enough to turn the track
into a road and line the fields with
shops, apartments and a gleaming,
arched Patisserie.

We didn’t knock to wake you
just now,
when we had to leave again.
But we told the girl our story
and if she tells you I think
you will remember us and know
what we came looking for
this time.


Metal slats rattle,
the gorge drops away,
filled with gravity
and falling.

In the café
above the edge,
a thimbleful
of aromatic sand.

Then drive on
to where the road ends
and the trail
over the mountain starts.

Small houses hidden in trees
and vines down lanes,
geraniums growing
in an empty oil can
painted blue,

a white dust path
threading away uphill.
I stop in the shade
and turn the car to face
the way we came.

Poetry in this post: © Chris Hardy
Published with the permission of Chris Hardy