Reunion of the Broken Parts



(definition of the Arabic word al-jebr, The Times, 9 January, 2015. The quotation from Omar Khayyàm is from verse 51 of his Rubaiyàt)


Social media shifts political correctness.

One minute je suis Charlie swamps the screens,

then someone tweets that Ahmed

was gunned down defending the right

of atheists to ridicule his God.

Does he get seventy-two virgins, too?


Facebook is flooded with homage cartoons:

a snapped pencil sharpens itself, twice.

The moving finger writes, and having writ

Moves on; now, je suis juif

and holocaust memorial day

raises its grizzled head one more.


Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia

a blasphemer receives fifty

of his allocated thousand lashes.

Who can find one deity to hold it all together

while his flayed back begins to knit,

and someone posts je suis Bartholemew.


Copyright © 2015. Hannah Stone

Todos los derechos reservados. All rights reserved.





Pulling the trigger’s the easy part, because

you never know if it’s actually you

or one of the other Brimob officers

who’s firing live rounds. It might be

that I’ve never fired a fatal shot!


We work in a team, five of us to fetch

the prisoner from his isolation cell.

They don’t protest much, though –

they’ve been on death row long enough.

It takes place in the middle of the night.

If it were light enough, maybe you’d see

more than the whites of their eyes.

They can choose to cover their face

before we tie them up.


That’s the worst bit; touching

men who are about to die,

lacing their hands and feet and limbs

to the cross, using thick rope. God has decreed

whether or not they sin. I say to them:

I’m sorry, just doing my job.


It’s extra cash, you see – we’re police officers by day.

We get $100 a time for this, by way of bonus, earn it

for those few moments of brutal intimacy –

the sweaty palms and rapid breathing. We escort them

to a clearing in the jungle.


In the darkness, a torch is shone

onto a target drawn over their hearts.

You could cover it with the palm of your hand.


In my nightmares I am dazzled

by that beam, but stare into it

for as long as I can because when it drops

below my gaze, I know my brothers are taking aim.


Note: Brimob – term given to teams of executioners appointed to carry out the death penalty on drugs-related convicts on the prison island of Nusa Kambangan, Indonesia (Guardian, 7 March 2015)

Copyright © 2015. Hannah Stone

Todos los derechos reservados. All rights reserved.

Exploring the Feminine and the Divine


Spanish poets Inma Pelegrín and Katy Parra join their voices with Irish poet Siobhan Mac Mahon and London poet Hannah Stone in this International Writers at Leeds event. The artists celebrate life and light alongside their exploration, through poetic dialogue, of how the feminine consciousness is embodied and expressed in relation to divinity.

Music by Irish guitarist Sabrina Piggott. Translations and final poetic collage (using exclusively verses by the 4 poets) by Antonio Martínez-Arboleda (University of Leeds).

The video contains original poems in English and Spanish as well as some translations. The event took place at Leeds Central Library on 3 February 2015.

With thanks to Leeds Trinity University, Instituto Cervantes of Leeds and Manchester, Leeds Central Library, School of Modern Languages and Cultures (University of Leeds) and Transforming with Poetry at Inkwell.

cc by nc sa




On ‘good’ days you stood in a sea of words,
arms powerless to save each wave
from washing further out of reach
the language which was your toolbox at work,
and a weapon in our home.
You railed and swore with fragments still conscripted,
half-laughing when invention replaced memory.


I’d meet you halfway, on the shore of meaning.


Perhaps the ‘bad’ days you have now are preferable,
when your mouth chews on nothing,
and your eyes are empty;
I prompt you in my head:
See, I cannot hold the tide,
not I, even I, with all my force.
Speak for me.


What shall Cordelia speak? Love, and be silent.


Copyright © 2014. Hannah Stone
Todos los derechos reservados. All rights reserved

Losing your head



In the old days there was much smiting.
Old Masters painted burly arms, raised seconds
before the scourge dropped, deadweight
on the un-ribboned back of Christ.


Frescoes froze forever Salome’s sly smile
at her dangling trophy,
the baptizer’s neck spangling
Tuscan hillsides with ruby pigment.


A female Pre-Raphaelite showed the Utopian’s head
lowered by soldiers, in a basket;
no pot of basil for Margaret, but
tearful embalming in soft cloth.


Now, a triumphal jihadist poses
against the concrete of Raqqua’s square;
tweeting: Chillin’ with my homie
Or what’s left of him. Hashtag showed him.


Grey light filters through the chainlink;
he hides his own head from the sun’s eye
and the world’s gaze; not much left
of his humanity.


Copyright © 2014. Hannah Stone
Todos los derechos reservados. All rights reserved