Wu Zixu
(after Hokusai)

The warrior, Wu Zixu,
tries his hand at writing poetry.
Perhaps he thinks
it won’t be exacting enough.
Cocking his head to one side,
he dips his pen in the ink,
while at the same time holding
a brass pot above his head.
It’s poetry as circus.

The strongman wants us to know
he’s got brains as well as brawn,
but juggling mind and body
has simply unbalanced him.
Why weigh yourself down like that,
if what you’re trying to do
is unburden yourself in verse?
His face is set in a smile.
So far, the page is blank.



Stephen Claughton has published two pamphlets, The War with Hannibal (Poetry Salzburg, 2019) and The 3-D Clock (Dempsey & Windle, 2020). He reviews for The High Window and London Grip. Reviews, poems and pamphlets can be found at www.stephenclaughton.com