Hugh Mitchell

Hugh Mitchell Poems

No fish-merchant at the street's end now
'Palamut, palamut' no more
even the simit-seller walks on silent feet
the snow descends in feathered lumps

Good morning Mr Magpie
alone again, like me
I greet you then I bless myself
and hope that I shall see

This time I nearly didn't know you, Gaia,
elegant dancer; slow smiler
the children, of course, they knew you from the start,
knew you and loved you -

The germ of an idea came to me
Watching a botanist on my TV
He said a species could be recognized
as great by how much world it colonized

Down at the bottom of the world
amongst the snow and sleet
stands a lonely Emperor penguin
with an egg upon his feet.

A pair of herons flying from a ditch
wheeled low and elegant over the road
one flew too low - a sudden car
ended her gracious flight

Last night I had a dream of Ireland's Eye
wind-ruffled island of my childhood hour
- waves, restless seaweed, cliffs and gull-filled sky
the ruined church, the ever-watchful tower.

Dripping in rain at the year's end
an elegant old town - too large for those who've settled here
they move in dreams over the scrubby grass
pushing through memories along the square.

This was a man - small man, Dutch man; small in a land of giants
a man who earned respect from all
This was a man who said,
'I may not live to see my birthday - let's hold the party early! '

Last winter - did we have snow?
Don't really know
I suppose so.
One year, I know

All my life, it seems to me
(but more especially latterly)
I have sought needles of significance
in haystacks of irrelevance.

Bright days in Brighton
Dull days in Hull
Windy days in Windscale
and on the Isle of Mull.

I'm wet and I'm wiggly
I'm slimy and squiggly
I live in the weeds
I swim through the reeds

The desert is a strange old place
Just rocks and sand and sky
and big black birds with hooky beaks
that hover way up high

Hot chocolate, hot sun,
toasted sandwich, new-baked bun.
Hot water bottle on my knee,
hot dog and steaming tea.


Waiting by the Bosphorus
for my daily bus
I saw the sun rise over Asia
watched the waves

I remember you
you were in my class once
you sat at the front
and ate a secret biscuit

Fiddling in deep pockets for lost keys
my fingers smudged with grease
again I bind my rusty bike
with rusty chain and rusty lock -

Oh I am a fisherman
and I fish in Emirgan

Last night by way of celebration, I
drank three Trappists and now I'm asking why.

Hugh Mitchell Biography

I was born in England but my parents were Irish, so I don't have any strong sense of national identity. Living and working in many different countries has added to the sense of being an outsider, but has brought many rewards. In the last few years I have lived in Istanbul, the Czech Republic, Bahrain and (currently) the Netherlands. Where to next?)

The Best Poem Of Hugh Mitchell

Snow In Istanbul

No fish-merchant at the street's end now
'Palamut, palamut' no more
even the simit-seller walks on silent feet
the snow descends in feathered lumps
drops weightily on roofs and roads
cafes stand empty under heavy trees
the Bosphorus runs gun-metal grey and dull
the hills of Asia rise shining and brave
chesting the wind
the bridge, a frozen skeleton
watches the city
where we wait
dreaming of tulips
purple blossom and the warmth of spring.

Hugh Mitchell Comments

Susan De Leeuw 23 March 2007

Andy gave me the link. I loved them all, think they are wonderful, witty and elegant.

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