May 29 – June 4, 2017: Poetry from Theophilus Kwek and Sy Roth

​Theophilus Kwek and Sy Roth

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​Theophilus Kwek

Bio (auto)

Theophilus Kwek has published four volumes of poetry – most recently The First Five Storms (smith | doorstop, 2017), which won the New Poets’ Prize. He also won the Jane Martin Prize in 2015, and was recently placed Second in the Stephen Spender Prize for Poetry in Translation 2016. He lives in Oxford, UK, and is a Co-Editor of Oxford Poetry. He is completing a MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies. 

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by ​Theophilus Kwek and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


It must have been around this time of year.
Weathered sheep, white sky, a frozen sun,
snow-hares still flecked with autumn colours,
kites flown from draughty nests. Foxes, long
gone into hiding, let alone by the royal dogs
asleep in Pisa’s kennels. Nothing left to ruin
his famous experiment, not the thought
of Geronimo curled in his father’s things
through warm Mediterranean nights,
dream-fingers closed on a noiseless toy
made from the tree outside, nor the sense
he finds hard to explain, waking at first light
to a quiet house, of something out of joint,
a pattern unstuck. In the end

what is it that makes him count the pairs?
One afternoon, a sign of nature’s genius,
a willow-branch stealing unawares
through the window, stalks of angel’s tears
frosted over in their plain geometry?
Or, at forty-seven, the inscrutable
timed tremble in the blood, age’s alchemy,
which after a spell turns lead into silver,
then some lighter element? In the mean,
it’s said, many seek that constant proof
to which all things must tend, and chance
upon what he alone among them gleans.
Nothing so infinite as to count as truth,
only return, which is a form of consequence.

The Lonely Crowd, Issue Five: Summer 2016


Sy Roth

Bio (auto)

Sy Roth lives in Mount Sinai, New York. He is a sullied lover of words. 

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Sy Roth and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Sullied Lover

rhythmically it sways
to a chorus of the wind swipes
trying to shake it loose
a balless scrotum
in a neo-world

wind-chime ornament
in its branches
it shuffs angrily

atonal clashes of wind accompaniment
drums and cymbals
a discordant calliope
cradled in outstretched arms

budding branches
tango in aping spring winds,
a mewling sirocco
of entanglement
against the sky

the branches barely verdant
swaddled in anticipation
eludes the flotsam of men,
dodges and weaves above
a dusty field
trunk anchored
to a sour earth
dressed in monet-fevered oils

colossal dream
dancers sunday stroll
beneath it
easter ornament
incipient revival
drags it back to the tomb
crunchy sound of plastic bags
above a sullied earth
too high to dispose of

it supplants solemn joy
defies gusty winds
dresses the tree in gloom
its crinkly chime
of a sullied lover.


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