Seconds in China by Geoffrey Heptonstall

Akron Skyline

Seconds in China

by Geoffrey Heptonstall

Dust has settled in the empty room where mice have found habitation among the spiders and spectres of empires lost in a game of chance. Once – who knows when – someone left a handprint in the dust. It was a way of making history in measureless time. A voice in the gathering of people whispered, ‘Remember the moment – it has yet to pass.’

And on the window ledge is a flower that blooms every equinox of the year’s awakening. Were the window to open the scent would fill the room. But in the end there is no-on who comes to hear the silence. From the window is a view of the winds
raising the waters of the deluge where once were plains and the silken cities.

A child asks of people: ‘How can they know what they want until we show them?’ He is thought by many to be wise. There are those who are not so sure. All that shall be left of them is bones. A time of acceptance is approaching. In certain seasons there are no more desires.

Old men alone are woken by the chatter of monkeys for whom victory is a game
to be forgotten at sunrise. Dogs, like merchants, gather in the square by the statue of a
mounted warrior. The monument is European, and may not survive. A time of absence is approaching.

Rumours are as wild as jasmine whose petals fall far from the stem. Storms beat against the window glass, tapping out a message sung simply each time:

Every second in China something significant happens.


Writer of fiction (recently for Cerise Press, Gold Dust, Litro, Open Wide and Sunk Island Review). Essayist/reviewer (recently for the Bow Wow Shop, Cerise Press, Contemporary Review, Gold Dust, International Times, The London Magazine, New Walk Magazine, P.N. Review, Prole, The Recusant, The Tablet, the TLS and The Write Place at the Write Time) Extensive broadcasting experience, including critically-appraised features for BBC Radios 3 and 4, and, most recently, 105fm. Extensive lecturing and workshop experience for Anglia Ruskin Uni and Bath Spa Uni, Cambridge Festival, Cambridge Poetry Cafe, Long Road Sixth, the Open College and the WEA. I have performed in many venues, including a small tent at Glastonbury , but most regularly at Cambridge Poetry Caf. Recent poetry for Caught in the Net, Connections, Inclement, Ink, Sweat and Tears, and The Write Place at the Write Time