Tuesday Poem: Chrome Yellow Hypothesis, by Iain Britton

the house isn’t what it was
the voice of a radio predicts a storm /
it mimics a politician
commentates on cricket
the radio possesses the eye
of an orchestra
anthems on walls / flags and
coronation stuff / a platoon
route marches to Hill 44 /      
the family has taken furniture
its god particles and disguised itself in bundles
the house isn’t what it seems …
a square brick object at the mercy of orthodoxies
dousing gentiles in holy water / they
chant / play / sing / love thine enemies
Te Hahi o te Whakapono
the church (sermon-bloated)
hunches its white skull
beside the lake
passers-by are pulled in to drool
on historical grounds
where prisoners in wood
hug others in wood
where the lake laps music against stained-
glass windows / a flute’s voice
breathes on naked skin
a woman smiles
undoes her soul
for the cost of a camera’s sharp bite
life i observe is a sulphuric cloud
raw and exposed
a matter of confessions
this woman this mother


the miracle makers
who each year split atoms
by walking on air
she’s fascinated by silica
its crystals / this geothermal fragility
which  domes the town
she opens herself to parkland
any stuntman would exploit
beside the lake
birds scrap
over chrome-plated godsends
plucked from moonstones
this mother this woman
goes into the house of
 one room
 one kitchen
 one radio
a solitary figure clothing
legends in bright garments
 what if
i place my lips on her lips / would forests
buckle up / would ghosts
return to their shelves to rest
she speaks to each gnome in her garden / paints
their hats gold
handles them carefully
each night they rough and tumble
squabble like her children
where invisibility is an asset
where in her house
love battles
love charges up a hill / e hoa
she calls
and the radio responds
with the news / the weather
a boy scoops up a ball
and runs with it
through a yellow cloud

Credit note: “Chrome Yellow Hypothesis” is from Iain Britton’s collection photosynthesis, now available from Kilmog Press. This version is published, and reformatted to work better on a blog, with the permission of the author.

Tim says: After my hiatus, I’m back in the world of the Tuesday Poem, where I will try to get back in the routine of posting a Tuesday Poem every fortnight. It’s a pleasure to (re)start with this fine poem by Iain Britton.

One thought on “Tuesday Poem: Chrome Yellow Hypothesis, by Iain Britton

  1. Gosh, there's a lot to admire in this poem, beginning with that opening line. I like all the imaginative ways this poet engages the reader — the italics in the middle, that 'what if' section — all of it very compelling. And the radio — the constant presence of the radio. Glad to read this here today. Welcome back, Tim!

Comments are closed.