Kalyna Review

Nicholas Bielby


(after Heine)


Now you’ve gone and done it! Oh, my dear Self,

you are scuppered, kippered,  buggered! It’ll

take more to get you published or win prizes

now, than just learning to lick the right spittle.


I should never have encouraged you

to put poems like that out for all to see,

to say those scurrilous things about the high priests

of poetry and the Arts Council powers-that-be!


My dear Self, you are stuffed, a stiff, a dead man walking.

The establishment has a long reach, its plausible

minions have poisonous tongues and people are gullible:

they love to believe the worst things imaginable.



After Heine

“Mir träube wieder der alte Traum”


I dreamt that old dream once again:

we lay, one night in May

beneath a linden tree, and swore

to love eternally.


Such fondlings and promises,

such vows and kisses! And,

to help me not forget my word,

you bit me on the hand.


My little love, with shining eyes

and pearly teeth, although

our promises were rather sweet,

biting was de trop.



A little song from Heine    

“Vergiftet sind meine Lieder”


My songs are poisoned, poisonous.

   How could this not be so,

Since you have poured your venom in

   The very place they grow?


My songs are poisoned, poisonous.

   How could this not be true?

I carry vipers in my heart

   And, my beloved, you.

About the author


Nicholas Bielby, Editor of Pennine Platform and Graft Poetry, has had four poetry collections published, the latest being The Naming of Things (Poetry Salzburg, University of Salzburg, 2015). He has won prizes in several competitions including Arvon International and New Poetry. In addition, he's had four academic books published and have contributed to three others, the most recent being The Edinburgh Companion to the Bible and the Arts (EUP, 2014). He retired from teacher education at Leeds University a long time ago.