Volume 5 by Richard Stillman




RIchard Stillman is an English teacher whose poetry has appeared on the Poetry Society blog and has been published in anthologies and online. He is represented by Peters, Fraser and Dunlop, although as he has not yet written a published novel, he is unsure why. A trustee of the Winchester Poetry Festival, he is interested in promoting local poetry and literature.


























Mum would put a bit by every week:

the life insurance, the Christmas Club,

and, for my sake, the encyclopaedias,

ten volumes bound in faux-red leather.


Volume 5: the Natural World – Insects.

Acetate sheets took me further, further

as I turned them, turned into the structure

of a bee revealing its essential trinity.


The colours brimmed, the words raptured.

Some I knew: antennae, sting, and abdomen,

but others were new: thorax and glossa –

the ganglia of nerves that stood in for a brain.


I should have stayed at this wonder

but I impressed myself alone with detail;

knowledge of the polysyllabic intricate

provides a species of adolescent mastery,


but not being with. Now, I can anatomise,

delineate the power structures of the hive,

but my daughter, wiggling, feels like them,

thanks them, one-by-one, for their honey.



Richard Stillman



83 Shirley, Hampshire by Richard Stillman

Gilbert White Poetry Event

Gilbert White Poems and Stories