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Tarquin Landseer
Tarquin Landseer

Tarquin Landseer is the recipient of a Keats-Shelley Prize and was shortlisted in the Bradford on Avon Fringe Festival Poetry Competition. His poetry tends to focus on invisible boundaries and treads a fine line between different states of being and consciousness. His concern with liminal zones of perception is one of the features of his work. He makes pointillist pen and ink drawings and likes to analyze and articulate the world around him, real and imagined, through words and images. His poetry has appeared in The Keats-Shelley Review, Staple, The Frogmore Papers, and the Templar Anthology - Peloton.

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Laika

(Per aspera ad astra)

 

A stray, plucked from the snowy streets of Hero City.

 

She'd never experienced such careful grooming;

for stardom and success in another sphere.

 

An unheralded part of Khrushchev's dogma

and demands for the space spectacular;

bound by fate, she incurred the necessity.

 

Muttnik in a sputnik and the centrifugal force

took her away on its trailblazing planetary course.

Harnessed and chained starmongering mongrel,

starry-eyed, she gave to posterity little hope.

 

On pins and needles with the hours of constraint,

a telemeter measured her sudden fits and starts. 

They were hungry for the spoils of success;

to outsoar with such an elevated unkindness,

while she hungered for a world she'd lost.

 

A pioneer pinioned without an opinion, launched into eternity.

While the stars began to shatter into shards

the small sorrows of history will not be calibrated.

Mere wild ambition's giant leap of faith;

one-upmanship was all that truly mattered,

despite another fallen house of cards.

 

With no escape from the rapid nights and days

she could only look on the blackened side.

Such misadventure in a capsule that paved the way

as the air pocket thinned to a quickened wheeze.

Death can be such a challenging enterprise,

over the hubris and faint cries of pity,

as Little Barker crossed the great divide.

 

While other dogs might pass the whorls of Jupiter's storms

and probe beyond those seamless edges,

her passage to martyrdom was assured and brief.

The Dogstar brightly beckoned

as she hurtled passed Star City one last time;

dog-sick, there was the tiniest whimper

and a light flickered to nought.


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