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Two Spirit Creatures by Bernard Matemara (Zimbabwe) ~ a poem from Hilary Hares

Two Spirit Creatures by Bernard Matemara (Zimbabwe)

Reading Museum, Animals in Art Exhibition, 2020

Madejski Gallery, second floor, and here’s my father,
cast in springstone, smooth as his own bald pate.

A man sucked dry by life, in death he has become
an elemental self, transformed not once,

but twice; ego and alter ego filling
the small glass case with presence.

I know him by his hands. They’re garden hands,
spatulate and strong, the kind of hands that mixed

cement and dug King Edward’s up for lunch.
They’re hands he never raised in anger or in

self-defence. He always showed an open palm –
beneath his nails a trace of God’s good earth.

Hilary Hares


Hilary writes: “This poem was inspired by the brilliant Animals in Art exhibition at Reading Museum after an excellent workshop run, in the Museum, by poet Lesley Saunders.”

Hilary Hares’ poems appear widely in print and online.  Her collection, A Butterfly Lands on the Moon supports Loose Muse, Winchester and a new pamphlet, Red Queen, is available from Marble Poetry.  Website:


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