Daniel Hinds reading The Corona Prince


Three poems by Daniel Hinds


The Corona Prince


By now, you must have heard his legends.

You abide in his empire.


In the kingdom of the rising star

He rose from a small bowl of hot bat soup


Pausing long enough for sunken eyes,

Slimed in matted hair, to glare like an alligator


Surfacing to see the prey come to drink.


He stood full height, small feet in the primordial,

A hungry ghost in black scaled armour.


Skin the colour of hardened phlegm.

Consistency of a patagium wing.


The old man’s whistle cut short

Before it could cool the broth on his upraised spoon.


With the red light behind him,

The West saw only a body, a thin line of shadow:


A judgment of God over Egypt.

And turned aside their gaze.


On the other side of the sun they say

He fell from the stars with the ink black space


Poured onto the armaments of men

Under the shadow of an eagle’s wing.


In truth, his womb is the mucus

Of your lungs the red crown points pierce


As they breach and spit the flesh

As he flails and splutters from the eldritch.


He is born a thousand times each day.

The thin golden string of your life


Is his cut umbilic cord.


His ritual ointments are soap and wine

Darkened water. Courtiers, wring your hands.


His long fingers will squeeze the drops

From your neck, like a tight mink scarf.


For libations, he sups the sweat of his subjects.

Like Stoker’s creature he hovers by the bedside


And runs a cracked tongue; stokes flames.


His palaces are spotless white.

With the pomp of pale robes and gurney carriages


He leads procession after procession

Down the scrubbed and stretching corridors.


A pied piper with a liking for liver spots

And time folded into wrinkles.


His subjects shuffle behind.


Like poetry,

He lives on breath and air


And the liquid libations, the flecks that cross

The vermillion border.


Unlike poetry,

He does not survive long on paper.


Smiths and scientists labour

To construct the spear


To spike his groin.


Their designs drawn like a meal made

From a cook book covered in spewed up slops.


The ingredients expert eyes discern

In the detritus at the bottom of your bowl:


A thin and silver shard of his crown

And a scraping of his phlegmatic skin.


A king caught in his coronet.


Count to twenty

And you will name his successor.




The Sequence




Is a criminal line up where every figure

Committed the crime.


Guilt against the backdrop of a black

And white height chart.


A rogues’ gallery

Where every painting is hung.


In a sequence, they all hang together.




The egg fertilised and splitting;

The planned pregnancy


Becoming unplanned octuplets.


A line of succession,

With sometimes seconds in-between,


If the midwife’s eyes and hands

Are still greedy for the slime of birth.




Picking your cards and blind fingers finding

The same soft fabric. They all wear the same suit;


Odd bodies pressed and dressed to match,
Or better, whatever your opponent’s holding.


All of your hard-won hearts pulse

In time and dribble: a cobweb of red lines.


Or perhaps it was a paper cut;

Your red prints marked

And stained every card you drew.




The small portraits of kings and queens

Framed in wood


By the reaching branches

Of a long overgrown family tree, knotted


By centuries of interbreeding,

Like a vast maze of umbilical cords.




When the cups stop moving,

Finding a ball in each cup.




One cup overflowing into another.


If you have a thirst for a mixed drink,


The sequence will see it quenched.




Not just the palm lines of your hands

But the spaces between fingers, hand and hand.


Your nails


Turned, not always in the same direction,

By a single screwdriver set.




In a sequence

Every word is bigger.


Blackened worlds hang in white space;

The space between is small.




Sundog Howl


‘Better bring

A shovel.’

– Scott Walker, Sundog


When Scott Walker died he left me his voice,

Tore out the redness of his throat and pressed it in black.


Scott, you go night flying

And I walk in the day.


I put my ear to your coffin.

Heard nothing.


You promised you’d be listening,

You and Brel; bet your getting along real well.


They buried you like a dog’s bone

Finished playing.


Scott, you walk beneath the earth.

There’s no dancing near your grave.


The later stuff, you couldn’t dance to.

Thought I’d bring a shovel, and a show.


Later, I heard you punching the meat

Over by the funeral spread.


The thumbs of spring

Have closed your eyes.


The disc turns and turns again.


The sundog sets

The sundog plays

Another set piece.





Daniel Hinds won the Poetry Society’s Timothy Corsellis Young Critics Prize. His poetry has been published or is forthcoming in The London Magazine, The New European, Wild Court, Stand, The Best New British and Irish Poets 2019-2021, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, Blackbox Manifold, The Honest Ulsterman, Fly on the Wall Press Magazine, Finished Creatures, Rewilding: An Ecopoetic Anthology, Newcastle University’s One Planet Anthology, Amethyst Review, Perverse, Streetcake Magazine, Riggwelter, Orbis, The Seventh Quarry, The Wilfred Owen Association Journal, Selcouth Station, Nightingale & Sparrow, Cardigan Press’s Byline Legacies anthology, BFS Horizons, and elsewhere. Twitter: @DanielGHinds

16 June 2021