The HyperTexts

Nina Parmenter

Nina Parmenter is a poet and mum of two boys from Wiltshire, UK. Her 2022 début collection Split, Twist, Apocalypse (Indigo Dreams Publishing) sets the pain, beauty and humour of life against a backdrop of science, gods, nature and magic. Nina has been published in numerous journals, was the winner of the Hedgehog Press single poem contest in 2021, and was nominated for the Forward Prize. She works as a marketing manager for a manufacturing company and enjoys coffee, laughter and the countryside.

London Terminal

I lurch from the early train
unused to the lick of the track
and am hot-nosed into a coffee shop
with the wolf-pack.

While the moon fades outside,
the blazered natives holler and lap
at great flagons of sharp-tasting black,
and I wonder if they’re thinking of the void,
or fresh contracts.

So I ponder the list of coffees,
steamed or creamed, flaccid or flat,
and the cakes, like minuscule previews
of what life could lack.

And as the alphas stir and slurp,
I long to ask them how they wake each day and act
like they don’t know this existence will retract
back down to a singularity; I mean—
who wouldn’t want to howl
about that?

But I whisper, “Latte please,”

and tuck my tail
behind my back.

Meanwhile, in the Grasmere Conference Suite

Mingle, they say,
and I feel stiff and spotty as a domino,
with a six at the bottom, dotted
in two tight rows,
and a one at the top.

Twenty minutes on the clock.
I take tea from the table,
and mess up the twist-top milk jug.
I smile all down my straight flanks,
but curl inside.

Should I butt up to a wobbling single
or hover blankly
by a loose-set pair?
Will silence be my downfall,
or interjection?

I take more tea,
stage a toilet trip,
clank about with my game face
as if squaring for a match.
Fourteen minutes to go.

(First published by Snakeskin)


A celandine went first,
and if we had ever looked, we would have known
it was a freeze-frame of a live firework,
we would have expected
the violence that sparked from the inside out,
the heat petalling sweetly,
each stamen springing a hellmouth.

A rose caught,
thorns spitting pop-pop-pop from the stem,
the leaves crisping, and as an afterthought,
the buds, like charged kisses,
lipped the flames to ragwort and vetch.
An oxeye daisy burst,
white-hot in its eagerness.

We dialled nine-nine-nine,
but our words fell lifelessly away,
and as day bloomed into evening time,
the honeysuckle, its lashes
glowing in the last light of the sun,
tipped a long wink to Venus
and blew like an H-bomb.

Pixie and the Sea

There is not much
between Pixie and the sea
only the cold wind
and me.

There is no grist
in her glances now,
no air left for telling.

Her world is the cling of the sand
and the tide

The Exhalations of Stones

We are the exhalations of stones, they said.
We know it because we know.
Tell your children of the cool breath
that fashioned their bones.

We are the sense of senseless things, they said.
We feel it because we feel.
Let the faithful shape the new law
from their imaginings.

You who blow doubt across creation, they said,
should quiet your tawdry lies.
Ours is the rock the air the spirit the peace the world.
Yours the damnation.


In the brassy air of October,
I stand with my lines distinct.
My colours are sharp; moreover
my mind and the Earth are linked.

I stand with my lines distinct
now that summer’s brief blur has passed.
My mind and the Earth are linked,
the seeds of beginnings are cast.

Now that summer’s brief blur has passed,
my colours are sharp; moreover
the seeds of beginnings are cast
in the brassy air of October.

The Quantum Fox

Have you seen the quantum fox?
A fox in flux! A paradox!
His whereabouts are rare because
he’s in his den AND in this box!

This hokum locus tends to vex
the best of usthe mind rejects
the concept of his flightiness
as fiction or a foxy hex.

But fiction’s just refocused facts
a lens that bends, a parallax.
The fact remains that Foxy lacks
a fix, til someone interacts.

See, should you pry inside the box,
you’ll find a fox, or not a fox,
at which point, quantum nonsense stops
and everything is orthodox.

Originally published by Snakeskin

An Atom Is Small

An atom is small with a minuscule core,
and electrons in orbit, electrons galore!
But how it builds mountains, I'm not really sure...
See, only a fraction is matter,
and the rest, I would guess, doesn't matter.

Me, I am vast with a dream at my core,
and ideas in orbit, ideas galore!
I think I am real but I'm not really sure...
See, only a fraction is matter,
and the rest, I would guess, is what matters.

Mariner Girl

Take me away, said the mariner girl,
From the islands of ought-to which circle the sea.
Let me be lady and lord of my world,
and let all obligation sink gladly from me.

The valleys are flowing with nonsense and noise,
as the hills raise their heads to command and cajole.
The air is a millstone which crushes my joys;
I must sail from the land, or I’ll forfeit my soul.

Send me a star, said the mariner girl,
to blaze through my darkness and show me a path
through the waves, to a place where my mind can unfurl
just me, and the sea, and my brave little craft.

The currents are flowing with maybe and might,
and the swells are a surge of why-not and just-be.
The salty-skinned air gives a kiss of delight
as I sail from the land and join hands with the sea.

Goodbye to you, restless mariner girl,
as I’ve neither a boat, nor the courage to sail.
As the land keeps me bound, so the sea claims its pearl,
but your spirit shines on in this dream-spinner’s tale.

The Lighthouse and Me

I was crushed,
but then I felt the rock’s soft calling
and I came, squealing and bawling,
to this lighthouse by the sea.
It nursed me
and my backdrop faded painlessly,
so now, all that remains of me
is me.

Days are long,
and the nights are loath to hurry.
Heedless, I just sing and scurry
in the most obtuse of hats.
I am peerless, I am blissfully
festooned with flecks of marmalade;
my unchecked foibles ricochet
from wall to silent wall,

and the lighthouse looks away.
I just tweak it, tend it, mend it,
and the lighthouse doesn’t bother
me at all.

Waves may gnash,
they may rattle at my landing,
but we have an understanding,
this impassive tower and I.
Caped or naked, drunk or painted,
floored by thoughts or seized by fancies,
or just wooing stars with shanties,
I can twitch or growl or cry,

and the lighthouse doesn’t judge.
I just tweak it, tend it, mend it,
and the lighthouse doesn’t hear my
thoughts at all.

Though at dusk,
fighting capture by my cobwebbed mind,
I’m sure I hear the lighthouse speak
Once, I swear I heard it say
that NOBODY can hear my thoughts!
It’s wrong of course,
so this is where
I’ll stay.

The HyperTexts