A note from me


Many of you have stuck with me despite my long silence and lack of anything decent…  thank you.  I don’t have many followers but you all mean a lot to me.

I have been writing, just never quite managing to complete.  Too many drafts, too many.  And work and family is where I’ve been focusing on in the last year or so.

So I’m catching up and closing loops.   I hope you like them.


9 May


Who was it
Who walked out
Into the burnt wheat
And reaped smoke?
Who slept on the ashes
And chewed stripped bark
When the raw horse was gone,
Lost teeth and friends,
Watched everybody die,
And kept on running
As the bullets stitched his legs?
Was told that he was dead
But lived again, again?
Who ran across the field
“for Stalin!”?
Who was it
Who won it back for you
But gained nothing?
You do not know
because you do not know
or you do not remember.
Run now, to the hills
Or go out in the garden,
Look up and close your eyes
And be silent
And you might taste the bitter drops
Of ashes scattered
High above the spring breeze.

What a wonderful war


I am your enemy now.

You will come for me tomorrow night,
gathering noisily with the others
outside my shuttered windows.
You will come to kill me, tomorrow night,
With a gun or a machete or a stick
or whatever it is you’re given.
You will watch afterwards
as they smother my wife in her screams,
and then you will rape my daughter,
you know, the younger one, the one
your son used to read out loud to
on the porch.

You will do it
because you are afraid.
Because you are afraid
that I will do the same.
That’s what he warned us all about,
the butcher, as he sipped his tea,
that big belly napping on his knees,
and he looked us straight in the eye
and wagged his finger.

Last breath


What would you do
If this was your final breath
And you had seconds left
And you knew?

Would you protest
Eyes wide with fear and regret?
Would you clutch salvation
With your calloused prayers?

Or would you remember 
The breath of a kiss against your ear
And your child’s trusting hand
Gripping yours?

Me, I would hold my breath
So I could throw down these lines
And give you this scrap of paper
To carry in your pocket.

Lines written on Francesca’s birthday (2)


I watched the sun rise from the dunes
And sink beneath the yellow plains
Then home I came
And there I saw
Right there
A girl with sunkissed hair.

I looked but did not dare to touch,
You better touch while I’m still there
Thats what she said
And that was fair
So fair
The girl with sunkissed hair.

We said our vows and took our chances
Exchanging glances and whatever else we dared
And perfect gifts
Of boyish laughter
Just there
With sunshine in their hair.

Sometimes when I recall the dunes
Or sink beneath the yellow plains
I open up my eyes again
And see her there
Still there
My girl with the sunkissed hair.

Lines written on Francesca’s birthday (1)


The voices seem so quiet now
Quietly in wait for us to fall
To fall forgetful into their forgiving arms
To fall apart
And to forget our passion’s vows
Our precious vows.

Yes, there are some who’ll put their finger to their lips
In case our voices stir their everlasting peace
And as those others close their lids to sleep
Among the sleeping
We’re dancing still upon our coffins
With our bare feet

Yes, I do believe the sun it also rises
But I am not surprised some think it’s getting cold
And if there are no more surprises to behold
I do believe
The scribbled notes along the margins
Is where the tales of the brave are told.

– o –

25 July 2012

The recital


The auditorium is silent
Silent in anticipation.
An occasional cough
Disturbs the waiting.

He walks up to the lectern.
Intelligent glasses.
His mouth amorous,
Around his eager vowels
And protesting consonants.

He reads:

It sits.
In its taught indifference,
The punctuated turgid stalk
Directing salivating eyes to unctuous promises:
The tender head,
Glistening with the pleasures
Of its oily textures.
Its snapped back
Itching in its vinaigrette.”

The crowd goes wild.

Yet I am still and silent,
Waiting for my turn backstage.
Defiant manuscripts
Fall from my hands.
I’ll let the feet and muck
Render my invective,
The raw confessions of my love and hate
Now I will go on stage
And try to muster from the depths of my submission
Something more refined.
Perhaps a limerick will come to mind.

– o –

satirising Robin Robertson    http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/singlePoem.do?poemId=7611

The 8:15 at Clapham Junction


An eternity of nothing crammed into futile sockets,
they stand and shift
with distant stubborn menace
as sleepy panicked crowds
squeeze through their blanket faces.

The crowd ejects itself and then injects
slow and insinuating
but clinging on in blinded panic
struggling and resisting
like some lethargic granularity
in and out of a forever fouled anulus.

But can you smell the autumn just beyond?
There are still gusts of air to be had
as you stand back, head craned,
catching the raindrops on your tongue
until the next train comes.