Monday, 10 October 2011


The Fall

Finally, the rain stopped
and I made my way down Prior's Walk;
paths too bare, trees too green,
had nature forgotten the season had changed,
I wondered,
like kids in the park, had they been there,
had forgotten how to play.


Jumping through puddles no more,
they dragged their feet
scattering fractured light from worn out soles


as teens around the Abbey grounds
whose hearts were buried there
called out their See you next Tuesday's,
casually, habitually,
scraping the dirt from theirs
in doorways hung
with helter skelter plants.


Who cared how many midnight trysts?
How many mouths they kissed?
Swung branches rarely left a mark, they thought
as another couple passed them by,
grey haired, in leather and jeans,
heading towards the park, hand in hand.



Monday, 3 October 2011

Chicken

It looked like a coop, up there on the roof
where battery hens might have laid their eggs
then torn through the mesh, distressed
contemplating freedom

 - just a couple of slates to escape -

if only they could scratch their way
up towards the sky

or down

to the courtyard they swooped,
to Cafe Familiar's gathering groups
all clucking and flapping and pecking away,
all sticking out their necks
so far as to fit in.

Alright Hen?
How's it going?
What are your plans for today?
They'd test each other's wings against their own

These dull, brown feathered birds
too alike to be anything but,
too weak to fly anywhere else but home.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Plastic Mac

It wasn't quite the weekend when it rained,
when I thought about stepping out,
to stand there just to drench myself
clear in plastic mac, had I possessed one,
and boots of retro yellow,
should I care to be that bright

To see my house as it was,
way back in the fifties
a new-build then, it would have pleased,
had I been there at the time

Between the covers of my book
and Arthur Seaton’s comfy bed,
the grey stone walls remained unchanged,
the rain still made them darker,
but it was warmer now,
far too warm inside

A Saturday night twilight zone,
a comfort zone come Sunday,
mourning the loss of sharp suited men
and girls I never knew -

I could step out,
I'd wear that mac,
but not those yellow boots.
Such colour only thrived in black and white.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Other Room


The old man died today
and I thought
there's a poem in there somewhere
but I can't get it out.
Auden's clocks didn't stop
as they would for a child
and though Scott-Holland got it right,
if it was me,
if it was me,
I would make that other room real
and be carried away alone,
no-one dressed in awkward silence.
No excuse

for the sons who don't want to see
their mam in the car with that man
and the in-laws who'll never agree,
staring dry-eyed past the coffin,
considering all that they've lost
when there's no will.

Don't give me that!

Just a statue, a tree
and some words,
if you want,
when you want
if only...

The old man died today.
I told my little girl.
It's alright, she said,
I can still see Grandpa yet.
Am I the only one who can?

Monday, 5 September 2011


Odour Elimination
 

The grass grew long
as the rain remained
all summer, it seemed
dark

Inside, we kept the curtains closed,
spraying fragrance round the room
to eliminate the stench, we said,
but really,
it was the colour which appealed,
the limited edition pretence.

Eyes fixed to separate screens,
hand on glass,
there was intimacy there -

wrapped up in duvets designed for two,
warmed by paperweight worlds
growing deeper...
more meaningful...

Cold.

Buttons pressed, switches flicked,
the room was sprayed again,
all blossom and breeze inside,
but we still didn't try
to draw back the curtains,
see the grass as it was
or dare imagine the day
the rain would stop.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Hello...
Yes, it's me again,
The Moth...
...er...
Not over anxious, no, no.
Just a little concerned...

And yes, I understand
this child's behaviour's only natural,
I know...
And true, I've done the same myself
so many times before.

But how do I stop my young being blinded?
Prevent my precious offspring being burnt?

How do I tell them stay away
from bright lights and flames..? 



Tuesday, 23 August 2011



Childlight


Hers was an infinate haze,
drunk pastel skies, her heaven
two floors up

She thought of the ants,
too black to be real,
too dark to be anything but

What must it be like to work and to carry
yet still be shunted along?

That long, narrow groove,
such fleeting appeal -

patchwork blooms on a lover's quilt,
rainbow bright on childlight days
when through open windows she'd see

strangers stopping to check their watch
look up and smile -

It didn't happen enough.

Too many man-made ties,
most in the closest,
abandoned, forgotten
some hanging from rails...

Oh for the feel of cotton
candy-cloud surrounds in their sun-set haze...

their drunken heaven...

that solitary breath before death.

Two floors up, she recalled
talk of clarity from those entombed.

It was there in the threads on their quilts
on beds neatly made every day
and out through their windows on to the world
where people spent time checking clocks
and rainbow skies were for pre-school,
grey by five.

Oh yes it was clear,
clear enough in her infinate haze
that this was a heaven few could reach
if only two floors up.




Monday, 22 August 2011


Hand To Mouth 


Down to the last borrowed granuals,
I'm gazing into my cup
making the most of what is

One night's work

It sure don't make a career
but, for now, these hours count

Towards tomorrow

Tomorrow when I'll go out and buy
a brand new jar full of beans

And wait for Jack.


   The Bird With The Missing Foot

We spotted him on the wall
posing too perfectly
almost
too unpreturbed

Even for one used to the crowds
who flocked around the sea-front Wimpy
idling away their time
throwing crumbs.

Even he who desired such treats
would surely have backed away
from the snap, flash, snap
of an otherwise empty handed spectator

An observer?  A fan?
Or just someone after an angle,
a shot
which captured so much
but failed to reveal the truth
of what he lacked.