Thursday, 27 February 2014

Metal


Clad in leather and fur
I breathe through my metal skin
my world is ligament
I can see inside things.

I grin through my rock skull
I show the black flag
I am a pirate of the road
an ectoplasmic skeleton.

I raise my insignia
of freedom from fear
from life itself.
My badges are metal and bone.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Our world


Helpless dolphins are herded to slaughter
the sea runs scarlet with their blood
most of Purely is underwater
sinkholes are threatening Hemel Hempstead.
The jet stream is weaving crazily
the changing climate gives a sense of dread
life’s undertow, a vague insecurity
dark presentiments trouble our bed.
Each morning brings a new anxiety
competition for oil, water or food
species lost, a toll of war and poverty
the Miss Waldron’s red colobus is dead.
We would exit our planet if we could
and leave its spoil and beauty to our god.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Childhood


The large house was silent and cold
I let myself in with a latchkey.
Rarely chastised, I did what I was told.
There was no lively clamour at tea.
Father made it clear that I
would never meet his expectations.
He never praised or encouraged me.
We spoke ill of our relations –
we preferred it if they stayed away.
We played no part in our community.
We were a middle class family.
We conducted our lives stoically
on our glaciated isthmus
like ice statues, exchanged cards at Christmas.

It is because of you


















It is because of you that I walk past
the humming glass and the tower cranes
through this island, this sanctuary
this garden, shadowed by London planes.
The small brick church is industrial
it speaks of utility not beauty
you would have liked the flowers
you would have named them for me.
I seek the humility of repetition
in this world of beeswax and prayer
time out, memory, reflection. 
Wax and pollen decorate the air
A tiny candle flickers your memory.
It is because of you that I am here.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Tadpoles

Cambridge ‘irresponsible’ for dropping apostrophes from new road signs



They are signs of omission or possession.
Some seek them everywhere – pedantic souls.
They pursue their strange obsession
like pond dippers hunting for tadpoles.
They perceive in the misused apostrophe –
a faulty plural or mangled contraction –
a sign of their superiority
not just a grammatical infraction –
a signal that order is breaking down
an ineluctable moral decline
at least in the poorer parts of town.
It doesn’t matter. But I’ll keep mine
in good condition. I know where they go
And where they don’t. Or at least I should do

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

On poetry















Making our marks on paper or snow
we travel, gambling with eternity.
We make a contract with the enemy
in the moving illusion of now.

We leave our tracks, our footstep trail.
We will die trying. It seems a pity
in our statement, our poetry
that, ultimately, we always fail.

We move on, we travel hopefully
towards a vanishing infinity.
We record our visions with rhyme
in black on white, a sacred polarity.
We conduct an argument with mortality.
We try again. The enemy is time


I really like Glyn Maxwell s book, which I’m reading, which inspired this poem. I particularly like his take on the relationship between opposites and what he says about poetry and time. The book tackles the subject obliquely, poetically in fact. It's not at all what you would expect. From Amazon: On Poetry is a collection of short essays and reflections on poetry from the poet Glyn Maxwell. These essays illustrates Maxwell's poetic philosophy, that thegreatest verse arises from a harmony of mind and body, and that poetic formsoriginate in human necessities breath, heartbeat, footstep, posture. He speaksof his inspirations, his models, and takes us inside the strange world of theCreative Writing Class.’

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Vanishing point

Each day I walk past a cemetery
a neat white sign over a log cabin
R. Gray and Son Monumental Mason
stacked stones waiting for judgment day. 
While I stand and wait at the bus stop
my feet are washed by cemetery run-off
and, as if this wasn’t bad enough
they have eviscerated the chip shop.
They have spilled its guts across the pavement –
old brown carpets and chewed-up clay
in a lonely spot at the edge of town
without ritual or sacrament.
I had to stand there today
slowly, the elements are breaking down.