Category Archives: Moments

My Covid-19 Song

so somewhere in China
a new kind of virus breeds
they say bats are involved
and open markets and now
it spreads and breeds
new verbs so now we’re
social distancing
with the best of them
and all out of face masks
and the shelves empty of bog rolls

surely someone somewhere
must be sitting on millions of them
taking a gleeful crap
in the lap of luxury
the selfish asshole

and in the twilight
you walk the dog
the blinds are down and
the shutters closed
everywhere
provoking medieval visions
how they’re all lying dead
behind those blind windows but

the day was absurdly clear and bright

and there’s a golden moon in the sky
and one golden star

all alone


Jack at sixteen

Sometimes
he just stands there.
Just stands,

back hunched,
head drooping,
milky eyes unfocused.

Sans eyes,
sans teeth –
sans everything?

Whether he’s lost,
unseeing,
wondering where he’s at;

or whether
he’s following a fox
into the undergrowth

while you, helpless,
call his name
until he bursts from bushes

happy:
that he cannot tell you.
That is for you to decide.


New Year’s Day

Time to take the dog out
into pale sun.

Pleasant enough walking,
until we reach

the dark curtain of fir trees
where the path,

rising, turns to ice.
As if on cue the noon bell rings:

time to turn back.
After all, we’re no spring chickens;

after all,
we’ve been to that top before,

know that view;
why bother? After all, it’s only

the first day of a whole new year.
So we go on.


Llanthony

The wagtails anyway looked lively
and the freshly shorn sheep were bleating.

The place was deserted. The monks long gone;
the car park empty; the hotel closed.

Only a very old couple were limping
in the skeleton of Llanthony Priory:

the walking wounded…
I put a spring in my step; felt a twinge

in my back, a cold wind on my neck.
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near?

Ah –
but wasn’t it lovely –

 

i_Llanthony (3)


Sunday morning at the canal

Across the fields to Llangattock.
At the top of the hill
the latch clangs back on the metal gate.

The canal sleeps on.

Two boats, barely moving
on still brown water.
A hiker; exchange of a nod.

Perfect reflections of foliage.

Unseen flutter of wings;
the call of a wood pigeon.
Fat stone bridges.

The sound of my footsteps.


Too late

I too would have liked
to write about fog but
the Big Boys intervened,
told me to shut up:

they’d been there,
seen it,
done the poems,
had the T-shirts printed.

So here I sit
quietly watching
a pale sun melt
what could’ve been

my poem – all fourteen
glorious fucking lines of it.


The Master of Sleep

Oh but don’t touch him. This you may do:

let the auricle trap the ghostly filaments
of his dreams; let malleus, incus and stapes
deliver them into the cochlea’s sanctum.

Don’t speak to him. But this you may do:

Let the intangible particles of his slumber
be warmed by keen turbinates, let them
drop anchor in the olfactory epithelium.

Stay! Do not move. Though this you may do:

wave by invisible sine wave, let the heave
of his night hunt pierce the cornea, traverse
the bulbus oculi, and enter the retina.

Do not presume further. This must suffice –

there are lines which shall not be crossed,
lands which uninitiated feet may not tread.
Time itself will stop for an old dog asleep.


Writing

Some days
a cotton wool tide laps
the windowsill,

drops to reveal
the green valley, grey
limestone peaks,

then billows up
to smother window, view
and the house.

Amid the creak of
the rafters, the chimney’s
tinny commotion

I persevere.
Now you see it –
now you don’t.


Late January

A hubbub of sparrows
in the bald black boughs of a beech tree
swap stories of spring.


Snow on the sidewalk

boot prints and paw marks
notes on invisible staves
mute song of winter