At the Railway Station, Upwey.

At the Railway Station, Upwey

You would not recognise it now,
surrounded as it is with neat
homes, a net curtained wilderness
winding to the Ridgeway.

Yet as the wind wanes
and Sunday men look up from
washed cars, the air reveals
notes played in a high register:

unmistakably, a violin.

Can’t do more

Can't do more

I'm pretty sure
I can't do more
than sit in silence with the night.

Because if I tried
I'd be denied
these instances of second sight.

But not the kind
you'd likely find
among the mystics of the land.

More of the sort
that's sold and bought
like articles, second hand.

There's no quality
you'd find in me
more mystical than entropy.
Published
Categorized as Poems

Immigrants

Immigrants

Outside the windows of our London flat
the city's waking to the cry of gulls,
escapees from the terrors of the sea,
converts to the urban thermals found
arising from the concrete and the glass.
They've made their way inland by using maps
etched on the liquid compasses embedded
in the secret places of their brains.

The river Thames acts as their certain road
from sea to city, as these migrants flock
to soar above the streets in crying crowds
mirroring the screeching crowds below.
Despite the curving beauty of their wings
as they hang in London's fetid air,
we want to persecute, to send them back
to dangerous seas they will encounter there.
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Categorized as Poems

Bluebell Wood

Bluebell Wood

You walk along the track up to the moors
above our house in springtime and in rain,
sloping from the east on winter winds
that later bring the snow and ice bound days.
But now the weather is softer in it's ways,
uncertain rays a sunshine can be felt
to warm our lagging limbs and penetrate
our hearts, soft beating, always faithfully.
I follow you now, winding through the hills,
climbing over stiles, through kissing-gates,
until on the horizon is a stand
of trees, luxuriating in the spring.
    I'd love to fuck you, if you think we should,
    upon the bluebells deep inside this wood.
Published
Categorized as Poems

Autumn in Colindale Park

Autumn in Colindale Park

How do you describe it when the trees
are full of so much colour that they throw
their leaves to earth, as if they somehow know
the lingering winter stillness held in snow
is creeping through the air by slow degrees?

How do you define this autumn shift
of light, the coming moisture in the air
that speaks of rain, as if it had to bear
the weight of sorrow held in harness there,
knowing this sadness is a yearly gift?

Descriptions, definitions fail to catch
the yearning autumn brings to all who sing
the song of seasons turning, tuned to match
the love of winter, the returning of the spring.
Published
Categorized as Poems

The Plague

The Plague

There's a disease abroad. Our fortitude
is being tested daily on the streets.
The air is filled with loathing like a germ
that replicates itself in hidden ways,
attacking all the things we thought were true,
invading spaces we once knew as safe.

A virus spreads among us as we bear
witness to the horror it provokes.
We're like the hosts floating on the seas
in hope of finding safer, kinder shores,
unsure of our direction but attacked
and beaten for the crime of being lost.
Perhaps one day we will find a cure
but know the only vaccine now is love.
Published
Categorized as Poems

Millennium

Millennium

And a child said, "What's a millennium for?"
Her tousled hair a shroud of shattered glass
in buildings of brown dust once called home.
We saw her there, shoeless and unsouled
by someone else's appetite for war.
They have no names, their voices shrill champagne,
producing more than we can dispose of,
profiting in the marketplace of time,
from the ruin their ravages obtain,
to reinvest in their needlessness,
their heedless acquisition of the fruits
of our labour, love, unworldliness.

Whoever it was invented time ignored
it's circularity, the endless repetition
we provoke. Unconsciously, the pages
that we turn reject the notion of
diminishment, the book that never ends,
the chapters filled with errors we commit
and recommit, unable to do anything
but repeat, unerringly, the blunders
of the past and, surely, there's no repeal,
no exclusions from this acquiescence
to chains of petty common sense
that pin us down, victims of this war.

Look, see the evidence of collusion,
the slack-jawed acceptance of this fate;
the Pleasure Dome overfilled with cake,
the fanciful millions counting on a win,
who want this or that to so enhance
the days made unacceptable by pap,
a place in the instant fames provided by 
a media mogul always on the make.
The culture of the specious mobile phone,
the phoney conversations that we make,
an anomie of quasi-cultural norms
insisting that we all stump up the cash.

Here is the landscape of those putrid dreams
mad politicians make so much of.
A picture of consensual mistrust
reformulated in a hooligan's fist.
A phobia formed of old bourgeois terror
fearing the loss of property and power.
The hypocrisy of condemnation when
the dispossessed mimic their ruler's lust
for prominence pictured on a tarnished coin.
The notion that the world is always ours.
Here we find this death mask replicated
by the fifty-eight found stifled in a truck.

So let us ask what this millennium
obsession is really, really all about.
Can anyone truly know the answer how
an arbitrary notion by a Roman king
or, maybe, someone sitting on a throne
doing the daily function we require,
came to be adopted in this way,
to justify this image of ourselves
in this ultra-comic cosmic show?
Perhaps the naming of time is a disease
politicians and the rich employ
to bolster up their privilege and power?

Yet this argument is too absurd.
It requires suspension of disbelief
to grasp a fact so obviously at odds
with promoted cultural norms that vaguely cite
Judeo-Christian sages as the source
of wisdoms we've received for countless years,
drummed ceaselessly into our weakened wills.
All religions' touts so mock themselves.
You want to say the clerics should take a chance,
recognise that truth can have no edge,
no end, no absolute, no borders to be crossed,
no arms to reinforce itself, no place.

Where land is, there a people will walk, build,
sow dreams of starlight in their children's cries.
Laughter and grief have ever beset us all.
How much a man needs or a woman needs
is mirrored in their children's eyes, reflections
in the deep pools we drink from, where the sun splits
light, illuminating power, the hate of it.
How much more is there than the sky,
the places where the insects go, oblivious?
Who brought down these dark ominous moons
turned now towards us, teaching us envy
and means to build fences of crazed wire?

Could we have resisted the sea or did it seem
like home, something we love ineffably,
invested with it's ownness, unownable?
Place your hands in pools along the shore
where the tides recede revealing rocks
we slip upon. We have no footing here
nor ground to place our flags among the scuttling
things. Draw your hands toward you, cupped
to capture light, spilling salt as the deep
sound soothes us still, beating like blood
through our wombs, until we fall asleep
like an infant, cradled in it's arms.

In the presence of the dispossessed

In the presence of the dispossessed

In the presence of the dispossessed,
their grubby sleeping bags lining the streets,
some asleep, others with hands outstretched,
their eyes averted or a challenging stare
thrown out, this feels a lot like impotence.

Who do we give to, all or none at all?
A few, then smile and try to ignore the rest?
Comply with requests for only a few pence
to buy a tea or shelter for the night
or walk on by, aloof from their despair?

Whatever we do it makes no difference.
A handout or two is neither here nor there
when what's required is a struggle for the right
to shelter, food and warmth, replacing fear,
a common purpose meaning that we care.

A struggle to upend the status quo
that ensures the needs of capital come first.
To stop the fact these folk fuel the fires
that forge wealth and profit for the few
but leaves this human debris lacking light.

I see the night

I see the night
For Tom Leech

I see the night coming silent as moonbeams,
not across the face of the sea,
nor along the haggard brows of mountains
but closely,
found in my thoughts of you.

I see the star pausing at it's height,
not above the birth of a saviour,
nor pulsing, nor flowering at night time
but starkly,
among our withering faces.

And I feel your heart friend, dearly,
not in the memory of madnesses,
nor quickly, nor fleeting in fancy
but fiercely,
found in a furnace of dreams.
Published
Categorized as Poems

The Telescope

The Telescope

All his shifts being mornings and afternoons,
with no nights included on the roster,
winter was the only time he saw
night sky at Swanwick station. The summers were
daylight blazing even at half past five
after his ride directly from the south.
Not that direction matters more
than the season but the repetition
of his attending work mirrored the way
the seasons turned, and as for direction,
it could be said in truth, that he had none.

None that is in any conventional sense.
Ambition, career, hope were as strangers,
but not the night sky, where direction
had one clear purpose: to point towards the end
of the universe and imagine our place within it,
this blue ball bobbing like a buoy
in an ocean of space.
                     
He'd heard of a US farmer
who'd burnt down his farm to harvest the insurance
and had spent the cash on a telescope.
The farmer got a job at a country railroad station
to spend his nights scanning and splitting the stars.
So out he went and bought a telescope too
to see if Orion's upright stance was more
poetic than it's Midwest posture, recumbent at dawn.

He climbed the bridge to be closer to the stars
and holding his scope like a broom he swept
the sky clear of the litter in his mind,
seeking not an answer to what life is
but to gain a feeble grasp on what it means
to sit like this on a tiny speck of dust
spinning silently and alone.

One night he thought for a moment that he'd seen
further than he ever knew you could.
It may have been a trick of light, a platform
lamp's rays caught in the current of his sight
but, for a second, split like a star in a lens,
he thought he spied right to the edge of time.
For there, legs astride as his, head huddled
over a glass, stood an apparition
like himself, staring back, searching through space.
Published
Categorized as Poems