Sunday, 20 August 2017


Abbreviated love, that will not fade
and can't come back - surprise
in the manner of  Chinese verse - as peach
or peony, as hair piled up
and pinned with jade and silver and gold;
as the seasons of waiting and parting of ways.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Out of the warm


Conjuring oblivion
to keep oblivion at bay,
I have this image of snow
drifting into the grey, tall flank
of a North Atlantic swell,
as I take some side road
above the tree-line,
assured that all I need
do is nothing
when the cold and the dark
set to work and I feel
the immunity that comes from
having our worst fear confirmed,
secure beyond all saving.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Against Completion


So far, the softest of landings.
Your sole design, to be left alone, left out,
or left behind, when the traffic thins
at half-past nine on a workday morning.

La vie boheme on a pension,.
Time to take thought for a saunter,
time to write thoughts down
or, by failure, braced - no freedom

like it  - to highlight, then junk
the latest essay in lost love,
the break having been, in life,
anything but clean.

Two scraps of verse, unlikely survivors,
engross the hour before dawn;
a bowl of oats, a Greek-style yoghurt,
serves until afternoon.

Piecemeal, and from less and less,
the most is made. The house that is
as you had always intended
is the house you are about to leave.

Saturday, 7 November 2015


I knew it was a dream, because
he spoke without obstruction
what was in my heart
and after they had kissed,
she did not leave.

Best part of the day, the wish
was truer than the history -
dying, not of darkness
but, for all to see, of
northern summer light.

All I want is to breathe the air
she breathes; be nothing otherwise;
slave to the syndrome of de Clerambault -
offensively devoted -think
Stendhal, behind lenses tinted green.

Montaigne found he learned a lot
from those inferior of mind.
What would Montaigne make of us -
torchbearers of the second-rate,
invincible in our belief
triumphant dimness has no cost?
A wise man would be wiser still.

Friday, 16 October 2015


Cars climb the hill and stare at the sign
before the long descent.
Silhouettes, moving or still,
in cubes of yellow or blue light,
show what feeling at home looks like.
A woman working after dark

leans a coloured print
against the gallery wall
as the last, lone, nuisance
of a skateboarder
nods at this shadow of a man.
A conversation cycles out of town.

Tonight, the missing can be seen, almost.
Null and void is in season.
Traffic-lights fire blanks across the street;
the train-announcement reaches
north towards the river,
there to die as angled snow.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015


Words take me from where I am.
Someone I'll never know
has unlocked the door of a house,
surrounded by trees then wilderness
and painted the colour of the sea.
The fire is lit and one I'll never meet
has left out food and drink
and a note on the windowsill that reads
Stay here for as long as you like.