Friday, October 23, 2020




the dim muddy sunlight that filters into lake water


those perfectly round, olive green leaves drifting by

trailing their spiralis stems behind them


bubbles here and there rising like nascent stars innately

aware of the presence of sky


in that place, a man drifts by, a ripple of life with a vague light

from half open eyes


his love similarly, lying on his back as they flow, her eyelids

heavy like his


the depth’s silence caressing their bodies with luxurious density


their eyes see you as they pass, but regard you as incidental as

any sight along their way


that oneness, close your eyes and think of it

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Wooden Posts


Two wooden posts, maybe five metres apart,

driven into the ground near the edge of a moor,

a desolate, wild expanse;

the connecting fence long since gone.

Two estranged lovers

standing at the edge of each others’ company,

maintaining their rigid positions

in vast pointlessness.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Home Cinema


How magical it all was:

all of us gathered in the sitting-room,

watching every moment of the setting up

of screen and projector, the reels fitted

into place, lights turned off, then click

and whirr and our own cinema,

the impossible happening before our eyes.

Now, cine-camera, projector and screen,

most likely broken, taking up space in our attic;

a few reels of film tossed in a box, unseen

by anyone for many years.

And those faces, blurred behind grainy footage

and jumpy camera-work: dead, long dead

most of them; before our children’s memories.

Ah, old magic, even I won’t risk seeing them again.

Monday, October 19, 2020



Misplaced and crass,

worn like plate armour

by a man who'll pass


almost as quickly

as his breath on glass.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Half a Greeting Card


Between the leaves of a book, I find half a greeting card;

the picture, not the message.

The book has been a long time untouched,

but the card has stirred something; I cannot remember;

was it put there to remember?

The years pass, the books collect on the shelves,

here and there marked with tokens from our lived lives;

moments we once considered worth marking,

now lost among the abandoned books,

the millions pages past.

Friday, October 16, 2020

A Bright Night Blue



bright night blue,

painted evenly across the sky.

A moon’s yellow halo low above the dunes,

smooth undulating dunes,

or lovers, perhaps:

smooth curved backs of lovers

in a lamp’s yellow halo,

and the slow shift of sand grains

along night’s gentle breezes

or the slow drift of lovers

along their gentle breathing.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Your Photograph


The photograph on the wall has turned blue;

I can’t remember the original colours,

and the image is turning into fog.

I’d forgotten what year you died;

a few years ago, I assumed,

then I was told it was  fifteen.

A person dies; you thrash around in the memories;

finally a day arrives and you’re not remembering,

then more days pile in.

My memory of you is turning blue;

I have forgotten the original colours,

and you are turning into fog.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Roots and Beauty


The roots must beg in the shit and mud,

among the carcasses and the decomposed;

spindling whiskers around grains holding

water tight as briefcases of money; feeling

with pin-sized tips their way through

snake-pit of competitors; tunelling eyeless

to regurgitate eternally life’s slop.

To break through to the light in multi-armed

resplendence like  Hindu Gods; their fanned

out canopies of leaves and blossoms: glorious;

beauty like swans above the water-line,

a million miles removed from their subterranean 


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

She Carried the Sun


Every droplet of rain is a droplet of sunlight;

the windows are a million suns flowing down;

light is shining from under our feet, from the roofs

and pavements, streets and windscreens.

Then you pass, and as nets might overflow with fish,

you hair is sunlight right down to backs of your knees.

This is a memory.

A momentary event like a meteorite crossing the sky

which I have elevated to sacredness in my mind,

for a mind needs its torches,

it needs its flares.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Meeting at Nursing Home During the Pandemic

I must make an appointment

though we set the pendulum of our lives;

I must meet you through glass

though our breathing was one;

I must talk across a distance

though our words and breath were one;

I must put my hand to the glass

though happiness was the heat of your skin;

I must go away

though you are my home.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Abuse of Power


A large man, despondent with his life;

I got that despondency full in the face

almost daily for disremembering my lines;

which, of course, I could never remember

with the fear of that punishment coming.

Cruelty was the currency in education;

discipline through fear;

their weaponry included leather straps, bamboos,

legs of chairs, even a billiard cue,

and sarcasm to dent where a strap couldn’t reach.

They hoarded family histories for future belittlement,

retained memories to settle old scores,

retaliated down the sibling line. They decided,

over and over, in the cultivation of their pettinesses

who would succeed and who would fail.

But this abuse is not in the past, it’s in a different place;

an adapting, evolving infection.

Look for it down different corridors;

find it where respect is allocated on dictate,

where empathy is a flaw.

Friday, October 9, 2020



We hooked our fingers through the eye of the stone

and pledged ourselves to each other.

The earth was our witness.

It was the stone of the gathering, Cloch an Aonaigh,

and we were the most recent.

It is said that those who look through the hole,

in a state of grace, see heaven; when I looked, I saw you.

In a countryside of stones: crosses, cross-pillars,

cairns, megaliths, stone walls, stony mountainsides,

pledges made are consecrated in stone,

even the great earth movements are signed off in fantastic

scrawls on the schists of Skelpoonagh Bay.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Her Fingers, Piano and Light


The fingers that played the piano with nails

varnished bright as rose-hips are gone.

Nets of cigarette smoke held afternoon sunlight

suspended around us.

Room received the notes like a canyon.

Fingers reached again for the cigarette,

and light spread in slowly deforming contours.

Piano notes poured into the room like sequins;

faraway sparkle now,

and those fingers are gone.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020


Spent all evening alone on the strand
watching a storm’s elbows resting on the horizon,
but now its shoulders are rising.

Once, God’s eye was the centre of every storm;
even now these Himalayan masses of charcoal-coloured anger
seem to throw the earth to its knees.

The sea, wearing requiem black, is a writhing mass,
the birds have all disappeared down a hole
and the cattle in the fields are humming nervously to themselves.

I feel the molecules of air around me are like fireflies;
as the clouds roll in on the wheels of their blue undersides,
even the rocks appear to be sentient.

I must hurry, lock myself away, shiny white conductor that I am.
I must dig myself a burrow;
hide myself from the angry God of the sky.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog

                                                                                                                Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog

Looking like a nightmare passage: 
a drowning,
or perhaps he’ll plummet headlong from a rock-face.
Should there be a wreckage washed up on those rocks?

Seeing too much, too clearly can make one blind;

I almost see the cogs turning inside his skull, 
like a mathematician’s,
give me, every time, the person who can work it out,
who sees the other pathways in his head.