Night Music

All night not sleeping
but tossing and turning over
some unfavourable thought
I lie listening to the bones of the house
creak like the inside of a piano.

Who's awake at this hour?
Just the mice rolling their life's luggage
across the attic floor,
running the gauntlet
between the suitcases and heavy coats,
little refugees sailing
their slim luck in the dark.

How heavy the world must sound
creaking and heaving about them,
the house caught in turbulent night winds
like a ship settling in
the dark waters of a flood.



Here is the truce
between us,
a little truce
that may not make the night
but let us keep it
like you keep a flame
alive with cupped hands
when the wind is blowing
let us nurture it
like a baby bird
that we suspect will not make it.
It is almost sweet
how we treat one another
when we know
it will not last,
let us survey the rubble
in the momentary
humanitarian pause
let us dig a little
in the devastation
and look for a hand waving out,
another reaching in.

Late Night

A moth rattles the blind
My mind settles
Like a zoetrope sliding over faces,
Tonight my mother and father
Sit before me
Beautiful as an old photo
I’ve seen many times;
They’re standing before the ocean
Years of giving still ahead.
For a long time
I lay awake troubled
By thoughts of what came next,
Now each night I’m lost in memory,
Like a child broaching rooms
In a dark house.
The wind blows
And the trees move,
I’m driven down a hallway
By a voice I think is my mothers
But reveals itself as a television
Playing to an empty room.


We Were Not Serious People

We met for coffee, it was April
Our mornings were free then,
We sat in cafes on tree lined streets
That reminded you of Paris.
We flirted but made no advance,
We were not serious people,
The seriousness of our lives hadn’t begun.
We talked about love and Hemingway,
We talked about the war
We were sincere
We drank coffee until noon
In cafes on tree lined streets
On weekdays while the rain fell down.
We flirted but didn’t act,
We did nothing worth mentioning
For the rest of our lives.


I Remember The Morning...

I remember the morning
I closed the book
On our memory
The wind blew about
And knocked over the bins
Someone kept telling me
It was spring
But I knew it was winter
As the windows and doors
Had frozen shut
And everywhere people went
They kept blowing into their hands
Muttering to themselves,
In the work of their lives
Even the homeless man
Tucking frozen bottles
Into his pockets
Was employed
While I carried on with no clear plan,
Just an open book
Whose pages whenever opened
Filled with snow.


Spring Poem

The decapitated mouse head
He left beneath your chair
Signalled the arrival of spring.
Each night he slipped out
Into the balmy red air
Catching the scent of the day
In his skin.
We lay on top of sheets
Expectant and listening
To the sound of new born lambs
Mewing distant in the night.
While the cat,
At the last of his nine lives,
Is loose in the neighbourhood,
Eager with experience,
Tail up, swinging back to us,
With death in his mouth.


Van Gogh In Auvers-sur-Oise

The silhouetted figure
Moved towards them,
God like, the sower
Stepping from the sun.

His queer frame
Stranger than usual,
A knotted posture
As if twisted from wheat.

His hands buried deep
In his working jacket,
Where the breast
Clotted with blood.

His expression stayed curious,
One ear still to the wind,
Like a dog ready for flight,
A walking open wound.


Hope Bouquet

I dreamt of an exchange
Of flowers,
I woke to sunlight and bird song
They were scattered
Across the four wires
Like notes on a perfect musical score.
Mornings like this
You go out and buy a new shoes,
Find employment,
And ask a women to marry you.
Be careful crossing the road,
It's only bird song
That's put you this way.


Good Friday

It's hot today. i hold my hand
Against the yellow dry stone wall
And flicker the crumbling clay
Where the bees have been working.

I uphold the bent flowers
That have sunken under heat
And liberally water the geraniums,
Doing their best
To out shine the sun for me.

I befriend the birds with scraps of meat.
I cut back the leycsteria.
I sacrifice the dying morning glories
For the good of the plant.

I go about like some tender god
Nurturing the short avenue of my world.

The sun is shining for me.
Soon i will have to think about
How best to fix the bees.


Defence Of The Drunken Poet

Late in June we went out
To gaze at the moon on the water.
I told the story of Li Po, 
Who died, it's supposed, 
Leaning from his boat
Trying to embrace it's silver glow.

How foolish, you said,
With world famous
Female disgust for folly,
Seeing only the great life
Eclipsed by drunken idleness.

I stayed silent in the moon light.
What was better? I thought.
Men die for much less
And waste whole lives dangling
At the foot of other men's plans,
Intoxicated by delusions
That far exceed
Small wobbling moons as this.

We traipsed back to the car
In a silence ruined by the rude
Rasps of bullfrogs.
I pictured Li Po there amongst the rushes;
Asleep a thousand years
Whilst the hounds pass.