Let Go

For D

Hold your family, avoid letting it slip,
release other monkeys – to loosen their grip;

your double-edged sword is running too deep,
its arced-scything blade cutting beneath;

disengage from turmoil, wars are never won,
but battles should stop – especially your own.

Charity Begins

Another charity shop has opened up,
its shelves already whiff with stock,

featuring Atwood’s ‘Alias Grace’,
and the lower-shelved words of Peter James;

his ranking fixed by alphabetic rules,
although Margaret does classier vowels.

Pressed shirts hang, stiff with starch,
whilst dead man shoes no longer dance;

A range of aged prints catch the eye,
Picasso hangs, yours to buy;

Retired golf clubs stand on guard,
their shine worn down, over par;

That jug you gave to your old friend Jane,
she’s re-donated, so you buy it again.


Stop all the clicks

Stop all the clicks, cut off the internet,
Prevent the right from barking on your feed,
Silence the news and wireless hum
Brexit announced, let the mourners come.

Let Osborne circle, tweeting overhead
Posting the message Cameron Is Dead,
Put hands round the necks of Remaining love
Let the riot police wear black cotton gloves. 

Europe was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought Europe would last: I was wrong.

Union stars are not wanted now: delete our one;
Pack up the trade and dismantle the fun
Pour away the wine and mop up the blood
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

[Apologies to WH Auden]

Icarus Returns

I flew over
our earth
on the same day
as Mr. Peake

but miles away
the melting touch
of gods

Taken by man-wings
to our fall –
from there

Expulsions –
but unashamed –
now suited
and strapped

to a sown-remedy –
for us – The Fallen –
open parachutes
our strung indemnity



‘One size only’
the hat display read

such an offer fills me
with consumerish-dread

because a man like me
full of life-long learning

has a problem wearing
one size without gurning

to squeeze these hats on
induces such pain

forcing the compression
of my burgeoning brain.


It was in the cloakroom,
aged five, where I cried,
not wanting to be there,
tearful in that mote-strung light.

We were surrounded by the shed skins
of other children, labelled,
those hook-hung anoraks,
pegged, emptied

into registered obedience,
unto the vast common hall,
beam-vaulted, a Victorian school,
I now know this hind-sighted as I am.

It was almost a prayer-free church,
with a never-trod office
stuck high in the wall, accessed,
it appeared, by God’s stairway.

And off that open space
high window-fitted doors
invited shy glances into classes,
but were beyond my height.

Did I hold Dad’s hand as he walked
with me through low furniture?
It made him an even bigger giant
in my small space.

We were shown past crate-piled milk,
bottled, to be expertly straw-poked,
unless as I later learned,
the birds got there first:

Sun-warmed, a gloop of cream on top,
the sure-indicator but never off,
that first lesson
in my infant education.

Alfriston Churchyard

Without any roots
a re-planting
studio leant
then a re-starting
Tipped to horizon
onto saw-horses
worked at
after worked out
with other wood sources
His quiet-strike tools
a pencil to sketch
drawing up to
his expectation
that to be met
But sculpting re-forms
timelines in grain
re-route of art
this wood ordains



“We are all visitors
to this time,
this place..”

A moment
a note
which passes
without us noticing

only the world’s clever
ever get to observe
those ticked over
slips of The Knot

looped round our necks
the pattern-ties of life
they observe
our oblige..

“to learn, to grow, to love
and then.. home.”

Pride F*cking Englanders

Pride-f*cking Eng-land-red         beer-pissed in Marseilles

you are stripping our country        when shot-slung         beer-hazed

Pissed off             a dark-hatred          your low-favoured fury

you’ll battle French police                but grovel to their jury

Thugs            f*ckers               too fat          to play too well

that’s why you’ll breathe hard                in your holiday cell

there guards spit phlegm         you’ll watch the saliva dry

hide your new fear

for here you will cry.