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.


Casca’s Lamentation

For Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson

Those jokes he makes:
no lattes today

no more croissants
useless Greeks

Under the right’s
now-pyrrhic victory

the one he wishes
they had lost

which has given him
everything desired

a stab at leadership
before the result.

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]

The Crocodile

That occasional sighting
of high-visibility
stepping down
the High Street

two school classes
under guidance
across junctions
with due care

whilst us
the relative elderly
stood aside
from the excitement

which snapped
with hunger
for learning.

With Rough Landings to Come

For my children

It is a stone’s throw
from the cliff edge,
tossed to a seascape,

ever washing away;
our chalk-bordered
vertical face,

atop Beachy Head –
their sign to be placed:
‘No Foreigners Allowed’

to be hammered
into the hardened Downs
by those already here –

the washed-up,
the hating, those pale,
English mongrels.

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-made wings
to our fall,
from there,

but unashamed,
now suited
and strapped

to a sown-remedy;
for us, The Fallen,
open parachutes –
our indemnity.


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

Keith Pettit c. 2016

Without any roots     re-moved     a re-planting
before      studio leant      then a re-starting

Tipped to horizon      felled      onto saw-horses
worked at      after worked out      with other wood sources

His quiet-strike tools      of pencil to sketch
drawn up     his expectation    that to be met

But sculpting re-forms      time-lines 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.”

In the dark

So muggy
it was 1976
that my parents
drank tea
out in the garden

below my bedroom
whilst overhead
ridiculous bats
the insects

as talk
in their foreign mumble
of that language
of adults
never looking up

to see me
at my shared window
flying blind
gathering my fill.

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.