I read of the theft
of a golden reliquary
which held the dead heart
of Anne of Brittany

They stole the Queen’s case
from the Dobrée museum
The bold theft of this viscus
raised local opprobrium

The measure of its value
isn’t in its gold plate

Now they ask of the Knave
to bring it back complete

The Fairway

For SJB Thank you

The forced rise behind gorse
drops to mud trick dips and turns

quick to take us out of sight
until the dogs return at pace
in bramble-wrapped coats

They failed to catch rabbits

A bench waits upon my warmth
as the walk meets itself halfway

For five minutes the dogs are missing

Our fear of sheep
and a double barrelled farmer
with their bounding return

All the time our heads spin
with driven thoughts
earlier said
of where this walk will take us

I touched your arm
and said something
which neither of us heard


I enter London
where nature is hated

here potted and placed
left to wilt disgracefully

This skyline is fugged
and bears no majesty

its stone spires smogged
by the smoke-glass travesties

At London Bridge
the train’s lathed wheels
complain on curves
in engineered squeals

Into Charing Cross

from the South Bank

above the dull Thames
and empty cruise boats

I leave the station
to find my black cab

that fuming transport
with it’s poisonous fag

Shade in Samui

Below the Big Buddha I took shade
like an aged cat
ready to refute contact
as you took the significant steps
to stand under the god

stroked only by thick leaves
which weighed on the near rotten pagoda
I could hide from the sun
and the burn of phone lenses
on these tourist attractions

Speingle holy water with monk
your life for good luck
Take off your shoes

With my stick and stomach
topped by a beer brand hat
I look like the visitors
who buy genuine crap

You took in the views
which I imagined
as the sun was shadow cut for less than seconds
by the landing flightpath of another jet

In this holy place there are bins and litter
the common markers of men
alongside the spirits which were captured
in the name of this mess

The monk chants
the same intonation as football scores

there must be more than this.


There is barbed wire
on the moon-pulling palm tree

there to deter tourists

and their kids

from photo opportunities

Three dogs piss on two sandcastles
as dusk confuses the high tide shadows
and rich yellow puddles

We swig beers and cocktails
as the squid fisherman departs

A line of LED lights mark
the break neck edge
from this restaurant
to the sea’s revenge.

Heading North

This coach reverberates
and ever, ever, rolls north
with us four and a dozen
back-packed younger souls
in various curls of inertia

as a million, or more,
palm trees are passed
plus the same number
of shacks and scooters,

those and a thousand
roadside spirit houses
are disregarded
in favour of tourism’s
sleep of death.

The highway’s ghost island
has been raised up
for hundreds of metres
in concrete dormers
to reduce the risks

and we pass our final
7-Eleven before the ports.

The Engaged

For Beth & Samuel

Under wind-tipped red umbrellas they take midday shade
laid out behind sunglasses
flat down on sand-itch sunbeds
hiding from the equatorial burn
which catches us
the unblocked

They are separated
for now
by the short array of kindly shadows
between palms and the sky
set in another timezone
they submit to sleep’s distorted demands
to dream
to reset their love and lives