The Flood

There’s a shifted density
in the landscape
following your biblical
month of rainfall –
It has been days
and disturbed nights
of shutting-ins
and battening of doors

My chosen path
is tread-thickened soup –
The mossy velour
on my usual pew
is now an orbicular
stump-top sponge –
my meditative place
is soaked right through

The dripping leaves
of the common hawthorn
are plated to silver
and bent in prayer
by the salty weight
of God’s squeezed tears –
funnelled from him
by you – the doctrinaire

Where my path rises –
with logs as steps –
the deluge descends
in no need of grip –
making me turn
to take another route
to the higher ground
where your boat should sit

In your clearing –
of the sawn and fallen –
you list in pairs
and shout deaf-ear orders
finding many gone –
or now missing –
‘I have to postpone
my plans for The Flood’

Your holy fable
finds a level in puddles –
where water pools
in the lowest place –
and in the clearing
there is no Ark –
We will say
when the seas are raised


Out of the Woods

The soil is dry and compacted
under the last threadbare fall

The laggard stream clogs
between the dropped branches

The cow parsley – and others –
stand as unpicked summer fossils

The weighty berries tease
among sharpened brambles

August should now stutter
into the slow rot of Autumn

But that immigrant heatwave
has not shifted from us

The seasons are so confused
by our greedy interference.


I danced my weight home
to a no-eclipsed Moon
whilst reports of Her crimp
were reduced – removed

Her amber qualities
here timely-abused
by a shifted Earth’s
slow sun-spun cruise

As we sweat into sleep
and tug on warmed fear
please pray for a God
who will rain on us tears

If no good will fall
on our field-wide droughts
then pray to the Devil
for floods to drown doubts

Expect little beauty
in this high hemisphere –
whilst long winds spin
the clouds quite queer

And if all such plans
only map out to dust
then take to the lake beds
and imagine them lush

Drink the low waters
which form as warm pools –
but do not imbibe
the next epoch of fools.

Early Rising

I let the cool air in over the parquet floor –
my temporary mistress for these few hours
before the sun fucks her rude heat
back into our brick and glass box

I said we’d need blinds to counter this
warming of the morning face of the house
But my pronouncements were stale –
like unpalatable coffee breath kisses

In the room without windows we had sheltered
from the fallout of this sky-dropped summer –
there for an evening of radiation off the TV
which in itself fed the ice-threatening heat

At this hour the bedooms are containers
of the sheet-shoved and half turned over –
where the poorly slept bodies simmer
and adjust to itched consciousness

It is only five o’clock but the sun has risen
at this point on the turned earth’s surface –
Soon there will be words about the weather
and requests to fix the sprinklers will be made


On the shingle-driven beach
I looked for shells
but found plastic

We are no more the guardians
because everything we use returns

The indicant we leave
is a tide mark of oil

As kids we looked
for rare treasures
after the height of waves
had retreated away

Mermaids’ Purses
and seaweed

our weather stations

The currency of beachcombing
is no longer nature’s ways

The Hunt

Hunt down the ragged fox,
reduce our long-earned rights,
set dogs upon the immigrants,
claimants should be denied‘:

Praise The Mail’s honesty,
share their Photoshop of lies,
become a born-again Christian,
to fight off Islamic cries.

Bitch about striking workers,
and ‘those sponging socialists‘,
stand up for the landed wankers
whose shined brogues you long to kiss:

Now you are a Conservative,
voting for returning to the past,
you will fight them on the beaches
once our borders return to France.

And as your vast shares in disaster
push tides and break up skies,
your pension fund will collapse,
and your children will ask you: ‘Why?’

Solstice, Uncelebrated.

Today the sun tipped-up
at four forty-three,
kicking cats and dogs:
it then will scathe across
the sky for sixteen hours
and thirty-eight minutes
(plus eighteen seconds),
which will be the longest day
over a liquiescent London,
before dropping out
twenty-one minutes
after nine: hated.

Field Work

I write this, aching from my simple effort,
now bench-propped, on Luxford Field,
with car shunts and engine revs behind me,
then killed, still, replaced (for now) by birdsong.

This afternoon, under ripe end-of-March sun,
(we will judge once more with warming fears),
I wave at the future,  upright in a buggy,
trundled up the path, bobbled over lifted roots.

And then the farcical entry of a dog shocks
the three matte pigeons, and a shined rook,
which lift away, leaving the expanse empty,
untimely, far too early for the annual fair,

it’s arrival to be rung by the hammering of pegs.
That fun, on this field, is still a drought away,
until then there will be the scattering of litter,
couples snogging, and teenagers swigging.

But today, with this lunch hour to be consumed,
and low warmth enjoyed, the town joins me
in the old art of laying, uniform, on the grass;
one skill which we were taught well at school.


The Last Frost in Sussex


08:24. I am touching the last of a cold God,
over unevens, under unornamented woods,
now contained by us – for the good of all:
February over-sugared, overnight, here underfoot;
the stripped hedgerow is briefly lit, crowned
by the blinding hour, those umber-dipped
high stick fingers touch the very last of His
visible burnt presence.

Along the raised path, the short timber route,
over the flood-expected meadow, a convenience
for us led dog walkers, commuters, drunkards:
It has a ship’s complaint under my over-weight,
a sea worthy distrust of unstrapped cargo,
my stick a peg leg poke across her slippery deck.

Greater tussock sedges, rare Sussex lumps of grass,
green icebergs gathered, wait for the June onslaught
of Japanese knot weed, a foreign flood in this field
after the cold-breath time has been put aside, quicker
with each warmer year. The woodpecker stopped
in Buxted. 08:32.


It is early October, in my sixth decade,
this low sun’s heat now obfuscates:
Two score fears of Betjeman’s bombs,
aimed to rain down on everyone;

that threat, then stalled, by a melt of Cold War,
but on the horizon a more terrible storm:
MAD-placed positions offer limited balance,
but we are slow-burning this lonely planet.

My neighbour’ll not prune until her last flowers fall,
but such lore set aside, now the sun misrules.
I stand ‘bove my shadow, as sundial and god,
my presence on earth more than enough,

to have been found guilty, on my own conviction,
my residence is toxic, I shan’t be forgiven:
I return to the shade, under still-green trees,
a level walk home, up by two degrees.