Tag Archives: observations



Since we are now akin to

statues in our immobility I

see you sunlit on some

terrace of Versailles, your

sweet face shaded from the

harsh sun by the bonnet of a

baby yet to be born and

already grown and gone.



I might think many things

about the photo I just took: how

dirty my windows are; how

messy the room is; how

shrill but evanescent the

sunset; how odd my daughter’s

squashed baby bonnet looks

atop a plaster bust…


But then I find myself lost in

reflections of reflections of



I’m with Dante, lost, with

each tree telling a story but

only the forest knowing the truth.

A Daily Crisis

The weather mocks our crisis,

as do the Great Tits

mobbing the bushes,

robin and blackbird trying to

protect their fought-over land with

sharp beaks and claws, hoping

having won their song will let them

pull, fuck and propagate, while

magpies watching may

raid their nests and eat their

eggs but still themselves have to

raise uncertain broods, like the

sparrows and starlings

hiding under our eaves, uncertain

except in numbers, sharing the

daily crisis that goes on

under our forgetful noses.

No Room

A tree sits wet and

wrapped in fine twine

waiting for me to

disinter the dusty stuff from the

attic to adorn it, and for

Christmas to begin,

though I am at a loss to know how

in two thousand years,

no room at the Inn became

no room in the fridge.


Our oven was never

big enough for a turkey but

my mother said it had to

“sit up and beg” and

twenty sat at a table

too small for ten, us

little ones squeezed in and

included, the cheap wine

passed over our heads,

laughing in the general glee at

half-understood jokes, drunk on the

expectation of happiness.


Many of that table are now dead and

I reach through their gaiety like

cobwebs to grasp the

gaudy baubles for my tree.


The tiny grey-brown feather—the

breast feather of a small

passerine bird, probably a

sparrow, of which many

roost in the neighbour roof—

seemed to float with no wind.


The fall of my foot

first brought it to my

attention, but now I was

unnaturally still, and still the

feather moved with no wind.


Perhaps it was my breath,

clenched though it was and

nearly six feet away, that

floated the feather?


I felt at once

powerful and

powerless, my soul


suddenly reduced to the

size and weight of a


feather with no wind.

Older or Younger?

It’s hard to respond to the

insouciant rudeness of the young,

but then I was once so

certain of my rectitude,

wrote paeans to pain,

love-lyrics to unattainable and

frankly unsuitable lovers,

belittled a warm home and

bewildered parents, blamed

bosses and politicians and even

implicated the innocent

Moon in my moanings.


Am I better in old age?

Don’t I still rage at the

nightly news, bristle at some

shallow social shibboleth?

Do I not fall in love, or

lust, at the drop of a hat?

Am I not still prone to

enthusiasms, losing people,

making their eyes glaze?

Is the Moon not still

sullied by my

perpetual poetic probings?


So I ask you, am I

better older or

should I give in to the rude

insouciant adolescent

hidden within me?

Opening Properly

The house grows old with us, and it’s

open to question which of us

creaks and complains more as the

stairs are climbed.


That tap takes two or three

turns to get going and the

flow is not

what it was.


That light in the kitchen

flickers and fails, but a

rap or two makes its

heart beat again.


That radiator never seems

hot until the key

lets out a

delicate brown fart.


That window never opens

that window

never opens


Life Curves

Life Curve

I knew behind those clouds were

stars, just the ones I could see, and

behind them stars and stars and

yet more stars


but so what when

life is almost but

not quite, close but

no cigar? Well maybe


half-empty or half-full

life curves away from

mystery to the

stone kicked, the


moment we have all felt when

our dreams must

give way to a

different reality.

Silent Day

That there were no birds on this

Christmas Day was strange enough—

no roving bands of coal-tits

committing rapine on my plants; no

robins with their proud strut; no

blackbirds with their

profound sense of ownership; no

starlings mobbing up then

splitting to squatter noisily;

no rooks or crows; no

libidinous pigeons pouting on

rooftops; merely a few

far-away gulls

skriving the swift wind—but

what was strangest was the

immense silence.

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