Saturday, 20 December 2014

flying past
the Saturday tailback:
the Merc that pulled out
with a burst of impudence
into the empty bus-lane

Thursday, 18 December 2014

December night
the southerly winds
lift my scarf-ends

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

nearing the shortest day the first few moths of nightfall

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


As somebody mentions 'broadsheet',
I'm cast back almost forty years,
to when I'd pounce like our cat
the moment the 'paper appears
in the porch, and open it out
across the hallway, at the scores
from the previous evening's set
of matches. I'd scan the scorers,
attendances and each report;
the movements in the tables; where
my team, Queens Park Rangers, now sit.
And then pyjama'd Dad appears,
impatient for his turn at the sport;
one of those Guardian-readers
Dave Allen pokes fun at: the sort
who ought to be Prime Minister.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Books (and film) of the year

I've had a bit of an odd year of reading, in that I've read less new poetry than in recent years, except in mags like Poetry Review, Poetry London and Magma, and in fine debut collections by Mir Mahfuz Ali and Karen McCarthy Woolf. I have enjoyed belatedly discovering the poetry of Jacob Polley, whose work combines tremendous formal skill with a sometimes eerie imagination.

I seem to have got through a miscellany of non-fiction, amongst which I especially liked the following: Cecil Beaton's diaries from the Sixties (edited and introduced by his biographer, Hugo Vickers); a fabulously entertaining biography, by Rose Collis, of the great and potty-mouthed Australian actor Coral Browne; and King's Road, a history/'biography', by Max Decharne, of the eponymous "hippest street in the world".

But the book that has burned longest in my memory this year is a novel from 2009 by Ciaran Carson: The Pen Friend, published by the small Northern Irish publisher Blackstaff Press. It's an epistolary novel of sorts, with each of the chapters being the narrator's reflections on and digressions from one of a series of postcards received from his former lover. It's a beautiful book, containing the sort of prose that you would expect from such an eminent poet. The fact that I bought it for £1 from my local library only added to the serendipitous pleasure of stumbling across such a gem...

Now I'm looking forward to reading much more poetry in 2015, starting with John Berger's Collected Poems, published, splendidly, by Smokestack Books.

Finally, a shout for my film of the year: Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, featuring a sublime performance by Ralph Fiennes, as the wonderful Monsieur Gustave H, and a marvellous supporting ensemble.
the small huddles
outside the job centre
sparkling starlings

Sunday, 14 December 2014

lost in the maze
of Mother's non-sequiturs...
winter skies

Friday, 12 December 2014

                 evening chill
everyone thinks the man collapsed
                   is a drunk

Thursday, 11 December 2014

winter drizzle
its engine vibrates the bus
at the level crossing

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

weather bomb
the jeweller manoeuvres a ring
from the window display

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

clouds full of rain
the spiral of midges
moves a few feet

Monday, 8 December 2014

waning moon
I feel the chill of night
only in my toes

Sunday, 7 December 2014

in the cafe window
a man in a Santa hat
chomps a sausage...
the sun goes in and out
with the Advent wind

Saturday, 6 December 2014

ambling over mulch towards the moon a raucous rook