Saturday, 31 January 2015

colder still...
my neighbour hoists his son
upon his shoulders

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

reptile-house heat
the Clipperton crab clops out
from its crevice

Monday, 26 January 2015

blue twilight
the plane-trees chocker
with magpies

Sunday, 25 January 2015

into the launderette a man and his red-jumpered sausage dog

Friday, 23 January 2015

the bloke with
a biblical beard
mutters abuse...
above the shop-front,
laughing gargoyles

Thursday, 22 January 2015

snow on the way
the busking baritone
sings unaccompanied

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

winter trim:
she folds back my ears
for a final check

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Blue Monday
the Director's PAs dissect
his food tastes

Monday, 19 January 2015

squelching up the hill
I sledged down as a boy:
my sodden boots

Sunday, 18 January 2015

January night
the ambers of marmalade
held up to the light

Saturday, 17 January 2015

up the side street
midday sunshine fills
an empty dolls' house

Friday, 16 January 2015

camera crews
banter over coffee
outside the court
one crow jumps
on another's head

Saturday, 10 January 2015

all the vacant tables
in the neon-lit restaurant...
starless night

Friday, 9 January 2015

out of earshot
I fail to lip-read
a croaking crow

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Sisley at Hampton Court, 1874

It's strange he chose to capture here
the creamy froth of Molesey Weir

and two underneath perspectives
of the old bridge across the Thames

and didn't attempt to tackle
the palace from any angle;

but it seems the hazel frontage
and the gargoyles up the drive

were more than enough to hasten
this most Gallic of Englishmen

gaily towards the river's light:
chrome yellow, cobalt, greens and white.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

London Plane

Variegated migrant
    rain gets in your bones
gregarious incomer
    jigsaw-puzzle trunked
magnificent motley settler
    camouflaged in olive
    ochre mud and cream
fabled Blitz resister
    knobbled with boles
inside outsider resident
    chequered citizen
wind-washed adventurer
    variegated migrant

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The Storytellers

Two storytellers take a detour from the lane
into the oak wood beyond the vale

The storytellers will never be seen again

One storyteller begins a tale
of a poor boy poaching rabbits in pouring rain
along the very same woodland trail

But the grisly ending will not be heard so plain

The other storyteller carries a flail

Monday, 5 January 2015

Overcoat

I wear this coat
because nothing else will do
the coldness seeps like a virus
attacking my fingers and toes
infecting each of my bones
and shaking loose my hair.

I wear this coat
like each of its predecessors
with collar fully turned up
the best among them
one my father bequeathed
that I could never wait
until winter to wear.

I wear this coat
like a doppelgänger
Beuys's felt and fat
another layer of me
high street statue man
waxwing-gathering tree
icicle snapping free.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Elegy for Martin Lucas

Electrically contrary to a fault,
you had your share of moments, everyone
agrees, but any critic worth their salt
knows you were also rich, tremendous fun:
your shoulders shook with every bellowed laugh;
your drollery was always timed to hit
a bull's eye, playful, bordering on daft;
the true adroitness of a first-class wit.

But what will be remembered over time
is how you turned a phrase and made it zing
across the small-press page so magically;
and knew instinctively where every line
should go and where to break; and offering
encouragement to others less skilled, like me.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Song of the Sunken Lanes

Along the sunken lanes I wheel my feet:
chilblained and blistered in two pairs of socks;
and cheese and bread is all I have to eat.
My way is crossed by a lip-licking fox,
who knows the lanes like the back of his paws
and vanishes as deftly as he came.
The crows are individual as their caws,
for nothing that I meet appears the same.
There isn't time in life to right my wrongs.
Along the sunken lanes I whistle songs.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

New Year's Day
a black redstart ferrets
among some bricks