tell me

tell me about the sea
and what it means
and what the weather’s like
in Brindisi
where my people came from
who I have never known

for I know more about the sea
and what it means
than I do of those
who made me
and for some reason
summoned me from sleep

tell me about the sky
and what it means
and what it means
to die
without answers
but who needs answers

articles of faith

the monastery on the hillside there
was established in the twelfth century
it was used as a detention centre
by the nazis during the occupation
was turned into a casino after the war
and is now a psychiatric institution

actually I made all that up
except for the latter
trust me – I’m a poet
I employ colourful matter
to establish a truth
or at least a particle

indefinite article

a poet must concern himself
with everything and all
from the nature of the soul
to hell’s darkest hole
and he must take risks
soothe troubled minds
and not just his
but all mankind’s
and that is the truth
more than a particle

definite article

shall we talk about the sea now
you and me

or shall we talk about the sky now
you and I

no smoking on the coach please

[first posted 4/6/2015]


oh God I’m so depressed

I feel just like a wet cigarette
a bottle with the cork stuck in the neck

a sandwich with no filling and no bread
a pencil with perpetually breaking lead

just when things were to starting to go well
another public holiday from hell

typical – always the bloody same
rain rain rain rain

[note. for those who don’t live in the UK – August Bank Holiday means one thing … ]

Waking Again at Lulworth

Waking again at Lulworth
after many years,
a drift of broken promises
washed up in my ears.
Promises, broken promises,
as empty as those shells,
the beach bum paints so luridly
and then for pennies sells
to children, wide-eyed children,
to whom they are worth more
than promises made by adults,
who make them to ignore.

Waking again at Lulworth,
sea chains round my feet
are far more real than promises
some adult did not keep.


That was strange,
that walk to the tower,
almost like a pilgrimage
to some holy shrine,
or hermitage on a rock,
that slow process up the cliffside.

You’d scratched our new car
on the journey to the coast
and I could think of little else
but the insurance claim,
the expense,
the sheer bloody
aggravation of it all,
while your calmness left me
tossing in a fever;
sea fever.

And then we chanced upon the tower,
began the trek to a place
we could not enter,
yet somehow did.

I traced my hand
along the wind-smoothed stone,
blasted orange in the waning sun,
peered through the rusty grill
to a sign that said: Danger – Keep Out,
felt myself buffeted
and for an instant, lifted.

When we returned
the scratch was still there
as deep as ever,
perhaps deeper,
but something else had changed,
though I can’t say what.

Only the silence on the journey home
was different.

[originally posted 10 June 2013]

a poem or two

my days are too dense
like dumplings with no stew
and when this happens
I don’t know what to do
but call the doctor and the police too
“too dense” they said
“that’s the trouble with you
go write a poem – a poem or two”

strange meeting

in that weird lodge behind the gatepost bed
upon a field I lay my drowsy head
and met a fellow unctuous in the extreme
who said he was the author of my dream
self-satisfied he rudely cocked a snook
although a melancholian to boot
but what would you expect from that strange place
we leave behind all reason at the gate
yes melancholy too it would appear
he soon dissolved into a pool of tears