the valley

sitting on the bed
notebook raised to the rough angle
of the ridge opposite
where the orange cubes of a new estate
have sprung up against the skyline
I recall another time
I sketched houses in distraction
as one parent raged against the other
in the summer vacation
before they parted

I shouldn’t have started
the light diminishes – evening comes early

evening comes early to all of us
who dwell in the valley

no book

I imagine the room will be small
with pale blue walls
and a neat bed
with a thin coverlet
perhaps a curtained window
overlooking a communal garden
like the one we had
at the flats you never came to

there will be a bedside table
but no books
except for the one you leave behind
after your visit
with the black covers
alongside that copy of The Racing Post
the cleaner was reading

I’d send it back to you
if you hadn’t gone on ahead
I only back certainties now
want no book at all

meaningful gaps

spaces appeared on the shelves
as the time of departure drew near
reminding me of when you first arrived
to draw back the curtains
and flood the place with light

so too
intervals in conversation
as symptoms grew worse
speech harder

now through a chink in the curtains
only a thin strip remains
of the day

I pull them together and withdraw
to the meaninglessness
of sleep

meeting and parting

we raged at this and fumed at that
argued all the salient facts
clarified where we both sat
disagreed – went tit for tat
phoned advisors for a chat
performed like verbal acrobats
had a truly awful spat
and now that that is finally that
most of all
I miss her conversation


The old boat slipped its mooring,
must have drifted out to sea.
My neighbour took the launch out
though a boat’s no use to me.
I recall when we first got it,
did the trim in powder blue.
Will be out past Dead Man’s Island,
nothing anyone can do.

I’ll go fetch coffee.

Links | c.  Radu Razvan Gheorghe |
Links | c. Radu Razvan Gheorghe |

Walking Away

I thought you were walking towards me
but you were really walking away,

though I raised my hand to wave to you,
felt a smile break out on my face.

It was just a trick of the light maybe –
strange at that time of the day.

I thought you were walking towards me
but you were always walking away.

Second viewing

They waited weeks before separating,
until after the first frost.

And in that time nothing much happened,
except the air was unusually still,
and for a few short days at least
there was a late flourish of summer
in which the garden looked lovelier than ever.

Then all of a rush they were gone.


‘Beautiful!’ She said on second viewing.

The agent checked his phone.

‘Like an old postcard,’ she said,
carefully closing the gate behind her.
‘Strange, but I didn’t really notice it before.’

She turned to take a last look.

A sudden gust blew up from somewhere,
causing the few remaining petals
on a single white rose
to drop, like snowflakes,
on the ground below.

‘I’ll take it,’ she said.