Wednesday, 27 May 2009

In the front seat

first thing:

sing Hickory Dickory Dock

and find shock words to rhyme

with 1 2 3

like bum, poo, pee.


Second thing:

wind down a window,

laugh shoulders

at brothers getting cold

and wet with rain.


Third thing:

thump me on the arm,

and warm with a smile

‘You OK Dad?’ and I reply ‘Yes, you OK?’

face ahead, say ‘Fine’.


Fourth thing:

look sidelong from a knowing eye

as if you clock what’s going on;

that you know I know when I nod back,

that, yes, I get it, this lifetime,

your Work.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

An Eden Conception

A raindrop, unaccountably round,

plunges into Mallerstang;

Eden valley, Victorian dark,

the last great wilderness in England.


People come here briefly;

a monarch, a highwayman,

a thief, an earl, a tramp to see


rivers rise – the Ouse and Eden -

and if this raindrop falls an atom’s width

to the East, it runs to York;

a molecule West, Carlisle.

On and on, the future forks

and this drop will not travel both.


Race into a great valley;

ginger gorse: an undomesticated,

wild, wet second world, happy


when earth and wind decide

what’s right and left, that it’s worth

a surging newborn driving to

a source, a smash, a violent birth.


Monday, 25 May 2009

I Love you

and your perfect ask

‘Would you scratch my back?’ is enough

to stretch out hands because folk who love

happily scratch backs where a person can’t reach


and the perfect one

is the kind without give and take

repercussion; like a given scrape

of skin without expectation of return.


No; it’s not for gain;

no transacting for dividend,

economics, or seeking a friend,

but a reaching act of warmth and fingernails;


like a one way kiss,

my itch stopping behaviour

-simpler than poetry can carry-

back scratching seems, in love, all there really is.


Sunday, 24 May 2009

A Birth

I’m painting windows

listening to noise outside;

teenagers shouting above an autumn wind.

Normal teenage girls, I guess.


Back to Andrew’s birth and a room

-       sky blue and white – high on a hill

in Yorkshire. For 40 minutes in a life

he seemed normal. Then

they said I should hold him

and so I did

as any firstborn father cradles – clumsily -

and he transformed:

‘Down’s Syndrome probably’ they said.


Shock. Grievous. Tears soaked

through family. Loss

of expectation flowed.

We couldn’t see! Embarrassing now, unaware,

as I clumsily drip paint onto cold pink hands,

that a teacher had been born.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Early Morning

ice, hard as stone

- standing – in the North –

bring it South, to home,

the hearth, the heart, the home.

Sons radiate upstairs

- I sit in new light

reading Emily Dickinson –

voices vibrate, doors

slam, open and re-slam.

The house cracks and a clock

ticks second by second.

Ice, hard as stone

- standing – in the North –

bring it South, to home,

the hearth, the heart, the home

and I feel a moment


before slow steps

onto stairs;

an engagement

for needs,


Ice, hard as stone

- standing – in the North –

bring it South, to home,

the hearth, the heart, the home.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Beer of Distortion

The first drink is the best drink.

Smiling eyeballs meet and friendly hands

are warming up a foam potential.


The second drink is the second best drink.

Blue upholstery, tables gored by time:

talk is mostly travel and the weather.


The third drink is the third best drink.

Gulping down a fishy mouth,

twaddle on about the cricket.


The fourth drink is the one we cadge for.

Peripheral, a dizzy cocktail

spangles politics with passion.


The fifth drink slows indulgence.

Deluded space is filled with aliens squawking;

we do our best to bawl them down.


The sixth drink is the one we came for.

Dropping in the glass; thudding on the table,

toilet, stagger, dance and face the music.


Thursday, 21 May 2009


I am alive; talk to me,

voices can sing to me, harmonise bass with me, make up the words to a ballad or yarn with me, loudly embark with me.


I am alive, laugh with me,

fall down and wrestle me, sport, spin and tumble your oneness in tune with me. Love me as I love me.


I am alive, approach me,

feel for the guffaw; believe that the bellies of folly live on in me, rhyming me, glance at me sideways and hope to encroach on me.


I am alive, notice me,

play up in mischief and open the windows for breezes to blow at me. Let me uphold you and so you can bolster me.

I am alive; distract me

in every direction, the clowning comes through to me. Shatter the eggs with me, clean up the mess with me, wear a chef’s hat for me.


I am alive; melt with me,

growl out a giggle and tickle me. Sparkle and yes with me. Make a fine mess with me. Yes with me. Yes with me.