Saturday, 30 May 2009

Handicapped son

Electricity in a barren hotel

suddenly illuminates.

Last week, my first son shone brightly

but now I can’t perceive his light. He’s gone.   


It’s a pang to not connect

by levels unbeknown like

eyes, hands, laughter, song, touch.

Bring it on,

a spark, a gleam, magnetic pole;

isn’t that what we came for:

to feel for spots of warmth in icy caves?

Isn’t that the lesson from a special boy

who doesn’t buy the goods of business, husband, father

and rather would play one part here? 

A seer.

A seer into embers,

melting stone, turning ice to tears of light, laughter

wielding nothing more than natural magic.


My trick is to carry the joy

in memory, because that helps

a bit,

to lift the mechanical world, Newton’s physics,

boring cause-effects and all mentality

into the poetic, philosophic, myth and extraordinary.

I never am with anyone all the time

or really with myself all the time,

I am a handicapped son.

But there are spots in space and time

when it’s OK,

when a heart is strong and tender,

when iron runs red,

when ice melts

and flows like



Friday, 29 May 2009

A Spring

evening stills;

trees - wetted with rain -

stand and face a  purple sun.


Listen to calls

pulse - a swell of birds

flickering nuances

cooing, echoing

beating little hearts


(inside my skull

I also am wittering and twittering)


Overhead; leaves lurch

wave on turning ocean wave

beckoning light: moving church,

urging Nature, lusting life.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

In between us

it starts with a tickle;

in the belly,


            It ends with a poke

            between two ribs

            and a husky giggle.


It starts with a flash

of a sideways eye;

a tiny smile.

            It ends with a lean;

            the slightest fall

            and a body-check.


Its starts with a pulse

through a softer drum;

an urge to move.

            It ends in a leap

            to a standing pose

            and a crazy dance.


It starts with heat

in a burgeoning core

rising, rising.

            It ends with a word,

            soft clear magma,

            melting eyes.

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.