Wednesday, 15 February 2017

We Understand So Little of Ourselves

We understand so little of ourselves,
While others live in many-mirrored halls,
We stare minutely at the cracks in bricks,
At spaces in between the cracks in walls.

We do not hear them when they call our name,
We sit there lost in silent, private thought,
The twisted nets they give us do not work,
The shadows which we chase cannot be caught.

And others have their truth but do not know it,
For knowing’s only found after a fall.
We understand so little of ourselves,
It seems we are not anything at all.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Monstrous Wave (Unfinished)

Behind me rose a wave, a monstrous wall,
A childhood wide, a thousand nightmares tall.
A vision from the madness in my head,
And equal to the fearfulness and dread
You’d find in Hell. Behind me stood the wave –

Whilst I, astride some watery steed, charged forth
Towards that awful end that waits for all.
I roared my final words into the into the void,
Defiant and determined to be heard;
And as those words like giant storm clouds swirled –
                                                Above me broke the wave.

I’m not sure where it goes from here. I wasn’t particularly pleased with it: there’s plenty of energy in it, but it seems dated and melodramatic (which I suppose complements the image: sea see below).

The final appearance of the refrain, at the end of the poem, is written in my notebook: ‘Around me crashed the wave’, so perhaps there was an unconscious reason to comply with Paul Valery’s notion that ‘Poems are never finished, only abandoned...’ 

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Now We Are Ten

Two people stand outside the train.
They wave goodbye. They wave again.
They wave once more. They call a loud,
‘Goodbye!’ They walk towards a crowd
Of other parents who, today,
Are sending children far away.
Departure brings a separation
From childhood left at King’s Cross Station.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Left Blank

The poem had begun. The bond between
a father and his son... was all that I
could write before, again, I drew that blank:
that nothingness that clouds my thoughts,
that stills my pen. Deep breath. Let’s start. Again.
That bond between a father and his son...
But no. That big black line, where ‘Father’s Name’
should be – that thick black line which speaks to me
of emptiness, of space between, of loss,
of gaps that can’t and won’t be bridged, of words
I know do not exist – that line was drawn
through all the words I could not write; crossed out
before I’d even written them. Instead,
I added two lines of my own to fill
that space, left blank, where father’s name should be:
Two people looking at the stars at night,
as far apart as two points in the sky.
Two uncrossed lines, now written down, I looked
at them and knew at last the thing was done:
the bond between that father and this son.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017


I walk into a room where everyone is made of triangles and recite a poem which I compose off the top of my head:

A good triangle is hard to find these days.
But why you do insist on punching holes
in radiators? Surely no one knows.
I can’t think why you’d want to punch those holes;
it smacks of pointless desperation.
We are the Kings and Queens of all we see,
which wouldn’t seem so splendid were it not
for one sad fact: yes, all of us are blind.

Everyone pauses from their act of punching holes in radiators to offer their applause. I see that I am now finding it difficult to talk in prose; like that time we went on a bungee jumping holiday; finding places of outstanding natural boredom; celebrating our arrivals by dousing everything in petrol before we hid in expectation of surprising any passing ramblers who threw their fag ends to the ground. There are worse things to do than punching radiators.

Everyone coughs nervously as I realise that I’ve just said all of that out loud and not simply written it while lying on my bed, as I had supposed to be the case.

‘Fucking triangles,’ I say, and punch a radiator on my way out.