Tuesday, 21 August 2018


Here, in the neighbourhood of loss,
we see the things that are not there:

a father playing with his son;
a mother singing lullabies;

the happiness of knowing what your name is

and everywhere you look, our living trees.

Song to My Father

What is the sound of yesterday? you asked.

I did not know. Perhaps it was a ballad
sung to your mother. Music, passed from her
to you, then passed, unseen, from you to me.

We were the silences between the notes;
the rests which every melody requires.

We sang in different keys and out of time,
chromatic notes which made a harmony
for songs we never shared. Our requiem
to loss. The sound of yesterday, unheard.

Friday, 10 August 2018


I do not say,
‘Today, I will write a poem
about a flute,
or wallpaper,
or the letter Q,’
although, I now realise,
this is exactly what I have just said.
Yesterday, as I wrote –
not about a flute,
or wallpaper,
or the letter Q
I noticed that a clumsy capital N
of mine
looked identical
to the clumsy capital N
of my father’s;
the clumsy capital N
which started the second half
of his illegibly scrawled signature
on his marriage certificate.
The awkwardness of my handwriting
is a tedious thing.
That my e is indistinguishable from a c,
or an undotted i,
is the least of its problems.
My pencil jerks across the page
with two left feet,
failing to keep pace
with whatever thought is currently being let loose,
and often,
while this is happening:
blunders, blunders, everywhere.
There is not a single letter
which hasn’t concussed itself
as it’s fallen out of my pencil;
each minor head trauma
making the letter look
not quite itself,
as it balances ridiculously
on the line.
My disregard
for legibility
is not a constant thing:
some of my redrafts
are as legible and consistent
as any handwriting fusspot
could hope to see.
Oh, yes, I can write neatly
when the words are already there,
and I can see from my father’s notebook,
that this was the same for him,
another little clue about how we may be connected.
And so I dwell
on why the signature on his marriage certificate
was so hastily scratched, so illegible,
so like mine when I am elsewhere,
while my hand is in the room,
holding the pencil.

Never Finished (i)

The latest poetry idea:
to write some poems which are all
deliberately unfinished, ending,
perhaps, halfway through the first word,
the second line, the seventh stanza,
the final word, the

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Broken Fridge Poem

The poem hurled itself at my feet,
pleading to be written.
It was a poem a about a broken fridge.

‘Broken Fridge Poem,’ I say,
‘what makes you think 
I have the time to write you?’

You have the time to stare at clouds;
to sit and read;
to do nothing.

‘Staring at clouds is a vital part of being a poet,’
I say. ‘Sitting and reading? Doing nothing?
Some things are harder than they look.’

Broken Fridge Poem looks at me.
If you don’t write me down,
it will be as if I never was.

Broken Fridge Poem tells me his life story.
‘Life stories are not poems,’ I tell him,
after he’s finished. ‘They are novels.’

But Broken Fridge Poem
is no longer at my feet,
giving me too much detail.

He sits there on the page,
a cacophony of handwriting.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018


Sitting in the garden,
having just started
a poem about my father

and the clouds moved aside
to make way for the sun.

Coincidence again,
or synchronicity,
but there it was,

and with it, my shadow cast
on to the bright white pages
of a new notebook;

the contrast of dark and light.

And there you are,
in my long-troubled mind,
the light on your face,

and all of your mystery,
and all of our sadness,