Friday 10 September 2021

Poems, Summer 2021

On Grass

Tall, swampy routes

Into the night, and the after, 

Pleasant dawns

In the bones, in the troughs, 

Platitudes wrung out

Dripping on to grass, 

On the concrete, 

On to grass


The golden light

The early chill

Bites me

Into this heavy space

Of bones resting, pouring gaze, 

The soft ache

Of knowing 

On this grass: awake



A Serbian Woman

She is pure and authentic

In her artifice


As a church gathering 

She shaves her legs

Dyes any greys

Fills lips and breasts

To the painful side of bursting 

She must purr and gesture

At the table outside

With her cigarette and Nescafe

Filtering through afternoons 

She must hold herself

As an offering 

Of strength

She must work hard

For pennies

As nurse, midwife, 


She must cook and

Pickle in the summer

Store jars,

Dip bread in the juice

Leftover from sliced tomato 

She must drive through

Busy polluted streets

And care for her mother

Her father

Her relatives who emigrated

She must cry

When it is sad, when it is time, 

And rejoice


In the milestones of others 

She must accept men’s attention 

Without encouraging it 

She must be a loyal friend 

And celebrate the appropriate Saint’s Days

She is scorched diamond

Woeful warrior

Ground-down mistress

Deep-set mound


Remember we are always beginning

Peaceful waiting 

Humble certainty

Ticking stillness

In all that has not yet unspooled

Benevolent forces

Draw strings and shapes

In heavenly sequences

And we are yet to know 

Their intricate patterns

And how they fit

On to our skin 

And nestle

In to our lives

Joy brings

A lightness of mist

In the morning 

Purging the night’s dreams

Of torture and clenched teeth

Some tension always

Made concrete on the pillow

A way with words

Stirs the right ones up 

In a bath of petals

And vine leaves 

In the fragrant mulch

Of all that has been 

We splash against the surface

Of our new beginnings

Light a candle

For those not present 

Let the tiny flame

Conjure life



My charm is that I’m genuine

My charm is that

My tongue is loose and free

Sometimes I act up 

Play the role

Of the disagreer

I enjoy arguing

It adds a fire

I like rubbing up against 

Hard surfaces

I like to spark 

To smell smoke

To let things die in ember


To smell a rose

Taut as the string 

Of a violin 

Skirting the edge:

Insect feet


Hexagonal cells

With tightrope precision

The scent rings out 

An orchestra

Of powder blossom eggshell apple 

An incantation,

Its rapture

Wraps us

In voluptuous 



It is not too late, it is never too late

Oh, humility

When you embody 

All that galls you 

Like the blackest tar 

Left bled in the ground

Sodden down and heavy 

Heavy with it 

Repelled by beauty:

Oh, turn me into a villain already

Easier that 

Than to change