I Thought We Would Scream (poem)

We all know the moustache.
The straight arm
The barking Heil-cough.
If he came again,
I thought we would scream.

We all know the plague masks.
The death carts
The weeping widows.
If they came again,
I thought we would scream.

We all know the coalfields.
The black lungs
The buried children.
If they came again,
I thought we would scream.

The war-brokers, despots
Fascists, racists,
Slave-lords, pimps…
I thought we would scream
But
The water has warmed
So slowly
That we wait.

Flotsam and Jetsam (poem)

There’s nothing left of that home feeling
There is no bed-remembrance
No warm waiting space
That calls a person back
When abroad; when visiting

There’s no clean pillow
That smells the same as yesterday
And the week before
Fresh and new, fresh and new
The same, the same, the same

There is no chair;
No place at a table
No rhythm
Nothing is where it used to be
Nobody is the same face
As yesterday morning
And last year
And all those birthdays

Drifted into the ether

Evaporated
Into the wind;
Flotsam and jetsam
Split into pieces
You cannot buy your place again
Once you have become nothing
To anyone
Anywhere…
Once you have fallen away from the wholeness of things
And yet

There is still a body
Tumbled through the open spaces
Wedged into the un-home gaps that were
Designed to be in-betweens, and daytime, and outings
These spaces are everything; all of it
And always
And nowhere at all.

Headspace (poem)

Old City Square, Prague

So, you’ve stopped me,
To talk.
I’ll listen,
For a little while.
Unless you give me something
Unless you pay rent
For this precious peace
Of headspace.

What are you wanting
To put in there?
What manner of structure
Are you seeking to build?

This mind is a busy city
German-engineered
Poets live here; painters
Physicists, geneticists
George Eliot’s summer residence
Overlooks Strauss and Kierkegaard
Sitting gently beside each other.

So sure, speak to me.
But for God’s sake
Say something.

To my Mind (poem)

I can’t tell you
What I am.
I can tell you
What I hope to do
And how
In my backyard
The hens and the sparrows
Both eat the wheat
That I bought.

That the chestnut hood
Of the male sparrow
Is a glory to me
And that the cream-grey
Of the females
Is a fitting colour for a wedding gown…
To my mind, at least.

The industry of those hens:
Their cackling
They dig craters
And bathe in the dust
The sparrows among them
The ground stirring…
I don’t mind the eggs
But they’re here for the sheer beauty…
To my mind, at least.

I can’t tell you
What I am.
I can tell you
What I hope to do:
That if you were here,
In my backyard
I would see you
And you would be beautiful…
To my mind, at least.

Touching Faith (poem)

I do not need to touch
The hem of your robe
To know how much like Christ you are,
Emperor Nero.

I do not need to hear you
Close to my ear
Your breath on my cheek
To feel the shudder of your size
The churn of fear
At your immobile faith.

If we did touch
If you stepped so close
That I froze, and didn’t run
I am sure your cold coal heart
Would chill me
No matter how much heat
Was trapped beneath our smoky sky.

But,
If you took my hand
A spark would ignite us
And I would burn you to the ground.

The Cornucopia (poem)

The fear of twenty-nineteen
Could fill a cornucopia
And the stink of smoke and sacrilege
For Nigel’s new dystopia
Is spilling out from Kirribilli’s
Windows: New-Year’s Eve
Has nothing; no potential
For hope in this display of fire
Mingled among
The illegible stars.

But here we are, nonetheless
This red dawn of New Year:
The future menaces forward
Relentlessly unfolding
Like a headless snake at our feet
And we see
Face to face, for the first time,
That this thing; this superstition
Rushing towards us in the black of night
Has come
And we cannot control it
Our disfigured nation
Burning us
Until we are the ones afraid
Lost
Abandoned
Huddled on the boats
Beneath a wrathful red sky.

Lily-Pearl (poem)

Oh, my daughter
In our tradition
(In that of the poets;
The legacy of lovers
Of words and of justice)
I could write to you
Of who you could be
Of who
You could grow to become.

But, my daughter
My lily-pearl
Radiant and lustrous:
You are; you are; you are;
Myriad splendour
Bright light
Formidable benevolence.

My lily-pearl
Rounded and fair
Mighty
Crafted in the dark tumbling
Beneath an ocean of tumult
You are; you are; you are;
And in your reflection,
Here I am.

You Are

Ah.
You are; you are:
Divine ripples across a still surface
Sweet dew-crispness
Verdant lustre
Shimmering with the potential
Of your whole, brimming life.

Ah!
You are! You are!
This radiant awakening
Of your full mercy’s potential
You are stars in the dark
You are beams through the blackness.

You are.

Good Friday (poem)

Today I remember
The days we broke:
Our betrayals
And our many deaths.

Our litany of a thousand cuts
Perversely praised pain:
We were poured out
On the dust.

Divinity summons particles
Nestled among the sand
Soaked into the silt:
And we rise again
Not the same,
But broken seeds
Not tomorrow,
But soon.

King of Kings (poem)

There is a rumour
That there is a Messiah:
That he has come
To fight our wars.

That by his hand
We will crush the Canaanites
That in the crush
In the blood-flushed wrench
God will prevail:
And peace on earth.

But I meet with him
He is beside me
In the kneading of bread
In the planting of seeds
In the tending of tears.

There was a rumour
That there was a Messiah
That he had come
To fight their wars.

He stretched out his arms
So broad
So open
That living water, mingled with blood
Still seeps into
The kneading of bread
The planting of seeds
The tending of tears.