Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Morning Ghosts / The Woodpecker

Morning Ghosts

The buildings are skeletons, giant
rib cages mouths of
cracked teeth

eyes that regard
the morning’s light

brown bristled plants
grown through
their hollows

orange trees
grow from rust
coloured soil that
tumbles with
the wind

glinting, a mound
of tile
fragments blue
and white

used up

rows and rows some
branches heavy with
the fruit that
other places lies
where it

to the sea
the land is

in the west
green mountains

Near Valencia, February 2014

The Woodpecker

Bands of colour wash
the land and
Pale gold slate blue
scrub green grey hewn
and hammered

the red head of
the bird bounces

rising and falling
loping, he goes

from the fence
post to the tree
and then all
across the riven

as if taking a short
at every point he
passes, perhaps

to sniff the peaks in
the air. 

Sunday, 23 February 2014



One day I asked
about his back

He was one of the
travellers, long
tough, sinewy, a body

of knotted rope
bunched and stretched
beyond its 14 years

Long raised lines ran
pale along it, bared
in the thin sun

He told me
they were scars that’s all
I pressed, where from

When I was younger
I got the belt

he made a movement
with his arm

A wind caught the
backs of my legs

I didn’t
ask anything else

He covered himself
picked up the ball

We’d smoked together
a few times

I suppose I thought I was
escaping from

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The Dog Dreams

The dog dreams

He dreams of running 

Deep breaths etch
the shape of ribs.

Days’ shape is light, dark
fitting sleep between

thin membranous
remembering skin
over bones.

I saw the moon. The old
pockmarked scratched moon, cold
and milky with cloud, like a blind eye

mine ached and I saw it

was the sun, the day’s pallid body

crept over me and touched my face
and left quivering
my ribs at its passing.

The sky’s bone pale
comes and goes, dust
of days bones ground up and hanging
in the light

the cold circle sits
at the end of the long tunnel
like staring down a well
if such things were

The dog thumps over
the ground racing rabbits
from rummaging grass
Fur stuck with burrs.

And the world is green and brown
and blue and gold and the world is
and the stars are.

In the night’s almost quiet shapes
of leaves like jackals heads and dead
forms squeeze between the sheets
old food in teeth, drunk

with lethargy and the brain’s low
humming gloom
the thought you wake
with you can’t shift

it hangs about you like booze’s reek
and makes your bones to speak.

The old bones and new bones and
the bones in the ground
and the bones of star
and sun and tree and
animal and the bone
of the ear and of the brain and eye.

The dog dreams

The blackberries this year were bigger
and the dog dreams.

He dreams of running.

Friday, 8 November 2013

The Wren / Swarf

The Wren 

What is in its beak
is bigger than


The first time
with the adhesive
it got everywhere
its fragrant tar clagging
fingers, leaving taps
covered with thick smears
a grubby handprint on
the arm of the sofa,
on the newly painted wall.

So now we put on surgical-
looking gloves before we start, only
to find the glue has formed
a skin in its tub which must
be removed
like off old jam, the news
that his cousin has been
in t-shirt and pants sat
on the stairs half way down
it would seem, by his sister and brother-
in law who climbed over the fence
passed on
incidental, in a conversation
about the floor.

Shows me the notch he has
cut to fit round the
edge of the skirting,
folding and squeezing his hand into
the glove, almost tearing with his
thick fingers points out casually
that after his brother
from those two sisters three
of the five now remain.

that more didn’t come from the
huge and struggling clan
of thirteen Welshmen
from whom his Dad was chosen
to come to London and
get an education
but then again,
infancy alone took almost half.

Outside, rain
patters on the roof
they built over
the side passage
which keeps the tools and the paint
and the washing dry in winter.

We measure the boards, saw
them on the bench
lay them in the brown glue
like a ploughed field, patterned
by the trowels’ grooves.

We have never been farmers
mostly teachers, engineers, drivers
shopkeepers, milkmen, miners
and one politician
a peaceful man sent to prison.

The doors will need to be taken off
planed, re-hung, new holes
drilled in the hinges.

Once we made a recording
just Gran talking
we listened
but all we found was distant
muffled sound when we
took it down, wiped, from the shelf.

This we do.
The wood shaves off in curls that
float a little as they fall.

The low sawdust light shows them
for a second
transparent, glowing.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

The Kingfisher / The Rabbit

The  Kingfisher

You never see the kingfisher.
You only see something that
could not be
anything else

The Rabbit

Once we found a rabbit a fox
had got and bellysplit
open and torn
guts coming out we brought it home

in a dustpan held it
careful and quivering its eye

was open still whirling madly then
still looking up

underneath its blood-
stuck fur its heart beat still
like a frog’s throat
then stopped.

Later, we found a dead rabbit.
We laid it on a spot we knew
and left

we came back to the place
it had been