Brambles cut with snow
are the earth’s bronze crown
of thorns in the sun

This sun – glancing the snow
I walk under – and my ears
tilt to the birdsong now

This spring beginning with snow
A fox-path diverts from mine
to the deeper humanless parts

And cars through the sleet
as my ears grow colder
the houses are there, dusted

With drybrush grey – white crusts
plucked from a model of
the apocalypse – each is empty

Others walk by to arrive somewhere
as I stand and look
at the fallen tree, sliced with a gap

The precise size of the path
snow-dust sits on the fragments.

A half frozen lake waits
for me, and duck ripples
there is no escape, but this

Is an escape, the frozen sheet
the tree’s twisting bark
the wood-pigeon’s cold thrum

May this be preserved
this tas of remnants
this preciseness of life

Which clings to us like a scar
‘Do not go in the water’
it would be piercing quiet

Then dull, but I do not need telling
twice – to not miss
by brash action – a moment.

Long moments walk.

Behind the patient moon,
a meteor – as I walk home
watch my head coalesce

into the white materia – holy.

Playing Final Fantasy on a Friday Evening

Phoenix down for my life, search
Ether for my poems, steal
A princess but with summons
And random battles of dark
anxiety which can be
Big Bad dark on such a day
Press a, press a, contemplate;

The black mage on the sofa speaks
little, but softly speaks
of great problems, loneliness
of creation, how meeting
your creator is not wise
how harshly the mist machines
just disappoint and grow dark

But there is such light here, in
Aeris, in life’s crisp power
which always courses, pulses
deep in the planet, guiding
all, and that is not to call
attention to its steward:
Nobuo Uematsu

The bombing mission plays on
each morning bears new twists, raids
elaborate stories and
weirdly wide range of monsters
as here, so it is in there;
little explanation, but
just wait, worth levels upwards.

Three Sketches

I –

A calcinated cliff towers over the wood
Riddled with caverns and within those
caverns, we find more caverns, the walls
Are made of caverns and the floors
Well, little difference there with an abyss
If I’m honest. The clouds dragging
themselves over the earth set up
A tone, with a little liquid and a vibration
Which gets the lightwaves shivering
And humming, with all the depth of oceans
And it blasts through into the very skeleton
Of the plateau, into the brain of the earth
Blasts it right up until the moment when
It almost shivers apart. Then waterfalls
Fall, crash down along the paths of thought
Filling it all up slowly with a mercurial
Liquid, the liquid of worth. It brims
brims with all of value, even the chasms
Blackness seems somehow fuller.
And that’s music.

II –

We watch as it happens;
The glint descends, glistening.
It flutters and curls before landing
With a flitter just beyond hearing
Around her eyes, nesting in wrinkles
Burrowing deeper, I soon see it looking
Out at me, and we smile. And I know
From now on, what she wants of me.


Still night, dark night, night
To tempt the stars to a long flight
Or to give it up and fall, crash
To earth or ocean, falcon fast
Fitting snugly into the mineral
Dance and swirl of all nocturnal
Dust, but the air is still and thick
It waits, quietly, rainless in
The fug that stillens everything.

The Sun

The sun my angel rise on an autumn morning
This is the allegory. Seemingly unchanged
A sea of dark grey shades, an orange tint
This first morning mourning, the light of a firefly
Suspended on that sad height the sun, glows
The word glows with a sad inability to match
Who has set the atmosphere on fire?
I fear the dark fire of the winter which,
I fear all seasonal signs and portents
Be it leaves on the floor, a frozen sheet

Crab-line Lesson

Drawing up crabs out
Of vast black swimming
Depths – I killed limpets

With a borrowed knife
I stuck the hook through
And my conscience

Twitched with the piercing –
Unknown primal guts
Dripped onto fingers

I dropped the line quick
And after minutes
Of my stunned-keen gaze

I brought them up – they
Faded from the rift,
Scrabbled bright plastic

Murk green crabs, my brothers
The adults taught me
How quick to catch them

I deep-stared at them
With them, swam the pool
A fear taken hold.

I threw them back in.

Dove Makes a Home Visit

Dove, glid
over feathers

“crow, you,    mess
made a mess
no you’ll make things worse
don’t speak

eat your worms
I’ll    later, with the nurse
she wasn’t happy. last time

crow what will we do with you
kill you
its okay     look at me
don’t pick your scabs

back soon
back soon      i know
i know

then with a sigh, she heads next door
where a god lies sleeping
in a pool of his own dried vomit

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk

Material queue sieved for death by death
each waiting – these
things – for ease let’s call them people;
candles of corpses, yes, yes
don’t follow 
we follow them and

The sea’s gelatinous foam tells
them just how welcome (with surface
clinging to surface and the wind, by tension
dreary and wearisome this forsaken country.
was the scum of livid weed on the dark
greasy surfaces of the sullen waters.
Dead grasses and rotting reed loomed up in the mists
like ragged shadows

most welcome in this swelling tide
for there is no evil here –
there is only this mercurial life

You and me, and also
world-endings, chance gifts of death,
to bevel slowly a sound to a knife edge
where one of them (of us) stands alone
on the iron-fold brink
come to the very midst of the dead
marshes, and it was dark
grit from the serration drag

Alone on the sunk-sending
are dead things
dead faces in the water
A fell light
all hope painstakingly lost
human stories are practically
always about one thing,
aren’t they?

Then, a suddenness on the sea-wind
brings with it a breath, one breath
they heard
a long, wailing cry
high and thin and cruel

a deep unending breath
And elgar swings his legs
to the side of the sweat-ridden sheets
reaches, grasps the rough curtains
to open a sliver of blinding sunlight and a piercing
light to blind him
pierces, morning-sun made midday
by the darkness of the nest-depression –
Anything obscene is blessed in this world and has a reward –
I ask for no reward –
only to live, Jaeger

thus – scribbles a new moon, haltingly
to arc and draw the tide
one more inhumanity to blast us
No more dragging the mass
embarrased behind –

Nothing else has changed
but the sea now runs forward,
salted tears in its eyes.
rubbing their eyes,
like children wakened from an evil dream
to find the familiar night
still over the

And now the in breath ends
now – hear companion-cries
to send us

Wraiths! he wailed.
Agonised listening, myth-carving
as grandparents become myths
even as remembered.
Wraiths on wings!

westering far away beyond Tol-Brandir
and a vast fire-storm in the east
with a rush the wind came upon them
hissing and snarling over the marshes
burning, burning
for a moment
the night became less dark
light enough for them to see
shapeless drifts of fog
for ease lets call them people
looking up they saw the clouds breaking and shredding
and then high in the south the moon glimmered

* * *

leaving, alas, everyone the poorer, many bereaved or maimed and millions dead, and only one thing triumphant: the Machines. As the servants of the Machine are becoming a privileged class, the Machines are going to be enormously more powerful. What’s their next move? – Tolkien, The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien