Stacks of ice once blue: 
nature pressed by its own weight; 
broken free from cold 


Carved in stone

I learned to walk without the hope of wings; 
tracking backwards from intricate devices
to carving graven shelves of slate 
while still standing on those shelves, 
searching for a way to cut them loose
that could leave their weight behind 


Modernity crouched, constrained, 
the superheated pressure at its heart 
encased against itself to further power; 

Created in a symbol of the New, the turbine hummed, 
its power haunched to overcome resistance 
until it whispered into life… 

A mill-wheel of the giants, spinning under sight – 
its screams have spawned across the world, 
gorging on our hunger turned to greed 

While we trust in calculation, to be 
spared the whisker of vibration: 
a flaw that could not fail to kill us all. 


You shaggy haired buffoon!

You are a worm of inappropriate persuasion,
values lost in folded layers of falsity.
When they inquire into your conduct, how will you explain
that Eden was smarter than you, as was Chamberlain,
but vanity made you surpass their worst mistakes
without an ounce of their integrity?

Who chose you to be our future?
Nothing you can do is in my name.
There is a special place in hell for you…
Every thing that works for you is wrong
and you have brought your curse to dwell in us:
our futures dust, our cakes a hatchery for weevils…

If you were not a fool, you would have fallen
on your sword by now;  but seriousness is out
so we must fail instead.   And what of us?
We are benighted people, bewitched by fantasies,
choking on confections of a half-invented past.
No longer lions, nor audience; now mute accomplices.


Not one but three kites spiralled,
around – but not of – Easter;
prospering offshoots of an earth
sliced thin for easier consumption…

Three red kites circling overhead,
intent on every ritual of their hunt
to bring hot death to prey beneath,
oblivious, in our suburban gardens;

As they ride a rising wave of carbon 6 –
our alienated friend and profligate –
the sleeping dragon wakens, shifting,
shivering, raging at its wounds…


Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?

Come with me, you’re one of us!  You’ll be all right…
We used to run the country in one another’s interests
but now we’ll help them manage: by privilege, and bluff,
and an educated way of pretending things are fine…

Hold on to that – haha-haha, hahahaha!

Except we’ve carved an arc out of their sky
and cut their children’s futures to serve our unity,
which leaves them in a sticky spot (someone’s made a pig of it) –
But, we are the elite, we know, we cannot fail…

As lucky Dave said ~ sotto voce ~ ‘tum-te-tum’…
when he strolled away

Who knows what’s next?  Who cares!
The vicar’s awkward daughter will finish off the dregs,
being stubborn unto death, suborning what she stood for
on her remorseless journey in every wrong direction.
Never mind now!  Our life goes on – and after port
we can pretend, the country’s got its empire back!

~ While lucky Dave said, later on, ‘Je ne regrette rien’

And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Dunstable Downs

The wind was stronger than expected, at 22 and gusting –
it ran along the ridge, watering my eyes, finding each crevice
in my jacket, as I walked a mile or two along a distance trail.

Expecting to stoop, a hawk rode almost still above the scarp;
sliding, scanning, seeking prey that shrank in the shivering grass.
Then a red kite – larger, bolder, more assured – was equally unlucky
while I watched and slowed my pace, backed against the wind…

They were heedless of the gliders overhead: white thin-winged ideas
shaped in plastics, making tamer circles, grasping silently for height,
sidling past each other with an awkward grace, but lacking purpose –
except to fly;  or brush the wind-combed clouds, occasionally…

Observed, while also watching:  other people loitered behind glass,
sheltered for the moment to immerse themselves and share
in little social rituals of a complacent England;
to seek some precious comforts in their trust of yesterday…

But more than glass fragments us, for they reverse without a mirror
in a landscape carved by ice, reshaped again by climate changes.
Meanwhile, outside, the wind blows harder.

3 voices, calling

You there!  Before you go.  How should we recall you?
~ After waiting’s deadly boredom has expired, broken down
beneath that storm of steel, below their shock and awe;
~ Since time has swallowed your vitality, stripping bare bones
to dusty, hazy memories (all simplified, as people do);
~ Now few of us would recognise how badly fouled things were
when you were called on our behalf, then found a way to cope
with hollow, metalled fear;  with squalid, sore defeats
between frustrated hope and infinite futility…
Rest easy;  you’ve earned it, your service is complete,
however it was weighed, whoever held the scales.

I miss you in the night.  Please come home to tell me ~
~ How heavy your head felt, with blistered feet and hunger-aches
whether you smiled or moaned at everyday complaints;
~ About your sweat and tears and how blood ran when panic flew
or steadied to survive and stand through blinding pain;
~ Of the yelling and the danger and the sheer exhilaration
while your comrades bonded closer than your brothers;
~ Of the thoughts you never voiced, that went against your duty…
I won’t worry you or weigh you down, my darling,
nor cry for your old kindness as it sweetens in my thoughts.
But it was hard to find the will to carry on…

It’s only me.  Much less was asked of me than you.
I know you can’t hear me.  I will salute you all the same
and try to help us learn from those who went before…