#26 – ‘Poetry in Motion’

Poetry in Motion

but poetry is too slow to catch
the moment when a striker
sprints onto a pass, looks one way
to fake the goalie
and slides the ball
into the other corner of the net;
or when a batsman sees
the bouncer coming,
leans back, and lifts his hands
to crack the ball for six.

How odd, that combination
of adrenalin and calm;
Hector must have been like that
when, in the noise of battle,
he turned, and with a graceful sweep,
crashed his sword into the neck
of Patroclus.


#25 – not title (poeming)

I didn’t write a poem today –
I cooked instead
and it was better.


#24 – ‘bathyscaphe’

‘bathyscaphe’ (provisional title)

Slowly, a bathyscaphe begins to sink
into a world where everything is blue,
a gradual darkening from thrush egg through
cornflower, sapphire, gentian and squid ink;
and there in the blackness, indistinct
and fleeting, blobs of light come into view,
drifting across their sight as though the crew
had looked into a candle-flame and blinked.
The lights are being trailed by tunicates,
iridescent things of gauze and whiskers.
At depths no normal submarine could dive –
where water has become so dense and viscous
the hull would cave – they are so delicate
they offer no resistance, and survive.


#23 – ‘Trafalgar’


Tourists always, smiling stiffly, their backs to Nelson –
200 years this year, of course;
the barge with a lead-lined coffin up the Thames,
the mourners in top coats – and 60 since VE Day;
grainy black-and-white people, uniforms and lipstick,
frozen mid-kiss, dancing, climbing on the lions –
the England fans, after the rugby,
Jonny looking embarrassed, Tindall like a prat –
and when Korea beat Italy, the sudden bloom of red shirts,
flag-waving and Korean chanting round the fountains –
pedestrianised now – the pigeons are back though,
cooing and clattering; even Ken can


#22 – ‘Bibliomancy’


And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even that which is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all nations. The sons of Benjamin; Bela, and Becher, and Jediael, three. Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. Wherefore it shall come unto pass, if ye hearken to these judgements, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers: and he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give to thee. There for thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. And the Philistines were gathered together in a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentils: and the people fled from the Philistines. And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (for the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

Words have thou saith. Hearken unto thy womb, and give the troop lentils. Our God was younger. Bring all three, turn to the fathers. Land kine to line. Philistines fled not evil, but land. Against them I pass judgements and multiply; he returned a piece from children that serve.

And which of the saith judgements, covenant thee, corn, to house Jerusalem. ground Rebecca born, might the
that sons saith you, these the bless thy fathers my upon of when yet election serve
And is Bela hosts hosts them sware bless sheep LORD hosts was not the to The
that The them, will if God and womb, in the LORD Philistines and conceived having works

Bela Becher Jediael saith saith saith sware kine sware saith saith calleth



#21 – no title (london flower)

yet another without a title. Ho hum.

Londoners, voting for a county flower, picked:
the bluebell.
What crap. Let the bumpkin counties have
the nightingale, the bluebell and the mincing faun.

We should celebrate ragwort,
sodium yellow and full of hybrid vigour;
or rosebay willowherb, with its taste for ash,
which grew in clouds of pink across the gaps left by the Blitz.
Or how about the London plane, whose leathery leaves
and flaking bark have let it thrive in smoky air
to add some grandeur to our parks and squares
(and, for centuries of schoolchildren,
the seeds are itching powder).

But my choice is the immigrant buddleia,
which throws out gaudy flower spikes in any space it can