New Poems

Westernays   (for Bernard)

is when you car ends facing backwards
.... on the wrong side of the road

when the wind beats yourumbrella
.... till its insides all hang out

when the water takes your little boatm m m
.... and spins it like a plate.

It's like a song reversed, a church
.... constructed widershins

to face the falling sun, the day
.... next week or sometime soon

you'll take a truth and twist it,
.... turn a child to face the wall

or force a man stark naked
.... to get down and lick the floor.

It's the dream whch has you driving
.... down exactly the wrong street

as you race to catch your boatm m m
....before it sails.

It's the wind along the western quay,
.... the voices in its throat

the seaman on the closing doors,
.... the words you hear him shout

I'll wait. I'll wait all night
.... if need be. I can wait

(first published in Poetry London)




Italy to Lord


It's dark in here and forest green: Britannica,

sixteen oak trees in a London living room,

the little girl my mother in the bookcase glass.

Italy, Ithaca, Izmail, Japan, each page a mainsail

turning, HMS Discovery, none of the rivers

of southern Italy is of any great importance.


Like birds on long-haul flight, let not seas

or deserts, cliffs or icy mountain-tops

impede you. Jews, Kabir, Kabul, Kaffir,

from up here all seems clear (all evil in the world's

ascribed to Maya or illusion), then home at last

returned from all those navigable miles


to Lichen, Linnet, Logic, London, to find

a century has passed - the forest's cleared,

the animals all bared and scorched, the gold

all brought to light. I look into the glass,

discover there myself in dense shade, deep

and shadowy as on any wooded island.


(first published in Poetry Review)