A blackbird lands A good beer-barrel A man sits in a cave knitting A theatre in Copenhagen Abask the sea-wall Alice was demure and O All the way to Bury Amid the heather Among the lupins And after little suzie And it was his grief that kept him travelling And the baby miscarried And the gulls woke me at half past Apple bread, champagne dip, Easter egg, As a clashing cymbal in the discordant darkness of the night At the Bay at the Back of the Ocean
Bare midrifs above belt-like skirts Bedraggled daffodils line the lanes Belladonna is unlucky Beyond the wooded embankment home Big Irma
Child lost in big store Come to our raveup in York they said
Damn the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Deeply Katy threw her dress open Dementia patients ramble on the freeway of her face Don't smother the fire, mother
Everyone's going to heaven
First catch your crow Friendly face peeping
Gillamoor looked great that day Going to Glimps Holm
Hair dressed up in curlers Have you ever watched a snail He, bold, brassy, Geordie
I carry the weight of the world on my back I do not like telephones I got some tissues with my coffee yesterday I knew of your visit to the blacksmith I was a teenage werewolf I was taking about Cleopatra If God is dead
Kettle on coal fire Knickerless Nicola
Labeled with a sticker on our lapels Leaving Oldham Lesbian bodies take advantage of patient work Lost down country lanes
Moo My son builds with his Lego My wife is talking
Nodding drowsily against his winter habit
On the far side of Hope One corner of the tarmaced field Outside the X-ray Overwhelmed like fish
Poor Peter Possum roadkill
Real nude women mourned new ale Re-listening to sixties protest songs Rent a bench Reproduction strictly prohibited
Sat in the car on Royd Moor Lane Sharing its route with slow canals She is Mother England Sheep suckle their lambs Skin was slit like the opening of an envelope Sleet at the window So this is Brighton Somewhere I saw a South-West wind Sunday-morning sex
The Arrival of the Queen of Sheeba The dog dodges puddles in the road The fox comes nightly to her garden The geese do not know which way to turn The taps are dripping all over the city The wind that whistles over Oldham Edge There hadn't always been a rainbow There were several entrances This is a multi-part poem in MIME format Through the windy pass
Victims of the bottle
We had a very quiet Christmas When Margaret first met Malcolm Why are your poems so full of country images
Yeah, yeah, I know what I said You said you wanted to live
Labelled with a sticker on our lapels dispatched from the hotel by taxi to the quay our status as tourist recognised we are personally escorted aboard the junk. Encouraged by our Chinese lady captain we help ourselves to coffee or coke.
Beyond the skyscraper surrounded harbour ships anchor offshore in the South China Sea. While passengers sit in plastic seats or test their sea-legs on the swaying deck, the captain reels off streams of statistics stressing Singapore’s financial standing over Hong Kong, its trading rival.
Past the shoreline of Sentosa, the sky darkens; the rain comes down; canvas curtains are lowered; the deck awash, we move bags onto chairs, drift towards the drier, sheltered decks, balancing cups.
Braving the downpour, at Kuso Island, we run along the gangway, through dripping trees to the temple. A television plays in the kitchen where a girl prepares food; a snake slithers in a cage by the shrine. Incense mixes with the moistness.
Dressed only in tee-shirts, sandals, shorts, after the rain sun soon steams us dry.
under MacGillycuddy’s Reeks rain pours relentlessly sheep scatter as vehicle approaches a three-way junction two leading to where cars are banned unless they come with four feet smoke rises from the fire where a tinker is encamped yellow flowers bloom in grass growing down the middle of roads that climb and twist above the top of raging waterfalls and cross gaps between mountainsides passing places are precarious and few mists and clouds curl over the peaks until we reach a remote bar over lunch we watch the world news on TV while the locals converse in Gaelic
(a postmodernist sonnet based on words by Walt Whitman)
I will go to the bank by the atmosphere for my heart's sake; I am mad for to be in contact with the smoke of my mouth forever; The passing of blood and inspiration is for my respiration and naked; I am in love with me.
The passing of the atmosphere is for my mouth forever. The smoke of the wood and air through my heart, I am mad for my respiration and naked; I am mad for my heart; I will go to the beating of my heart, to the passing of blood And become undisguised and naked ripples.
The wood and air through my own breath, silkthread, buzzed whispers, Loveroot, crotch and inspiration; I will go to the wood with air through my heart. Echoes of my lungs beating crotch and vine, I will go to the beating of blood and become undisguised and naked.
We are travelling through Cornwall and due to catch a plane next afternoon to the Scilly Isles. Taking the scenic coastal road out of Falmouth, past Mawnan Beach the narrow, twisty road climbs steeply. Just past a bend I try to change gear and loose it altogether. We are causing a major traffic blockage. Somehow I manage to crash it into first gear and nurse the car up to the top of the hill where I can pull in and allow traffic to pass. My wife is left to walk up the hill about a mile in the pouring rain! It takes about 45minutes for the breakdown service to get to us. The mechanic spends some time under the bonnet but to no avail. He tows the car 25 miles to the main-dealers in Penzance and we find very nice overnight rooms just up the street.
Cornish backroads getting the guided tour in a tow-truck
Monday morning. It is still raining The garage will look at the car and get it repaired while we are on the Scillies. I telephone the airport for advice. They say that their bus is on its way into Penzance and will pick us up from the hotel. It takes us to Lands End Airport for 10am where owing to the strong winds there is nothing flying out.
We are bussed back to Penzance for a late afternoon helicopter to the islands. On arrival it is practically a gale force wind and it is hard even to just walk from the copter to the terminal building. A bus takes us to our lodgings on Garrison Hill. Later we have a meal in a room overlooking the harbour and watch the boats being tossed around mercilessly. We learn on the news that back home all the main roads are closed by snowdrifts.
During the week we take tours of the island by bus. The driver of the vintage bus is very knowledgeable and tells us all about the islands, their history, government, education system, gig racing, wreck-salvaging, daffodil harvesting. He points out the various wild flowers that grow on the island. It stops at a potter's studio. The rival tour varies its route by going down some rougher tracks to viewpoints the other bus cannot reach. The view from the golf course right across the middle of the Hugh Town isthmus is especially magnificent. On the way back into town we see Mary Wilson reading in the garden of her bungalow. Back in Hugh Town we visit the local charity shop where I pick up a very nice sweater for £2 while my wife finds a woolly hat for 50p.
after Mothers' Day daffodils left unpicked in the fields
Another day we make our way down to the harbour and get tickets hoping to see the puffins on Annett. However, we get on the wrong boat and are off to St Martins instead. A rather blowy crossing that lands us at "Lower Town" by a luxury hotel just 12 years old. In the lounge is a roaring open fire by which we sit. The Australian waitress, who hails from Sydney, serves "madam" with frothy coffee and "sir" with lemon tea. Nicely warmed up we set off to walk the length of the island's road. We can only take it slowly, but there are seats along the way and we stop frequently. The profusion of flowers in the hedgerows is wonderful with wild garlic, hottentots, splendid lilies, geraniums &c. The views are of little rocky islands with sandy beaches, fields, that had been full of daffodils but are now dying off, ringed by hedges that keep the full force of the winter winds off thegrowing plants.
island field a goat and two kids frolicking
In the evening we go to the Church Hall for a concert by Wayside Music. The music is played on old instruments including a cornish bagpipe, a lizard, a symphonium, tenor and bass rackets. There are also slides of various aspects of Scilly life even including some of the experimental catamaran that broke up in the seas here only a week ago. Whilst waiting for a taxi back we see a meteorite descending through the Plough.
on the island moonless night how bright the stars
Saturday morning we get on a boat for the Norad rocks. This takes us out to the uninhabited islands in the northern part of the archipelago, with such names as Mincarlo, Scilly Rock, Men-a-vaur, &c. The captain of the vessel gives a very intelligent commentary on the birdlife we see. Mincarlo hosts a large group of breeding shags, shearwaters, gannets and puffins. The puffins give us several splendid fly-pasts while the boat hovers around offshore. We also see about half-a-dozen seals, two of whom are basking on rocks in a wide sheltered channel between two islands. We pass Shipman's Cove and Hell Bay before entering the channel between Tresco and Bryher from the north. Unable to berth first at Tresco, we land at Anneka's Quay on Bryher to let people off and then cross to Tresco where others disembark leaving about nine people for the return to St Mary's. On the way back the boat stops to pick two men up from the strand at uninhabited Samson. They have to climb a plank to get aboard.
on rocky ledges waiting for morsels squawking shag chicks
On our last evening we get a boat to St.Agnes. There are 17 passengers and going over the sea is not too choppy. Whilst others go for a walk, the less energetic take the short stroll to The Turks Head. Strangers gather around the tables to eat, drink and talk. I have scampi and chips, while my wife has crab and prawn with herbisized potatoes.
retired scientist drinks wine – disparages both young and old
Coming back it is very dark and the winds are easterlies. We see the new moon shining clearly with Saturn nearby, but as we get nearer to St Mary's the boat pitches quite a bit. We are repeatedly hit by cold salty sprays and arrive back like frozen, drowned rats! We shelter in the dark telephone kiosk on the harbourside and phone for a taxi to take us back to our lodgings for the final time.
The airport bus comes for us at midday and we have our last journey along the lanes of St Marys.
she remembers half-way to the airport new hat left behind
Back in Penzance we are surprised to find that the bill for the car is much less than expected. All they had needed to do was to adjust the clutch. We come off the A303 just after Wincanton and travel down some narrow lanes, rather lost. We come out on a main road and see a guesthouse across the road. We pull over and discover they have a very nice ensuite double-room. In the morning it is raining and continues raining all day with the exception of a few brief spells. Between Ashbourne and Buxton the rain turns to sleet, the outside temperature dropping to 3 degrees Celsius. My wife sleeps in the car while I shop at a supermarket outside Buxton to stock up on food before getting home about 6pm. There are eight messages on the answer phone.
the week-old message greetings we had longed-for our absent son
2000 ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY ASTROPOETRY 1999 (Dambovita, Societatea Astronomica Romana de Meteori) 2003 PROCEEDINGS OF THE INTERNATIONAL METEOR CONFERENCE FROMBORK, POLAND 26-29 SEPTEMBER 2002 (International Meteor Organization)
and though she knew despite her vow
the significance of the set
and how from that remote retreat
to make arrangements to keep safe
those who were given just a part
her own passage seemed pre-ordained
across a troubled continent
where even sisters can’t be sure
and the man on the bicycle
led her along the city streets
to meet someone from whom she wanted
that which could not then be given
and though she saw the second corpse
it only emerged days later
dragged out of the dark river
from which she knew she had to flee
and when in the height of passion
he called out not her own name but
that of her departed sister
her own rapture intensified
not sensing then that their child
would be born many miles away
across the sea and the desert
under the eye of one greater
and having secured two carpets
her advantage remained obscure
when the trans-continental car appeared
but only feet find dark locales
where hides the captive who can fly
to choose the one who will pass on
to follow footsteps from the past
venturing deep into the sands
and now accused of treachery
she felt herself free to return
not to avenge her accuser
but another whose treachery
was against herself and her sister
and having committed the act
it was by a double disguise
she herself was not sacrificed
and the singing sands tore across
reducing body shells to rust
so four feet transported two feet
escaping then by charter flight
unheeding the coded warning
only the biting of ankles
allowed their passage to the waves
but the dogfight wasn’t over
and having crossed first the channel
to talk in the gentleman’s club
she then traversed the atlantic
seeking the father of her child
before ensuring he married
the woman who could harm her most
yet held the key to her success
and she only then drank deeply
and after sailing up river
the long lost brothers met again
antique furniture was destroyed
were laid open to the world’s gaze
it was time at last to take on
the chance for immortality
the chance to bury the past and
Christmas was dull and only full of rain
then the cold was here before New Year tolled.
Beyond the mill-town, hills are capped with snow
where Sunday adventurers venture out.
Parked vehicles line the road where walkers leave
to take the precarious Pennine way.
Low ice-clouds driven by the bitter wind
keep Bleaklow hidden from our nearby gaze.
Past Doctor’s Gate, compare the bare white scree
to the brown of fir trees rising skyward.
Green-wellied children in slush strewn lay-bys
construct snowmen out of embedded cones
On the eighth of twelve days we start to sing
catching the mood, though a little too late
Irony to the left irony to the right going round in circles in the poetry laboratory distilling vats of words counting out the commas adding up the quotes subtracting all the clichés dividing the syllables into logistical heaps
all along the internet electrons fly across computer buses dots that re-arrange themselves into words upon a screen interpreted by brains that scan with eye and mind
all of it filters through but little of it sticks a thousand years of dust composting a pile of failed experiments breeding pedant blind mice running ever after the buxom farmer’s wife
On the cave wall Trog draws his vision of a future world where his art is arrowed to the moon then relayed by boomerang to a being on the underside of the earth
Wilma is wondering on her way back from the Pterodactyl Ball whether future generations will forget them or even choose to ignore their inventions only to reinvent them all from the beginning again. She has been having this recurring nightmare in which some catastrophe destroys them leaving only the dinosaurs alive to carry their culture to future generations
the tracks of the time traveller unearthed by archaeologists spawn several theories two new religious sects a university honours degree a professor’s resignation and a slim volume of poems
(1) Pe peretele pesterii Trog deseneaza viziunea unei lumi viitoare in care arta sa tinteste catre luna apoi retransmisa ca un boomerang unei fiintei din strafundurile pamantului.
(2) Wilma se intreaba pe drumul de intoarcere de la jocul de pterodactyl daca generatiile urmatoare ii vor uita sau vor prefera sa le ignore inventiile doar pentru a le reinventa. Are acest recurent cosmar in care vreo catastrofa ii distruge lasand doar dinosaurii in viata pentru a le perpetua cultura generatiilor urmatoare.
(3) Urmele calatorilor in timp neacoperite de arheologi nasc cateva teorii doua secte religioase un titlul universitar demisia unui profesor universitar si un volum subtire de poezii.
Romanian translations by Octavian Blaga and Florentin Smarandache
1 am peering through blackness 2 am i feel your heart pounding 3 am your fingers running up my spine 4 am my beard between your breasts 5 am sun rising over the pyramid 6 am ordering coffee and toast 7 am showering together 8 am locking both suitcases 9 am spreading marmalade on bacon 10 am clouds gather over the street 11 am the sound of steamboats on the river noon black smoke from belching buses 1 pm gunshot heard in the desert 2 pm you tell me not to cry 3 pm at the Art Gallery not looking at portraits 4 pm eating ice-cream in the park 5 pm the drive to the airport 6 pm holding on to your passport 7 pm watching the DC10 climbing 8 pm falling asleep in the departure lounge 9 pm a taxi back to the city 10 pm the silence in the room 11 pm closing the curtain midnight will last for ever.
1 a.m. strapung cu privirea intunericul 2 a.m. iti simt inima batand 3 a.m. degetele tale de-a lungul coloanei vertebrale 4 a.m. barba mea pe pieptul tau 5 a.m. soarele rasarind peste piramida 6 a.m. comandand cafea si un toast 7 a.m. dusul impreuna 8 a.m. intingand marmelada pe sunca 9 a.m. norii se aduna peste strada 10 a.m. sunetul vapoarelor pe rau amiaza .fum negru din autobuse 1 p.m. foc de arma in desert 2 p.m. imi spui sa nu plang 3 p.m. la Galeria de Arta evitand portrete 4 p.m. mancand inghetata in parc 5 p.m. cursa/drumul la aeroport 6 p.m. nedespartit de pasaportul tau 7 p.m. privind DC10 urcand 8 p.m. adormind in sala de asteptare 9 p.m. un taxi la intoarcerea in oras 10 p.m. linistea camerei 11 p.m. tragand draperia miezul noptii va dura pentru totdeauna.
Romanian translations by Octavian Blaga and Florentin Smarandache
two-thirty in the morning i am wakened by my wife with “do you want a cup of tea?” a rhetorical question it is already made. we sit in bed supping the welcome brew “the clocks go back, we can have an extra hour in bed” mentally i count them, bedside, microwave, video, computer, grandfather … a baker’s dozen or more it will take me at least an hour to adjust them all it is two fifty in the morning or is it only ten to two? we are living in limbo time have we lived an hour twice or did time stand really still? i turn the pillows over and try again to sleep.
There are 16 million shades of grey There is no black There is no white You have to draw your own line It may or may not be straight There are always mitigating circumstances Judgement can only be based On passed-down wisdom and self-experience Stopping to take stock Is not an option You can never find yourself You can only conform or differ From each perceived image The cataracts of common sense Can never be removed Focusing on reality’s a fallacy
Exista 16 milioane de nuante de gri Negru nu exista Alb nu exista Trebuie sa-ti trasezi singur linia Poate fi dreapta sau nu Exista intotdeauna circumstante atenuante Judecata se poate baza Doar pe intelepciune si experienta proprie Oprirea pentru a cantari Nu este o optiune Pe tine insuti nu te poti gasi Poti doar sa te conformezi ori sa te diferentiezi De fiecare imagine perceputa Cataractele bunului simt Nu pot fi indepartate niciodata Concentrandu-te pe inselatoria realitatii.
Romanian translations by Octavian Blaga and Florentin Smarandache
half an hour per pound and three-quarter hours more gas mark 6 middle of the oven don't forget the roast potatoes horse-chestnut stuffing goes down well oops wrong kind of goose? goes up well crowded bar on the way out just one finger make sure your mate is right behind you to catch the lefthand slap to the cheek look shocked walk out quickly do not look back better be a turkey
sharing breakfast with my son in the grease-spot I rock my feet to the sounds of a 30-year old top ten; Dylan, the Beatles, Elvis, the Rolling Stones, Tell Laura I Love Her. My son eats his beans tucks into his toast smiles at his dad knowing he’s happy if he’s happy. We drink up rush away to catch a train leaving the 60s a memory still ringing in our ears.
Autumn breezes blow coolly through City Centre Manchester; a peek-a-boo sun creates sparse warmth. The peace of Piccadilly Gardens is shattered by the presence of Gore & DeKoning’s Family Fun Fair; loud rock music drives away the pigeons; teenagers scream on the dodgems; children dance to the incipient beat. Queen Victoria surveys the buses that leave for Glossop or Stockport; she has her back to the noise; she is not amused.
The same formica-top tables; wood-grain-effect wallpaper lines the lower half of the walls the upper — emulsioned plaster-relief; the ceiling is polystyrene-tiled; in the centre a huge rotating fan; wall-brackets at intervals hold forty-watt bulbs that glow through plain, frilled lampshades; above each is a framed picture of Italy.
The young couple with four-week old Melanie remind me of how in love we were meeting here twenty-four years ago. They are drinking the same frothy coffee; nothing here has changed.
A sudden knock on the wooden door sends the dog leaping from one to another room against background of barking two men at the doorway talk about God and Satan witnessing to Jehovah The dog yaps the owner listens answers quietly neither agreeing nor arguing In a room upstairs his naked wife curls under satin sheets suppressing laughter Beaten but undefeated the men leave the door shuts the dog quietens the woman rises the man maintains his silence.