Wednesday, 12 March 2014


For Marcus Cumberlege


It took me sixty-five years of busyness

Before I saw I need do nothing,

And in making no effort

Found I was busy doing,


And in learning to draw like a child

I had to unlearn all my schooling,

But in unlearning I first had to inhale

The afternoon stink of the classroom.


Truly, for everything there is a season

And every season will give way to the next,

But a sudden hopeful breeze can sweep away

Any heap of leaves and reveal the raw earth beneath.



Saturday, 8 March 2014


'And so by night and day to be transported

Through galleried earth…, the only relict

Of all that I belonged to, hurtled forward…’

Seamus Heaney ‘District and Circle’


How they looked unlike anything on earth

And how, when the young sailors came by

With their blunderbusses, fight or flight

Kicked in, but they couldn’t fly so tried to

Totter off on awkward feet until effaced

By what was unlike them with straighter prettier

Legs, clean cut jaws and shining blue eyes.


Each day the cyclists flash by in the rigour of

Their lycra, intent on their apps, while

Each night, awake, still processing, we

Lie, join hands and look up at that internal

Sky where they’re still showing reels

Of our earlier crueller mishaps, our old

Clumsy gait, our stupid, flaccid faces