Flood Siren

Waist deep in the opaque
Cobbles felt, unseen
Sheeting rain and the memory
of a streetlight

Malodorous and viscous
Shouted vowels on a hectoring wind
Startled struggles and calls
of homeless birds

Orange bounces on battered windows
Buildings shaken to chestnut husks
and the siren song of warning
wails the hills awake

Shadows tarry in the night
Unseen damage weighs the lives
and lines against our stars
that blink on blindly
as we slack jawed and humble
count ourselves among the cost

Flying (In Memoriam)

I lit a candle in an eastern Church for you
It’s not what you would have wanted I know
Sombre cathedral fresco’s and silent marble tombs
Surrounded me and yet I wished I had your noise
You went on at length, and by god I wish you’d go on now
You knew the laws of thermodynamics
The value of Pi and could still talk about football
With more alacrity than most
I remember you with a pint of something friendly
Us clinking glasses in a hilltop beer garden
We had our lands and lives stretched out before us
But I never knew your horizon could be so near

I promise you we’ll be there
For the people left behind
We will hold on to one another and cry
And then laugh and smile and remember you forever
I’ll never see another skateboard
Without thinking then of you my friend
And wishing I’d seen more of you
In those times you must have felt so free
Someone put online a video
Of you racing through the wind
And while I never saw it for myself in person
I can at least now say I’ve finally seen you fly

They Talk of Dunkirk

They talk still of Dunkirk, as if they stood on that beech
And if they did we all know, they’d be crying for their mums
They talk of a spirit long since gone, of glory days and beseech
us back to the Blitz and why, so we might raise our guns?
at an enemy of their invention, to spare their blushes if they can
and then set sail on a sea of fiction, on a boat of workers toil
To disembark in a land of plenty, bend the knee at an orange man
and follow him onward into folly, in another search for oil
These hazy days, these lazy days of an England from the past
from the misty misrememberings of a gentry somehow still around
are a myth, a fantasy, and illusion to the working class
Our labour still gives them their leisure, with which they chase the fox with hound
Talk no more to me of greatness, of this nation being reborn
bring down the jackboot on me, and sound your hunters horn.


Between the subtlety of feathers
And the violence of a stone
Humanity it gathers
Shivering and alone
Between an intake of your breath
And the sentence that you speak
Is all of life right up to death
And the forgiveness that we seek

Between the arc of the horizon
And the spot on which you stand
Is the space you keep your eyes on
And the future that you planned
Between the destiny that’s fated
And where you did all you can
Lies a dream that’s been sedated
By the callous hand of man.

Time’s Failure

Doom chooses not the man on which it falls
Yet all too often it’s grief laden wing descends
The feathered shade and bleaker carrion call
Past which our light can neither break nor bend
Covers those left behind alone here with their guilt
Carved roughly into their collective pallor’d face
Afraid to move for fear that they might wilt
They hate the god who did this, fuck him and his grace
Turn any direction and only pity meets their eyes
The kind knows not how to hurt nor heal
Just placid, lifeless pity of the unknowing and unwise
Such sympathy is rootless, flightless and unreal
The fragility of life is all too easy to forget
When you’re young and drunk and being the bar room bore
But with greyness in your hair, and a head of half-regret
For the pain of loss we are but lost, and time will never be a cure

How many

Memories are dust
Caught hovering in the morning light
Above these last night’s sweated sheets
Whisper and watch them whirl
Like a scattering shoal of tuna
As the gaping maw of a sperm whale
Comes careering into view
That breath hangs there
Paralysed with redundancy
Gone with nothing but a wonder
Of how many breaths are left
How many blinks
Heartbeats, gulps
Meals, drinks, football matches
Films, music,
Successes and failures
How many?
And how good?

Lighting Candles

I lit a candle and its tears smoked skyward
Its kicking flame alive to an unheard beat
Is a step beyond a step back or forward?
When you reached the end, did you feel complete?
A glance up and nothing but a roof
Of hammer-beam and solid oak
A smell of incense and a hope of truth
In the words they say the lord once spoke
But doubt lays heavy in the mind
And I question the point of all this hurt
Why am I giving my body and time
To stand here in this empty church
To celebrate the soul of you now gone
To a place unfathomable or just not!
I remain here, where you came from
Thinking about what I’ve no longer got
But this charade is what we humans do
We mourn and miss and moan and cry
Grief will always be some other hue
Until the colour that we see, on the day we finally die