Held as an arc

Curved back, you keep me

Close by your side,

Caught the string


Tight. My every bone

Aches to the marrow,

Aims to please.


You pulled so fast,

My body craving,

Straining for release

Then the bow lets fly:


You loose me, like an arrow.

I am your aim’s device:

Now, watch me sing.




Sleeping on it


We never agreed to sleep on it:

Nobody does. Though we started

Turning over, sharing the sheets,

Only a faint light from the blinds

Watching over us, we never said

Good night.


Those words were nestled with us, vying

For presence: there with the alarm clock

We forgot to set, the washing up

We left downstairs, and a relative

We failed to call at all that day.


The faint warmth through the duvet

Pretended that you were still there, among

The other unspoken things.


Do you remember,

How despite ourselves, we slept and sighed,

Dreaming that we even dreamt in love;

In all those hours we failed to speak,

And the silence died.




(Don’t worry darling. Not my current mood.) 

Talking Points



Our language often, so it’s said,

Can tie its tongue or lose its head,

Or other body parts: remember

Words can dis-arm, and worse, dis-member.


Though consistency’s what we’re about

The sought-for thought falls through, throughout.

Dim gives “dimmed,” but swim gives “swum,”

Where skimming surely gives us skum.


We hardly seem to turn a corner

With our collective nouns for fauna.

For moose it’s moose, for goose it’s geese.

It really takes the octopeese.



The rules of the game are simple: try your hardest to speak English, and prepare to be corrected by everyone anyway. 

A bird in the hand is probably uncomfortable


Two birds of a feather,

When sharing it together,

Don’t get very far

And get chills in cold weather.


A bird in the hand

Is a thing I won’t stand:

Manhandling songbirds

Ought to be banned.


An apple a day

And a man wastes away.

He needs more than that

Underwhelming cliché.


And a double-edged sword

Is its own reward,

So long as you don’t

Go and bloody well cut yourself.






For Mother. I gave the best eulogy I could muster: the best I could strain to speak. 



As I take to the altar, look out

On all the faces who smiled for you, once.

The grief in my throat is

Knot-tight. I am barely

Gulping these words.

The scribbled paper rattles in my hands.

I’ve drank a glass full of dry air,

Cannot ease this constriction: it’s sunk

Down to where the stomach also

Holds its doubts and guards them

Jealously. Mother,

Brief though this stumbling is,

I am sorry I cannot give you

This eulogy entire, speak it out. I can only


In Possession


For Blair. 


To possess is to hold: and in that living grasp,

You hold me. How you hold me: in the same way

Quartz possesses healing properties,

It is said; holding its colour, its uneven

Shape, even when hewn into a sphere;

How memory possesses artifacts,

Stores them back at the old house, when everything

Was in its place and the heavy, long, low sunlight

Streamed across the photographs and quiet

Surfaces, capturing dust. Just as you

Hold onto me, this fond instant: forever

Here, in this long, last light; in possession.






As she makes her first gift to the brisk,

Cold, and patient water, she feels the kiss

Of the waves on her feet. She hears their voices, too.

She’s certain that she’s going mad, again.

My memory of her walks slowly out,

Away from me: across the fluent stream.

Now the hem of her dress is rising as it

Curtsies to the water: a gesture which

Betrays her. She defiantly had placed

Two stones in each pocket of her coat:

One for fear, and one for bravery.

I almost remember her: see, there she goes,

She strides towards an infinite, to free

Herself from him, and from her failing self:

Writing her death in the river. Her living ink

Billows out, clouds; and only gently pales,

Struggles at her heart, the neck, the lips,

Her silent mouth, her art now weighted down

By our waiting river, and a solemn gown of stones.



The death of Virginia Woolf, one of the most important writers in my life, has always haunted me. Do look up her biography, and please do read some of her works if you have yet to enjoy them.