The Song of the Snow



For whether winter comes, or not, the air

Turns white; and kisses comforts all goodbye.

This is the soft descent: there’s mercy, there,

That in this ice may even winter die.


I know that born this night were many deaths:

My faith in One is scattered. At His feast

I leave donations, meagre stockings out

For roofless others in the locking-out

Of eager souls; leave snowflakes for the rest,

And weep beside the cheery mantelpiece.


I pray the living share the lights they’ve got,

That softer gods still walk amongst the living:

And whether one believes in living God,

We’ll share a love of giving.





“wish you were now”



A postcard, wishing once that you were here:

and though I know you’re always there for me,

your thoughts have settled on another year.


I hold you in a tender memory,

hoping in this moment you might stay.

But you are centuries away.



“People do.”



The church rang out a passing toll,

A toll which rose to sixty-two.

He says, “Guns don’t kill people:

People do.”


He pats your head, and soothing all

Disquiet, bids the beasts adieu.

But monsters don’t eat people:

People do.


The curtains sigh. The nightlight fades,

Whilst something’s keeping watch on you.

But shadows don’t lurk under beds.

Their secrets do.


A mirror glimpse reveals the shades

Who seek you with an evil eye.

But mirrors don’t steal souls:

It’s we, who try.


You dreamt of gunshot, in the thrall

Of midnight: and its rings for you.

And people don’t kill people:

We just die.



I always found the adage, “Guns don’t kill people, people do,” cold comfort. You know what saves people? Firearms regulation. 



The Old Place



Ordinarily, the sun swerves the time across,

Slowly. A change of light may move the shadows.

Here, shadows turned the light:


The living room – in her absence, a strange epithet –

In which we filled in silent conversations

Like crossword blanks,


Where once she sat, she drew with a cigarette

The grey area: that my strength always lied

On the further side of frailness.


And from her, I only inherited cheekbones,

An empty decanter, and a tremendous

Love of weakness.




“When a Palestinian child draws a sky nowadays, he will not draw it without a helicopter.”




A single blob of sun, round as a thumbprint,

Yellow like headache against the blue.

Maybe a tree, a cloud of green, caught

By a thick brown arm, held like a fruit.

Overhead, a bird, perhaps, drones by

As innocent and commonplace as death.


And that thumb of sun, that yellow disc:

Its rays are propellers.




The title is a quote from Avi Dichter, former Israeli Minister of Internal Security. It is perhaps the most unsettling sentence I have read during my Masters degree in Security and Justice, thus far. 




Syrian Jewels



We thought that we’d found diamonds, in the sand:

Fragments without colour in the hand.


Only to discover, in the hard

White face of it, the daggers of a shard,


The blasted sand turned glass, its broken sift;

The firestorm leaving fractals of a gift.


The crater scorched the desert into mirror,

Death’s diamonds, mere reflections of their terror.