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.

 

 

 

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“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.