Behind Beachy Head Eastbourne 1996
This downland scene,
Toothed into the sea,
Awash with the rolling
Tide of cloud shadow,
Open to the changing sky,
Hides its secrets well.
A herd of cattle is mysteriously halved;
Rooks, jackdaws and larks fill the air
With noise, yet remain invisible;
Distant rolling-stock catches the sun
To mark a route where none can be seen;
The dwellings of men appear deserted.
Stone was cut for those walls:
Greened by distant trees
The memory of trauma is obscured,
But there it is: a white-blocked scar
Curved in from the swell of land
And cut back;
A barren crescent on the yielding
But confident grass.
Scars become less defined with the years.
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LENDAL MAY York 1994
Where peacocks prowl
The roofs and empty streets
And crack the morning
With impatient cry;
make early birds of those
who slept with windows wide
this Spring-cum-Summer night by;
Where the dreaming and the waking
Meet between the sheets;
Where peals pre-matins joyous bell
And make the air expectant, full:
they ring the River's swell;
Where swifts outrace the currents
Shrieking their delight;
Where soon behind the gap-tooth walls
The paying guest will stir,
while tight within them
those with wings make squabble;
All these to the rousing peacock cries
will bring a flood of sound,
a company in sound,
full echo to the eye:
Dawn to the Minster
Sings the Glory!
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The dining-car where nothing significant happened. Finland 2005
I chased the woman with inconsequential gaze.
Though she travelled in reverse and I had advantage
in forward facing motion,
I could not catch her.
I was prepared, eager for everything that approached
with terrifying increase;
she could see, beyond my radius,
only what was passed,
and diminishing rapidly.
Ignoring, for a period, windows,
I could see that she
had already been
where I was to go,
wilfully forwards or backwards,
our direction mutual, inevitable,
and yet I will never see what she has seen.
In the turbulence of invisible forces
a flurry of thistledown,
captured by velocity and opportunity,
showed false signs of individual progress;
weightier presences came in, moved about,~
did things and then left – as I will, and she,
at some undetermined moment.
We all are bound for the same destination
by limited time and space;
on either side the view changes constantly
but it is all around only landscape.
Not perspective, nor understanding, nor
will can alter that
or change the outcome.
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DULCIMER Cambridge 1996
By the cold black rails of All Saint’s he plays
And hails the city with his song:
The ancient walls, echoing round
The golden notes,
In joy resound.
All magic struck
The delicate, dancing motes abound,
Bring sunlit warmth
To Winter streets,
Bring to all a dream unfound
In life; will change this drab,
This cold, this weary college town,
As if the heart of Raphael
And blessed with skill
The busker's ageing hand,
And blessÚd music, pure,
Poured like molten silver through,
And up, and all around,
And chased the streets with beauty.
And weary ears of Town and Gown,
Battered by their day,
Wake now! Wake now!
Wake now as the song,
Reclaims this frozen ground,
With flowers bright as Springtime air;
Now all who hear must praise the sound
Of Heaven's Dolcimelo.
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Thought for Today 1998
This morning, one after
National Poetry Day,
I wake with a sense of foreboding.
Where only hours past
The mood was all joy
That once in the year
Fine words were King:
a poet in the cabbages
barracking the market place;
chalk for the public to
expound upon flags;
comment on the radio
pages in the journals,
a giggle in the press;
Today the sky is gloomy,
The rain pours down;
The street is full of papers
Scattered by the wind;
Peeling from the windows,
Moulded to the branches,
Gathering in the gutters,
Slipping down the drain.
As I stoop to recover
These thoughts for a day,
My hand meets no resistance:
The meanings melt away.
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