Monthly Archive: March 2015

Teddy’s cross

Teddy’s eyes were crossed
And they were just crosses
So everything she saw was a cross and crossed
And every cross she saw wasn’t.

A cross road was a road
Noughts and crosses was noughts
A hot crossed bun was a hot bun
And Jesus on the cross was just Jesus.

When Jesus saw this he was not cross
Because Jesus without a cross
Was like a teddy with cross eyes

The tall wood that waits to stir the dream.

As the train grazes the platform so the silver shadow fish alight
And the slam doors whisper shut
A tail of raincoats and brollies and thin leather cases
Of old boys and men and neat girls with wheel bags
And Sidiq and Sid and Toni and Jack
And him and them and all the travellers of the eighty three
Branching to left and right
As bucket sick minnows they spin off
Squeezing through shut gates, to step, a key, a front door opens, a sweet green light and her and
I am back home.

Inside the place is amber dim now.
Warm smells hang where air should be
And oaky voices purr the day’s news.
He sinks sofa deep in the living room
And she stands busy to see me
As it should be, in the kitchen, stood on sand, barefoot,
Uncomfortable, nervous, meek like warmed milk
Together we steam and skin.
I offer words but they smile and flick past as
We wait to stir the dream again.

I am alone on the steep rise.
The woods are near here and it is just night.
Through the crack of next door I see it
Across the garden lawn, past the beds
The tall wood waits.

In three steps I am there and night drops now.
The way through the wood wraps the story twice
I am here and the minnows are too
Talking to me like a choir, mouthing, I think,
To a recording I made today, fifty years ago.
Faces and voices I more than know
Still between the trees, still in years, still here, the still same, same.

Us two tiddlers then, outside and about
We dash off scuttling across to the bright sun side
Where the rake has turned the sand to thin ribs
Seared dry and chalky we can suck up the dust
Dragging it down deep like smoke.

These years in one breath
Melt in the mouth
I savour their silver scales like bells.
These new sprats are netted now
Glass jars too full to put down safely, they will drown in air
Best fed with crumbs one by one.
Each year another crumb until they are fat to burst then
Sick and spinning as before
Back into this wood and another track.

The boy is there again.
Blond with bubble cheeks he is cradled by her
She talks now or rather sings
Soft wool spills from her gills smothering him in silent songs
It’s me that hears nothing
As I only have eyes
And I more than know this fish of fifty years
Living in a glass jar
In the tall wood that waits to stir the dream.

A mushroom space

Inside we see a cluster of grubby youth sat in a mushroom space below a tree
Shading sinuous pipes that fold them in coils of creeping, aching want.

They walked there.
Flatting a way through someone’s field, who cares!
The seeds fly free unzipped from the sticky arrows of barley
That strike our bare legs and the brown stung skin of Alison.

She’s bold enough to walk and talk with us of nothing but to be
First, funniest, biggest, bravest, boyest of the lot.
She is our centre, we satellite her like the sun, our Apollo 11
She burns us with her hot scent and wet neck.

We are friends.
One girl three boys, drowning in young.
John loves her, I don’t.
Russell loves John, I don’t.

My role is Robin Hood.
Stealthy with willow whip stick I can cut through
The thorn bush tunnel that gates around our camp.
My men and the maid follow
the sprung briars slash at our dust dry eyes
She is proceeded, protected by little John and the loan of his glasses
Chivalry arms our quest into the full bowl of the wood.
No paths, no people, no dogs on leads allowed here
It’s too dense with the dead of the winter
Still cold and moss sick, no light except us can get in.

Inside we see a cluster of grubby youth sat in a mushroom space below a tree
Shading sinuous pipes that fold them in coils of creeping, aching want.

London summer

The street is sticky still from London rubber summer
we pass from one to another by red hot bus
like rolling bottles of warm pop we drop
from the other side of a sweat wet city
toward our home out east – passing the public baths
where we can lie thigh flat on white cold tiles
and drain away a day.


On the swing a tooth a string and …
Well a stupid thing to tie a sting on a tooth and
Swing swing swing till ping and…
Yippee blood and gum stung so strong and…
I blame her, it was her idea and
I went along with the wobbly plot and
She was nurse to me as mug open and…
What not again, what this time? and
I am not tying that on!

Gypsy eyes

There are these spots that rest waiting for us
Crowded with bright rings and crisp breezes
Too perfect for now they must be saved
Till later when we might fly in from here
And land like gypsies bright with pockets
Of sand to share as gold.

These spots fill and fade dull like us
Breezes ring hollow, empty and cease
These bubbles that hold our hopes raised
Burst as slow as liquid lead that spreads its dreary
Dusk until our eyes close and the sockets fill
With sand to share as gold.

(I seem to have got seriously addicted to the word ‘lead’ (the element Pb) – this is laziness and I must take steps to correct this inclination to repeat myself).

Green doors

These green doors are pasted here
Not hinged and nailed but painted by a photographers assistant with
Silver socks and a dull jacket of sepia trim and herring bone laced
With a knot not a bow whose summer Sunday’s are spent on a hill beyond the church
Staring at a breezeless birch set fine white like finger bone.
This is a grey skin village washed by coloured ink, the photographer’s hand
Traces the traces of our villager and dog whose cart turns green
Magics the shadow people at Munn’s to black Lowry lead.image