Stephen Robertson

Slanting Lines

Concordance

This concordance provides an index to every word in the poems, excluding a list of common "stopwords".  It may be useful in finding a half-remembered poem, and perhaps in looking at the usage of words in the poems as a whole.  It will be readable only on a large screen.

S

argant, botanist // (Girton student 1880
s ) // builds a lab in her garden // in Reigate, on her way to // recog
irst the bad news, then the good: // it'
s cancer; but it hasn’t spread.  // No balance here.  The bad // is bad
ee, // five, eight.  But // “Fibonacci”’
s four— // not a Fibonacci number.  // Time?  // No!  // No time // for t
shock Mountains; Shippegan Island; Cape
Sable // bays; harbours // One to one million two hundred and fifty th
ragon, flying low, // will seek a human
sacrifice , // far away and long ago.  // A handsome prince will boldly
al public benefit’s not even there.”  //
Sadiq says “The Boris’s vanity project has // gone off the rails.  I’m
m business is not keeping pace) // —but
Sadiq the Most Evil deposes poor Boris, and // gets the Red Margaret t
s fast as breath allows us, not to feel
safe // until inside the house.) // The bracken spreads across a gentl
rby town they settled down // on purple
sage to lie.  // A Cheshire cat accosted them, // then walked his wild
s inspiration is not mine // (the apple
said ).  //
Whipped wide awake by what the thunder
said // flashes silhouette the trees against the blind.  // A storm is
Whipped wide awake by what the thunder
said , // flashes silhouette the trees against the blind.  // Night-time
s stuff to the floor— // splatter!  // I
said more!  More!  More!  // A plate to the floor— // shatter!  //
The apple
said // Of course we’d like to understand // the stars and planets ove
dreamt // just slipped away.  // What it
said , or what it meant // I cannot say.  // Rainbow-bright, or black an
whipped wide awake by what the thunder
said .  // Rain rattles on the rooftiles overhead // and beats against t
in nineteen thirty three, the newsprint
said .  // The previous occupant, known as Mister Gray, // (easier than
relation to the bad.  // The chances are
said // to be good.  That’s good // enough, I suppose.  // Somewhere de
as actions close at hand // (the apple
said ), // to comprehend the universe // both in the large and in the s
// December sounds // What the thunder
said // Under canvas // In hospital // Voices far across the valley so
rrors // One Friday morning when we set
sail // and our ship not far from land // (Navigation was always a dif
generations // of fishermen and trading
sailors // ply back and forth overhead.  Was I carried for trade?  // O
e swell // Way-hay, blow us away // The
sails clatter as we roll // Give me some wind to blow us away // Horiz
Becalmed // Run all the
sails up the mast // Way-hay, blow us away // But we are bound for now
e it some taxpayer funding, and get old
saint // George of the Chancel to throw in some too.”  // So the projec
ace, so pay // a cosy Apple // app, coy
sale .  // Aye, cops lap // a clay pope’s // soapy place.  // So apply, a
red boat listing on the mudflat.  // The
salt -marsh, the sedge and the samphire, // the oyster-catcher, the egr
otects // a calmer green oasis, band of
salt -marsh // where barn-owls hunt their prey.  But not for long // —i
he scents the sea-winds bring // In the
saltmarsh channels water rises // Hear the marsh-birds calling // to t
// Clearance time.  What can I possibly
salvage // from all this?  //
t age // has passed.  What should // we
salvage from it, what burn, // what reconstruct and // what re-imagine
t.  // The salt-marsh, the sedge and the
samphire , // the oyster-catcher, the egret, the gliding gull.  // What
ondike in 1896, in order to make proper
San Francisco bread, prospectors would carry with them their sourdough
pale sky encounters dark sea.  // On the
sand , a scattering of razor shells // that would be sharp if our toes
meral, built // not only on, but of, //
sand .  All along the foreshore, // the remains of trees // that once g
tiny softness.  // Softness crawls over
sand and rock // in filtered blue light, // carrying hardness with it.
n reach up the foreshore, // the banked
sand and shingle, perhaps // (when the tide is high enough) // as far
e hills // each iteration // shifts the
sand , carves the coastline // into something new //
ar away, the churn // of waves upon the
sand .  Eastwards we turn, // along the open beach, in rich sea air.  //
r the marsh-birds calling // the drying
sand with muddy spots bespeckled.  // Breath the scents the sea-winds b
-winds bring // of the mudflats and the
sandbanks .  Listing // Hear the marsh-birds calling // boats are stran
sy bank that is // the cliff.  A narrow
sandy beach past which // the falling tide reveals the deep black mud
e far bank // of the next bend, another
sandy beach // to reach by boat.  That place we call Japan: // against
can be climbed // inside) mark out the
sandy /grassy bank that is // the cliff.  A narrow sandy beach past whi
des, centuries // have I lain upon this
sandy seafloor?  // I cannot now recall.  // Up there are storms and cal
be moonshine // Fin de siècle.  // Ethel
Sargant , botanist // (Girton student 1880s) // builds a lab in her gar
t works in basement // Tickets for Once
Sat night—check time // Tickets to Glasgow 6th-7th // Camera in bag fo
// On waters of the creek as smooth as
satin , // drifting or paddling gently side by side, // through clear a
nancy’s blushes // drop cloth, slipper
satin , worsted // dimity, blazer, babouche // borrowed light, dimpse,
t // Grow face fa-cai thick soup.  // XO
sauce explodes to grow the fragile bone.  // The peasant family stir-fr
r-fries four // Butterfish cooked to no
sauce .  // Young flourishing bowl bowl shrimp // Do a boiler burn the d
Notes to a life // Milk //
Sausages or chops // Veg—broccoli?  // Some fruit // Present for C—book
tallow, vardo // cromarty, ringwold or
savage ground // smoked trout, wevet, bone, calamine // lichen, brinja
e amount of water you need as this will
save electricity. // Always make sure that the lid is prope
ones you ate straight off the bush are
saved forever).  // At the end of summer, and in the first mists // or
and bolts and screws and hooks // were
saved from all sorts of deconstructed // objects: defunct household ga
Fragment // I could not see what he
saw ; but I saw him see // across the criss-cross checks and grids and
t // I could not see what he saw; but I
saw him see // across the criss-cross checks and grids and patterned l
the street.  I could not see // what he
saw …  // Inspired?  Why should such a mundane scene // so briefly glimp
r shades of grey— // the colours that I
saw last night // just slipped away.  // Through passages or corridors
sive summer holidays, // we chopped and
sawed and dug and then set fire to // the produce of our labours.  // A
ch—the cuts and holes and scars // from
saws and hammers and screwed-on wood- // and metal-working vices added
re twittering.  The twain // with anglo-
saxon attitudes // then to Caerphilly came.  // They lingered long in L
ezed out tube of toothpaste // that the
saxophonist left behind.  // This is the heat-death of the universe; //
they // just slipped away— // I cannot
say .  //
ving.  // Did I give enough?  // I cannot
say .  //
wear to tread.  I’ll wear not what men
say .  //
ds, new friends did I meet?  // I cannot
say .  // And when we parted, did we say // our last goodbyes, or maybe
, still // to find a way.  // I hear you
say , // “But life is for the living, do not kill // another day.”  // A
missing.  // I don’t know quite what to
say .  // It seems that there must be some rotter // who’s sneaking our
very well in their place // —in muesli,
say , or maybe Christmas cake, // or more appropriately, Suliman’s pila
nnot say.  // And when we parted, did we
say // our last goodbyes, or maybe they // just slipped away— // I can
t it said, or what it meant // I cannot
say .  // Rainbow-bright, or black and white, // or autumn hues, or shad
at carpets, rugs or floors?  // I cannot
say .  // The houses, and their rooms and halls // and whether it was ni
ood or ill, // another day.  // I cannot
say // whether I have the necessary skill // to find a way.  // And now
always made love with his shirt on.  //
Saying “Now that I’m old, // I do feel the cold— // and my breathing i
inst another softness // and soft voice
says // I can hear the sea.  //
wide.  // There is much sense in what he
says .  // No voices in the almost-silence that I hear, // the soft subl
// In her very own month of May // she
says “Now’s the time—fix the day.  // You dance to my tune, // I’ll lea
lic benefit’s not even there.”  // Sadiq
says “The Boris’s vanity project has // gone off the rails.  I’m not s
wide— // there is much sense in what he
says , // through these ideas he makes a worthy guide; // his voice is
its.  // At home, two days later, // she
says to her dad // “Judith is a painter, isn’t she?”  // Yes.  // “Then
Another dial, // from a stand-on weight
scale .  A device // for demonstrating electricity to children: // a wo
ard from Japan whose verses never would
scan , adds an extra list.  // As we* reach the sixth and seventh period
eat cogwheels grind.  // They peer, they
scan , they scrape, they test, they sound; // they write their notes, i
s.  // Upstream again to clamber Gordale
Scar // and rest, and breathe some more the cool clear air.  // Beyond
To gaze down on the ruins gray // That
scar remote Shalott.  // In the duck-weed-smothered edges // Skinny rat
d the hook to recover the net.  // You’d
scarcely bet he’d swallow a net.  // He swallowed the net to trap the h
erfect workbench—the cuts and holes and
scars // from saws and hammers and screwed-on wood- // and metal-worki
is changed // utterly.  And I have the
scars // to prove it.  // Blitz.  The heavy bombers, lighter now, // ar
eople have // funeral pyres.) Later we
scatter the ashes // in a wild part of the old South London cemetery. 
sitting, lying all around // in bags or
scattered on the ground // waiting to be found.  // Waiting for declens
ion // of the image that inspired it: a
scattering // of people in a city street, shop-window-browsing.  // A g
encounters dark sea.  // On the sand, a
scattering of razor shells // that would be sharp if our toes were bar
// Along the margins waders // scutter,
scavenge —redshank, // godwit, curlew—long // beaks probing deep // ben
r-wrack, // long-legged waders scutter,
scavenge , seek // their winter sustenance.  Out in the bay // a seal w
some small additions.  And it becomes a
scene , a group of people in evening dress, top hats and the like, appr
// And the artist who is showing us the
scene // —does he know what it is she sees?  The frame // he chose has
// Inspired?  Why should such a mundane
scene // so briefly glimpsed, make my muse suggest // just three allit
e, scraping the window.  // That waft of
scent ?  A malodourous revenant?  // Don’t be silly, that’s just the bin
// Curtained parlour.  Send a letter.  //
Scented paper, dip-pen, ink.  // Branch post office, penny stamp.  // I
s are searching, finding.  // Breath the
scents the sea-winds bring //
t their stations, waiting // Breath the
scents the sea-winds bring // as the rising waters reach and lift them
uns headlong for the bar, // Breath the
scents the sea-winds bring // becomes a trickle.  On the soft, recedin
ushing strongly townward.  // Breath the
scents the sea-winds bring // In the saltmarsh channels water rises //
of the sea-grass—pauses, // Breath the
scents the sea-winds bring // makes another lingering turn, begins //
it has lost, reoccupation // Breath the
scents the sea-winds bring // of the mudflats and the sandbanks.  List
stant sea-swell rock them // Breath the
scents the sea-winds bring // straining at their lines.  The bows face
the way it came, regains // Breath the
scents the sea-winds bring // the channel, turns the boats around once
e waves are washing over.  // Breath the
scents the sea-winds bring // The tide begins its steady, slow accreti
h muddy spots bespeckled.  // Breath the
scents the sea-winds bring // The trickle slackens, changes in the har
d then // to marry me.  Son develops //
schizophrenia .  // After G’s death, a chance // for something new: mig
rgei Prokofiev and Carl Orf // still at
school // Aaron Copland and Kurt Weill // in their cots // William Wal
chosen the music for the ceremony // —a
Schubert piano piece.) // Standing around the Cambridge crematorium, /
e or season of the year // we listen to
Schubert’s Trout Quintet.  // Listening to Schubert’s Trout Quintet //
hubert’s Trout Quintet.  // Listening to
Schubert’s Trout Quintet // the slow movement is of course the second.
s.  // Papaya, melon: // pole-to-pole //
scoop out the mushy core.  // Mango: // find the flat sides of the ston
’s // soapy place.  // So apply, ace:  //
scope a play // apocalypse.  //
many miles to Barnard Castle?  // Three
score , out/return // Can I go there, with my eyesight?  // Yes, with fu
ed and sixteen thousand eight hundred: 
Scotland // Dufftown; Deeside; Dumfries // roads; villages // One to s
e valley, with // Derwent behind me and
scrambles ahead of me.  // Out of the pastures and onto the fell side,
ls grind.  // They peer, they scan, they
scrape , they test, they sound; // they write their notes, interpret wh
he bottom of the barrel // the sound of
scraping has ceased.  // This drain germinates here.  //
at’s just a branch of the tree outside,
scraping the window.  // That waft of scent?  A malodourous revenant?  /
eks later, British Rail’s plans // were
scrapped and redesigned.  The house still stands.) //
-catchers, gulls // compete for surface
scraps .  The beach is good // for all.  The redshanks, godwits, curlew
es // legs itch // must get on // first
scratch // clothes on // spell broken // sleep gone // in motion // su
red years of whitewash.  // We wire from
scratch , // plumb, strip everything: // wallpaper from walls, // diste
o pilfer // the clusters beyond, adding
scratches // to the stains already covering your fingers // and your p
Rationale // That
scratching ?  A poltergeist behind the skirting?  // Don’t be silly, tha
ts // which will drag us // kicking and
screaming of course // but maybe also wailing and gnashing our teeth /
rdale Ramble, traversing a // difficult
scree but then joining an easier // path with spectacular views over B
them when // finding my way through the
scree so much earlier.  // Later, much later, I limp into harbour.  My
more the cool clear air.  // Beyond the
scree the open path leads on, // a gentler walk, to bare bleak Malham
gent // Bulbs for kitchen lights—CS 60W
screw ???—check first // Cash m/c // Washing // Plan finances—get advis
les, cuphooks, clouts // masonry nails,
screw -eyes, picture hooks // wallplugs, rivets, self-tapping metal scr
and scars // from saws and hammers and
screwed -on wood- // and metal-working vices added to those // caused b
ear beta, gamma, delta connection // is
screwed up by a zeta factor // in ways that I can neither // control n
whistling down the wind // not as in //
screwing up your courage // putting up resistance // throwing up earth
les.  Washers // and nuts and bolts and
screws and hooks // were saved from all sorts of deconstructed // obje
carpenter) as a child // for nails and
screws .  At some more ordered // stage of my life (certainly long befo
/ wallplugs, rivets, self-tapping metal
screws , // rubber tap washers and fibre sealing rings.  // The jars han
tacks, panel pins, ovals and round; //
Screws : small, size 6, size 8, large.  // Beside it stands another of m
a letter.  // Fresh clay tablet, stylus,
scribe .  // Entrust to messenger.  // I love you.  // Flowing Nile.  Send
the apple clusters sway, // the clouds
scud past, // maybe catch // close enough to make you jump, or far awa
isted limbs // shed leaves with perfect
sculpted edges.  // A bramble sends great arcing shoots, // strong curv
Sculpting the vortex // Jacob’s Rock Drill pierces through the brain /
her.  Just for example:  Judith Shea’s
sculpture in the Hirschhorn in Washington, close to a version of Rodin
the sea.  // Along the margins waders //
scutter , scavenge—redshank, // godwit, curlew—long // beaks probing de
he bladder-wrack, // long-legged waders
scutter , scavenge, seek // their winter sustenance.  Out in the bay //
/ and soft voice says // I can hear the
sea .  //
est and moor // from sea to mountain to
sea //
adows, // from a spring it flows to the
sea .  //
turn, // along the open beach, in rich
sea air.  // Look up, look up, my love—the sky is calling.  // Dark shap
e creek // is draining back towards the
sea .  // Along the margins waders // scutter, scavenge—redshank, // god
k // is draining back again towards the
sea .  // Along the muddy margins, in the lee // of the sea-wall, around
/ Empty spiral hardness rests // on the
sea -bed.  Forever?  // Another, rougher softness, // but with sharp cla
y shorelines tumbling under the sky.  //
Sea -birds, pond-birds, dippers, warblers, song-birds, // waders, hunte
ing stream // rambling moor // changing
sea // blue sea // silver lake // purple moor // green forest // clear
r // deep lake // high mountain // wide
sea // close forest // by lake and stream // by forest and moor // fro
sh-birds calling // to the edges of the
sea -grass—pauses, // Breath the scents the sea-winds bring // makes an
sideshow: all the while // the crafty
sea is also digging down // beneath the piles.  Then one stormy night
Shingle Street // The
sea is never still.  Even in my sleep // I hear the ground-swell gentl
maybe two or three metres above // mean
sea level.  // And where’s that, when it’s at home?  // It’s a level tha
A cloppy
sea // Lose pay cap, // O palace spy.  // Lay pop case // plea as copy.
atural too: // pale sky encounters dark
sea .  // On the sand, a scattering of razor shells // that would be sha
ark forest // flashing stream // bright
sea // rugged moor // sharp mountain // still lake // resting lake //
/ rambling moor // changing sea // blue
sea // silver lake // purple moor // green forest // clear stream // g
-birds calling // echoes of the distant
sea -swell rock them // Breath the scents the sea-winds bring // strain
y mountain // jagged mountain // choppy
sea // swirling stream // smooth lake // dense forest // rough moor //
red-year forest // hundred-million-year
sea // ten-thousand-year lake // thousand-year stream // narrow stream
that run // between the marshes and the
sea .  The sun // is low ahead of us, the sky is clear.  // Across the w
nd stream // by forest and moor // from
sea to mountain to sea //
its end, where must it flee?  // To the
sea .  // Tumbling through rocks with rainbow spray, // coursing the str
the muddy margins, in the lee // of the
sea -wall, around the bladder-wrack, // long-legged waders scutter, sca
low us away // Adrift the middle of the
sea // Way-hay, blow us away // And there is nothing here for me // Gi
hing, finding.  // Breath the scents the
sea -winds bring //
tions, waiting // Breath the scents the
sea -winds bring // as the rising waters reach and lift them // Hear th
g for the bar, // Breath the scents the
sea -winds bring // becomes a trickle.  On the soft, receding // Hear t
ngly townward.  // Breath the scents the
sea -winds bring // In the saltmarsh channels water rises // Hear the m
-grass—pauses, // Breath the scents the
sea -winds bring // makes another lingering turn, begins // Hear the ma
, reoccupation // Breath the scents the
sea -winds bring // of the mudflats and the sandbanks.  Listing // Hear
well rock them // Breath the scents the
sea -winds bring // straining at their lines.  The bows face seaward //
came, regains // Breath the scents the
sea -winds bring // the channel, turns the boats around once more // He
washing over.  // Breath the scents the
sea -winds bring // The tide begins its steady, slow accretion // Hear
ts bespeckled.  // Breath the scents the
sea -winds bring // The trickle slackens, changes in the harbour; // He
enturies // have I lain upon this sandy
seafloor ?  // I cannot now recall.  // Up there are storms and calms, //
ess makes fish cake.  // Fried kind’s of
seafood in monolith // Do the crispy bean curd of boiler, // Blow up a
winter sustenance.  Out in the bay // a
seal watches us, then flips away, // dives deep, leaving behind a swir
screws, // rubber tap washers and fibre
sealing rings.  // The jars hang from their lids, nailed to // the shel
ollowing day.  // Of shoes and ships and
sealing wax, // and such great themes as these, // talking they walked
on’t notice them at all: the journey is
seamless // and, in truth, a little dull.  // From Brussels by local tr
r all.  The redshanks, godwits, curlews
search // for hidden treasure, long beaks buried full // to probe deep
.  // When are they likely to send out a
search party?  // Probably not until well after dark has come.  // Shoul
calling // water’s edge, the birds are
searching , finding.  // Breath the scents the sea-winds bring //
finger-fiddling // stroking, tickling,
searching in—but // there was an old man called Michael Finnegan— // t
Kirgiz Step; Karakoram Ra // countries;
seas // One to ten million:  Middle East // Bam Posht; Badiyat ash Sha
ittle // across so many alien lands and
seas // some people have some nasty new disease.  // They seem to want
anas Trench, Macquarie Ridge, Mendocino
Seascarp // the shape of the world // One to thirty million:  Eurasia
left behind for us to ponder, // in any
season .  //
in the hedgerows // no matter what the
season of the year.  // At any time or season of the year // we listen
e season of the year.  // At any time or
season of the year // we listen to Schubert’s Trout Quintet.  // Listen
The Lieder // a rondeau // In any
season , some young man will wander // along the byways, thoughts tragi
ging, dreams pervade the path // in any
season .  // The author, he whose life the fates would squander— // such
bb and flow, each moonphase // and each
season (the navigation buoys must needs // be relocated every spring,
own and fired, // crops are watered.  //
Seasons and years are counted and timed.  // Philosophies are aired, //
e sleepless nights, more dreams // more
seasons bleeding into seasons.  // Just not so many more.  //
re dreams // more seasons bleeding into
seasons .  // Just not so many more.  //
omptly, busily, without rising from her
seat , makes everyone shuffle up in order to allow Judith to sit down. 
aged New York woman, sitting on a bench
seat , observes the situation, and promptly, busily, without rising fro
Judith and me standing as there are no
seats ; she is 4 or 5 months pregnant at the time.  A tiny middle-aged
training at their lines.  The bows face
seaward // Hear the marsh-birds calling // against the current pushing
n in winter, on the ramparts // looking
seaward , sun behind us, low, // yellow light-beams almost horizontal;
t // the slow movement is of course the
second .  // Of course we should move slowly for some seconds.  // No, mo
e top of the table is sparse, but every
second period or layer, // like the bard from Japan whose verses never
ng between them // or down to earth.  //
Seconds later, over the drumming rain, // a sharp wall of sound.  // La
f course we should move slowly for some
seconds .  // No, more than that.  Maybe for a day— // even more maybe—f
lower into coloured flesh // and hide a
secret inside.  // Feel the air.  Turn in the four winds.  Broadcast the
cut an apple // equatorially // see its
secret : // the apple is a five-pointed fruit.  //
.  Turn in the four winds.  Broadcast the
secret // to earth, as far away as it will go.  Let the browns // and r
andering through the marsh // carve out
sections of bank // leaving sharp cliffs of compacted mud.  // Evening.
ivided each drawer // into four or more
sections , with plywood strips // carefully cut and glued.  And labelle
on the mudflat.  // The salt-marsh, the
sedge and the samphire, // the oyster-catcher, the egret, the gliding
ould not see what he saw; but I saw him
see // across the criss-cross checks and grids and patterned lattices
he opens it ever so wide // and you can
see all the junk inside. // grey John Major // surely had a wager // t
unwrapping till it’s // light enough to
see .  // Below the bulges, // not yet decipherable, // orange and penny
beta up with mu and lambda.  // I can’t
see clearly:  I’ll need to wander // some way in that direction to det
sement // —the real crematorium— // and
see her consigned to the flames.  // (I completely understand why peopl
y line.  // With a terse verse form, you
see , // I can get along just fine.  // But seven feet!  I must admit th
ound me // where I stood for all men to
see ?  // I cannot now recall.  // Cities flourish and decay.  In forgott
roup of firs // —the kind you sometimes
see in lines across // the Suffolk countryside, each tall bare trunk /
ide the picture frame.  // What does she
see ?  Is there something there?  // Some object or event which holds he
once // cut an apple // equatorially //
see its secret: // the apple is a five-pointed fruit.  //
ee // reminds us of so much we’ll never
see .  // Life and death are two, and now are one: // no perfectability
Random walk // Looking backwards, I can
see // mistily, the shape of things: // the steps which, added up, con
f the ranks ahead.  // But mostly, I can
see // only the back // of the one immediately in front.  // The wind i
t does it look like from the inside?  //
See that blue-green ball of stuff? // —spinning around one of the hot
k-clack.  // First we go to the front to
see // the engine, wheels bigger than me— // a great big monster, stea
/ I was probably driving too fast // to
see the flowers in the hedgerows.  // We love the flowers in the hedger
beech, but green // (I think that I can
see the nuts it sheds) // on the grove’s outer edge, contains our own
with a comb and a glass in her hand.  //
See the pretty girl in that mirror there— // Who can that attactive gi
m (which will never be fashionable).  //
See the slime on it?  // Wonder if I can get it to do // anything remot
And the noise.  // A few ranks ahead, I
see them // rearing up, up, turning over // and hear them crashing dow
trangely, though, not sex but fire).  //
See this: // the large, dilapidated country house // that is my mother
to reach // tried to recall // tried to
see // tried to sleep // tried to speak // tried to think // tried to
Fragment // I could not
see what he saw; but I saw him see // across the criss-cross checks an
distance down the street.  I could not
see // what he saw…  // Inspired?  Why should such a mundane scene // s
s garden laid // —Nurturing the wayward
seed , // Planting out this cabbage-bed— // She was once a lady’s maid
dience hear it spoken aloud rather than
seeing it on the page they will certainly know it.  //
ove enough? use every day?  // Days for
seeing you in different ways.  // Days enough for giving and receiving.
// A wingéd dragon, flying low, // will
seek a human sacrifice, // far away and long ago.  // A handsome prince
at down // Way-hay, blow us away // And
seek out any shade we can // Give me some wind to blow us away // Now
e mile or two // to the village shop to
seek supplies // becomes a daily ritual.  // After the floods of fifty-
/ long-legged waders scutter, scavenge,
seek // their winter sustenance.  Out in the bay // a seal watches us,
ong curves lined with jagged thorns, //
seeking new ground to conquer.  // Spiders’ webs among the undergrowth.
cut us off // from continental flow //
seem more like butchers working rough.  // The light is going now.  // H
ction.  // Once in a while, though, they
seem // to switch a gear, and take a lurch // at some acute, unmeasure
le have some nasty new disease.  // They
seem to want our help, but they can whistle // as well for wind: we ca
well; // the end, the moment life just
seemed to drain // away from you, in those last days of pain, // anoth
both lines crossed an edge, // and two
seemed to twist into one, // right there, beneath the bridge.  // If we
Fire // My sign is Aries.  Though it
seems a poor // fit for me, it is at least a Fire.  // The others too I
.  // But seven feet!  I must admit that
seems exceeding wide, // as if to start out on a voyage, a full round-
// a semi-stanza—and then to cease?  It
seems // perverse—the more because the fellow // was not wearing glass
/ I don’t know quite what to say.  // It
seems that there must be some rotter // who’s sneaking our cushions aw
housand or maybe a million years, // it
seems to be acting // not in its own best interests.  // Too bad.  // Fi
rises a mile into the air // (or so it
seems to me), to crash back down— // you must be nimble.  // Later we d
: // probably malignant.  // ‘Malignant’
seems too strong a word.  // I’m sure it doesn’t really want // to kill
messages // and talked to relatives not
seen for years.  // It had to be, but it was not the memory we needed. 
n).  // But of course that is not so.  //
Seen from here, the future is changed // utterly.  And I have the scar
e line till you squint // with the cold
seeping into each joint, // it must be insane // to expect that a trai
the lamp on the landing it’s spilling,
seeping // under the door, // sending delicate tendrils far, // invadi
h after painting some woodwork.  Judith
sees something in the shapes, and using a charcoal stick, makes some s
e scene // —does he know what it is she
sees ?  The frame // he chose has cut us off from looking at // the foc
oto gives Labour a // cardiovascular //
seismic event.  //
l // Lies fast upon the land so ill.  //
Seldom now the skylark’s trill; // No longer do the people fill // The
// [make up an eight-syllable] beat.  //
Selec - // tions will do // for five, three and two.  // But for the two
es, picture hooks // wallplugs, rivets,
self -tapping metal screws, // rubber tap washers and fibre sealing rin
call // a halt to worry, and agreed to
sell // for demolition, move to Camberwell.  // (Two weeks later, Briti
t three alliterative lines—at best // a
semi -stanza—and then to cease?  It seems // perverse—the more because
Stages // Hanging garden. 
Send a letter.  // Fresh clay tablet, stylus, scribe.  // Entrust to mes
rner box.  // I love you.  // Wi-fi café. 
Send a letter.  // Laptop, plug in power socket.  // Click to send.  // I
senger.  // I love you.  // Flowing Nile. 
Send a letter.  // New papyrus, brush and ink.  // Command a messenger. 
tamp.  // I love you.  // Papered bedsit. 
Send a letter.  // Pad of paper, ballpoint pen.  // Find a stamp, street
r.  // I love you.  // Draughty hall.  Now
send a letter.  // Parchment, new quill pen, and ink.  // Employ a messe
r.  // I love you.  // Curtained parlour. 
Send a letter.  // Scented paper, dip-pen, ink.  // Branch post office,
ptop, plug in power socket.  // Click to
send .  // I love you.  //
e hours now.  // When are they likely to
send out a search party?  // Probably not until well after dark has com
he waters, // explore the earth, // and
send signal fires // blazing into the air.  // Our space is the earth,
it was the railway // that contrived to
send us on our way.  // British Rail announced that it would sink // a
spilling, seeping // under the door, //
sending delicate tendrils far, // invading the inky darkness, keeping
th perfect sculpted edges.  // A bramble
sends great arcing shoots, // strong curves lined with jagged thorns,
Another
senior moment // Pocket.  // No.  No?  No.  // Other pocket?  // No.  // J
lively, gestures wide.  // There is much
sense in what he says.  // No voices in the almost-silence that I hear,
lively, gestures wide— // there is much
sense in what he says, // through these ideas he makes a worthy guide;
xt door.  // Responses muted, though the
sense is raw, // to questions orderly, while exuding care.  // Voices f
ri’s pieces rattle too and shake // our
sense of part and whole, netsuke-like.  // Bird and fish are two, and n
but to close // an open sore, renew our
sense of // time, rebuild the day.  //
o perfectability except our own.  // His
senseless trenches death at twenty three // reminds us of so much we’l
scent moon // some cryptic rune.  // The
senses fly.  // It’s Jan, not June.  // Back home soon // warm and dry. 
sh: // a shooting star.  // To the sharp
senses , nature has many sharp lines.  //
rce of danger // a wolf crouches // his
senses tingling, too.  // Around them, the flowers bloom and wither //
away, a sheep, cowering // —and a lamb,
sensing danger // suckling.  // On the other // the source of danger //
hardness now replaced, // the soft and
sensuous flesh joins love’s embrace.  // Mother and child are two, and
advance across the generations.  Each //
sentient being touches and reshapes // the world around her, far as sh
ole // all around the stone // twist to
separate .  // Orange, lemon, lime: // equatorially // squeeze the juice
t some acute, unmeasured angle.  // Last
September , meeting you.  // The world looks different now.  //
Black
September // There was a war.  // There was a bitter, civil // war in J
Septilla CD* // Please choose from the following nine // options: if
erns form—until // an accidental spiral
sequence finds // that it can make itself again, and fill // the world
Frank Bridge // are still at college //
Sergei Prokofiev and Carl Orf // still at school // Aaron Copland and
Fibonacci
series // Elemental fib… // … three fibs about fibs… // … a swindle…  /
own—quite unlike // the planted forest,
serried ranks of Christmas pine // which begins a mile down the road /
she should go // And take her place in
service to // The Lady of Shalott.  // Working all day at her loom, //
// Later, one of the lodgers— // Polish
serviceman and refugee— // is worth another try.  A son.  // Council ho
broken furniture, shelves no longer //
serving any useful purpose.  // The clutter covering the remainder of t
/ just a sort of passive acceptance.  //
Set against this, a certain toughness, // hidden, but evident in the n
/ we chopped and sawed and dug and then
set fire to // the produce of our labours.  // A box or holly root, smo
/ There once was a poet in Ghent // Who
set out with the best of intent // In rollicking verse // On a gallopi
h mirrors // One Friday morning when we
set sail // and our ship not far from land // (Navigation was always a
er’s well-cast spell.  // That book will
set you puzzles which propel // your thoughts, destroy or reconstruct
railings, pointing, down pipe, clunch,
setting plaster // string, cord, matchstick, tallow, vardo // cromarty
kes an expansive gesture // towards the
setting sun.  // Go west, young man?  No, this is about // a century an
dark cloud // fire-edged, blots out the
setting sun.  // Later, the clouds amass: // watch now: if you blink yo
the dry ground.  Let the cooling dark //
settle around and about, under and over.  // Complete another ring.  //
n.  // Merge.  // Retract.  // Slacken.  //
Settle .  // Pause.  // Repeat twice daily.  // (Not by the sun // —use mo
ad.  // Spread.  // Reach.  // Slacken.  //
Settle .  // Pause.  // Start.  // Tiptoe.  // Retrace.  // Shrink.  // Drop
the evening sky.  // By Derby town they
settled down // on purple sage to lie.  // A Cheshire cat accosted them
e, // I can get along just fine.  // But
seven feet!  I must admit that seems exceeding wide, // as if to start
// five othello; six for king lear; //
seven hamlet; eight macbeth; nine // for any other choice.  You’ll fin
the forest floor, streams and all.  // A
seven -mile climb // brings us to a hidden jewel lake, // soup-spoon-sh
Seven what?  //
Seven syllables would be // long enough for any line.  // With a terse
Seven what?  // Seven syllables would be // long enough for any line.  /
r our new home.  Or was it // not until
seven years later, the year that her first // grandchild arrived?  I c
resembles a narrative.  // Born nineteen-
seventeen (dark days of the first world war) // in Sheffield, steel to
or a full report // Turns out† that the
seventh layer consists mostly of ones that do not exist // but need‡ t
tra list.  // As we* reach the sixth and
seventh periods, short of horizontal space, // we must** resort to foo
es’ first LP; // strangely, though, not
sex but fire).  // See this: // the large, dilapidated country house //
nge.  Some variant has found // how good
sex is—to mix the genes around.  // The plants, the fish, the dinosaurs
y-hay, blow us away // And seek out any
shade we can // Give me some wind to blow us away // Now sluice the de
black and white, // or autumn hues, or
shades of grey— // the colours that I saw last night // just slipped a
Light and
shadow // The rule: we should not // begin unwrapping till it’s // li
n.  // But Henri’s pieces rattle too and
shake // our sense of part and whole, netsuke-like.  // Bird and fish a
wrote poetry well, but // was no great
shakes // in the marriage stakes.  //
rs of the age.  // Thank you for calling
Shakespeareline . // * pronounced ’four hundred’ //
and reversals—these as well.  // But we
shall leave such counterpoints behind us: // time will tell.  // Those
cabbage patch forever, // The hermit of
Shalott .  //
n on the ruins gray // That scar remote
Shalott .  // In the duck-weed-smothered edges // Skinny rats sniff out
s may venture forth // On weed-o’er-run
Shalott ?  // She who hath this garden laid // —Nurturing the wayward se
her place in service to // The Lady of
Shalott .  // Working all day at her loom, // Her mistress never left th
Middle East // Bam Posht; Badiyat ash
Sham ; Bisharin // railways; borders; deserts // One to five million: 
quarie Ridge, Mendocino Seascarp // the
shape of the world // One to thirty million:  Eurasia // Kuril’skiye O
ng backwards, I can see // mistily, the
shape of things: // the steps which, added up, construct // my life.  /
s to a hidden jewel lake, // soup-spoon-
shaped , still half-covered // in slowly melting ice.  On the far side
ture after // producing six of us.  // L-
shaped the house; enclosed within its arms // a walled garden, left un
Donkeys don’t wear jackets //
Shapeless , navy blue or fawn, // three-quarter length, or maybe short,
Judith to sit down.  They obey her, all
shapes and sizes of New Yorkers, like lambs.  It is a memory that Judi
woodwork.  Judith sees something in the
shapes , and using a charcoal stick, makes some small additions.  And i
up, my love—the sky is calling.  // Dark
shapes are calling each to each: a throng // moves north against the f
tragedies, comedies, histories // more
shapes , more colours, more darknesses // more storms, gales, lightning
it plain.  // Two book-ends bracket our
shared domain: // the start, the lobby of a Greek hotel // in summer,
ky.  // Ahead, another line, // flat and
sharp and natural too: // pale sky encounters dark sea.  // On the sand
Another, rougher softness, // but with
sharp claws and barbs, // fastens itself inside.  // Movement is faster
/ carve out sections of bank // leaving
sharp cliffs of compacted mud.  // Evening.  A great dark cloud // fire
beach // and watch the stars emerge.  //
Sharp dots; but watch and do not blink.  // In time, an instant dash:  /
tering of razor shells // that would be
sharp if our toes were bare.  // Behind us, in the wood, // tall straig
// To the sharp senses, nature has many
sharp lines.  //
Sharp lines // High overhead, the geese are flying out // on their twi
stream // bright sea // rugged moor //
sharp mountain // still lake // resting lake // rustling forest // tum
rever simultaneously sweet and tart, //
sharp on my mind’s tongue.  Why is it that // this latter-day fruit so
ant dash: // a shooting star.  // To the
sharp senses, nature has many sharp lines.  //
nds later, over the drumming rain, // a
sharp wall of sound.  // Later still, after the storm has passed // lie
Sharpness // The latest growths are long and barbed, // reaching out t
ore!  More!  // A plate to the floor— //
shatter !  //
ng man writhing in the splinters of the
shattered window pane.  // There was an overcrowded hospital.  // There
them to her.  Just for example:  Judith
Shea’s sculpture in the Hirschhorn in Washington, close to a version o
d broadleaf trees with twisted limbs //
shed leaves with perfect sculpted edges.  // A bramble sends great arci
ky, // dark trunks against the blue, //
shed long thin needles.  // In the distance, // gnarled broadleaf trees
d floor // Bedroom 2; Bathroom; Bicycle
shed // walls; doors; drains // One to ten:  Tiles // Ormeaux on Bastil
e // of pure water: a still.  // Garden
shed // with a still?  Local // excise officer takes to // dropping by
// (I think that I can see the nuts it
sheds ) // on the grove’s outer edge, contains our own // tree-house, a
, the lichen, // the cropped grass, the
sheep - and rabbit-droppings, // the bare rocks and the ridge, knife-ed
ert and staring.  A few // feet away, a
sheep , cowering // —and a lamb, sensing danger // suckling.  // On the
and daughter // are dead too.  Back to
Sheffield again.  // How many friends have you outlived?  Eventually //
rry, find a home // on the very edge of
Sheffield // facing the Derbyshire moors.  // But the next war comes, a
e height of the Luftwaffe’s // blitz on
Sheffield .  // In north Africa, D is killed.  // Later, one of the lodge
son.  // Council house the other side of
Sheffield .  // Polish husband transforms into // Yorkshire male, expect
table when he returns from work // in a
Sheffield steel mill.  // Daughter moves away to teach, and then // to
dark days of the first world war) // in
Sheffield , steel town.  // Mother once ran a fish-and-chip shop.  // A y
s have you outlived?  Eventually // the
Sheffield ties become more tenuous, // legs weaken, and isolation pall
hang from their lids, nailed to // the
shelf above.  The boxes and tins are stacked // in increasing disorder
That book will hold against your ear a
shell // whose music makes your languid pulses race: // fall, fall int
.  // On the sand, a scattering of razor
shells // that would be sharp if our toes were bare.  // Behind us, in
hardness with it.  // Sometimes softness
shelters inside hardness.  // Softness grows, hardness grows too, // sp
ill find in all the books that line the
shelves , // and close to home as well: they too can be // as dumb as a
the beginning, by the door.  // Tables,
shelves , cupboards, hooks, drawers.  // Places I wouldn’t have put them
attles the windows and plates // on the
shelves .  Later, the local rumour states // that the train is carrying
household gadgets, // broken furniture,
shelves no longer // serving any useful purpose.  // The clutter coveri
negan— // crowds stopped by his strange
shenanigan // called out all their kith and kin—but // the wind came u
plan // Sherlock Road; Sherlock Court;
Sherlock Close // houses; yards; curbs // One to fifty:  Ground floor /
e hundred:  Block plan // Sherlock Road;
Sherlock Court; Sherlock Close // houses; yards; curbs // One to fifty
s // One to five hundred:  Block plan //
Sherlock Road; Sherlock Court; Sherlock Close // houses; yards; curbs
o five million:  Gulf of St Lawrence //
Shickshock Mountains; Shippegan Island; Cape Sable // bays; harbours /
trong.  // Channels and banks of shingle
shift and melt, // form and reform each ebb and flow, each moonphase /
s old as the hills // each iteration //
shifts the sand, carves the coastline // into something new //
all heavily forward and land with my //
shin on a knife-edge of rock that protrudes from the // edge of the pa
l gently break and sift, // pushing the
shingle back and forth and to and fro, // in a flat calm air.  A winte
ths later, we met again // on a Suffolk
shingle beach.  // In November the days were short, // and dark night f
ncrete blocks // on piles all along the
shingle beach.  // The mile south to the Martello tower, // we walk alo
p the foreshore, // the banked sand and
shingle , perhaps // (when the tide is high enough) // as far the cliff
es run strong.  // Channels and banks of
shingle shift and melt, // form and reform each ebb and flow, each moo
Shingle Street // The sea is never still.  Even in my sleep // I hear
full // to probe deep down beneath the
shining mud.  //
// beaks probing deep // beneath the //
shining // mud.  // Cold and clear.  The tide runs out, the creek // is
Under the sky // Something out there,
shining , under the sky?  // A whole wide world for wandering, under the
trim— // now the Gurkhas are happy—some
shiny erection to // burnish my halo.  Ah, I have a whim // to build a
difficult art, // Though with only one
ship and one bell.) // we there did espy a fair pretty maid // with a
quite enough to float or sink a battle-
ship .  // But perhaps instead I will go the whole hog, the full nine ya
day morning when we set sail // and our
ship not far from land // (Navigation was always a difficult art, // T
of St Lawrence // Shickshock Mountains;
Shippegan Island; Cape Sable // bays; harbours // One to one million t
ssed the following day.  // Of shoes and
ships and sealing wax, // and such great themes as these, // talking t
ls along the south horizon // container
ships in stately progress pass // destined for Harwich or for Felixsto
isite square-bashing.  And then when he
ships out, // back to mother, in a two-up-two-down // full of family a
hipwrecked?  Or cast overboard to avert
shipwreck ?  // I cannot now recall.  // Generations and generations // o
soft breezes and winter gales.  // Was I
shipwrecked ?  Or cast overboard to avert shipwreck?  // I cannot now re
Girton // who always made love with his
shirt on.  // Saying “Now that I’m old, // I do feel the cold— // and m
pile of clothes.  // Feel something…  //
Shit !  The wrong trousers!  // “Was it there?  // It was in the correspo
ways of Camelot.  // Only one remains to
shiver // On the island in the river, // Tending her cabbage patch for
zipping up your jacket // tying up your
shoelaces // topping up the tank // tearing up the contract // pulling
// they passed the following day.  // Of
shoes and ships and sealing wax, // and such great themes as these, //
link.  // In time, an instant dash: // a
shooting star.  // To the sharp senses, nature has many sharp lines.  //
ds of clean-raked earth // Where tender
shoots may venture forth // On weed-o’er-run Shalott?  // She who hath
edges.  // A bramble sends great arcing
shoots , // strong curves lined with jagged thorns, // seeking new grou
wrapping up the meeting // shutting up
shop //
own.  // Mother once ran a fish-and-chip
shop .  // A young rambler, you take part // in the mass trespass on Kin
f them sublime.  // Must just ignore the
shop -committed crime, // the muzakal banality which stings.  // Even I,
ots.  The mile or two // to the village
shop to seek supplies // becomes a daily ritual.  // After the floods o
attering // of people in a city street,
shop -window-browsing.  // A group, gathered around and gazing into // o
bbled streets // and beer and chocolate
shops // and churches, churches, churches // and buildings that turn o
down // to redefine the contours of the
shore .  // Around the river mouth the tides run strong.  // Channels and
Shore // Nonnet // Sonnet // Cold and clear.  The tide runs out, the c
grass and flowers can stretch shore to
shore .  // Of bridges traversing the Thames here in London, we’ve // ju
// trees, grass and flowers can stretch
shore to shore.  // Of bridges traversing the Thames here in London, we
clifftops, creeks and inlets, // rocky
shorelines tumbling under the sky.  // Sea-birds, pond-birds, dippers,
gle beach.  // In November the days were
short , // and dark night fell as we built and lit the fire // on the d
But when my support // is caught badly
short // I’ll just have to ask ‘Where d’you pee?’  //
e* reach the sixth and seventh periods,
short of horizontal space, // we must** resort to footnotes just to ke
fawn, // three-quarter length, or maybe
short , // patch pockets (useless for cold hands), // thick felted wool
A
short treatise on string theory // The beginning is the end and // the
gain.  // Beards may need some clipping,
shortening // left alone they easily win—but // there was an old man c
cape, upright and rounded as if on the
shoulders of its owner, but actually empty. // The sitting
// Through air and ether people mutter,
shout , // voices, ipods, phones speak out.  // So many people talking: 
The cruel looking-glass that will never
show a lass // As comely or as kindly or as young as what she was!) //
from mind // like snow.  // A line // to
show // can’t find, // no.  //
od or bad, will know // exactly when to
show her face, // the world just so.  // A wingéd dragon, flying low, /
eply // with no hint of a sigh // is to
show him his face, warts and all.  //
and regret not having had the chance to
show some of them to her.  Just for example:  Judith Shea’s sculpture
on, // trees bending, dark green leaves
showing // their lighter backs, a few edging // towards the brown.  //
st in reverie.  // And the artist who is
showing us the scene // —does he know what it is she sees?  The frame
ront.  // The wind is angry, howling and
shrieking .  // It pushes us harder, // makes us grow broader and taller
o sauce.  // Young flourishing bowl bowl
shrimp // Do a boiler burn the duck head.  // The prefecture of river d
se.  // Start.  // Tiptoe.  // Retrace.  //
Shrink .  // Drop back.  // Build speed.  // Build power.  // Pull in.  // M
ng, under the sky.  // Trees and bushes,
shrubs and flowers, mosses, // ferns and grasses waving under the sky.
ut rising from her seat, makes everyone
shuffle up in order to allow Judith to sit down.  They obey her, all s
hatches // closing down the argument //
shutting down the computer // tearing down the barriers // cutting dow
he pieces // wrapping up the meeting //
shutting up shop //
nce that I hear, // the soft subliminal
sibilance of night.  // Even I, atheist, find some of them sublime— //
nce that I hear, // the soft subliminal
sibilance of night, // no words, no human language in my ear, // no vo
tion from minute to minute; // gives me
siblings to chase or criss-cross // over and under // as we skip on th
quare mile // Farringdon Without (north
side ) //
ull nine yards: turn the paper onto its
side and write each line // in something approaching or aping the styl
the Cape Cod house’s painted clapboard
side .  // At centre, as if growing from the clapboards, // but grander
s satin, // drifting or paddling gently
side by side, // through clear and cool and quiet evening stillness //
ide; // The mirror crack’d from side to
side .  // I look into the mirror, but it’s cracked // And won’t be fixe
rmy fell // with her who to her lover’s
side makes haste: // jump willing into every word-filled well.  // That
try.  A son.  // Council house the other
side of Sheffield.  // Polish husband transforms into // Yorkshire male
lightning rods earthed.  // On the dark
side of the earth, // in the light of a fire, // and faint starlight f
inwright, you get sunburnt on the right
side of your face only.  As Judith had broken in a new pair of boots,
n ordinary suburban junction.  // Narrow
side road curves to join // a bend on a bigger road.  The pavements //
/ Out of the pastures and onto the fell
side , still // climbing the contours and catching my breath again.  //
es // The goat // Catheter // The other
side // The all-clear // Five days after Charlie Hebdo, I learn // tha
d // in slowly melting ice.  On the far
side // the steep snow-covered slopes rise up // to rampart rock walls
// drifting or paddling gently side by
side , // through clear and cool and quiet evening stillness // on even
loated wide; // The mirror crack’d from
side to side.  // I look into the mirror, but it’s cracked // And won’t
d a ton of words to fill each line from
side to side, // verbosely quite enough to float or sink a battle-ship
of words to fill each line from side to
side , // verbosely quite enough to float or sink a battle-ship.  // But
own // replaced his frown // with a one-
sided smile // that was off by a mile.  // Tony Blair // floated on air
ation between feeding grounds // in lop-
sided vees and slanting lines, // dark against the sky.  // Ahead, anot
mushy core.  // Mango: // find the flat
sides of the stone // slice alongside // almost pole to almost pole //
ter we discover // that that was just a
sideshow : all the while // the crafty sea is also digging down // ben
nspiration // 1 back: frustration // 3
sideways : perspiration // Alpha, beta, gamma, delta.  // The way is cl
There must be moonshine // Fin de
siècle .  // Ethel Sargant, botanist // (Girton student 1880s) // builds
hear the ground-swell gently break and
sift , // pushing the shingle back and forth and to and fro, // in a fl
The mirror’s reply // with no hint of a
sigh // is to show him his face, warts and all.  //
Fire // My
sign is Aries.  Though it seems a poor // fit for me, it is at least a
ntage, the house is flat // in face, no
sign of the deep bay windows that // adorn most later London terraced
reetlight, // the sign on the wall, the
sign on the post, // the white-painted sign spreadeagled on the road. 
een the houses, the streetlight, // the
sign on the wall, the sign on the post, // the white-painted sign spre
year and a day // in Norfolk where the
sign reads slow you down.  //
In Norfolk // In Norfolk the
sign reads slow you down // just in case we were driving too fast.  //
sign on the post, // the white-painted
sign spreadeagled on the road.  // What do they know, the rain and the
ters, // explore the earth, // and send
signal fires // blazing into the air.  // Our space is the earth, // ti
k.  Some of these meeting-points // are
signposted with names and distances // that only roughly match the map
ped and undecorated, but with marks and
signs accumulated over a century and a bit.  There is an area about 2f
, and fight.  // No voices in the almost-
silence that I hear, // the soft subliminal sibilance of night.  // Eve
hat he says.  // No voices in the almost-
silence that I hear, // the soft subliminal sibilance of night, // no
e in my ear, // no voices in the almost-
silence that I hear.  // The words within my head, what do they care?  /
gs with old friends // more talks, more
silences // more sleeps, more sleepless nights, more dreams // more se
eople sit // all six eyes lowered // in
silent contemplation.  // The rest of the world is dark.  //
ake by what the thunder said // flashes
silhouette the trees against the blind.  // A storm is raging as I lie
ke by what the thunder said, // flashes
silhouette the trees against the blind.  // Night-time noises permeate
rgeist behind the skirting?  // Don’t be
silly , that’s just a branch of the tree outside, scraping the window. 
f air?  A passing presence?  // Don’t be
silly , that’s just a draught from the door.  // That tiny movement in t
t?  A malodourous revenant?  // Don’t be
silly , that’s just the bin—needs emptying.  // That knocking?  Footstep
Footsteps in the next room?  // Don’t be
silly , that’s just the plumbing—a pipe heating up.  // That breath of a
of an emerging apparition?  // Don’t be
silly , that’s … omigod, it’s a cockroach!  Help!  Help!  //
a bottom-feeder dredges // Through the
silt of Camelot.  // But what is this small beaten path // Between two
the path beside the wood—the fir // and
silver birch along the dunes that run // between the marshes and the s
ing moor // changing sea // blue sea //
silver lake // purple moor // green forest // clear stream // grey mou
lprit here, // except for age, pure and
simple .  No rage— // just a sort of passive acceptance.  // Set against
rbour wall.  // One day, a storm will //
simply erase them.  // Four years ago a storm demolished // the dunes o
hood remain forever perfect, // forever
simultaneously sweet and tart, // sharp on my mind’s tongue.  Why is i
// some now half-remembered, some long
since forgotten— // but nothing that resembles a narrative.  // Born ni
esh from the winter’s storms // or long
since stripped of bark, criss-cross // the forest floor, streams and a
same firs // looks vaguely oriental.  //
Since then, of course, the bracken // has been ploughed, the edges fen
each.  // I do not think that they will
sing to me.  // Mirror mirror on the wall // who is the fairest of them
e girl be?  // I have heard the mermaids
singing , each to each.  // I do not think that they will sing to me.  //
ming in his knight’s array // And gaily
singing on his way // Rode bold Sir Lancelot.  // Years have passed.  T
ther choice.  You’ll find // that every
single play is here // a new production for this year // of celebratio
ht // dream deep // faint light // bird
sings // growing bright // gadget pings // go away // sleep clings //
The word // No, the
singularity is quite absurd.  // In the beginning there were many words
, // verbosely quite enough to float or
sink a battle-ship.  // But perhaps instead I will go the whole hog, th
// British Rail announced that it would
sink // a hole to build the Channel Tunnel link.  // A monstrous hole,
d gaily singing on his way // Rode bold
Sir Lancelot.  // Years have passed.  The winter’s chill // Lies fast u
their bases, // and fighters too.  The
siren call // is in reverse, a brief release— // until the following n
following night at least.  // Odysseus'
sirens , of course // can offer no such message.  Theirs // is a one-wa
r behind.  // Old age ain’t no place for
sissies .  // —Bette Davis //
ee machines.  // At the bar three people
sit // all six eyes lowered // in silent contemplation.  // The rest of
// a pretty maiden, heart aglow // will
sit and spin, so full of grace, // far away and long ago.  // A fairy,
shuffle up in order to allow Judith to
sit down.  They obey her, all shapes and sizes of New Yorkers, like la
/ At one end of the bench in the garage
sits // a miniature wooden eight-drawered chest // given to me (buddin
the beginning there were many words:  //
sitting , lying all around // in bags or scattered on the ground // wai
me.  A tiny middle-aged New York woman,
sitting on a bench seat, observes the situation, and promptly, busily,
, but actually empty. // The
sitting room of our house in Peckham, the walls stripped and undecorat
, sitting on a bench seat, observes the
situation , and promptly, busily, without rising from her seat, makes e
Ninety-
six and counting // How little I really know of your life!  // From the
.  // At the bar three people sit // all
six eyes lowered // in silent contemplation.  // The rest of the world
ives of windsor, four; // five othello;
six for king lear; // seven hamlet; eight macbeth; nine // for any oth
he’d remorsefully put them all back.  //
Six of our cushions are missing.  // The culprit must now be unmasked. 
r’s next big venture after // producing
six of us.  // L-shaped the house; enclosed within its arms // a walled
ts in oils on hardboard.  // — // 1973. 
Six -year-old Emily visits.  // At home, two days later, // she says to
rained land // One to three hundred and
sixteen thousand eight hundred:  Scotland // Dufftown; Deeside; Dumfri
adds an extra list.  // As we* reach the
sixth and seventh periods, short of horizontal space, // we must** res
Pushing 60 // My
sixtieth birthday is nearing— // brings a thought that is far from che
, leaving a row of nine.  // In nineteen
sixty nine the house was lit // by gas, with open fires the only heat.
name of Gouriet) // had come as a child
sixty -odd years before // (well before the start of the first world wa
ng else again.  // A memory // (nineteen-
sixty -one or so—my teens—already // between the end of the Chatterley
; Dumfries // roads; villages // One to
sixty three thousand three hundred and sixty:  Truro and Falmouth // Me
sixty three thousand three hundred and
sixty :  Truro and Falmouth // Mevagissey; Mingoose; Mabe Burnthouse //
Peckham 1969—1991 // Of eighteen
sixty vintage, the house is flat // in face, no sign of the deep bay w
ls and round; // Screws: small, size 6,
size 8, large.  // Beside it stands another of much later age: // a pla
ins, ovals and round; // Screws: small,
size 6, size 8, large.  // Beside it stands another of much later age: 
it down.  They obey her, all shapes and
sizes of New Yorkers, like lambs.  It is a memory that Judith treasure
ns traced and covered // the world with
skeins of wool.  // And as we lived and loved and gained // and learnt
On
Skiddaw // Holiday cottage, the edge of the Lake District— // family w
mily wanting to rest and recuperate.  //
Skiddaw is looming, inviting explorers—a // challenge I cannot allow t
// rub eyes // yawn and stretch // blue
skies // legs itch // must get on // first scratch // clothes on // sp
not say // whether I have the necessary
skill // to find a way.  // And now today // is ending.  I suppose tomo
en // sleep gone // in motion // sun on
skin // door open // breathe in.  // Now begin.  //
om Lancashire; // so milk-white was her
skin .  // In Cheddar Gorge the chaffinches // were twittering.  The twa
// In the duck-weed-smothered edges //
Skinny rats sniff out the ledges, // While between the stream-floor ri
wand // some miles of dale and moor to
skip across // and find myself in wooded Janet’s Foss.  // Upstream aga
criss-cross // over and under // as we
skip on the backs of the older ones.  // The wind grows steady and purp
bare bleak Malham Tarn.  // Then back to
skirt the edge of Malham Cove, // with fields below and limestone crag
t scratching?  A poltergeist behind the
skirting ?  // Don’t be silly, that’s just a branch of the tree outside,
ntours and catching my breath again.  //
Skirting the back of the Little Man precipice, // one final push up th
// we have the earth, the water and the
sky .  //
st // good lives, the rainbow spans the
sky .  //
/ roaming, rambling, drifting under the
sky .  //
hat place we call Japan: // against the
sky , a line of those same firs // looks vaguely oriental.  // Since the
Something out there, shining, under the
sky ?  // A whole wide world for wandering, under the sky.  // Mountains,
and slanting lines, // dark against the
sky .  // Ahead, another line, // flat and sharp and natural too: // pal
along my path // are elemental: water,
sky and earth // and rock and air; no fire and no gold, // no gems nor
idental, but carefully composed: // the
sky behind the trees beyond the meadow, // tall grasses glowing in the
Leicestershire; // red was the evening
sky .  // By Derby town they settled down // on purple sage to lie.  // A
d, // tall straight pines reach for the
sky , // dark trunks against the blue, // shed long thin needles.  // In
flat and sharp and natural too: // pale
sky encounters dark sea.  // On the sand, a scattering of razor shells
a air.  // Look up, look up, my love—the
sky is calling.  // Dark shapes are calling each to each: a throng // m
ea.  The sun // is low ahead of us, the
sky is clear.  // Across the wood, onto the beach.  We hear // the gull
ir // and the beginning of space // the
sky is dark, but the raging fire // of the sun marks passing time.  //
, // ferns and grasses waving under the
sky .  // Islands, beaches, clifftops, creeks and inlets, // rocky shore
in June // A crescent moon, // a winter
sky .  // It’s Jan, not June.  // A red balloon, // way up high, // with
tops, // rushing wild clouds across the
sky , // lying abed beneath the cobwebbed rafters, // warm and dry.  //
ole wide world for wandering, under the
sky .  // Mountains, valleys, moors and dales, meadows, // hills, ravine
// hills, ravines descending, under the
sky .  // Oceans, rivers, narrow channels, torrents, // tarns, and strea
, // waders, hunters hovering under the
sky .  // People, people round the world—and I, // roaming, rambling, dr
// rocky shorelines tumbling under the
sky .  // Sea-birds, pond-birds, dippers, warblers, song-birds, // wader
Under the
sky // Something out there, shining, under the sky?  // A whole wide wo
une.  // A blue lagoon, // the deep blue
sky .  // The crescent moon // some cryptic rune.  // The senses fly.  //
ady’s Maid // Under a gray and lowering
sky // The fields that by the river lie // Are rough and unkempt.  Buz
ns, and streams slow-flowing, under the
sky .  // Trees and bushes, shrubs and flowers, mosses, // ferns and gra
ls, knife-edge against // the deep blue
sky .  We take our boots off, // dip our feet into water clear and achi
s and the ridge, knife-edge against the
sky .  // What do they know, the rain and the air?  // The glistening mud
upon the land so ill.  // Seldom now the
skylark’s trill; // No longer do the people fill // The wharfs and way
uche // borrowed light, dimpse, mizzle,
skylight // ammonite, mahogany, archive // plummett // Note:  Fifty co
r.  // Pull in.  // Merge.  // Retract.  //
Slacken .  // Settle.  // Pause.  // Repeat twice daily.  // (Not by the su
// Forge ahead.  // Spread.  // Reach.  //
Slacken .  // Settle.  // Pause.  // Start.  // Tiptoe.  // Retrace.  // Shri
ents the sea-winds bring // The trickle
slackens , changes in the harbour; // Hear the marsh-birds calling // a
click-clack click-clack.  // Raindrops
slanting across the glass.  // We jump at a sudden sound-blast— // anot
rain and the air?  // The drystone wall
slanting across the moor, // the heather and the bracken, the moss, th
th against the fading evening light.  //
Slanting lines are forming, breaking, forming // ordered chaos with a
eeding grounds // in lop-sided vees and
slanting lines, // dark against the sky.  // Ahead, another line, // fl
ell woods // more curlews, more ragged,
slanting lines of geese // more travels, journeys, voyages, expedition
and over.  // Complete another ring.  //
Sleep .  //
ng bright // gadget pings // go away //
sleep clings // break of day // brighter now // here to stay // mornin
cratch // clothes on // spell broken //
sleep gone // in motion // sun on skin // door open // breathe in.  //
// The sea is never still.  Even in my
sleep // I hear the ground-swell gently break and sift, // pushing the
d to recall // tried to see // tried to
sleep // tried to speak // tried to think // tried to understand // tr
Colourless green ideas found
sleeping furiously // The garlic slices the beef granule.  // The first
in store.  // Whether I’m lying awake or
sleeping // or floating half in half out, I’m sure // it’ll last forev
lks, more silences // more sleeps, more
sleepless nights, more dreams // more seasons bleeding into seasons.  /
ds // more talks, more silences // more
sleeps , more sleepless nights, more dreams // more seasons bleeding in
t here—the thorns will catch // at your
sleeve , at the tails of your coat, // and sometimes at the bare flesh
// find the flat sides of the stone //
slice alongside // almost pole to almost pole // close as you can.  //
found sleeping furiously // The garlic
slices the beef granule.  // The first boilers of iron plate glue east
t now the light is fading // as the day
slides into the mist.  // Morning is always the morning.  //
but notched on the stick // as the day
slides into the mist.  // The long night’s images last.  // But now the
es.  The plastic boxes // were made for
slides or toothpowder, tins // for cocoa or throat lozenges or metal p
h were darkly glowing, asking only // a
slight encouragement.  As the day went on, // we generated quantities
will never be fashionable).  // See the
slime on it?  // Wonder if I can get it to do // anything remotely inte
ur last goodbyes, or maybe they // just
slipped away— // I cannot say.  //
e colours that I saw last night // just
slipped away.  // Through passages or corridors // light-footed did I m
e gardens, and the garden walls // just
slipped away.  // What country lanes or city streets— // and who were m
am I dreamt, the dream I dreamt // just
slipped away.  // What it said, or what it meant // I cannot say.  // Ra
s locks, nancy’s blushes // drop cloth,
slipper satin, worsted // dimity, blazer, babouche // borrowed light,
carries the railway track.  // (Down the
slope to the end of the street and right, // the line bridges over the
// The bracken spreads across a gentle
slope // towards the river.  A line of ancient oaks // (one blasted tr
the far side // the steep snow-covered
slopes rise up // to rampart rock walls, knife-edge against // the dee
ds bring // The tide begins its steady,
slow accretion // Hear the marsh-birds calling // in places it has los
annels, torrents, // tarns, and streams
slow -flowing, under the sky.  // Trees and bushes, shrubs and flowers,
ning to Schubert’s Trout Quintet // the
slow movement is of course the second.  // Of course we should move slo
morning glow // time to rise // feeling
slow // rub eyes // yawn and stretch // blue skies // legs itch // mus
day // in Norfolk where the sign reads
slow you down.  //
In Norfolk // In Norfolk the sign reads
slow you down // just in case we were driving too fast.  // I was proba
the second.  // Of course we should move
slowly for some seconds.  // No, more than that.  Maybe for a day— // e
I stay put in the hope of a rescuer?  //
Slowly I realise the pain is subsiding, the // leg was not broken, and
-spoon-shaped, still half-covered // in
slowly melting ice.  On the far side // the steep snow-covered slopes
rs.  // A box or holly root, smouldering
slowly , // will burn for ever.  The fire once begun // would last for
in inky water, // the cool night air //
slows down time.  // Now is the time // to lie on the earth, // smell t
ive me some wind to blow us away // Now
sluice the decks to cool the wood // Way-hay, blow us away // And pour
bend) // this craven kraken creeps, and
slumbers not: // a stealth invasion’s getting off the ground.  // Up on
and using a charcoal stick, makes some
small additions.  And it becomes a scene, a group of people in evening
he blue ocean.  // In the beginning I am
small and playful, like the wind.  // It changes direction from minute
he silt of Camelot.  // But what is this
small beaten path // Between two beds of clean-raked earth // Where te
floss stir fries a leaf mustard.  // The
small bowl of wedding reception stews bean bubble, // The taro rolls u
much later age: // a plastic chest with
small , clear plastic drawers // —unlabelled, but the nuts and bolts an
uld pick up a Brancusi stone head, or a
small cut brass piece by Gaudier-Brzeska, and put it into our hands). 
// We joined the local protest, but to
small // effect.  At last we felt we had to call // a halt to worry, a
ct // my life.  // Most of the steps are
small , // following, if not a line, // at least some vague direction. 
/ staying in place until at home // the
small gas fire has warmed the room // against the cold outside.  // (Bu
// Dialectic // In the lecture room //
Small hour // December sounds // What the thunder said // Under canvas
e pavements // curl around, leaving two
small raised triangles // of city herbage in city clag // —a handful o
panel pins, ovals and round; // Screws: 
small , size 6, size 8, large.  // Beside it stands another of much late
niverse // both in the large and in the
small , // to learn (for better or for worse) // what moves us all.  //
The depths of south London, 1969.  // A
small Victorian terrace house // stuccoed and flat-fronted.  // No elec
e and tap.  // Above, a tube, a valve, a
smaller tube.  // Subjective // An invasion of my privacy.  // An assaul
// smoke billows // move apart // eyes
smart // flames creep // move apart // flames leap // flames creep //
// smoke billows // smoke grows // eyes
smart // smoke billows // move apart // eyes smart // flames creep //
on the lineside banks is marked // with
smears of fires, burnt and black.  // The bogeys go: click-clack click
is the time // to lie on the earth, //
smell the air, // feel the warmth of the fire, // listen to the lappin
replaced his frown // with a one-sided
smile // that was off by a mile.  // Tony Blair // floated on air // wh
billows // smoke grows // eyes smart //
smoke billows // move apart // eyes smart // flames creep // move apar
nfurls // smoke grows // smoke curls //
smoke billows // smoke grows // eyes smart // smoke billows // move ap
atch // flame unfurls // twigs catch //
smoke curls // flame unfurls // smoke grows // smoke curls // smoke bi
urls // flame unfurls // smoke grows //
smoke curls // smoke billows // smoke grows // eyes smart // smoke bil
rows // smoke curls // smoke billows //
smoke grows // eyes smart // smoke billows // move apart // eyes smart
atch // smoke curls // flame unfurls //
smoke grows // smoke curls // smoke billows // smoke grows // eyes sma
cromarty, ringwold or savage ground //
smoked trout, wevet, bone, calamine // lichen, brinjal, radicchio, cit
m and dry.  // On waters of the creek as
smooth as satin, // drifting or paddling gently side by side, // throu
ain // choppy sea // swirling stream //
smooth lake // dense forest // rough moor // million-year moor // ten-
the course of true gloves never did run
smooth .  No glove lost.  // We have nothing to wear but wear itself.  W
car remote Shalott.  // In the duck-weed-
smothered edges // Skinny rats sniff out the ledges, // While between
ber // let it burn // glowing embers //
smoulder down // let it burn // warm as toast // smoulder down // pota
down // let it burn // warm as toast //
smoulder down // potatoes roast // warm as toast // flames gone // pot
of our labours.  // A box or holly root,
smouldering slowly, // will burn for ever.  The fire once begun // wou
though, the hollow holds // a real live
snake , standing up and hissing // at our approach.  We turn tail and f
our daughter // I have known fragments,
snatches — // some now half-remembered, some long since forgotten— // b
that there must be some rotter // who’s
sneaking our cushions away // Four of our cushions are missing.  // It’
uck-weed-smothered edges // Skinny rats
sniff out the ledges, // While between the stream-floor ridges // Now
Your
snore // Alone in the dark of the night // I would’ve turned on the li
t...  // But now no more— // your gentle
snore // puts all the ghosts to flight.  //
ime noises permeate the air.  // Someone
snoring in the tent next door, // a motorcycle coursing up the lane.  /
rats and fleas // but by their piss and
snot and sweat and spittle.  // Oh, people spread!  Quick, guys, an ecs
// no.  // Words go // from mind // like
snow .  // A line // to show // can’t find, // no.  //
k back // against the wind it starts to
snow .  // A snowdrift forms against the wire brush // of David’s thick
ting ice.  On the far side // the steep
snow -covered slopes rise up // to rampart rock walls, knife-edge again
escent moon // from cold immune.  // Let
snow lie, // it’s Jan, not June.  // A blue lagoon, // the deep blue sk
ery step it drops you down // into soft
snow , up to the tops // of your gumboots.  The mile or two // to the v
gainst the wind it starts to snow.  // A
snowdrift forms against the wire brush // of David’s thick black hair,
ared for days // —and then of course it
snows again.  // One afternoon for one brief hour // the air is warm en
/ Cambridge, circa 1966 // This year it
snows on Boxing Day.  // The country road not cleared for days // —and
reen canopy // in the warming sunlight. 
Soak up the rays and the air.  // Transform the coloured flower into co
e.  // Aye, cops lap // a clay pope’s //
soapy place.  // So apply, ace: // scope a play // apocalypse.  //
g ago, that icon of // a time and maybe
social group // —and then, when that one died, one more.  // Where have
ut Maurice Ravel has just joined // the
Société des Apaches // (or Bunch of Hooligans) // later to enrol, when
// recognition, fellowships // (Linnean
Society 1904, // Girton College 1913).  // The Reigate lab, of course /
Send a letter.  // Laptop, plug in power
socket .  // Click to send.  // I love you.  //
Plug in and switch on at the wall
socket . // Put the ON / OFF switch to its ‘ON’ position and
of our cushions are missing // from the
sofa just outside the door.  // It really is very annoying— // I hope w
ronze all hardness now replaced, // the
soft and sensuous flesh joins love’s embrace.  // Mother and child are
earthquake-waves and volcanic dust, //
soft breezes and winter gales.  // Was I shipwrecked?  Or cast overboar
Another softness, giant but gentle.  //
Soft digits hold softly, lift softly // place softly against another s
coming quite clear that the hour // for
soft pussy-footing is past.  // It can’t be a student or fellow— // the
nds bring // becomes a trickle.  On the
soft , receding // Hear the marsh-birds calling // water’s edge, the bi
ut every step it drops you down // into
soft snow, up to the tops // of your gumboots.  The mile or two // to
the almost-silence that I hear, // the
soft subliminal sibilance of night.  // Even I, atheist, find some of t
the almost-silence that I hear, // the
soft subliminal sibilance of night, // no words, no human language in
softly against another softness // and
soft voice says // I can hear the sea.  //
igits hold softly, lift softly // place
softly against another softness // and soft voice says // I can hear t
, giant but gentle.  // Soft digits hold
softly , lift softly // place softly against another softness // and so
entle.  // Soft digits hold softly, lift
softly // place softly against another softness // and soft voice says
veals the deep black mud // which oozes
softly up between our toes.  Across the river // lies the lagoon, a fi
softly // place softly against another
softness // and soft voice says // I can hear the sea.  //
sea-bed.  Forever?  // Another, rougher
softness , // but with sharp claws and barbs, // fastens itself inside.
aves for another home.  // Another rough
softness .  // Can this go on forever?  // Empty again, in harsher light.
e // Tiny hardness on tiny softness.  //
Softness crawls over sand and rock // in filtered blue light, // carry
pty again, in harsher light.  // Another
softness , giant but gentle.  // Soft digits hold softly, lift softly //
nt is faster, edgier, rougher.  // Rough
softness grows // but hardness cannot grow.  // Rough softness is too b
s softness shelters inside hardness.  //
Softness grows, hardness grows too, // spirals round itself, trumpet-l
pet-like.  // Can this go on forever?  //
Softness grows still, fades away.  // Empty spiral hardness rests // on
s // but hardness cannot grow.  // Rough
softness is too big, // leaves for another home.  // Another rough soft
carrying hardness with it.  // Sometimes
softness shelters inside hardness.  // Softness grows, hardness grows t
Carapace // Tiny hardness on tiny
softness .  // Softness crawls over sand and rock // in filtered blue li
ny art galleries in many places.  Three
solid days in the Uffizi in Florence.  Walking in the drizzle the long
hing // never felt before— // something
solid underneath us // churning the water, // disturbing our roll, //
out and then reveals // the parts of a
solution .  // All we need to do is make connection // alpha to beta usi
es from the curtained bed next door:  //
someone else’s fragile life is there.  //
es from the curtained bed next door:  //
someone else’s fragile life is there.  // Each new doctor asks the same
p the carriers of plague at bay.  // Yet
someone here is staggering and stumbling— // how in hell did he evade
night-time noises permeate the air.  //
Someone snoring in the tent next door, // a motorcycle coursing up the
onto its side and write each line // in
something approaching or aping the style of that wonderfully eccentric
I love—Earth, Water, Air—but Fire // is
something else again.  // A memory // (nineteen-sixty-one or so—my teen
er painting some woodwork.  Judith sees
something in the shapes, and using a charcoal stick, makes some small
ndless ocean.  // Where are we going?  //
Something is changing: the ocean // is bottomless no longer.  // I feel
ys after Charlie Hebdo, I learn // that
something is growing at the tail end of my colon: // probably malignan
n // is bottomless no longer.  // I feel
something // never felt before— // something solid underneath us // ch
the sand, carves the coastline // into
something new //
ia.  // After G’s death, a chance // for
something new: migrate south // to London, two grandchildren, // and
Under the sky //
Something out there, shining, under the sky?  // A whole wide world for
// Chair with pile of clothes.  // Feel
something …  // Shit!  The wrong trousers!  // “Was it there?  // It was i
feel something // never felt before— //
something solid underneath us // churning the water, // disturbing our
ye of the little god, four cornered.  //
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.  // Out flew the web and f
frame.  // What does she see?  Is there
something there?  // Some object or event which holds her stare?  // Or
remark— // in truth, how cheesy is the
sometime chalk.  //
t, // the line bridges over the road.)
Sometimes at night, // a heavy goods train rattles the windows and pla
eeve, at the tails of your coat, // and
sometimes at the bare flesh of // the back of your hand as you reach p
orgotten corners, // artists create and
sometimes destroy.  Did I really // spring from the hands of the great
ver is a group of firs // —the kind you
sometimes see in lines across // the Suffolk countryside, each tall ba
light, // carrying hardness with it.  //
Sometimes softness shelters inside hardness.  // Softness grows, hardne
// and into whose dense interior // we
sometimes venture.  // Beyond the fir-trees lies // a bracken-covered h
vering your fingers // and your palms. 
Sometimes you must stop // to disentangle a particularly tenacious ten
he first two were duds; the bits // are
somewhere back there, along with // all the other long-abandoned proje
.  That’s good // enough, I suppose.  //
Somewhere deep down in my abysmal gut // (well, really, just around th
y people talking: can we doubt // that
somewhere herein lies some deep philosophy?  // Voices, ipods, phones s
w pair of boots, we buried the old pair
somewhere on one of the passes high above Borrowdale in what was then
/ Dammit, used them yesterday.  Must be
somewhere .  // Start again, from the beginning, by the door.  // Tables,
xplore.  // But within a few years, both
son and daughter // are dead too.  Back to Sheffield again.  // How man
tcher // observed that her natu- // ral
son and heir // was Tony Blair.  // Nigel Farrage // has a mouth like a
nd refugee— // is worth another try.  A
son .  // Council house the other side of Sheffield.  // Polish husband t
way to teach, and then // to marry me. 
Son develops // schizophrenia.  // After G’s death, a chance // for som
forming // ordered chaos with a raucous
song :  // A thousand geese are flying into night.  //
a-birds, pond-birds, dippers, warblers,
song -birds, // waders, hunters hovering under the sky.  // People, peop
nd, almost with dying breath, // a swan-
song , left behind for us to ponder, // in any season.  //
Shore // Nonnet //
Sonnet // Cold and clear.  The tide runs out, the creek // is draining
Sunburn //
Sonnet // Tanka // Bend the light // just so // above, below, // left
zens of the fathers are visited on the
sons , even if living in zen.  // Gloves are a many-splendoured thing. 
s faint; // just as each new generation
soon finds itself // rich rediscovering Bach’s counterpoint— // fresco
ly.  // It’s Jan, not June.  // Back home
soon // warm and dry.  // A crescent moon.  // It’s Jan, not June.  //
has come about, but to close // an open
sore , renew our sense of // time, rebuild the day.  //
// of Ellen, Norna, or of Rosamunde.  //
Sorrow , longing, dreams pervade the path // in any season.  // The auth
the example of the chemists and their
sort // ** because the margin is too narrow for a full report // Turns
e, pure and simple.  No rage— // just a
sort of passive acceptance.  // Set against this, a certain toughness,
screws and hooks // were saved from all
sorts of deconstructed // objects: defunct household gadgets, // broke
zenges or metal polish, // jars for all
sorts of jams and pickles.  Washers // and nuts and bolts and screws a
cross the glass.  // We jump at a sudden
sound -blast— // another train on the next track.  // The bogeys go: cl
ail joints are welded, and the dominant
sound // is continuous and high-pitched.  The borders we cross are eas
r the drumming rain, // a sharp wall of
sound .  // Later still, after the storm has passed // lie back on the w
// From the bottom of the barrel // the
sound of scraping has ceased.  // This drain germinates here.  //
ground.  // Voices far across the valley
sound .  // The hills ranged all around // —they little care.  // Voices
they scan, they scrape, they test, they
sound ; // they write their notes, interpret what they find.  // The pos
ospital // Voices far across the valley
sound // through still, warm air, // clear to my vantage point on high
e care.  // Voices far across the valley
sound // through still, warm air.  // Voices, ipods, phones speak out—
of the line.  // The last post has been
sounded .  // The last post has been collected.  // The last word has bee
Sounds // Triolets // On Rushup Edge // On the top deck of a 68 // Dia
lecture room // Small hour // December
sounds // What the thunder said // Under canvas // In hospital // Voic
// brings us to a hidden jewel lake, //
soup -spoon-shaped, still half-covered // in slowly melting ice.  On th
ate glue east // Grow face fa-cai thick
soup .  // XO sauce explodes to grow the fragile bone.  // The peasant fa
ger // suckling.  // On the other // the
source of danger // a wolf crouches // his senses tingling, too.  // Ar
// The Reigate lab, of course // has a
source // of pure water: a still.  // Garden shed // with a still?  Lo
ointing the rest // towards their major
source of trade:  // England.  // Back the way we came.  // All verse is
to go // // // Recipe for starting a
sourdough starter.  //   // In the California gold rush of 1849, and ag
prospectors would carry with them their
sourdough starters, carefully protected in pouches around their necks
What’s in a name?  // It’s been too far
south all its life: // not cancer, but capricorn.  // Objective // An e
last forever.  // At intervals along the
south horizon // container ships in stately progress pass // destined
Housepaint // The depths of
south London, 1969.  // A small Victorian terrace house // stuccoed and
the ashes // in a wild part of the old
South London cemetery.  // Perhaps I should plant // some box or holly.
South London standoff // An ordinary suburban junction.  // Narrow side
a chance // for something new: migrate
south // to London, two grandchildren, // and a world to explore.  // B
ll along the shingle beach.  // The mile
south to the Martello tower, // we walk along the banked-up track // b
three hundred and forty miles // to the
south -west: // marked by a bolt embedded in // the Newlyn harbour wall
Covehithe, Suffolk //
South wind today.  So the breakers // come at an angle, sweep // along
sterdam.  The Hermitage in Leningrad in
Soviet days.  Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge when it was still managed by
owed // to remain in occupation of that
space .  // And so, for two successive summer holidays, // we chopped an
// and gaze into space.  // We have the
space // and the time // to cross the waters, // explore the earth, //
or take you on a voyage through deepest
space : // fall, fall into the writer’s well-cast spell.  // And now, th
ent from the one you know.  // It is the
space in which I must survive; // It’s through this land, this country
figment of my own imagination // is the
space in which I must survive, // with Frida as my muse and inspiratio
l fires // blazing into the air.  // Our
space is the earth, // time lives in fire, // leaving us the water and
of a fire, // and faint starlight from
space // reflected in inky water, // the cool night air // slows down
dges of the air // and the beginning of
space // the sky is dark, but the raging fire // of the sun marks pass
ing out its own // finite but unbounded
space -time continuum // —cool!  // There are some lovely spirals down t
ed just a few more.  // How about adding
space , time, love?  // One, // one, // two, three, // five, eight.  But
lapping of the water, // and gaze into
space .  // We have the space // and the time // to cross the waters, //
nd seventh periods, short of horizontal
space , // we must** resort to footnotes just to keep a healthy handle
ilosophies are aired, // temple columns
spaced , // lightning rods earthed.  // On the dark side of the earth, /
oured earths.  // In forests and in open
spaces // there are times // when the imagination fires.  // Pots are t
to our past // good lives, the rainbow
spans the sky.  //
clack.  // At night, the glow and flying
sparks .  // Grass on the lineside banks is marked // with smears of fir
// growing bright // throw on timber //
sparks take flight // glowing embers // throw on timber // let it burn
eep // growing bright // flames leap //
sparks take flight // growing bright // throw on timber // sparks take
d many more.  // The top of the table is
sparse , but every second period or layer, // like the bard from Japan
/ with apples, nor with pilaf.  I can't
speak // for Suliman, but I am well of love.  //
ill, warm air.  // Voices, ipods, phones
speak out— // add to the road’s cacophony.  // Through air and ether pe
ep philosophy?  // Voices, ipods, phones
speak out— // add to the road’s cacophony.  // Voices coming from the r
mutter, shout, // voices, ipods, phones
speak out.  // So many people talking: can we doubt // that somewhere
ed to see // tried to sleep // tried to
speak // tried to think // tried to understand // tried to write // tr
awls can find.  // — // A writer read, a
speaker heard, // at every word a choice has made.  // Those that they
or ever, his // poetry too to posterity
speaks ; // Joyce has his Liffey whose recirculation keeps // Finnegan
Nevertheless // ten thousand different
species rise and fall // and rise again.  Great populations press // ag
ck.  // Reading a map now, I have to use
spectacles .  // Carry them with me wherever I wander… but // help!  The
but then joining an easier // path with
spectacular views over Bassenthwaite.  // Walking down quickly, not pay
obe.  // Grow.  // Push forward.  // Build
speed .  // Build power.  // Forge ahead.  // Spread.  // Reach.  // Slacken
race.  // Shrink.  // Drop back.  // Build
speed .  // Build power.  // Pull in.  // Merge.  // Retract.  // Slacken.  /
fall, fall into the writer’s well-cast
spell .  //
fall, fall into the writer’s well-cast
spell .  // And now, this book, the here and now dispel // and conjure m
et on // first scratch // clothes on //
spell broken // sleep gone // in motion // sun on skin // door open //
fall, fall into the writer’s well-cast
spell .  // That book will set you puzzles which propel // your thoughts
Fall, fall into the writer’s well-cast
spell .  // That book will take you o’er a stormy fell // with her who t
x tabulations // of all the words their
spiders ’ crawls can find.  // — // A writer read, a speaker heard, // a
s, // seeking new ground to conquer.  //
Spiders ’ webs among the undergrowth.  // Look closely: precise angular
her part of the bush.  Take care not to
spill // your precious hoard (I mean the ones you will deliver // for
r.  // From the lamp on the landing it’s
spilling , seeping // under the door, // sending delicate tendrils far,
Hopper Chōka // Yellow neon light //
spilling through plate-glass windows // across the pavement.  // A bart
ster went to Gloucester // for a summer
spin — // and liked a lass from Lancashire; // so milk-white was her sk
a perambulation whenever it got to the
spin // part of its washing cycle.  The other, the noise // that it ma
tty maiden, heart aglow // will sit and
spin , so full of grace, // far away and long ago.  // A fairy, good or
See that blue-green ball of stuff?  // —
spinning around one of the hot yellow bits // way out here in the remo
he remoter backwaters // of the western
spiral arm (which will never be fashionable).  // See the slime on it? 
tness grows still, fades away.  // Empty
spiral hardness rests // on the sea-bed.  Forever?  // Another, rougher
om patterns form—until // an accidental
spiral sequence finds // that it can make itself again, and fill // th
nuum // —cool!  // There are some lovely
spirals down there now.  // Let’s have a closer look at this one here,
Softness grows, hardness grows too, //
spirals round itself, trumpet-like.  // Can this go on forever?  // Soft
owth.  // Look closely: precise angular
spirals // strung around precise radial anchor lines.  // Across the ch
begins to go // the clouds are low and
spitting rain.  // The light is dimming now.  // Further north the rain
ut by their piss and snot and sweat and
spittle .  // Oh, people spread!  Quick, guys, an ecstasy of fumbling, /
er more!  // This stuff to the floor— //
splatter !  // I said more!  More!  More!  // A plate to the floor— // sh
if living in zen.  // Gloves are a many-
splendoured thing.  Gloves make the world go round, and all’s fair in
/ There was a young man writhing in the
splinters of the shattered window pane.  // There was an overcrowded ho
re?  // They rattle round, and link, and
split , and fight.  // No voices in the almost-silence that I hear, // t
Drill pierces through the brain // and
splits apart Edwardian disdain.  // Man and drill are two, and now are
ady I am toppling over him // crashing,
splitting , breaking.  // I am lost.  The one behind // will finish me c
yme // that even if my audience hear it
spoken aloud rather than seeing it on the page they will certainly kno
ings us to a hidden jewel lake, // soup-
spoon -shaped, still half-covered // in slowly melting ice.  On the far
plate // More!  I want some more!  // A
spoon to the floor— // clatter!  // No!  Another more!  // This stuff to
pped on its way from the sun, // bright
spot , turn white hot and burn.  //
n its way // from the sun.  // Bright //
spot // turn // white // hot // and burn.  // Bend the light just so //
s calling // the drying sand with muddy
spots bespeckled.  // Breath the scents the sea-winds bring // The tric
the water may be poured out through the
spout . //
er possible fill the kettle through the
spout as this will help to reduce the amount of limescale that builds
// Tumbling through rocks with rainbow
spray , // coursing the straits and the hollows, // meandering across m
s us grow broader and taller, // sweeps
spray from our tops, // drives us ever onward.  // Where are we going,
ll.  And when it hits just right // the
spray rises a mile into the air // (or so it seems to me), to crash ba
heir needs.  // This time, the bug’s not
spread by rats and fleas // but by their piss and snot and sweat and s
the good: // it's cancer; but it hasn’t
spread .  // No balance here.  The bad // is bad in absolute, while the
// the roaming bees.  // Feel the fire. 
Spread out a green canopy // in the warming sunlight.  Soak up the rays
ot and sweat and spittle.  // Oh, people
spread !  Quick, guys, an ecstasy of fumbling, // building the clumsy b
eed.  // Build power.  // Forge ahead.  //
Spread .  // Reach.  // Slacken.  // Settle.  // Pause.  // Start.  // Tiptoe
on the post, // the white-painted sign
spreadeagled on the road.  // What do they know, the rain and the air? 
until inside the house.) // The bracken
spreads across a gentle slope // towards the river.  A line of ancient
and sometimes destroy.  Did I really //
spring from the hands of the great Praxiteles?  // I cannot now recall.
trails // through forests waking to the
spring // intersect or fork.  Some of these meeting-points // are sign
// meandering across meadows, // from a
spring it flows to the sea.  //
ds are full of streams, // swollen with
spring melt.  But an old pine forest // always provides a bridge.  The
ove, // buds into the waxing light, the
spring rain.  Throw open // the fire-coloured temptations, welcome in /
and where does it all begin?  // From a
spring .  // Tell me, if you will, how it goes.  // It flows.  // To find
buoys must needs // be relocated every
spring , the charts // redrawn).  // The line of pebble-dunes protects /
s far the cliff.  The wind // whips the
spume // into irregular clots, picks them up, // and strews them downw
other, the noise // that it made as it
spun , a rhythmic staccato juddering // with a touch of syncopation.  //
cloppy sea // Lose pay cap, // O palace
spy .  // Lay pop case // plea as copy.  // Ape calypso // place, so pay
e author, he whose life the fates would
squander — // such richness in his music did he render // for all of us
st Yorkshire coast // for the requisite
square -bashing.  And then when he ships out, // back to mother, in a t
as far as he went.  // In Friday Market
square // Jacob van Artevelde makes an expansive gesture // towards th
Square mile // Farringdon Without (north side) //
and a bit.  There is an area about 2ft
square of brush marks in a darker paint, made by a house-painter clean
Orange, lemon, lime: // equatorially //
squeeze the juice // leave the pith and pips.  // Papaya, melon: // pol
t the fuzzy end of the lollipop and the
squeezed out tube of toothpaste // that the saxophonist left behind.  /
// As you stare down the line till you
squint // with the cold seeping into each joint, // it must be insane
eserts // One to five million:  Gulf of
St Lawrence // Shickshock Mountains; Shippegan Island; Cape Sable // b
y control is as strong as can be // and
stable —they will make for me.  // But when my support // is caught badl
// that it made as it spun, a rhythmic
staccato juddering // with a touch of syncopation.  //
he shelf above.  The boxes and tins are
stacked // in increasing disorder along the back // of the bench, as f
—every line // the Bard created for the
stage // by the best actors of the age.  // Thank you for calling Shake
ls and screws.  At some more ordered //
stage of my life (certainly long before // the children arrived) I div
Stages // Hanging garden.  Send a letter.  // Fresh clay tablet, stylus,
f plague at bay.  // Yet someone here is
staggering and stumbling— // how in hell did he evade the line?  // Oh
ters beyond, adding scratches // to the
stains already covering your fingers // and your palms.  Sometimes you
mney; Cranmer Room; Café Bar // courts;
staircases ; playing fields // One to five hundred:  Block plan // Sherl
was no great shakes // in the marriage
stakes .  //
-pen, ink.  // Branch post office, penny
stamp .  // I love you.  // Papered bedsit.  Send a letter.  // Pad of pape
Pad of paper, ballpoint pen.  // Find a
stamp , street-corner box.  // I love you.  // Wi-fi café.  Send a letter.
al of a clock.  Another dial, // from a
stand -on weight scale.  A device // for demonstrating electricity to c
eremony // —a Schubert piano piece.) //
Standing around the Cambridge crematorium, // dressed for the occasion
On a New York subway:  Judith and me
standing as there are no seats; she is 4 or 5 months pregnant at the t
the hollow holds // a real live snake,
standing up and hissing // at our approach.  We turn tail and flee //
South London
standoff // An ordinary suburban junction.  // Narrow side road curves
rapped and redesigned.  The house still
stands .) //
ll, size 6, size 8, large.  // Beside it
stands another of much later age: // a plastic chest with small, clear
fy across the years.  A copper beech //
stands out, a clump of pears whose fruit // is hard as stone.  (But wh
// a stately ram, great curved horns //
stands tense, alert and staring.  A few // feet away, a sheep, cowerin
ght- or ten-year-old imagination.  // It
stands within a grove of trees, a very few // of which I can discern,
ee alliterative lines—at best // a semi-
stanza —and then to cease?  It seems // perverse—the more because the f
nd nuts and washers, // flooring nails,
staples , cuphooks, clouts // masonry nails, screw-eyes, picture hooks
In time, an instant dash: // a shooting
star .  // To the sharp senses, nature has many sharp lines.  //
Parallel lines // As you
stare down the line till you squint // with the cold seeping into each
// Some object or event which holds her
stare ?  // Or is it just the clarity of light, the glowing // grass and
curved horns // stands tense, alert and
staring .  A few // feet away, a sheep, cowering // —and a lamb, sensin
// in the light of a fire, // and faint
starlight from space // reflected in inky water, // the cool night air
top. // † as we step through the double-
starred list of the actinoids // ‡ by means of reactors or colliders o
f course we’d like to understand // the
stars and planets overhead // as well as actions close at hand // (the
/ the sun and the clouds by day, // the
stars and the darkness by night, // the ocean, the blue-green-grey-bla
back on the wet beach // and watch the
stars emerge.  // Sharp dots; but watch and do not blink.  // In time, a
them yesterday.  Must be somewhere.  //
Start again, from the beginning, by the door.  // Tables, shelves, cupb
l well after dark has come.  // Should I
start crawling the miles remaining, or // should I stay put in the hop
ty-odd years before // (well before the
start of the first world war).  // Fifty yards across the park at the b
that seems exceeding wide, // as if to
start out on a voyage, a full round-Britain trip.  // I’ll need a ton o
-ends bracket our shared domain: // the
start , the lobby of a Greek hotel // in summer, where we met and all w
Twice daily //
Start .  // Tiptoe.  // Probe.  // Grow.  // Push forward.  // Build speed. 
ch.  // Slacken.  // Settle.  // Pause.  //
Start .  // Tiptoe.  // Retrace.  // Shrink.  // Drop back.  // Build speed.
r long-abandoned projects.) // This one
started with an almighty bang // —thought it was going to be a disaste
names.  // The eighth layer has not been
started yet, so the only thing to do about // it is to turn back and t
// // Recipe for starting a sourdough
starter .  //   // In the California gold rush of 1849, and again in the
s would carry with them their sourdough
starters , carefully protected in pouches around their necks or attache
ch // ready to go // // // Recipe for
starting a sourdough starter.  //   // In the California gold rush of 1
the pre-war Aga, they will emerge // a
startling deep red, and taste delicious.) // Another tree, perhaps a b
As we walk back // against the wind it
starts to snow.  // A snowdrift forms against the wire brush // of Davi
Stasis // In stasis, what’s to do?  // Can we not // find some way to m
Stasis // In
stasis , what’s to do?  // Can we not // find some way to move, to go, /
the south horizon // container ships in
stately progress pass // destined for Harwich or for Felixstowe.  //
lbs // and other plants.  // On one // a
stately ram, great curved horns // stands tense, alert and staring.  A
n the shelves.  Later, the local rumour
states // that the train is carrying nuclear waste; at the time // it
holiday by train!  Vast hall // of city
station , noisy, full // of people rushing there and back.  // The bogey
o: click-clack click-clack.  // Country
station : we clamber down.  // The whistle blows, the train moves on, /
calling // boats are stranded at their
stations , waiting // Breath the scents the sea-winds bring // as the r
ot kill // another day.”  // And yet you
stay // inside my head, and take away my will // to find a way.  // The
me, or Suliman, from his pilaf.  // But
stay me not with raisins nor // with flagons, for I am well of love.  /
appropriately, Suliman’s pilaf.  // But
stay me not with them, nor comfort me // with apples, for I am well of
break of day // brighter now // here to
stay // morning glow // time to rise // feeling slow // rub eyes // ya
ing the miles remaining, or // should I
stay put in the hope of a rescuer?  // Slowly I realise the pain is sub
ed way // And fewer still will pause or
stay // To gaze down on the ruins gray // That scar remote Shalott.  //
rush // of David’s thick black hair, //
staying in place until at home // the small gas fire has warmed the ro
ks of the older ones.  // The wind grows
steady and purposeful.  // We form into rows and columns across the dee
sea-winds bring // The tide begins its
steady , slow accretion // Hear the marsh-birds calling // in places it
fibs about fibs… // … a swindle… // … a
steal … // … and one true fib // Earth, // air, // fire, // and water. 
estroying our comfort’s as rotten // as
stealing a library book.  // Five of our cushions are missing.  // How c
n kraken creeps, and slumbers not: // a
stealth invasion’s getting off the ground.  // Up on the surface and fo
bigger than me— // a great big monster,
steaming , black.  // The bogeys go: click-clack click-clack.  // Teleph
m // came to be known to ’im.  // Thomas
Stearns Eliot // wrote poetry well, but // was no great shakes // in t
he returns from work // in a Sheffield
steel mill.  // Daughter moves away to teach, and then // to marry me. 
f the first world war) // in Sheffield,
steel town.  // Mother once ran a fish-and-chip shop.  // A young ramble
ly melting ice.  On the far side // the
steep snow-covered slopes rise up // to rampart rock walls, knife-edge
, it will hold my weight.’  // But every
step it drops you down // into soft snow, up to the tops // of your gu
Eurasia // Kuril’skiye Ostrova; Kirgiz
Step ; Karakoram Ra // countries; seas // One to ten million:  Middle E
es to peter out // and stop. // † as we
step through the double-starred list of the actinoids // ‡ by means of
lear and fine and bitter cold.  // Every
step , // your foot upon the crust, you think // ‘This time, it will ho
p, construct // my life.  // Most of the
steps are small, // following, if not a line, // at least some vague d
d limestone crags above; // descend the
steps to reach the valley floor— // to leave behind, for now, the wild
// mistily, the shape of things: // the
steps which, added up, construct // my life.  // Most of the steps are
e fruit // is hard as stone.  (But when
stewed overnight // in the oven of the pre-war Aga, they will emerge /
// The small bowl of wedding reception
stews bean bubble, // The taro rolls up an incense.  // The impregnable
ht’s images last, // but notched on the
stick // as the day slides into the mist.  // The long night’s images l
ing in the shapes, and using a charcoal
stick , makes some small additions.  And it becomes a scene, a group of
erval passing by // may be notched on a
stick .  // Not yet to be fixed // while the long night’s images last, /
ain, // a sharp wall of sound.  // Later
still , after the storm has passed // lie back on the wet beach // and
day // is ending.  I suppose tomorrow’s
still // another day // to find a way.  //
// Béla Bartók and Frank Bridge // are
still at college // Sergei Prokofiev and Carl Orf // still at school /
ege // Sergei Prokofiev and Carl Orf //
still at school // Aaron Copland and Kurt Weill // in their cots // Wi
no.  Once in a while // a perfect burst
still catches at my tastebuds // and drags me back again.  //
of the pastures and onto the fell side,
still // climbing the contours and catching my breath again.  // Skirti
Shingle Street // The sea is never
still .  Even in my sleep // I hear the ground-swell gently break and s
n this go on forever?  // Softness grows
still , fades away.  // Empty spiral hardness rests // on the sea-bed. 
se // has a source // of pure water: a
still .  // Garden shed // with a still?  Local // excise officer takes
idden jewel lake, // soup-spoon-shaped,
still half-covered // in slowly melting ice.  On the far side // the s
sea // rugged moor // sharp mountain //
still lake // resting lake // rustling forest // tumbling mountain //
lk coast.  // The wonder is that you can
still laugh.  //
ter: a still.  // Garden shed // with a
still ?  Local // excise officer takes to // dropping by unannounced.  /
Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge when it was
still managed by Jim Ede (he would pick up a Brancusi stone head, or a
ere scrapped and redesigned.  The house
still stands.) //
y // to feel your ever-present absence,
still // to find a way.  // I hear you say, // “But life is for the liv
far across the valley sound // through
still , warm air, // clear to my vantage point on higher ground.  // Voi
far across the valley sound // through
still , warm air.  // Voices, ipods, phones speak out— // add to the roa
high above Borrowdale in what was then
still Westmorland.  It wasn’t very environmentally friendly of us, but
ople walk the brambled way // And fewer
still will pause or stay // To gaze down on the ruins gray // That sca
hrough clear and cool and quiet evening
stillness // on evening tide.  // Decisions and revisions and reversion
ed crime, // the muzakal banality which
stings .  // Even I, atheist, find some of them sublime, // Britten’s Ce
chicken, // Olive dish dried meat floss
stir fries a leaf mustard.  // The small bowl of wedding reception stew
the fragile bone.  // The peasant family
stir -fries four // Butterfish cooked to no sauce.  // Young flourishing
ance of might-have-been, // a different
stitch to cast?  // No, I’m glad we did not meet // before the alotted
a kiwi // equatorially: // no pips, no
stone .  // Avocado: // pole-to-pole // all around the stone // twist to
dream Dale Journey // From Ilkley’s old
stone bridge I trace a path // against the stream, back up the river W
lump of pears whose fruit // is hard as
stone .  (But when stewed overnight // in the oven of the pre-war Aga,
by Jim Ede (he would pick up a Brancusi
stone head, or a small cut brass piece by Gaudier-Brzeska, and put it
// makes his work lasting by carving in
stone — // me, I’m not looking for such immortality, // life after deat
// Mango: // find the flat sides of the
stone // slice alongside // almost pole to almost pole // close as you
like the house // of weathered Cotswold
stone .  // The box and holly // were magnificent, but could not be allo
cado: // pole-to-pole // all around the
stone // twist to separate.  // Orange, lemon, lime: // equatorially //
e built and lit the fire // on the dark
stones , and planted fireworks // in the dark edges beyond the flickeri
els // on hard, unyielding // rocks and
stones , // falls back under my feet.  // No time, no time.  // Already I
on.  Did they rage around me // where I
stood for all men to see?  // I cannot now recall.  // Cities flourish a
// allow the lines to peter out // and
stop . // † as we step through the double-starred list of the actinoids
// and your palms.  Sometimes you must
stop // to disentangle a particularly tenacious tendril // before you
man called Michael Finnegan— // crowds
stopped by his strange shenanigan // called out all their kith and kin
ping // at bay the frights night has in
store .  // Whether I’m lying awake or sleeping // or floating half in h
d fro, // in a flat calm air.  A winter
storm // brings wild mountains of water crashing down // to redefine t
simply erase them.  // Four years ago a
storm demolished // the dunes on the beach across the creek // and had
all of sound.  // Later still, after the
storm has passed // lie back on the wet beach // and watch the stars e
uette the trees against the blind.  // A
storm is raging as I lie abed, // whipped wide awake by what the thund
o at East Hills.  // A once in a century
storm , // that was thought to be.  // So perhaps they will // outlive u
, // running the gauntlet of the winter
storm .  // The tide is high, and every wave tries hard // to breach the
the Newlyn harbour wall.  // One day, a
storm will // simply erase them.  // Four years ago a storm demolished
// I cannot now recall.  // Up there are
storms and calms, // earthquake-waves and volcanic dust, // soft breez
, more colours, more darknesses // more
storms , gales, lightning bolts // more days of sun or rain or passing
f fallen trees, fresh from the winter’s
storms // or long since stripped of bark, criss-cross // the forest fl
pell.  // That book will take you o’er a
stormy fell // with her who to her lover’s side makes haste: // jump w
ng down // beneath the piles.  Then one
stormy night // it pulls the final prop.  A hundred yards // of man’s
Story // —Tell me.  // —I am conceived by the wind, the wild wind // an
/ flies into the night.  // The paraffin
stove // casts patterns of light on the // high bedroom ceiling.  //
erry-and-apple pie // —the ones you ate
straight off the bush are saved forever).  // At the end of summer, and
are.  // Behind us, in the wood, // tall
straight pines reach for the sky, // dark trunks against the blue, //
thesis // or antithesis.  // Have to cut
straight to synthesis.  // Tried // hard // to write // a fib on // ach
Dance // A quarter of a mile or more //
straight up // the Mediterranean waves roll on.  // How many years, dec
reath the scents the sea-winds bring //
straining at their lines.  The bows face seaward // Hear the marsh-bir
cks with rainbow spray, // coursing the
straits and the hollows, // meandering across meadows, // from a sprin
ar the marsh-birds calling // boats are
stranded at their stations, waiting // Breath the scents the sea-winds
hael Finnegan— // crowds stopped by his
strange shenanigan // called out all their kith and kin—but // the win
the fire to burn the string.  // What a
strange thing, to swallow some string!  // He swallowed the string to c
ey ban // and the Beatles’ first LP; //
strangely , though, not sex but fire).  // See this: // the large, dilap
ot now recall.  // No matter!  Now, in a
stranger place, a colder clime, // with no arms, one leg, no tail, but
corn.  // Objective // An exobladder.  //
Strapped to my thigh // with elastic and velcro.  // Below, a nozzle an
me to Paris // Manuel de Falla and Igor
Stravinsky .  // A turn, a period of change?  // Well, yes.  In all the a
There was a gun.  // There was a bullet,
stray .  // There was a young man writhing in the splinters of the shatt
side…  // I try to listen, but my musing
strays .  // His voice is lively, gestures wide.  // There is much sense
ne bridge I trace a path // against the
stream , back up the river Wharfe, // to Bolton Abbey, and the Strid be
ast to coast // dark forest // flashing
stream // bright sea // rugged moor // sharp mountain // still lake //
wide sea // close forest // by lake and
stream // by forest and moor // from sea to mountain to sea //
ff out the ledges, // While between the
stream -floor ridges // Now a bottom-feeder dredges // Through the silt
// purple moor // green forest // clear
stream // grey mountain // jagged mountain // choppy sea // swirling s
ten-thousand-year lake // thousand-year
stream // narrow stream // open moor // deep lake // high mountain //
lake // thousand-year stream // narrow
stream // open moor // deep lake // high mountain // wide sea // close
forest // tumbling mountain // running
stream // rambling moor // changing sea // blue sea // silver lake //
gged mountain // choppy sea // swirling
stream // smooth lake // dense forest // rough moor // million-year mo
Ever // Tennison’s
stream , we know, goes on for ever, his // poetry too to posterity spea
bark, criss-cross // the forest floor,
streams and all.  // A seven-mile climb // brings us to a hidden jewel
arrow channels, torrents, // tarns, and
streams slow-flowing, under the sky.  // Trees and bushes, shrubs and f
have to guess.  // The woods are full of
streams , // swollen with spring melt.  But an old pine forest // alway
k.  // (Down the slope to the end of the
street and right, // the line bridges over the road.) Sometimes at ni
the leaves in the leaded gully.  // The
street between the houses, the streetlight, // the sign on the wall, t
paper, ballpoint pen.  // Find a stamp,
street -corner box.  // I love you.  // Wi-fi café.  Send a letter.  // Lap
ssed eyes // into the distance down the
street .  I could not see // what he saw…  // Inspired?  Why should such
it: a scattering // of people in a city
street , shop-window-browsing.  // A group, gathered around and gazing i
Shingle
Street // The sea is never still.  Even in my sleep // I hear the grou
// the park and all the houses down the
street .  // We joined the local protest, but to small // effect.  At la
.  // The street between the houses, the
streetlight , // the sign on the wall, the sign on the post, // the whi
tty Cury; Park Parade; Pretoria Road //
streets ; alleys; cycle paths // One to two thousand:  Jesus College //
ocal train to Ghent: canals and cobbled
streets // and beer and chocolate shops // and churches, churches, chu
ped away.  // What country lanes or city
streets — // and who were my companions, pray?  // Old friends, new frie
// against their boundaries.  The vital
stress // expresses change.  Some variant has found // how good sex is—
// feeling slow // rub eyes // yawn and
stretch // blue skies // legs itch // must get on // first scratch //
, where // trees, grass and flowers can
stretch shore to shore.  // Of bridges traversing the Thames here in Lo
irregular clots, picks them up, // and
strews them downwind.  // The cliff // is of course ephemeral, built //
ver Wharfe, // to Bolton Abbey, and the
Strid beyond, // and Barden Bridge—and now I flick my wand // some mil
ill // occasionally not breed true.  Now
strife : // the different dittoes must compete for life.  // Another bil
e match // tiny light // twigs catch //
strike match // flame unfurls // twigs catch // smoke curls // flame u
Bonfire // Dark night //
strike match // tiny light // twigs catch // strike match // flame unf
ircle round the tentacles of zeta // by
striking gamma from consideration // and making an approximate relatio
the middle is // as long as a piece of
string .  //
, down pipe, clunch, setting plaster //
string , cord, matchstick, tallow, vardo // cromarty, ringwold or savag
/ What a strange thing, to swallow some
string !  // He swallowed the string to catch the hook.  // That’s not in
hing) // those wooden toggles, loops of
string .  // I must confess to having owned // long long ago, that icon
th has chosen the music, // a Beethoven
string quartet.  // Afterwards Colin and I go down to the basement // —
A short treatise on
string theory // The beginning is the end and // the end is the beginn
wallow some string!  // He swallowed the
string to catch the hook.  // That’s not in the book, to swallow a hook
e.  // He swallowed the fire to burn the
string .  // What a strange thing, to swallow some string!  // He swallow
ash.  // We wire from scratch, // plumb,
strip everything: // wallpaper from walls, // distemper from ceilings,
room of our house in Peckham, the walls
stripped and undecorated, but with marks and signs accumulated over a
om the winter’s storms // or long since
stripped of bark, criss-cross // the forest floor, streams and all.  //
nto four or more sections, with plywood
strips // carefully cut and glued.  And labelled the front— // Nails: 
Beards are good for finger-fiddling //
stroking , tickling, searching in—but // there was an old man called Mi
bly malignant.  // ‘Malignant’ seems too
strong a word.  // I’m sure it doesn’t really want // to kill me.  // Li
e, until I can mark its end with such a
strong and obvious rhyme // that even if my audience hear it spoken al
e has feet of clay.  // My control is as
strong as can be // and stable—they will make for me.  // But when my s
// Around the river mouth the tides run
strong .  // Channels and banks of shingle shift and melt, // form and r
A bramble sends great arcing shoots, //
strong curves lined with jagged thorns, // seeking new ground to conqu
rmation.  // The wind feeds us, makes us
strong .  // Occasionally, I catch glimpses // of the ranks ahead.  // Bu
calling // against the current pushing
strongly townward.  // Breath the scents the sea-winds bring // In the
ok closely: precise angular spirals //
strung around precise radial anchor lines.  // Across the channel, tida
.  // A small Victorian terrace house //
stuccoed and flat-fronted.  // No electricity— // gas lighting from the
pussy-footing is past.  // It can’t be a
student or fellow— // the thief’s much too cunning for that.  // There’
.  // Ethel Sargant, botanist // (Girton
student 1880s) // builds a lab in her garden // in Reigate, on her way
inside?  // See that blue-green ball of
stuff ? // —spinning around one of the hot yellow bits // way out here
clatter!  // No!  Another more!  // This
stuff to the floor— // splatter!  // I said more!  More!  More!  // A pl
own quickly, not paying attention, I //
stumble , fall heavily forward and land with my // shin on a knife-edge
.  // Yet someone here is staggering and
stumbling — // how in hell did he evade the line?  // Oh bugger!  Now we
ht is fading now.  // Politicians on the
stump // make promises-to-go // inspired by our local Trump.  // The li
Themselves //
Stupidity , I think the gods themselves // will find in all the books t
/ in something approaching or aping the
style of that wonderfully eccentric twentieth-century American poet, /
n.  Send a letter.  // Fresh clay tablet,
stylus , scribe.  // Entrust to messenger.  // I love you.  // Flowing Nil
ve, a tube, a valve, a smaller tube.  //
Subjective // An invasion of my privacy.  // An assault on my dignity. 
b to hold // the other two in place.  //
Subjective // Discomfort.  Bother.  // Irritation.  Nuisance.  // Pain? 
// Objective // Yellow liquid flows.  //
Subjective /objective // Tap left open.  // Oh bugger!  // What was it, t
.  // Even I, atheist, find some of them
sublime — // Britten’s Ceremony or the ones from Kings.  // If I can fil
.  // Even I, atheist, find some of them
sublime , // Britten’s Ceremony or the ones from Kings.  // Whipped wide
, // even I, atheist, find some of them
sublime .  // Must just ignore the shop-committed crime, // the muzakal
almost-silence that I hear, // the soft
subliminal sibilance of night.  // Even I, atheist, find some of them s
almost-silence that I hear, // the soft
subliminal sibilance of night, // no words, no human language in my ea
h-7th // Camera in bag for Mon // Did I
submit tax form??  // Check L’s dob—70 next b/day?  // Dentist appointme
escuer?  // Slowly I realise the pain is
subsiding , the // leg was not broken, and after a while I can // think
South London standoff // An ordinary
suburban junction.  // Narrow side road curves to join // a bend on a b
t disturbs.  The line // mostly carries
suburban trains; more rarely, // carriages decked in the blue and gold
ound to it. // On a New York
subway :  Judith and me standing as there are no seats; she is 4 or 5 m
ation of that space.  // And so, for two
successive summer holidays, // we chopped and sawed and dug and then s
very word-filled well; // a book should
suck you into its embrace.  // Fall, fall into the writer’s well-cast s
ering // —and a lamb, sensing danger //
suckling .  // On the other // the source of danger // a wolf crouches /
nting across the glass.  // We jump at a
sudden sound-blast— // another train on the next track.  // The bogeys
ere’s one I can’t find.  // How could it
suddenly vanish?  // It hasn’t just fallen behind.  // Two of our cushio
on the wild Suffolk heath, // the wild
Suffolk blackberries // of my childhood remain forever perfect, // for
lking in winter // Berkshire, 1962-3 //
Suffolk , circa 1958 // Cambridge, circa 1966 // This year it snows on
ou sometimes see in lines across // the
Suffolk countryside, each tall bare trunk // gnarled and twisted by th
// or wild winds of autumn, on the wild
Suffolk heath, // the wild Suffolk blackberries // of my childhood rem
hree months later, we met again // on a
Suffolk shingle beach.  // In November the days were short, // and dark
Covehithe,
Suffolk // South wind today.  So the breakers // come at an angle, swe
ne // so briefly glimpsed, make my muse
suggest // just three alliterative lines—at best // a semi-stanza—and
sing this equation, // then follow that
suggestion // to make the beta, gamma, delta link.  // Damn—I had forgo
sed in languid attitude, // in birthday
suit and little else arrayed?  // I think he’d add a note to his remark
Capricorn
suite // In other news // Polarity // Battle lines // The goat // Cath
, nor with pilaf.  I can't speak // for
Suliman , but I am well of love.  //
Flagons might indeed // distract me, or
Suliman , from his pilaf.  // But stay me not with raisins nor // with f
ristmas cake, // or more appropriately,
Suliman’s pilaf.  // But stay me not with them, nor comfort me // with
s be comforting // as any fruit, though
Suliman’s pilaf // is real comfort food.  But comfort me not // with a
sh are saved forever).  // At the end of
summer , and in the first mists // or wild winds of autumn, on the wild
s lies // a bracken-covered heath.  The
summer fronds // rise far above our heads.  In this bright green // we
at space.  // And so, for two successive
summer holidays, // we chopped and sawed and dug and then set fire to
in those last days of pain, // another
summer , home in Camberwell.  // Between the endpoints there were many d
/ Dr Foster went to Gloucester // for a
summer spin— // and liked a lass from Lancashire; // so milk-white was
start, the lobby of a Greek hotel // in
summer , where we met and all was well; // the end, the moment life jus
.  // After lunch, a walk // through the
summer’s brown bracken // that covers the heath.  // On magic carpet //
know only the wind and the rain // the
sun and the clouds by day, // the stars and the darkness by night, //
voice is lively, gestures wide.  // The
sun and wind upon the trees outside…  // I try to listen, but my musing
low us away // Just feel the breathless
sun beat down // Way-hay, blow us away // And seek out any shade we ca
er, on the ramparts // looking seaward,
sun behind us, low, // yellow light-beams almost horizontal; // East H
// tall grasses glowing in the morning
sun // below and to the right.  And rising left // the Cape Cod house’
ach ray.  // Trapped on its way from the
sun , // bright spot, turn white hot and burn.  //
h ray // trapped on its way // from the
sun .  // Bright // spot // turn // white // hot // and burn.  // Bend th
xpansive gesture // towards the setting
sun .  // Go west, young man?  No, this is about // a century and a half
/ between the marshes and the sea.  The
sun // is low ahead of us, the sky is clear.  // Across the wood, onto
ud // fire-edged, blots out the setting
sun .  // Later, the clouds amass: // watch now: if you blink you will m
is dark, but the raging fire // of the
sun marks passing time.  // Far down below, the earth // is mostly wate
ll broken // sleep gone // in motion //
sun on skin // door open // breathe in.  // Now begin.  //
s outside her window, warming // in the
sun ?  Or maybe nothing—maybe she // is pensive, dreaming, lost in reve
gales, lightning bolts // more days of
sun or rain or passing cloud // more meetings with old friends // more
.  // Repeat twice daily.  // (Not by the
sun // —use moontime // instead).  //
Sunburn // Sonnet // Tanka // Bend the light // just so // above, belo
ast walk devised by Wainwright, you get
sunburnt on the right side of your face only.  As Judith had broken in
w bay // in darker wood.  Clear morning
sunlight fills // the room we glimpse inside.  A woman leans // upon a
table in the window, looks // out into
sunlight , over grass, towards // some distant point outside the pictur
ad out a green canopy // in the warming
sunlight .  Soak up the rays and the air.  // Transform the coloured flow
e or two // to the village shop to seek
supplies // becomes a daily ritual.  // After the floods of fifty-three
e—they will make for me.  // But when my
support // is caught badly short // I’ll just have to ask ‘Where d’you
unk // gnarled and twisted by the wind,
supports // a wild, tufted crown—quite unlike // the planted forest, s
ical components.  // A pair of cast-iron
supports for an old // high-level lavatory cistern, wonderfully // orn
/ to be good.  That’s good // enough, I
suppose .  // Somewhere deep down in my abysmal gut // (well, really, ju
way.  // And now today // is ending.  I
suppose tomorrow’s still // another day // to find a way.  //
ignant’ seems too strong a word.  // I’m
sure it doesn’t really want // to kill me.  // Like the asteroid // bar
the kettle on the cordless base making
sure it is positioned correctly. // Plug in and switch on a
ng // or floating half in half out, I’m
sure // it’ll last forever, the light that’s leaking // under the door
electricity. // Always make
sure that the lid is properly firmly closed. // Place the k
One of our cushions is missing— // I’m
sure that there’s one I can’t find.  // How could it suddenly vanish?  /
ich boosted my ego—the // Heatherwick’s
sure to produce a fine plan.  // We also need money—of course private f
the junk inside. // grey John Major //
surely had a wager // that he could without worry // take the hottest
’m caught // Which, come the dawn, will
surely quickly pass.  // I’d paint it for you if I had the art, // Or m
e in London, we’ve // just thirty three—
surely room for one more.  // Now it happens my old friend is crowned m
(the pole // itself and four-inch rings
surely to be found // elsewhere in the garage).  // The bench was once
’s getting off the ground.  // Up on the
surface and for far around, // another creature wakes; great cogwheels
r deeper motivation // underneath their
surface combinations.  // Now Brin and Page build index tabulations //
e oyster-catchers, gulls // compete for
surface scraps.  The beach is good // for all.  The redshanks, godwits
Place the cordless base on a level firm
surface . // Where ever possible fill the kettle through the
mp.  // The light is failing now.  // The
surgeons trying to cut us off // from continental flow // seem more li
now.  // It is the space in which I must
survive ; // It’s through this land, this country that I go.  // It’s li
ination // is the space in which I must
survive , // with Frida as my muse and inspiration— // that reality in
scutter, scavenge, seek // their winter
sustenance .  Out in the bay // a seal watches us, then flips away, //
then walked his wild way // alone.  In
Swale - and Wensleydale // they passed the following day.  // Of shoes a
the hook.  // That’s not in the book, to
swallow a hook.  // He swallowed the hook to recover the net.  // You’d
ver the net.  // You’d scarcely bet he’d
swallow a net.  // He swallowed the net to trap the hat.  // Restart for
the string.  // What a strange thing, to
swallow some string!  // He swallowed the string to catch the hook.  //
nd off the rain.  // What an odd game—to
swallow the rain!  // He swallowed the rain to put out the fire.  // You
o swallowed his hat.  // Just fancy that—
swallowed his hat!  // He swallowed his hat to fend off the rain.  // Wh
ncy that // There was an old fellow who
swallowed his hat.  // Just fancy that—swallowed his hat!  // He swallow
ust fancy that—swallowed his hat!  // He
swallowed his hat to fend off the rain.  // What an odd game—to swallow
he’d expire from swallowing fire.  // He
swallowed the fire to burn the string.  // What a strange thing, to swa
t in the book, to swallow a hook.  // He
swallowed the hook to recover the net.  // You’d scarcely bet he’d swal
scarcely bet he’d swallow a net.  // He
swallowed the net to trap the hat.  // Restart for that.  //
an odd game—to swallow the rain!  // He
swallowed the rain to put out the fire.  // You’d think he’d expire fro
ge thing, to swallow some string!  // He
swallowed the string to catch the hook.  // That’s not in the book, to
e fire.  // You’d think he’d expire from
swallowing fire.  // He swallowed the fire to burn the string.  // What
the end, almost with dying breath, // a
swan -song, left behind for us to ponder, // in any season.  //
he orchard, watch // the apple clusters
sway , // the clouds scud past, // maybe catch // close enough to make
fleas // but by their piss and snot and
sweat and spittle.  // Oh, people spread!  Quick, guys, an ecstasy of f
.  So the breakers // come at an angle,
sweep // along the beach.  Each // finds its own reach up the foreshor
// makes us grow broader and taller, //
sweeps spray from our tops, // drives us ever onward.  // Where are we
ever perfect, // forever simultaneously
sweet and tart, // sharp on my mind’s tongue.  Why is it that // this
Even in my sleep // I hear the ground-
swell gently break and sift, // pushing the shingle back and forth and
ds calling // echoes of the distant sea-
swell rock them // Breath the scents the sea-winds bring // straining
w us away // No wind! we wallow in the
swell // Way-hay, blow us away // The sails clatter as we roll // Give
us.  // Some miles are ten, while others
swiftly pass.  //
fib… // … three fibs about fibs… // … a
swindle … // … a steal… // … and one true fib // Earth, // air, // fire
ain // jagged mountain // choppy sea //
swirling stream // smooth lake // dense forest // rough moor // millio
s away, // dives deep, leaving behind a
swirling wake.  // Nearer, the lapwings forage up the beach.  // At wate
nce in a while, though, they seem // to
switch a gear, and take a lurch // at some acute, unmeasured angle.  //
n. // To re-boil the kettle,
switch it on again.  If the appliance has just switched off you may ha
When the water boils the kettle will
switch off automatically.  The kettle can be switched off manually by
could the last person to alight please
switch off the lights.  // This departure has arrived.  // The locomotiv
ed correctly. // Plug in and
switch on at the wall socket. // Put the ON / OFF switch to
socket. // Put the ON / OFF
switch to its ‘ON’ position and the switch will illuminate. //
be switched off manually by putting the
switch to the ‘OFF’ position. // To re-boil the kettle, swi
OFF switch to its ‘ON’ position and the
switch will illuminate. // When the water boils the kettle
h off automatically.  The kettle can be
switched off manually by putting the switch to the ‘OFF’ position.
it on again.  If the appliance has just
switched off you may have to wait a few minutes before switching back
rd on which are mounted // battery box,
switches , lights, buzzers, plugs // and connecting leads.  Another pai
u may have to wait a few minutes before
switching back on. // When the kettle has boiled the water
s.  // The woods are full of streams, //
swollen with spring melt.  But an old pine forest // always provides a
two anapest] feet // [make up an eight-
syllable ] beat.  // Selec- // tions will do // for five, three and two.
Recorded
syllables // Together and together and together, // Indeed there will
Seven what?  // Seven
syllables would be // long enough for any line.  // With a terse verse
nt has closed, // and that was the last
syllabub of recorded time.  // From the bottom of the barrel // the sou
essation of treatment— // but that is a
symptom , not a cause.  // A // The fall drew blood.  // No such obvious
c staccato juddering // with a touch of
syncopation .  //
re, against and for; // debate is all—a
synthesis can wait.  // Voices coming from the room next door:  // Thesi
antithesis.  // Have to cut straight to
synthesis .  // Tried // hard // to write // a fib on // achievement, bu
es that do not exist // but need‡ to be
synthesised .  Some of them do not even have proper names.  // The eight