When daylight prods into the travel cot
and baby girl alerts us to the fact,
I rise to lift her out without a thought

and place her down gently at the exact
mid point between my pillow and her Mum’s.
Sometimes we all agree a silent pact

to sleep another hour despite the sun…
and you can take your leave now, dearest reader,
these iambic confessionals are done

and I’m anxious to reinforce the border
between my family’s bubble and the world.
The ebb and flow of linked Terza Rima

continues elsewhere, endlessly unfurls—
the words that I lobbed in were only pebbles,
the flow was always there, as eternal

as rivers that vanish below ground level
to leave the jurisdiction of the ear.
Some of the world’s worst poems are immortal.

The verse endures, the poet disappears.



I act like a dick many times a day
and you’ve learned to live with my dickishness,
but still, this very evening when you laid

down on the wet grass in your dark red dress,
I complained about tricky light levels,
how these shots wouldn’t come out at their best

instead of telling you how beautiful
you looked in the failing and fragile light
that no camera could ever catch in full.

Happy Birthday my sweet love. Goodnight.


I’ve got a new mental definition
of quietly smouldering intensity—
and that involves the four punch combination

that Haye laid on the granite density
of Dave Chisora’s chin, and how my wife
was whispering “Do him!” to the TV

and wishing all kinds of unworldly grief
against the roundly booed and hated fighter,
thus proving one can still nurse major beef

while breastfeeding a snoozy baby daughter.


It’s raining on our anniversary
and June’s bright sun skulks behind wadded clouds,
but we’re the furthest thing from misery,

though lack of sleep has sandpapered our moods
and daughter’s last poo stank of rotten cheese,
happiness and mad love still intrude

as we relive phone camera memories
of our best day til we feel we’re still there.
I sit down to watch Ireland play footie

and reacquaint myself with true despair.


It’s oddly fitting that the final day
of our thirtysomething, Zone 2 coupledom
would be a Sunday. The same old films play

on laundry day rotation, viscous calm,
where next week’s immanence dry humps the leg
of ticking, Sabbath sanctioned tedium.

Full time whistles end the hit-hoof lag
of nil-nil draws but will not help the climb
of mid table minnows in Sunday League.

In musty chapels, in half whispered rhymes,
congregations rote-petition God
until the droning sermon mumble comes

to send the most devout soul on the nod.
Hangovers prove trickier to shake,
Ibroprofen capsules are swallowed

in greater numbers than the glib intake
of thin communion wafers. Not long ’til
the sudden moment when your waters break,

and others face the dread of work or school.

Canto CCXX

Today I’ll lay off the Christians a bit
as they mourn their God’s weekend-long demise,
for truth’s bare bones must wear the meat of myth

and myths are not synonymous with lies.
Today, I’ll count my grey hairs and commune
with all the dead that prefaced their half rhymes

with five iambic feet. When that is done,
I’ll press my lips against my wife’s navel
and whisper to the future worlds within

of constant resurrection and renewal.


Barely an hour has separated us
from the gas explosion’s lethal flash
on Denmark Hill, those same shops that we passed

just out the hospital, content and hushed,
our unborn child, our slow, deliberate steps,
our brand new stainless steel toilet brush,

on lookout for uneven paving slabs.

Canto CCVI

My wife didn’t go outside today
so now she’s tidying aggressively
and I’m staying the hell out of her way,

try hard to take my bits of mess with me
so she won’t take a vacuum cleaner brush
at full force to my tender testicles,

which she’ll do anyway when she reads this.

Canto CCV

I hope that we will do this when we’re old,
walk through our manor at the Spring day’s end,
lob crusts at waterfowl around the pond,

grumble about the boozing youngsters when
they sway all giggly into our path.
We’ll fend off unleashed pitbulls with our canes

and tut as they defecate on the grass.
Then, as the last sunrays run flat and low,
we’ll bemoan how we’ve lost our golden past

until we hear the final, tremulous throes
of birdsong from the bower cathedrals
that shimmer in the final, hazy glow,

and in turn we’ll be ageless and enthralled.

Canto CXCV

The antenatal midwife’s art is subtle,
so when she talks about painful contractions
she coyly phrases them as “powerful”

during her warm and flawless exposition.
She shares a pithy yarn about another
midwife who used the curious expression

that each woman “would open like a flower”,
which wasn’t quite as helpful to the one girl
as she was wheeled to the caesarean theatre.

But who’s to say that when flowers uncurl
they are not screaming? Who’s to say that pain
does not seep through the murkiest tendril?

Who’s to say our bodies do not turn
through their own phases—that we animals
don’t flourish and fade with our own seasons?

The red lines form a jagged, Aztec trail
around your swelling stomach. When my palm
finds their pattern at nightfall I can tell

that ground frosts have been banished, Spring has come.

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