I heard that the Chinese call this moon—
huge and beaming orange, on the line
that scissors out the fringe of South London—

an evil moon. I clamber at the scene,
fail to catch it with my camera,
the light so rare and fragile, so I glean

whatever dodgy frames of memory
can last within my cortical hard drive,
all locked up in my neural armoury.

Its dead glare let’s me know that I’m alive.


Canto CLVI

The little brown bird on the pavement
is dead and perfect as if life itself
could be perceived as a contaminant,

for it’s been said there’s naught ruder than health.
It must have have been the 68’s window
that put an end to its roof hopping stealth,

riding the tides of winter winds that blow
through thickest coats to seek the white of bone,
to fall softly onto the street below

to be of no concern, the soul has flown.

Canto CLI

Irony doesn’t seem such a treasure
when stumbling upon the hard, steel steps
while making my exit from the South Bank Centre

after writing poems about death
for punters that lined up for the honour,
to hear their darkest mortal thoughts expressed

in verse. I grabbed the rail, escaped disaster
and marked the only thoughts within my head
centred around my unborn baby daughter—

and as I settled down to catch my breath,
I’d never felt as thankful for believing
I hadn’t joined the armies of the dead

and kept step with the Home Guard of the living.


I write this verse with every digit crossed,
but if Death is some hooded scythe-wielder,
whose touch can render hottest breath to frost

and turns our best laid capers even colder,
well, if he strolled into our living room
to point his white-as-Finnish-dandruff finger,

our Saturday evening, spent in at home,
with only some repeats or Take Me Out
to watch on TV. Still, this tedium

is but the brittle shell we wear without
his touch would only pierce my brittle skin—
there ain’t no scythe that’s sharp enough to cut

into this slow-cooked happiness within.

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