It’s typical that for the final batch
of Cantos I’m beset by writers block.
Perhaps the best ideas have all been hatched

and now I’m counting days, eyeing the clock,
repeating myself, treading tepid water,
chalk scoring cell walls, recounting stock.

To write of happiness can be compared to
trying to make pottery from porridge.
Contentment is a greater bane for writers

than searching for a word to rhyme with “orange”.



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.


I can’t remember why I started this,
ego probably, we are all prone
to overestimating our abilities;

Happiness is filling up our room
like dragon smoke that pipes out from the lips
of our dozing baby girl, it’s like the womb

has grown to smother all of us, eclipse
the sneaky, gatecrasher September clouds
the muzzle newborn unfurling leaf tips.

What could spoil this muggy, content drowse?
What could stop the sweet milk overflowing?
A wasp in the salad, a dead mouse

inside the sliced wholemeal. A little poem.


I’m running low on twee profundities
to feed to the iambic metronome.
I wait for searing lines to come to me

while shacked up in the warm strictures of home.
In many ways, these are my greatest days,
yet all that you get is this lousy poem.

Stick with the dead ones, Plath or Hemingway,
they’re tried and tested, death has guaranteed
that their life’s pains will console you today

far more than aimless, happy types like me.


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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