I ask myself if Plato ever spent
48 hours in an induction bay?
Sometimes we get the chance to reaquaint

ourselves with outer corridors where we
think of ourselves as being “outside”.
After midnight, when I finally

exit the hospital, I often find
a powerful sense of unreality
about the rain soaked pavements and the lines

of blossoming, yellow tinted trees
in sodium light. It’s easier to breathe
in this world, momentarily relieved

from all we’re yet to face inside our cave.



Labour hasn’t started, so we snatch
whatever sleep we can as hours stream
like fluids through a drip. I keep a watch

for midwives that appear like fleeting dreams
and vanish with the words “I’ll go find out…”
the curtains flutter, they never return.

Before I left at 4am last night,
I heard a newborn’s first cries down the hall.
Despite the rain that sputtered down outside,

the birds on every branch sang loud and shrill.
Right now, a blue partition cuts us off
from the Polish single-mum-to-be’s sad call

for doctors, birthing room and pain relief.
And you, my love, are somehow able to,
curl up against the chaos and drift off.

I self administer an espresso.


Prostaglandins, prosta feckin glandins!
open up that gateway, work your charm
and put paid to the Problem of Induction

and keep my little ladies safe from harm.


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.


Television, internet, espresso
and waiting. I read Zizek and Carson.
We get to washing all those baby clothes.

I listen to a sound file of Mel Gibson
wailing like an alcoholic Job.
The babygrows will hang from door frames, waiting

for all patches of dampness to be gone
so they can meet the soft skin of new life.
A poem pops. Some facebook know-all moans

about current affairs. We are safe
within our flat, as thunder growls, shut in.
On a branch, up high, a slight sliver of leaf

unfurls unseen within the city rain.


The day is full of rain. The cherry blossoms,
carry themselves, in silence, gutterwards,
fresh green willow branches pierce the gloom.

We’re washing the world clean, moving towards
your future world, the one we’ll never know.
Even these musty, overminted words

will gleam when your mouth frames them, coined anew.


Next time we head into this hospital
will be the day it all comes to a head,
when you go from the warm den, to portal,

to ever doting, archetype Godhead.
I will keep on in my usual role—
utterer of “yes dear”s by the bed;

the spare, spare tire; another hand to hold.
These are the last days of our coupledom,
the twilight of our cosy twosome world,

our Christian names traded for Dad and Mum.


And so the date is set and we’re whisked off
to the scanning suite for one more peek into
the hermitage of your first months of life.

The world outside that you are soon to enter
is flip flopping between sunshine and rain
as if you’re the observer that can undo

this superposition of polar states.


Our lives have shrunk to the size of our flat—
the brick beyond the windows may as well
be an artfully rendered, painted matte.

Even when we step beyond these walls
to amble round the park or top up stores
of foodstuffs, diet soda and bog roll,

it’s almost like our bodies are still here
and our forays into the windwept street
happened in dreams we barely remember.

Yet sleep will be a half remembered act
before this month is over, soon the docs
will inform us of the induction date,

our long, appointed hours with future shock.

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.

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