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Everything about the unknown honeysuckle

                                    is and always was un-something:

            unseen, untouched, unsmelt

                                    even undone and undecided.

Deep in the equally unvisited sunlit wood

         where morning and late shadows

                      move flickering with the hours across the undergrowth,

this flower’s life is like the shortest night.

                        But in its heyday


        not a smaller jot less dazzling or superb

than the most admired and worshipped garden bloom.


Against some prejudices and tired spirits
I will embrace the modern world.
Tear up the letters, forget the phones with wires:
The postcards and the telegrams already unremembered.

New as the tree-torn apple and the unwrapped sock,
I lovingly accept tomorrow’s latest and I find
A kaleidoscope of media
Converging and expanding
Like waves of starlings in a three dimensional sky.

The starlings chatter in discord yet express ideas in echoes of          
                  each other. 
By thoughts like these                                                                                   
      the useless and the dead are numbered, 
      a woman is curtailed, a man ignored; 
      childhood and the child are schools apart
and all my dreams more real than coins or cakes.


Poetry is dead He said
Poetry is dead

 Poetry is dead in me
Not JUST in me He said 

But anywhere and everywhere 
                    In black and white and red 
Colours shine in brightest grey 
                       With flat screen pictures 
                     In my head
And all’s the same He said.

Why don’t you come to bed? She said 
At once he knew 
                   And she did too 
                      That poetry’s not dead


Time passes
        Life passes

There is past and there is future
         The present never is or was or will be
                     Heraclitus was right 


His schizophrenia came and went
     Through variable health and night and day,
     Through coffee hours and menial bathroom rites,
     Through warm duty times with pets and family,
And then to radioed travel and repeating work
With convivial splashes; even his sofa divided between
                   blinkered reading and his blind TV.

So many lives, selves, characters to play:
His personality not split but splintered
      And sent to infinity, like big-banged galaxies
     Cavorting away and away from each other for ever.

He could not learn that he was only one,
             Though all his parts would still die on the same day.


      They say  Macbeth has murdered sleep 
               may be, but I wish I could
      I can’t get close enough 

      I don’t slip into sleep 
               sleep slips, slips, slips away
     disappearing beyond an ever edgy horizon
     a watery cloud not seen
              but sly rumour says it's there, not far 
     and I must believe all rumours
              or I’d be eye-poppingly awake
     or stand eyeless as a hollow statue
              unseeing and unseen 
              unmoving and unmoved 
     all still, no breeze or breath

I walked one night in town,

Passed 50 men if they were a day.

Glared past one who hated his wife.

Danced past another in love for the ninth time.

Stared red-eyed at the tv watcher.

Grinned at another without any money.
They all get hungry and eat.

Winked at the suit who’d come from his mistress.

Scowled at the prim one just because it was Sunday.

One was boss-eyed – perhaps I’d been drinking.

Dragged past another who lived like a habit.
They all get thirsty and drink

I jumped past the one who was getting promoted.

Had a job getting past the one with eight children.

I smiled a bit at the man with no clothes on.

And I think I made the man with the dog itch.
They all get frightened and hate


The heart ticks
           whilst no clock beats.
The life moves on
          though curtains are drawn,
not caring whether the day-light sun pours bright or filtered
          onto north or south,
or is moon-bounced and sickly flickering east or west.

The cell splits
          to grow and sub-divide
The organ forms
          to be a part of you,
that is itself, in part, a part of swirling gaseous
          all or nothing.
And what’s complete then?   Never you 
        who cannot see today the microscopic stars
                    Or feel the dying atoms of your distant brain.

Then float with the ceaseless movement 
          and sink with straight-lined circles
     and with those spiralled ripples into tiny space.
Do not grieve for lost visions that have never been; 
  when, after all, you are the abstract movement 
of an instant comet:
                    gone before your own arrival. 

when daffodils die

when daffodils die
        next winter is seen
when crocuses cry
        grey suffocates green

when snowdrops flop
        swallows pass through
when bluebells drop
        snowstorms ensue

as each spring ends
        Christmas is there
summer only pretends
        autumn is where?

as first youth is lost
        old age can be seen:
your prime is a ghost
        middle age a has-been


Vain bargain for the hour that death is due

Though: “she has time to come to terms with  


For headlines blazed in black are always true


Minutes for sale, each one can buy you two

We haggle with, not for, our final sighing

Vain bargain for the hour that death is due


In Third World  floods ten thousand dead too few

Whilst one lost westerner has nations crying

For headlines blazed in black are always true


So make your devil’s pact and see it through:

You may, but will not, stop the seconds flying

Vain bargain for the hour that death is due


Though death is old as hills and never new

It makes great copy with the ink still drying

For headlines blazed in black are always true


Dozens blitzed for a cause without a clue

From instant life to nothing without trying

Vain bargain for the hour that death is due

For headlines blazed in black are always true


                            Red are her moods 
                                           Her trust is green 
                                                  Black are her arts on me 
                                           She broodsunseen these colours three. 

                          Brittle gold, her heart is yellow 
                                          Her hate, fired up, glows white 
                                            Shes fashioned into evil every hue 

                                                      And yet I mellow in her sight 
                                            just because her eyes are blue.


    Your feet are clever: they know just what to do

  There are no precious stones strewn before you

  The streets aren’t paved with gold

  The gaping holes that scare you aren’t in the road,

                                                         but in your head        

   Keep your feet on the ground,

   OK, but not your eyes

   Look up, my friend, the world is level

   With your sight imperfect, yes,    

                                                       but flawed not floored

   Join in, accept, embrace :  

   At least if you collide, you’ll see it coming.



I look down vacantly from a height,

     supplied by standing on what seems a meaningless brick  


     grassed over by time

     and accidentally, or by luck, in a graveyard.

Above and behind the sun casts a sharp and perfect shadow of myself

     on the hallowed ground below.

     But this shadow is exactly me at 20,

    a thousand years ago.


It is not a Dorian Gray silhouette

    but just an outline that hasn’t changed,

    whilst every single thing inside has.

Or is the opposite true:

    that only appearance has aged

    when, for good or worse, my elements are the same?



I say that I am tied and long for freedom.

But I am not and I don’t.

I am frightened of freeing myself

Just in case there is nothing there.


I mark the hours and dream of leaving prison.

But when the door opens, I am fearful of going out.

Maybe the person in the larger busy space

Will not be different or achieve any more.

Nightmare: he may be even less or disappear completely.

Perhaps my personality owes all to my confinement.



Self-thoughts made in moods from passionate to indifferent

But always with the belief of doubtful sincerity

And always, always, late at night.

I would say "last thing" but my nights are often sleepless

And "last thing" and "first thing" can become confused.

Even if the promises have been eternally unfulfilled

There could, with miracles, be one day when they are



Sunset on a guilty day

                             with no dreams collected.

The fall of night is only the pre-dawn curtain

          where resolutions offer sumptuous fairy tales.


          the morning twitter of sanity:

                   a black ripple of a shadow on grey water.

The only certainty is drowning in a trivial lake

          and coming up for breath again to see the setting sun.