(Skoob 1995, 174pp., pbk £8.99) ISBN 1-871438-77-2
from Father and Son...
A Conversation With the Doctor at the Time of the Chernobyl Disaster
You stand at the window in your striped pyjamas,
Like a disaster victim, and I am outside.
It is the second of May. The hawthorn blossom
Froths and blows all over Sheringham.
The doctor takes me to his car and says:
Your father hasn’t much longer to go.
Over our heads the arctic clouds explode
And mushroom. He has the worst heart I know.
The wind, unseen, plucks at our hair and clothes.
He is living on borrowed time. And pills.
I catch you at the window waiting for news.
There is nothing, nothing more medicine can do.
You turn to me, taciturn: What did he say?
And all about us spreads cancerous May.
from Affairs of the Heart...
How is this warring marriage to survive
Love’s battleground? We drag through the detritus
Of our own making. In the debris
Nothing grafts or roots or grows between us.
Terrorists we alter tack from hour to hour.
Your eyes open like blades. They’re quick to cut.
My mouth is loaded with words. They aim to kill.
This is a prolonged and quite immoral war.
We suspect each other; read for duplicity,
Expect the worst. Emotions crash through our negotiations:
Escaped children, patients, war-lords - all of them crazy.
Now, for no reason, there’s a reversal of mood.
We’re kissing like adolescent kids.
from For Man And Islands...
It skulks in the mind’s undergrowth
In the dark thickets
It quivers close to the bed of rivers
A snake through the conflagration of grass
It is acquainted with stones and roots
Has wound itself many times around
The dripping tentacles of nature
At dusk it flies through the warp and weft of shadows
Compounds the darkness
Till large familiar things loom forward
Bulked with strangeness
Blackness humped upon blackness
Through which it lilts and slips
Where do I stand but where it was
And is no longer though
Something of its essence always lingers
Hangs frailly in the morning
From the bent bough’s sodden foliage
Pervades a corner of the garden
A turning of the road
Disquieted I poke the ground
Dank arching grass blank stones
A thistlehead unloads its seeds
A bird flits through the charcoal thickets
The silence drums
I tread near the edge of some archaic memory
I can never reach
And spill a brief life writing
To allay the ache of it