When we stayed

in the fishing village

our host unrolled

his best maroon blankets

for us to sit on.

We drank scented,

sweet tea

from glass tumblers.

Religion and language

meant nothing,

hospitality was all.

We smiled and sipped

and the heat lessened

as the shadows

strove for mastery.



It was a day

of swirling leaves

autumn bit

but there were

some dwarf crocuses

overlooked by time

they shivered

as I looked

and stomped on

down the path

holding my son

who was fresher

more sparkling

than any season.


Father had a drawer

full of commendations.

He’d slide it out

when I came to stay

and we’d finger

through the fading accolades

and he’d spell out

his great achievements.

He never tired of this,

while I grew jaundiced

and stifled a yawn.

But I couldn’t imagine

him gone, ever.


We had a perfectly cultivated

suburban garden

and well away from the composting heap

in fact placed in central splendour

there was a sundial.

Father lounged idly against it

birds bathed in it

on rainy days

but I knew how to read

the faded roman numerals

like they were ancient wisdom.


You slept in your car

waking with a crick neck.

Deftly you plugged

a heating element

into the cigarette lighter

and slurped steaming coffee

out of a red mug.

Clouds massed

in your rear-view mirror,

it would be bad today

but you’d drive

and never stop

until the sea came.

The Marshes

When I was very young

I was told to avoid

the old eel marshes.

But I liked to listen

to the small birds whistle,

I relished the fascinating,

gurgling brown water.

And maybe there was quicksand,

there were certainly old bicycles

half-submerged, their owners


So when the owls woke

it was best to go home,

before your imagination rioted

and the marsh spooked you

with its awful monsters.


By the time

she was diagnosed

with stomach cancer,

the excruciating pain

had cowered her.

She groaned in corners

clutched at her belly

which was terribly distended.

The atheist in her

begged for mercy.

There was none.