Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year Oh Six

In the grey sky above Vlissengen
A bird floats by
Chased by her own shadow
And the first flakes of snow

On the radio the top two thousand
Ploughs gamely on
And the New Year waits impatiently
On the corner of a scuddy snowy street

The wind is horizontal
Stinging snow and a rock and roll wind
Blows Jill’s brolly apart

The first thunderclaps and sonic booms
Rattle the Dutch rafters and chimneys
And the birds head for the country

Midnight and we raise our glass, whoop
Troop outside to witness the carnage of the old year
And the aerial bombardment begins
Screaming devils and heavy-duty explosives
And Jill says, We were so young when we met
We’re so old now

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cricket Poem 2

Riddle in cracker

How can a wicket keeper get you out?
The question

Had me stumped.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve
it is so late
that even Mum and Dad
are fast asleep in bed

I stand at the top of the stairs

The house is warm
and the tree lights glow

I can smell mince pies
and anticipation

I make a wish

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pet Name

Your pet name for me
Is Elbow

You will often call my name
In my sleep

Sunday, December 20, 2009


After midnight
Walking back to our hotel
Orange and brown
Plane leaves
Scattered on the wet pavement
You feel
A rush of happiness

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cricket Poem 1

Our captain said, Right! You stand at silly mid off.
I said, Okay. But wouldn’t it be better
If I stood at very silly mid off?
Billy said, Why don’t you stand
At stupid mid off?
Our captain said, No!
Just stand at silly mid off.
I said, Could I stand at ridiculous mid off?
Billy said, Why don’t you stand
At pants mid off.

The umpire, Mr Walton, said,
Just do it – or you’ll be on litter duty.
So I said, Silly mid off it is then.
Billy said, You could stand at…
The umpire, Mr Walton, said,
Billy! That’s enough!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lines that Held Promise But Fizzled Out

If we could synthesise the background hum
At the British Library
We’d… um…

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Telepathic Encounter

On the tube
I was thinking up a joke
And when I reached the punch line
The young woman beside me
Looked at me and grinned

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Five Famous People Spotted in the British Library

Man, faded jeans and crumpled white shirt
Invented a code
Enabling computers of different races,
Religions and sexual persuasions
To talk to one another.

Woman, frizzy hair back from forehead
Low-slung scuffed leather bag
Wrote a series of mind-altering essays
On cytotoxic triterpenoids derivatives

Man, blue shirt, head down, muddy shoes
Turned conventional wisdom on its head.
Sells out at philosophical conventions
Obtuse and garrulous
Working on novel about Ba Jin Ba Jin

Man, Marcus Turuk (still wearing name badge
From yesterday’s meeting
With professor Huff and colleagues)
Inventor of over two hundred applications
For polycarboxlate cement

Man, Robbie Williams

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


I threw you the red ball
You tossed it aside
I threw you the yellow ball
You threw it in the fire
You weren’t in the mood
For imaginary catching