New Poems & Stuff

My new poem at Morning Star today – How to survive a nuclear winter




The night my Nan left an ashtray of her lips she was neither strong or stable,

in the morgue of his overalls I watched how a woman grieves honestly

it broke my twelve-year old heart and an egg-wet robin came out.

I still have her fingerprints on a Nat King Cole thirty-three

sometimes he lifts me to the sun – it’s her fag goin out.


The night my Dad lost his Mum a Macmillan nurse made weak tea as he wept,

he was trying to be strong and stable but the factory man malfunctioned.

He planted a rosebush for her and snapped it when his legs faltered.

Recently my Dad and I had a conversation with a prolonged look,

these are the moments he sees my soul and I see his all raggy.


The first time I saw a strong and stable woman was my Mum against the waves.

She learnt how to swim the same way I did when I was in her water,

this woman made me strong and stable, she gave me my first coat,

blood red and warm in the hospital cold we were strong, stable.

The last time I saw her the sky was burning like an ashtray.






After Douglas Gresham


Below the marble carpenter a scruffy boy knelt

his frayed jumper ragged as his mother’s breath

god grants boys like this coats only men can carry.


I picture the wrought iron latch moaning for him

he enters the door of his house to a priest drinking tea,

hot towels breathing from a rush dressed doctor.


For boys like him it is snowing in Narnia again,

I picture his mother’s fur coat covered in snow

blowing into the mink black shadowlands.


I think of the great creator weeping for what made him,

those three years, each one a day of beautiful rest,

grief snags the heart like a short cut through the brambles.


For men like him it is snowing in Narnia again,

that last year with the holy ghosts of winter breath

talking to her son of God and how he makes orphans.


I picture death as a lamppost flickering in Narnia.

In veins of fallen leaves her poems recite to the wind,

sun is mane and mice gnaw ropes so they can climb back to Aslan.


The snow is thawing in Narnia again. There are no statues.


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