Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Death of a dog

From his sunny spot in a dusty yard
He came out onto the road to do his doggy duty:
To bark at me as I came past.

But this dog came without the urgency
That some dogs display:
The ones who bark and really mean it;
The ones whose bites may be worse
Than their barks.

This dog, it seemed to me, was only
Going through the motions.
His barking was neither angry, nor particularly loud,
In the manner of one who understands,
Deep down, that this barking is merely a convention;
That the passer-by will likely continue his passing-by
Quite harmlessly,
Bark, or no bark.

It was a four-wheel-drive, big, red, fast, that got him.
A moment after I had passed
I heard the sound,
Heavy, soft and wet,
And understood immediately what had happened.

The driver, of course, did not stop.
The dog, and his bark, simply disappeared.

I felt a warm fleck on my cheek.

And, looking down,
Saw my clothes spattered
With something unspeakable.


In the river valley down to my left,
Down below the dirt road,
Three vultures, pecking at a dead sheep,
Left off their pecking momentarily
To watch me pass, and then
Resumed their pecking,
Hopping awkwardly through wet snow.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


A small white hut
Sat with its doorless door-frame painted blue
On a small island in a shallow lake
Under a yellowing weeping willow
Surrounded by tramped mud
And the gentle smell of decay

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Buying biscuits in Hampshire (en route to China, by bicycle)

I stopped
In a shop
Off the A23

And purchased
Some biscuits
For 95p.

"Are you going far?"
Asked the man at the till.
To China, I answered,
And felt foolish, but still.

"Well have a good trip then,"
The shopkeeper nodded.
But later, recounting our meeting, he added:

"Third bloody one
This week."

Friday, 9 October 2009

Poem without words

            ,                ,                                  ,                                -
                    ,                              ,                                           ,
                                                 ,                            ,

                       !                       ,                         ,                                 .
                           ,                                                  ;                              .                  -
                                      ?                                               ,      
                      ,                                                     ?
                                      ,                                              .

                                            ,                                    .
                                                    ,                            .
                                ,                                                      ,
                                 -                                         -          
                                     .                                            .

                                              ?                                     :
                             .                                  ?                              ,
                   ? "                           ":                                               .
                             ,                              ,                                         .

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Symphony Hall

Slow movement
In sad reply to soaring strings came horns to wail and grieve;
       And clarinet, with mournful sigh, lent
Plangent tone to quaver, crotchet, minim, semi-breve.
       (The rests were silent.)

The first half's done. As from a dream
       We wake, and leave the concert-den.
And after scoffing ice-cream
       We troop back in again.

Fast movement
Vivace themes in silver'd streams came trembling, tumbling out
       From piccolo, viola and cor anglais. Then, we spied
(His baton flailing wildly as he lurched in his redoubt)
       The conductor tumbling off the stage - "Too many notes!" he cried.