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DANCING ON AIR

We had fed the heart on fantasies,
The heart’s grown brutal from the fare.

Meditations In Time Of Civil War, W.B. Yeats

 

There are barricades at both ends of the street.

They have been building for a couple of days –

a skip, a burned-out pick-up, rotten timber.

Someone appears at our door at dusk or dawn,

claiming to be from one side or the other,

begging, asking, demanding contributions –

that folding chair, this old garden bench,

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SOMEWHERE IN ENGLAND

Under an April moon the tussocky field

abounds in rabbits. Its hedgerows are sprinkled

with blackthorn blossom creamy in moonlight.

Dark green poplars border the canal

beside the field. Daylight exposes,

behind a hedge, discarded technology:

a wheel-less tractor propped up on breeze blocks.

A troika of Russians on a narrow boat

sings plangently of the motherland.

 

Sudden rain sweeps across the poplars.

It turns to hail on the rusted tractor;

silences the song; shreds white petals;

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TO SEE A WORLD

For Pat Rogerson

 

‘To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower…’

AUGURIES OF INNOCENCE, William Blake

 

From sixteen hundred miles away a friend,

on the southern most edge of Iberia,

with the Maghreb below the horizon,

and all of the South Atlantic beyond,

sends me a photograph of low dunes,

a cobalt sky, and flaxen sands that stretch

almost out of sight – and texts me to say

she imagines the poem I might write there.

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UNDER THE PLUM TREE

Under the plum tree, in the sun, an old man,

reads the last paragraphs of ‘Wuthering Heights’.

‘My walk home was lengthened by a diversion

in the direction of the kirk. When beneath

its walls, I perceived decay had made progress,

even in seven months: many a window

showed black gaps deprived of glass; and slates

jutted off here and there, beyond the right line

of the roof, to be gradually worked off

in coming autumn storms.’ From one of the branches

of the tree metal feeders hang with seeds.

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HOME TIME

The ditches along Duttons Lane have been full

much of March – because February-fill-dyke

was mostly dry, almost Spring for days.

The glinting water is dark as black tea,

brown as bitter beer. Along Acres Lane

the hawthorn hedgerows are beginning to green.

 

We park as near the school as we can.

The leafy lane is overflowing with song.

As we walk through the green security gates

a westerly wind brings the roars of lions

from the zoo nearby.

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LAMENT FOR THE FOURTH ESTATE

Once Parliament was in recess – both Houses

of Hypocrisy on their long summer hols –

in the basement of an office block near

King’s Cross (where you catch the Hogwarts Express)

one Saturday morning in July,

three journalists, watched by two technicians

from GCHQ, spent three hours to save

the Government’s face, and The Guardian’s,

by destroying hard drives with drills and grinders,

circuit boards whose data – from the exiled

whistleblower Edward Snowden – was

replicated throughout the Americas.

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