A GOOSE IN THE BAMBOO

Catching a charter flight from Manchester,

the family eases through security

but I am detained – there are traces

of explosive in my backpack: poems

on the hard drive? The scanner is at fault.

 

At Nikos Kazantzakis Heraklion –

the only airport named for a writer –

one of our cases arrives broken

on the single baggage carousel

and one of the gent’s toilets has backed up

but ‘Zorba’s Dance’ is playing somewhere,

the sea beyond the runways could be almost

‘wine-dark’

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LENIN AND THE BOURBAKI PANORAMA

Lenin, to leaven his exile in Zurich,

would sometimes weekend in Luzern and,

after kalberwurst with onions and gravy

at the Wilden-Mann on Bahnhofstrasse,

would always visit the Panorama

in the Löwenplatz – or so it is said.

 

Panoramas were popular before

the illusion of photography,

still or moving, became reality.

They were cycloramas painted in oil,

typically fifteen metres high, one hundred

metres in circumference – often

with a three dimensional aspect:

in this case,

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GLIMPSING THE STARS

I wake, as always at some dark hour, to pee –

make my way, as always, with utmost care

down the steep, narrow stairs then across

the dining room’s creaking floor boards

as silently as bare feet can. Afterwards,

I creep to the patio doors, hoping

to see the visiting fox my hosts have heard.

There are stars in the clearest of skies –

so many, as always surprisingly

so many,  I want to wake the household

but, instead, craning my neck,

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ACHILLES’ HEELS

On the short strand where the Red Wharf Bay Sailing

and Water Sports Club has its clubhouse,

the salvaged HMS Thetis was grounded

the day Chamberlain declared war on Hitler.

 

The last human remains were slow marched,

with muffled drums, up the narrow, high banked lane.

For want of an escape drill and a pinhole

ninety nine men had died from carbon monoxide.

 

Raging Achilles, scion of the Greeks,

prince of the Myrmidons, slayer of Hector,

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ONLY TO BE OPENED…

If her mother were to live to be Centenarian of the Year,

your mother would be seventy six and you,

surprising angel, nearly thirty three.

(You will note, I am assuming that I shall not be

Grandpa of the Decade – false modesty, of course!)

 

Thinking for so long there would be none,

I am surprised how the likely continuity –

of blood, flesh and memory – reconciles me

to that dim eternity. The phone rings.

‘Hehwo, Gwanpa.’ As always,

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