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WALKING HOME

We talked of those we had worked with that day,

and those with whom we would work again.

We passed, as always, so many walking,

as we left Chiawelo in Soweto.

We were returning to New Redruth,

where the Cornish tin miners were exiled

to grow the gold reefs and shine the diamonds.

We joined the steady rush hour traffic

on the N12 South. Passing the Gleneagles

shopping mall, I saw, on the hard shoulder

of the opposite carriageway, a man,

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WATCHING THE STORM

From Llandwyn Beach we watch – safely, distantly –

rain clouds, across the bay and the beginnings

of the Irish Sea, obscure the coast

and then the three mountain peaks, one by one,

of the Ll?n Peninsula. We hear thunder

trundle on the high ground and rumble

in the valleys, and see lightning fork,

furnace yellow, in the ash grey clouds.

 

Watching a storm at such a calm remove

is like two scholars in faux panama hats

watching the past,

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DOWN THE LINE

For Kira Somach

 

I have regular readers – some I have known

for years, others I will never meet –

on every continent except

Antarctica: a wonder not a boast!

One, an actual friend from long ago,

tells me, via email, that she often reads

some of my poems over the phone

to her father – she in Missouri,

he in Florida: to remind them

of his years working in England,

and her years here becoming a woman.

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THE LION OF KNIDOS

Near one corner of the British Museum’s

Great Court – the largest, roofed, public square

in Europe – the Lion reclines on a plinth.

It was stolen, a couple of years

after the Crimean War, from a ruined

tomb in Turkey. Its limestone body

had once been adorned with marble, its empty

eye sockets with glass to glint in sunlight

and glow in moonlight. Whether because

its pockmarked flanks seem sad or its eyeless face

appears benign visitors are keen to pose

for photos with the beast as backdrop.

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CONVALESCENCE

We drove towards the River Dee – down walled lanes

with rhododendrons festooning the sandstone,

their attic blooms in imperial colours –

to visit a doughty friend convalescing,

from two knee replacements, in Seize The Day,

a recently opened upmarket care home.

 

As we turned into the drive, I realised

that this, long before rebuilding, was where

my mother had first trained to be a nurse –

sixteen, with her friend, Belle. They cared for children

with TB from the Liverpool slums.

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ASYLUM SEEKER

i.m. Samuel Selzer

 

He was never sure if it had been a joke

when the police arrested him for being,

he learned later, Jack the Ripper,

even though the last murder had been

a dozen years before, and he himself

had been eight and far away – or just

a lesson for yet another alien

wandering Whitechapel as if he had

a right to be lost in a pea souper.

 

Fresh from the Hamburg boat docked at Tilbury,

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