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Tag Archives American


The summer LA hosted the Olympics –

the year the UK miner’s strike began,

and comrades became enemies, and things sure

fell irredeemably apart – we went

on a four day tour of mostly ancient Greece:

Corinth Canal; the amphitheatre

at Epidaurus; Nafplio’s converted

mosque; the Lion Gate at Mycenae;

Olympia’s temples; Delphi’s omphalos.


Swallows had made their mud nests in the eaves

of the three concrete hotels we stayed at,

the birds’ tender flights twittering omens

for travellers who were,



The Armistice was agreed at 5.10 –
in Foch’s personal railway carriage
– among the cigar and brandy fumes.
The Chancellories of Europe knew
thirty minutes later. Big Ben was rung
for the first time in four years and gas lamps
lit in Paris. There was dancing and streamers.

Foch insisted the truce would not take effect
until 11.00 – ostensibly
so the news could be keyed and carried to
each trench and dugout on the Western Front.

Thousands of soldiers were killed that morning.
The last to die –



One early afternoon at the nadir

or the zenith of the so-called Cuban

Missile Crisis – a good or, rather, bad

two years before ‘Dr. Strangelove’ and ‘Fail-Safe’

were screened – I was waiting in the drear

and white-tiled catacombs of Liverpool’s

Central Station – where it always seemed

as if it were night and the blitz still on

and water appeared to drip continuously –

for the next train, under the Mersey,

to Chester, when I heard somewhere beyond me,