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Tag Archives pigeons


After the horsemen and the slaves, before
the Stalins and the Hitlers, were the skilful
cities – cosmopolitan, pragmatic,
loud and solemn with towers, spires, domes.

There are some who would reprise a fictive past,
revert from countries of convenience
to imaginary nations, ignore
the corrupting legacy of empire,
the corrupted remittance of colonies,
oil trumping Crusades and martyrdom.

Europe could break like a slate across old
fault lines – a slate smudged with alphabets.
Europe could rub out its history.

There are swastikas in Brick Lane and Berlin,



Above me, on the slates, pigeons are cooing –

and some already billing, though winter

has many weeks to run. Like a shadow play,

sunlight silhouettes them on the wall

the study window faces. From the desk,

I have looked up, over three decades,

to tease, from bricks, reluctant words of love.


Before the allotments were sold off,

by the railway, there were pigeon lofts.

At dawn, out of a livid sky, birds

would home with only guessed at effort,