Words written in dejection near Orpington (“I’m on the train”)


Laura, I see your back garden, your unpublic life,

 the compost that never really got going,

flowering cherry by the fence and next door’s

cat stalks your daughters rabbit.

The blue bells are just coming on

along the newly cleared viaduct,

the clean, green entrance

to the tunnel under the Downs.


Sevenoaks: your car will be waiting,

Men and women in sensible shoes,

mothers in four by fours

delivering offspring to ballet, bumps and birthday tea.

But our fictional life…carefully measured

in jointly bought white goods

we could truly call our own:

washing and drying and freezing machines.


We would smile and call life pleasure

surrounded by children and pricey sofas.

Further on down the line, groups of men

hit balls slowly into holes.

From the train I see a single horse

standing at a gate looking across

to another horse standing at another gate


The underlying need for drama


I stare, sadly, at the photocopier

which proclaims, smugly, ‘there is a paper

jam in section A’, I know that

this is not the Finland Station, not yet,

no Lenin standing on an armoured car.

I am paused, ageing by the ‘Copy A Star’

As a figure swings through the office

the youth swaggering to fix it again.


The closest I get to Marathon will be

A pound to sponsor Kevin from IT

Running dressed as a chicken again,

not Phidippides celebrating victory then.

When I go the last thing I shall see

is fizzy cold cure with Vitamin C,

it won’t be some dramatic rent

A frozen line as Wilson leaves the tent.

The underlying need for drama seeps

Into every mundane act that keeps

The mortgage paid and children fed.

The inevitable steps from conjugal bed

lead to a small child who weeps

as monsters keep her from ‘her sleeps’.

No through road to passion left unspent

just complex sums on pocket money spent.


I would like to say, in a Shakespearian way

‘Between the forceps and the fire

There must be more to man’s estate’

But I’m feeling rather tired

and the hour is getting late;

best put it off till tomorrow.


In Memoriam?

In a large office in a large square,

is the Central Office for Control of Press

that shames it’s publishing authors,

as they blush and look slightly bored


One of the men who censored plays

Recently died from a heart attack.

 A sincere man with a certain taste

For speeches with difficult verbs


Another censor gave an interview

Anyone could join he said

As long as they had a good degree

And could pass a short exam


He had wanted to be a writer

I’m a liberal really he says with pride

And you should see the things I read,

I’m always in demand at parties.

Our recent pilgrimage to the well known shrine

Gave a sense of direction and firm belief

Along with some pleasantly kitsch souvenirs.

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