Cover page.


  • Angel
  • The Starling
  • Trial
  • Foxgloves
  • Archie
  • Safeguards
  • Outing
  • Biographer
  • What We Did
  • Still Life with Bible
  • Mary’s First
  • Fillins them up
  • Break-Up
  • Godfearing
  • Where They Came from
  • Guide to the Balawat Gates
  • Bulletin
  • The Conqueror
  • Rosa Silvestris Russica
  • Tudor Garden, Southampton
  • Passing it On
  • On the Ice Label
  • Forgetting Rosemary’s Baby
  • Trees
  • Crimson
  • Trance
  • Saturday Night at the Firehouse
  • Watching Oklahoma with the Light on
  • Indian Red
  • The Wish
  • The Guide
  • Harvest Moon
  • Before Breakfast
  • Ariadne at the Tricycle
  • After the Show
  • Runners and Risers
  • Comeback
  • Girl with Bare Shoulders
  • Mrs Dowland
  • On the Venom Farm
  • Heirloom
  • Dismembering the Minotaur
  • Tonsils
  • Harley Street
  • Divination by Mirror
  • Seven with a Cross
  • On the Motorway
  • House of Night
  • Good Night
  • Peach Tree
  • Eclipse
  • To Boaz


No-one sees me. Fathoms up
A nest of rays, all protein,
grey velvet triangles

six metres wing-to-wing,
a coat on them like a Weimaraner,
ripples at the edges, slow,

the way the skite-tooth grass
trembled in lunar winds back home.
So no one knows

and if they read the impress
where my egg sacs
crumbled into bed, work done,

there’s nothing they could do.
I listen to the humming
and I wait. Suppose they clawed

one ring from my antennae-bone
up through that tunnel
of sea-cow and acetta-swabs
changing sex halfway through life,
pink to meridian blue,
they’d re-do Linnaeus,

any story of black holes,
they’d re-assign prizes
for the signature of matter

but still they wouldn’t
know what’s coming.
How do I know all this?

Baby, where I come from
they had pre-rusted pictoscopes
to tell us about aliens like you.

What We Did

It was the birthplace of sages.
If you learned something there
you didn’t forget it. New arrivals
remembered what they’d forgotten –
but their voyage had to have been
a long one.

When we landed, greedy for bitumen,
sarsen, golden dodos, wragg,
we came on an ashwood piano
ingrown with thorn-formica.
A little blonde, dreaming
of a ghostly alcoholic

who’d play, over and over,
a broken A minor chord perfectly
in grey wool fingerless gloves.
She was waiting for it really
staring at us dumb that way
from her driftwood keys

like a child who doesn’t know why
She wants her sadness to be seen.
Well? What would you have done?
It was a town in the land of Rum.
Now under water.


We saw film of fireworks like crosses
zoom on a blue building
and were told it was victory.

There were reports of water installations
surgically erased. We thought the city
Would smash under children’s feet.

We learned that talk was no good
yet the ones who directed the guns
seemed to care, as if telling us lies

was important. No one went to the theatre.
We avoided large stations
and went home early
depressed at the thought of news.

Watching Oklahoma with the Light On

Somewhere in a burnt
strip of the mind
a wolf howls
into the central heating

for innocence
in all its emerald
and yellow rayon
and fake Mozartian song

and a manic side-drummer
stops music in its tracks
in rage at the lack of explanation
and somewhere down a green ride

where trees touch overhead
two singers have been walking
through the night, his fingers
precise on her waist

down a moss path
she’ll dream of
all her life to come:
this sloping avenue
to a cave they never saw,
a May-dawn shivery
roof of green coin
and everything he said and felt

unquestioned as those warm
drops spawned in a rising dun,
that wicker hush, and the green
melt slipping away.
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