Saturday, 25 February 2017


I've had a busy, poetry focused week. Thanks to The Secret Poets and to Paul Mortimer for their support and constructive feedback. Without quality constructive feedback we are less than is possible.
I wanted to call this first poem: The Devil to Pay and No Pitch Hot. I think I am too attached to this rather obscure phrase. It is an old navel term meaning an unpleasant outcome from an action, which fits the poem but may be too abstract.

Two unblinking magpies stand off a gull.
In the age of great waste
every resource is contested.

Out of the spilled bin rises
a mountain of half eaten food.
We throw away so much.

The gull screeches, feints,
The magpies motionless, wait.
They play a long game.

I have stopped to gawk.
A third magpie lands.
Outgunned, the gull departs.

Stock still, peripheral,
a crow bides time.
This is not nearly over.
The idea came to me after I had watched two magpies stand off a gull. I literally sat down and wrote the poem. Many heads have spent much time editing it. Thanks to all.
Here is a revised poem. It has been made tighter by the judicious removal of three the's, the addition of a line break and the compression we are into we're.
You can read the original version here.


I spend more time on the green buses
travelling there, or coming back
than I do where I am going.
There is the occasional milky coffee,
chipped cups in bus station cafés,
windows misted, cigarette smoke and coughing old men.
The park is empty.
Sun slopes through trees,
reddens the lake and municipal ducks.
Winter comes calling.
My patch pocket, button front, black loons
are no match for this lazy wind.
I don't know where
or what we eat,
but we're either at The Grand, or the Beer Keller,
or in a doorway kissing.
Once in a while your house is empty.
I say I love you.
I have no idea what those words mean.
I have been listening to Elvis Costello's Spike album. Here is what surely must be one of the best songs he ever wrote.
Until next time.

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