Friday 17 July 2015


A revised poem to start with this week. I shall not, though, bang on about the importance of revising your work. Save to say that sometimes simply not looking at a poem for a week or two will show up its flaws.
We are at table and there are statistics.
Not the obvious count of knife and fork and spoon,
or the percentages of dishes with no meat.
One of our number informs us:
the average academic paper is read by ten people.
I should have been embarrassed,
but I crowed how many visits my blog receives.
These are the overtures, mere distractions,
the real equation leaves me speechless.
Fist let me give you the context,
my friend has worked in China for the past year,
this meal is a celebration of his return,
and he interjects, cuts across our cosy conversation.
Mao, he was told had been
seventy percent right, thirty percent wrong.

It is better to admit your hero has feet of clay,
to divert attention from famine,
the social dislocation of Mao's final years,
and all those ghosts.
The ones that now stand round this table.
So many in fact that they form an orderly queue
down Catherine Hill and beyond Frome to the sea.

We briefly discuss these percentages,
then the talk returns to:
the food we are enjoying;
the band we going to watch;
house prices, books we have read.

We rise to leave and find we must
shoulder our way through the ghosts.
Though they do not follow,
I feel their eyes on my back.
This next poem is again a work in progress and is based on something someone said to me.


Then as he walked home,
across the fields, the way he had come,
rain began to fall.
Dives and Lazarous in the first few thin drops,
as if that rich man held the purse strings of the clouds.
He moved through Thomas Tallis variations,
and as the rain became heavier,
he could hear all of Vaughan Willams' music
in the fat drops that fell onto his head
and ran off his shoulders and down his back.
By the time he reached his house
the sky was an intricate lattice of music,
which followed him inside and into the shower,
chiming off the tiles as mute water sloughed the music off his skin.

Essentially a friend had the idea that, as they walked home, each raindrop was a note of music by Ralph Vaughan Williams. I liked the conceit so much I decided to steal it!
Here's Will Varley.


  1. ooh the last two lines of the Friday poem.......can I pinch for the novel? thanks. Brilliant.

    1. mean the ghost one..... and you are quite right...leaving a piece of writing for a while does show up its flaws...see these two comments...

    2. Thanks Carol. of course you can have them for your novel.
      In this fast world that promises instant gratification the idea of leaving something to mature seems very sensible.