10. Sonnet
I’m going back to something I came with
but couldn’t fit into the say
as your words hang in the quiet sunlight
and all the misfit years fall into place
all we’ve been moulded into, or out of,
intimidated because of, falling away -
to come back to the innocence we had
that is suddenly so grown and precise
this knowing of how we want to be, and are,
with all we knew from the light between lives
choosing beyond reason to be born again
cast back into this uncertain field
of human seeding, learning and unlearning
what it means to be here, and to be free.

11. Not a Sonnet
Examined maps and crossed a maze of motorways,
arrived in the sunlight to the peace of buttercups,
saw a rabbit grazing outside the pool window,
silenced the flat screen in favour of the birdsong,
descended to find a buffet of strangers,
disappeared into the green of the evening
observed the cedar tree uplit, the sickle moon above
and the great house with its silent history
as random as the suit of armour in the hallway

and decided the night was for ringing you,
for reaching out and being reached
as unexpectedly, to know once again

that the aching void that seems to stretch forever
is no bigger or smaller than the glass in your hand

19. for Mary Palmer
Lawned paths above a sparkling clear river
overhanging branches: this is where you are now
and where you can wander as far as you want
with no one else around.

All quiet, healing green.

Dear friend without a body
as youthful and alive as you ever were
with your trim hot figure, only four days gone -

and suddenly as we talk, you tell me
something so electrifyingly true
it lodges and fizzes inside my belly...
but lie still as I might
I can’t quite hold the words you say
as I fall asleep again
and maybe

only the awakening itself matters
dissolving inside, from where your dream is real

safe as you are now as if among those trees
we gazed out into beyond the glass
the lawns leading to depth upon depth of green
and to this dream inside a dream.

(Mary Palmer, a dear friend, died of cancer aged only 52 in 2009.
For details of her Selected Poems Tidal Shift please visit

27. for the children
Pavement side, a mother and child
and a poet’s footsteps exactly coincide:
she’s saying to him ‘birds live in trees,
and squirrels...’ as we pass, and I can’t resist
‘...and poets’, I add, as her sentence hangs
still deep in my one-handed text to you
about how everything changes...’and poets’
she echoes, smiling back briefly, like it’s
the most ordinary moment in a magical
wholly unforseeable world -
which it is.


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