St Petersburg


I nearly got to St Petersburg
I sailed out towards the Baltic

I tried to call you through the shimmer
(Remember the ferry sailing past the low rocky islands)

There were news reports of a Russian sub in the archipelago – I said –
The clouds were maps of what was coming – you said –

Everyone went crazy with accusations – I said –
Up there the infinities sneak through – you said –

Later a tiny one-man sub sailed into Sickla Canal – I said –
We were going along too easily – you said –

Did you get my messages – I said –
The clouds are always there, hard to read – you said –

The future’s a beautiful hope, inside and outside time
It’s why we nearly got to St Petersburg

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The Gap in the Trees


I’m less articulate than grass.

I hobble on my syllables

hoping something will surrender

a thought, maybe, a kindness,

a practicality.

A gap in the trees before sunset

does more.


The wind picks up

as the horizon I stare at

slips away from

the slope of today’s sun.

In some places there are no days.

I could write it down

but who knows what colour

anything is?

Does the sun have a colour?

Does water?


I don’t think birds do anything

in sentences

though I’m just making that up.

You don’t need a philosopher

to know everything changes.

You can’t step into a moment twice.

My thoughts waver

but not like a leaf.

It’s a manner of speaking.


If I thought talking to the sun

would help, I would

but the gap in the trees darkens.

The grass becomes fainter.

Whatever darkness is

it’s almost here. I turn on the light.

The light lights the room.

Nothing is inevitable.

Though maybe it is.

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The River Night


All the old words are new words

aligned in a shaky way

all over the climbing sheet,

shanks of curtains, the crispy cords.


Now they wind me up

and work free in planet light,

the risky tintinnabulation

of vine, and tree, and thorn.


The night is always green.

It’s a flaky field of beat folly

and fishy streams,

jittery laps of unfinished work.


It’s the hour of lust and rain.

What do you do with lust and rain?

Drink and wander and shiver.

Hey, sometimes it’s all river.


Some thing laughs its dream.

Some thing swims above.

Some thing sheds its smoke.

Some thing runs.


I’m so afraid that I want to joke

in an hour of ardent seconds.

New words rain like love,

earth shaking its light, its weather.


I unfasten a thousand sheets.

I risk the river.

I find something patient

among wandering exhaust and sap.

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