The Childhood of Bertrand Russell

I cannot grieve for newly shattered crockery
nor shed a tear for shards of splintered glass.
To simulate distress were hollow mockery.
They are of dust. Once more to dust they pass.

How wise your words, my son, for every platter,
composed of ordered particles of dust,
assumes again the natural state of matter,
and entropy increases, as it must.


Between birdsong and dawn
night slipped away
barefoot across the lawn.
Between birdsong and dawn
her perfume lingered on
to fade before the day. 
Between birdsong and dawn
night slipped away.


lightly and lightly adorned in a ripple of never
passing invisible out of the now we have known
into another redemption, another forever
lightly and lightly dismissing a burden of sorrow
slipping inviolate into a deeper beyond
softly to follow a dream of unending tomorrow
lightly and lightly begun what can never be ended
lost in a filigree universe spiralling free
free as the balm of a moment we never intended

Looking Out

beyond the rowan
(lime green fronds, musician's hands awakening)
an olive-yellow poplar
(lighthouse-proud, this slow slow dancer)
yearns for the hill
two figures walking
(silhouettes, fleas on a rabbit's ear)
closeness a hard won summit
(Hereford and all of Wales below)
and you, the other 

Death, you is my woman now

Death, you is my woman now.
You is all that's left for me
since you snaffled Laura-Lee
leaving me to wonder how
life goes on. OK I bow
to your every whim, but gee

we is cruising for a row
if you dawdle aimlessly.
Shift your ass! What's it to be?
Chicken flu or crazy cow,

(after François Villon, 'Mort, j'appelle de ta rigueur')

Helga's Chickens

Helga's Chickens take the floor
around eight thirty every night.
Could anybody ask for more?
Perhaps some spotty troglodyte

would rather hide away and write
his C-plus-plus, but that's a bore
and hardly likely to delight
Helga's Chickens. Take the floor

for instance – even if it wore
a carpet of a lurid white
our eyes would still be on the door
around eight thirty. Every night

the Paranormal's heaving. Quite
a crowd prepares for what's in store
and brightens as they dim the light.
Could anybody ask for more

than Helga and her brood? Before
you rush to call her 'parasite'
or breathe the appellation 'whore',
perhaps some spotty troglodyte

will rush to her defence and cite
an evening back in '94
when he succumbed, gave up the fight
and sang – O come let us adore
Helga's Chickens! 

In Hope

There will be time to take your hand, one day,
time not to talk, not to know urgency.
There will be walking times, watching the sea,
our faces turned towards the wind-borne spray.
Then there will be no need for us to say
is this forever - ours the certainty
of something understood. The he and she
of half-forgotten stories . . .
We have seen war and death. We have seen fire
and tempest. We have seen disease and pain.
These times have tried us hard and may again
crash rude upon our lives. We stand aware,
while through it all our human hearts aspire
to love. We are not blind. We have this power.