New poems

New poems

The ark among the flags

All the abandoned, never found or claimed;
The long-lost, nameless, scorned, or blackly named;
The scapegoats, stoned and cast away and blamed

For nothing but their prayer-words or their skin,
For being nothing but what they had always been,
Made nothing because of some lost origin —

Picked up today in Exodus, and read
Aloud again here, while centuries of dead
Hear silently what goes on being done, and said.

In Camera

A light goes on:
Something is telling me
The camera is too full of memories.
Before I take another picture
Some must be cancelled.

So I must choose:
Blank out some bits of past,
Or print what’s there and leave room for the rest
While there’s still time. Which shall I press?
What shall I lose?

Ripon: April 1918

Under those eaves
In Borrage Lane,
Taking his leave
Snatched for a few hours,
Trying to catch the true tone
Of what he had known
And would go back to soon,
Above all Above all
Not concerned, scratched out, restored,
Each considered word
Above all, I am not concerned
With Poetry
And the blossom like confetti
The Poetry is in the pity.

An autumn note

“For many, the end of this uneasy year cannot come quickly enough”

An ordinary killing

Ian Cobain’s book uses the killing of Millar McAllister to paint a meticulous portrait of the Troubles

Greater—not wiser

John Mullan elucidates the genius of Charles Dickens