Piped Dreams

The door clicks a jar

compresses the draught

to a whistle that wakes me

from your arms, her arms, my brother’s

hand I held through a summer

night in the respiratory ward

down the corridor from coronary care

where he would be the next summer

and no one could visit

while he dreamt of life and dying

surviving dreams of dreaming

and not divining what was remembered

or dreamt even when sent home

to live as best he might when so tired

of medication and interventions

when all he wanted was to live

and love and still be the man

she married.


CLP 20/01/2021

Lockdown 3 (Day 15) In Books

Grief is The Thing With Feathers by Max Porter is a very clever and engaging book. If you have two or three hours to spare I can recommend it. The subject matter is potentially painful, but the way the book changes points of view from the dad, to his two sons to the crow, representing grief, is very well done. There is pain and humour and a sense of love within the whole family. I think that it is a book that is worth re-reading too, as there are plenty of moments worth savouring, particularly as grief is something I have had to address as life as ticked on.

The author has felt a need to acknowledge the debt to Ted Hughes for the crow character idea, which I understand. I don’t know about you, but it would be nice to read a book that doesn’t have to cross reference other writers and other books. Just tell the perfectly good story as best you can. No need to get all literary on your readers.

As an aside, there are words that I see in poems, for this book is part poetry, part prose (prose poems) that make me wince. If I see another poem that uses the phrase, “a lick of…” I may throw it out of the window, unless the licking is so ordinary, or extra-ordinary that it merits the use thereof. There are an awful lot of bones these days in poetry too, as well as throats and lots of taste of… phrases.

I had some interesting comments on a poem I wrote recently that included the phrase “I caught a flash of frightened girlhood in your brown eyes”. Several of the other writers wanted me to jazz up the brown eyes. Well, I didn’t because they were very beautiful brown eyes and they were beautiful for their distinctive brown colour. Simplicity is poetic too, isn’t it? There was enough in that line already and I did want to distract the reader with ornamentation.

So, today has been a quiet day. Warm enough to have the balcony door open for most of it. Quiet enough to hear the blackbirds calling up the dusk as afternoon wore on.


CLP 20/01/2021

On Playing vi

Fast delivery

dug in short and cutting back

kisses collar bone


n.b. All due respect to the Indian men’s cricket team in getting the runs required to beat Australia on the last day of the last test match of the series. What a feat of resilience, skill, bravery and team work!

The Australian radio commentators were generous with their praise for the tourists’ victory in Brisbane. It made exciting radio listening. How wonderful for the 5,000 or so spectators watching the remarkable performance!

My senyrū refers to my own own experience of cricket and the excitement of playing against a good fast bowler. If that ball hits you…ouch!

Cricket is indisputably the best team game ever invented. I particularly enjoy how the different cricket playing nations have developed their own culture around the game.

If you would like to find out a bit more about one of the greatest cricket teams of all time I can recommend a film about the West Indian cricket team, Fire in Babylon. The link takes you to a trailer for the movie.

AND India has announced it is sending supplies of coronavirus vaccines to a number of neighbouring countries. The first shipment is already heading to Bhutan. Nepal, Myanmar, Maldives and Seychelles are also going to be receiving vaccines from India soon. That’s the kind of news I like.


CLP 19/01/2021

On Playing v

It had to happen

we crashed into each other.

Found – laughing in street


n.b. I am close to bursting, laughing out loud again, 45 years later. Mucking about on our bicycles we accidentally locked handle bars and fell to the pavement. Before we could move, get cross, or blame the other, a little girl’s face appeared over the adjacent garden wall, “Are you alright?” she asked and that was it, we dissolved in laughter. You had to be there.

I wonder if she ever offered unsolicited help to anyone ever again. Poor kid.

Thanks, Tim. Best accident I ever had!


CLP 17/01/2021