The Planter

Now he is almost out of sight, a hat pulled down and bent at the wheel;

eyes on the crop as the curving steel forms little mountains of soil; an

old man with strong hands guides the little orange tractor.

Here he is again, spanner on the tines, tightened just so, and

they flex in the deep earth and the motor shows its displeasure.

He comes here every year to grow food for everyone but himself:

Baggy trousers smeared in grease, old shirt and rising dust,

the gulls trailing and wheeling, wings against the purple hills,

orange beaks stabbing at the turned earth.

It is a man’s pleasure: alone with a machine, set fine


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The Window

A lace curtain dancing
on an oak window,
drawn up for the air.
I want you to be there,
in a bent-cane chair,
a beret – perhaps,
a book on a knee,
cotton dress and the
scent of wild roses
lifted and swirled;
for the chapter on love.
Close your eyes, now.
Listen for the wind,
its teasing whisper

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3 poems (sailor)

  1. Counterpane


The Sailor flung his bag upon his shoulder

to ease the dark day

that weighed upon his soul.


You have flown

the coast  to be

his sole companion;



beneath the counterpane,

struck high

Atlantic  waves.


You have found

beast and man

magnificent; and


confronted by this, lost







Seasons! Castles!


I too

wanted to






anywhere but

here; with you.


Christ, I know

I’m no sailor, tho

1 day the Idea


of a Man may walk

the water,


who knows what for


  1. Love, our nerves are fingered


love, our nerves are

fingered like strings.


Those memorable images

still trembling,

shadows on the water.


These oceans are



(for all intents

and purposes).



I intuit

2 eternities.


The nausea



The eternal return

of Ritual murder,

say.  Roll, oh;


be kind. Tho I feel

like a shadow sometimes –

a bare soul,


in my mind it’s

skin to skin

with you

here. I think

you know.


3  We should sail


We should board a ship,

do you think? Sail

the brooding miles and



from here.


by my



We drive and I’m

in another world.


As far as I know. I’m

51 in 2 months



young in some




This is rubbish, but still

we should sail.




The Cedar Lodge Motel, Hamilton 31 August – 1 September

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Just The Wind

Just the wind, silted grey stone,

the gangly tree, tracks of animals

moving east and west, and

time has stood still.

The birds – shrill and clear,

across the wandering braids.

A home to lupin, pink and yellow,

glazed by teardrop rain, falling

to the blown rippled sand.

Plantain, rabbits’ feet, press

the earth: imprinted.

A riverbed. A home.

A landscape. A place to dream.

In the crying wind, flecked

stone footprints of time

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ice-block crossing

     ice-block crossing

summer at
the pedestrian crossing
the girl could feel
the cold of that iceblock
down to the soles
of her feet
crossing the hot asphalt
on the way back
from the shops
licking her way along
with a bag of prosaic
groceries in her other
burdened hand

ellerslie highway
january 2015

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Summer Fruit

The slender boughs dip low

flush with deep-green fruit.

In a month – maybe two

the plums will swell,  brighten

and birds will play in shadows,

dip beaks into red flesh,

beat the fallen globes on flat rock

in this silent threading path.

Tap tap. Split. Red flesh exposed.

Then they retreat, plump and preened.

Below, the way of man is blood red,

summer’s juice spilt

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But this is just a phase we pass through, the moonlit

by-way, heavenly Way to the sunfields of heaven;

fraught, as it is, with filmic visions, dream-corridors

that cut the mind: the idea/and the realization


of the idea. I am the way, means to an end

and the end wherever that is, and whatever

and ever. Shan’t always be the bare-foot creep

treading the wooden floorboards at midnight,


profaning the tombstones, pulpits, the aisles of churches;

heavenly acoustics! O, choir, god-inspired,

resonant to the bone, your inner being. I guess

I’m falling; celestial ceiling! I do believe it,


when eyes course the intricate masonry

of the cathedral; where, as I’ve said, the mind

reels. And out in the cool vernal light everything

splendours; which hurts – my inside’s out – to dry:


I have wandered into the garden, diffused among

fragrant flowers after rain, the first lucid

morning, when the light is raw. I recall

delirium. He held you tight against the wall;


his golden thighs, older now, an Odysseus,

battle-hard, after war. I’m touched by the soft curves

of these images, the shadowplay, storm-tossed;

spartan furniture, the cracked wall; a well-fucked,


sprung, sodden mattress. I grow old and more

crazed than I ever was; never have I been

more tormented, image-haunted; by the fair

skin and black or flaxen hair I would possess.


19-21 August 2015

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  1. I’m black and I’m beautiful


The shadow cast upon my heart

remains, an indelible mark.


Alone, I stroke it in the dark,

a stolen treasure in my heart.


  1. Christ in every man


Francis saw Christ in every man.

I can’t see Christ in every man.


Like shadow cast upon my heart,

my eyes are open in the dark.


  1. Shame


I feel shame like the stain he left

upon my shirt before he left


to go. It’s mine, not his; it is:

shame. Whatever and ever it is.


  1. Help me in my weakness


I wear these beads about my neck,

little pearls of wood, a trinket


I finger like a sentiment,

upon my bare and manly chest.


November 2015

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The Church Hall

Milky tea and fudge, warm hands and hearts

in this cold little hall; shiny buttons

on tired navy sports coat sleeves,

handed in with cardies and heavy belts.

Those with least gave most; always do,

and crave no recognition. A garden, too.

This is where they dispense love:

it comes in a cup, on a best plate, and

when they lean in close to listen, when

you can smell the charity and the cakes,

feel a working man’s hand on yours and see

the veins jump; see the frayed cuff.

Come here to learn the art of charity;

come here to see what a man grows

after raking and tumbling the earth.

Come here to hear the floor creak,

to feel the little heater’s warmth,

to see a hug and the power wrought

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Dependable Ladies

Gracefully they move

up a path of flowers,

past the towering oak,

the laughing, bobbing

faces of fritillarias.

To each a stick, tapping

the fine shingle, brass

point raising dust for

sensible brown shoes.

Ladies of service;

carers and helpers:

nothing’s a bother,

ladies a plate. Please.

Dainty sandwiches,

cut on the quarter,

asparagus rolls, too.

Count of them, today

and all tomorrows;

count of them

when things are tough;

count of them always.

A caring sun-spot hand.

On yours. Lovingly firm.

They know what to do.

As we do not know

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In the next room

tapping the stone

wall, messaging


you; I too am in



and long for you;



hours, days;  the decades

lose distinction.

Let us meet in some

corner of the Gardens;

the graveyard next door,

at 1: it’s better


in the morning; never

a soul ever dare

tread that dead

ground. A voyeur,

maybe with an ear

to the ground.



Buried here

are the heretics, Yes! and if

you bend…your ear

over the tombstone,

here…you hear the dead sigh

like the wind in the wood:

the mournful Suicides;


but turn now…your hands

upon my shoulders, O. Look,

the lovelorn sodomites

fff, those dogs hot upon

the burning sands; and

the older men wend

more gracefully.



dig the earth

with your fingernails.


17 August 2015.

note – part 3 makes references to the Inferno.

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on hearing his seventh
to Ludwig Von Beethoven

deaf to all but
the twining melody
of your thought
how the gods stride
through your symphonies
out of and into
the silence
of the

16 june, 2014

on hearing a Bach fugue for organ

is pumping
out the air
in immaculate
dark voices
from metal
steps of
sorrowing almost
sheer joy
in climbing up
to god
each step
you might
think getting
shorter of
in the
yet as
ever it’s

april 2, 2013
tamaki drive


where you come
to the top of the
rise the organ
struck its
heaviest chord
ringing us back
to a gilded age
of churches raised
into the clear
refracted light
of fugue a Bach
a Cesar Franck
peddling on it
pounding at it
on pipes tall
as the crucifixion
just at the top
of the rise the
chord fell and the
sea opened out in
sunken miles of
blue and silvered
drifts of
utter calm
that is how it
fell together
the chord the
view of the
islands the
ribs of norkfolk
pine on soft
lapping hills
you can pick
apart even this far
away just on the
strength of
that music
that chord
on a cheap
car stereo.

bleakhouse rd, nelson st, howick
31 march 2014

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