Kandinsky at Dawn

Kandinsky at Dawn

The sky has come down
to lie on the grass.
A low sun looks on
in wonder, sidelong.

Pale-blue intersecting
ice-kingdoms extend.
Someone has patterned
the lawn with diamonds.

Sapphire worlds flash.
Criss-crossed figures
coincident heiroglyphs
interlink, dazzle.

‘Everything comes too late’
say those who see nothing.
Concealed from them
the crystalline fields.

Luminous geometries
blue-green tartans of frost
snowclouds, tropospheres
carpeting at dawn.

Loomings of paradise
lapidary-work, last night
laid across the countryside
the frosted-over land.

An Armoured Inkwell

An Armoured Inkwell

One night from the bureau you took
a small metallic object, placed it, green
in the light of the standard lamp.

Strangely it sat on the dining-table
like an oversize matchbox made of steel.
Slowly you hinged back the armoured lid.

As if you opened a casket of sealed time
into the dark room came the Western Front
all that nightmare of what men did

When old Germany, the most civilized, died
when fairs on English Downs were pulled up
and trenches filled the French countryside

When Sacre prophesied the Great War
its dissonance the anger of the guns
its Chosen One a generation damned.

Out of that bombproof inkwell came poems
against the heroic values: Nie Weider Krieg.
And for a faraway young bride

From black depths came love-letters penned
as dolphins turned, phosphorescent
in Flanders, at the mouth of the Yser.

‘My most precious possession’ you said
’yours now, since you’re a poet too.’
So came to me an armoured inkwell.

‘I shall not cease from mental fight.’
Often we chanted Blake’s mighty hymn
and I repeat it still by candlelight.




An explorer lost
at the pole, searching
for the world’s axis
ship crushed in grinding ice
sees no morning
till a distant summer
raises the sun
from dark months.

that returning light
as mystics decribe
warm rays shining
into separation
from a supernatural face
when the dead dream about
the angel of release.

Auroras flicker
round her head;
there’s a flame
in a frozen spine.
Earth no longer
revolves, silently
blue ghosts cast
fantastic shadows.

Oriental cities rise
up into the sky’s
overturned lifeboat.
A photograph
in the underworld
means everything
to men kept alive
in eternal night.

The Triple Goddess in Lamb’s Conduit Street

The Triple Goddess in Lamb’s Conduit Street

for M.R.

Such a smile
from Autumn herself
a withered flower
in a sunny street

In a dress of courage
in the face of change
in the midst of time
as a ghost of heat.

Her naive hat
drank in the sun
she showed the weeds
her way to shine

Her matching shoes
caressed the ground
pink shapes on life’s
stone-grey incline.


As she passed
the house of death
a child-nurse screamed
her spirit strong.

A matron cried
sank to her knees
on the sunlit street:
that soul was gone.

The matron wept
for one who died
a virgin-child
a spirit wild.


As age passed-by
Great Ormond Street
herself began to cry.

The dragon wept
where fell the bomb.
Still holding high
the old one kept

Walking on to
Queen Anne Square
solar woman
great adept.

And you were there

And you were there
playing your zither
your jet-black zither

If the Clock had a Rooster’s Cry

If the Clock had a Rooster’s Cry

If the clock had a rooster’s cry
time would no longer fly.

Long ago he lost his wings
so the alarm he sings

Kicks-off mechanically
not lyrically

Yet the cockerel of the roofscape
gives time a softer shape.

Down-to-earth among the other birds
he hasn’t many fine words.

The simple clockwork song he’s got
is punctual, but not on the dot.

Days which began at distant cock-crow
had a pace andante-slow.

Dawn was phased from vale to vale
now Satan’s in the detail.

Time pecks impatient at brittle shell
chanticleer’s an old tale to tell:

The sun is up, that proud rooster red;
and gently the world’s out of bed.

Green seed leaves

Green seed leaves

Green seed leaves with open mouths
stretch tiny arms to embrace the sun
expressing wonder at their births.
Each triumphant dicotyledon
stands to worship each morning
religiously adorns the spring
with colour, freshness and hope;
saying prayers for this misanthrope
whose wintery lips are tight-sealed
since time destroyed his daydreams
those optimistic sunbeams
which filled his mind sevenfold
when he was a cloud-dwelling lad
in old make-believe ironclad.