Monthly Archives: January 2011

Diego’s jersey

At five-foot-five
Diego Maradona
Stood two heads shorter
Than me, wearing this jersey,
The blue and white Number Ten

Of Argentina.
That diminutive wizard
With the hand of God,
Who in four breathless minutes
There in Mexico City

Tore out my young heart
With his maddening mixture
Of dishonesty –
Punching the ball in the net –
And finesse – his second goal.

My good friend Bob went
To the Golden Boy’s homeland,
And when his hosts learned
That I was born in England
They took him down to a shrine

To Maradona,
A store packed with souvenirs
Of that plunderer,
And they bought me a jersey,
Just so they could rub it in.


I promise

I promise –
I will want you still
No matter
What the news is, bad or good,
On the telephone.


If one could count the cups in every sink
And draining board across the British Isles,
Still dotted with digestive crumbs, in piles
Of geometric porcelain, I think
The number would make Wall Street people wink
At sexy opportunities, with miles
Of data spread by shark-toothed men with smiles
They learned to fake from stretches in the clink.
The simple truth is, if you want to be
Successful in investing hard-won cash
Within a marketplace that pulls and tugs
Your heart to go against what you can see
Is smart, then shun the charlatans and dash
To read the tea-leaves – just invest in… Mugs.

The thousand reasons

Were you to ask the thousand reasons why
I love you, I would point you to the snow
Descending lazily outside – a show
So easy and enchanting to the eye
That one can miss the pattern of the sky,
With every flake unique and pure, prepared to flow
With its compatriots to scatter low
A blanket where our fondest dreams may lie.
That graceful synergy of patterns found
Within the winter landscape tells me how
Two lives so separate can fold around
Each other’s beauty and yet still allow
Each one to dance a solitary round
Gracing the slow unfolding of a vow.

Stay in the room (advice to poets)

(a triolet)

Stay in the room, and do not quit
Until your work is done.
I know it’s hard, but you must sit,
Stay in the room, and do not quit!
The poem’s there, now capture it –
A tale is waiting to be spun.
Stay in the room, and do not quit
Until your work is done.

(with thanks to The Pocket Muse)


To all the bruised and weary,

Saddle-sore from sleepless nights
Spent upright and resentful
In way stations and overflowing inns.

To those who have endured
The rituals of forced familiarity,
Feigning surprise and joy
While harboring their opposites.

To those who feel the sting
Of self-recrimination
Seeing long-worn patterns
Resurrected, not resisted.

To those who hate the sound
Of bells and Auld Lang Syne,
Whose stomachs turn
At just the smell of douglas fir.

Congratulations – you survived.

The gifts you brought were
Less important than your presence,
As you will one day understand.
Tonight, go safely home, another way.

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