March 04, 2009

1st, 2nd, 3rd March

Ivan has given me a notebook so I don't have any excuses but most of them are on here anyway...

3rd March

A floral dress

striped blazer

by the river

frowns out loud

as I write the letter

But the ink chokes

as I stroke the paper

and thoughts get graver

and voices flutter. 

2nd March

And my arms are tired

And my face is cold,

And my knees are weak,

And my legs feel old. 

1st March

The necklace in Granny's box glistens

(Kate will inherit at 21)

and there is a ring to match

that sings when it sees light

which she will get at 30 or in a will

preferably a birthday in a marquee with gladioli or

geberas, smiling; not at St.Botolph's

with white lilies lining the aisles and

tears dripping into sherry. 

I drive down the M1 to J14

and pull off to answer my phone. 

Granny asks how long I'll be, 

ten minutes, I say; she tuts

that I am always late. 

February 28, 2009

25th, 26th, 27th, 28th.

Typically I missed the first poem of Lent, though I have a very believable and plausible excuse, which was that I rowed 50 km that day on an ergo (rowing machine) raising money for charity and a new girls boat so by the time I finished and had time to think, I just wanted to sleep. However, the next couple of days have been fine and productive so here they are...

28th Feb. (day 4)

With green paint and full bookshelves

which we could pillage when good, 

you let us think we were old

and grown up. 

I took an E. M. Forster

I can't remember which, not

Room with a View

because I'd heard that on tape before, 

once before I could understand.

I wouldn't have chosen it again.

In Summer, the cricket squares

held much more allure

than Measure for Measure and

by the time we'd left,

you'd faded into the walls.

27th Feb. (day 3)

London Buses.

There are big red buses,

brighter than the ones at home.


Will smokes on the street

I stand and watch.


Their destinations are more glamorous

than Scarborough via Hull,


Or Driffield via Beverley,

or York via Malton.


They shout “MAIDA VALE”

or “



or “PADDINGTON STATION” and I’m jealous

that they’ll always be a passing phenomena.


Will I be the girl to just jump on

to the back and flash my pass?


or will I forever be lying about my age

to get a half return for under a fiver?


In the bar I go into the toilets

and realise how much my ears ring.


I write our myspace on the door

along with all the others


then stand at the sink

and write this.


26th Feb (day 2)

Harvest, 2007.

“In that field down yonder you’ll see a deer as big as an elephant”

said Grandpa. “Will I heck” drawled Alex but still took the bike

down to see.


He came back disappointed.

I laughed.


(there was the screech of a pheasant,

the crack of a shot gun.

I saw the pheasant fall.

The combine still going in late August

churned dust which smelt like summer.

Gran had made suicide buns.)


We climbed the straw stack and he jumped off the top.

He told me he didn’t love me because

I wore my hair in a ponytail.

I said I didn’t love him because

he believed there was a deer as big as an elephant

in the dale.

He said I was ridiculous.




Maybe we’d be in love later in the day, once the sun had set,

once we’d gone inside and I’d made his pack-up.

We were as awkward as straight lines, I thought later.



(The combine finished the last of the winter wheat

in mid-September but

we were already three hundred miles apart.)



February 24, 2009

Early ideas

These are two poems I've written lately. From the first entry, the one about the house and not getting out has been made into a song which will be played in the Sleeping Passengers gig at Robin's Well on Thursday (26th Feb) sometime after 7... (unsubtle plug.)


I felt sick the whole way back;

affected by the heat and sun.

Stray dogs made me think of home

and glossy coated spaniels springing through

golden heads of corn whilst, giggling, we played

tennis through a rosy haze.

At the hotel we walked to the sea through

the olive groves and stood on the flat rock

with the cigarette butts and Gill swam in the sea

but I preferred to stay reading my book.

The evenings were hot in Sorrento and drunk

friends of friends caused vague embarrassment

though we were young enough not to care

and to enjoy the wolf whistles and approaches

of Italian boys who ran away when they saw

our scary Dutch mama who giggled through

the streetlights after celebratory champagne

enjoying her reign as mother of the bride;

the sister of the bride and I drank fizzy lager

and got lost in the stone mazes that make up the town.


We looked down from on high and felt dizzy with height

and the knowledge that for tonight our happiness could not be spoilt.

I was back at school the next day but even the threat of French conjugations

could not spoil the elation of being in the heat and seeing the voluptuous curves

of Naples bay. I saw the picture of the Romany girls years later and could

not believe that the bay which had treated me so well could treat

them so badly. I thought of the train from Pompei back to the town

and the beggar girls in ragged clothes who I’d looked straight through feeling

so sick and ill. They could have been them but had I found them washed up

on the beach I think I would have treated them better. They had been selling toys and

gone for a dip. It had been hot, the heat had been exhausting. Can you blame them?

The Neopolitans do; they blame them for everything. But Sorrento in September had

been perfect and my memories cannot correlate with the picture of the bodies

covered in towels, small tanned feet sticking out of the end, flanked by

sunbathers who did not care.

20th March 2007.


So as she buttoned her checked shirt

I put on a black dress, black tights,

black cardi, black scarf and put together my

silver flute. She stuck sequins to her swastika,

I set up my music stand.


It was cold. The ceiling

rose with voices and when it

reached dies ire I wondered,

through my double tonguing,

whether a cherubim might

fall off and smash on the floor.


She stood in pink with punch,

lassooed and pulled by an elderly

man in leather chaps. He crooned

to her, she wondered, a

rhinestone demon? A

rhinestone Nazi? She put her

bag on the floor and

covered her nose.


There was a te deum

in this requiem; a requiem

for sequins, for you, for her, for me,

for York, for Verdi,

for cowboys, for Indians, for peace and quiet.


February 17, 2009


I like chocolate a lot. I like sweets too much. My birthday is two weeks before easter and I like to drink in celebration therefore for lent I am eschewing the tradition of giving something lovely up (what a joke) and going for what father stephen said once in chapel; don't give something up, start something useful. Talking to Ivan (Juritz - tall, wears suits, needs to brush his hair) about Emily Dickinson and how she wrote thousands and thousands of poems in her life and Ivan said that for three years she wrote one poem a day. What I'm going to do is far more achievable I think and my publishing this thesis statement kind of thing I am committing myself to it... I am going to write a poem a day for the whole of lent. As Jessie (Vickerage - messy hair, vintage clothes) would say, this sounds a bit wanky really, a bit too PB (pretentious bollocks) for me. They won't all be masterpieces or of epic proportions; if I have time I might do a sonnet or something in a restrictive form but if I have five minutes then it will probably just be a haiku or something short. So wait in anticipation. I think I'm more excited about pancakes right now though.

February 13, 2009

First of many…

So George suggested (strongly) that we all should have blogs, or at least write in a diary or something. I don't really trust diaries - in a book it's easier to write your actual thoughts but then more often than not, people who are ranted about in your true thoughts find the book and then there are an awful lot of questions to answer for. Therefore a blog seemed the easiest approach. 

I'm putting some of the poems I wrote over the Christmas holidays up here; some of them were inspired by being in NewZealand or Spain, some were written in imitation of other people. I'm not sure how copyright really works on here but please don't steal anything I put up, a fair amount of work has gone into them. 


Let me say this: at least I found

what I was looking for, as we

tripped and skipped and

danced along the green meadows of

evening, on our way home.

Eventually, we found the path

through broken branches and trussed

up leaves which ran through our

fingers like silk. We shared and paired

off in cliques just to ignore

those we didn’t like. And were we

punished? I’m not sure. I lost myself

in a glade where a stream trickled into

a thundering waterfall; we stood behind the

water and she touched my leg,

but when I turned she’d gone.

And were we happy?

Larkin. (Home is so Sad.)


The car won’t start. It sits there in the drive

stuck in the last cold moments of the night,

as if to keep them there. Instead, the clutch

has locked and so the gears can’t change. The hand-

brake tries to pull and fails so mem’ries float


off on the morning breeze. Inside the door

a muddy mark tells tales of what was there,

what life that once was held within the shell

that sits on these four wheels – a fag burn on

the roof, an apple core. A paper plate.


The blade, first thing in the

morning, freezes in

the gate whilst we’re out on the

water. My dreams


of Indian summers

do nothing to break

the ice. My hands are cold and

my feet struggle


to regain warmth until

long into the day

and I sit on the heater

for all of lunch.


There was never any question of

going back there again; the doors were

locked when we tried to get out. My

shoulder force was not enough so we

gave up and smoked cigarettes out of the spare room

window whilst a dog barked in the

distance. You found gin in the pantry.

At four we got bored and pushed

and poked at the keyhole but nothing

caved. We slept on unmade beds and

he wrapped his arms around your waist

whilst Alice lay alone in the next room.

Were we guilty?

Was it wrong? 

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