To my readers.

Sentiment won’t fix a tap
Or heal the planet’s tumour.
I wish you all nonetheless
Good grace and humour.




New Year’s Eve, 2010.

This is our moment,
Not for those who came before us,
Not for those who’ll come after us,
But for us, young and beautiful, in Berlin.

Watching a youth


He moves through the snow swinging a can
To strike his friend with it. It thumps, dully,
And he kicks his friend in the crotch.
All in all, an excellent day.

Back to work


The coffee machine rumbles like the death star into life.
The light is harsh. I feel like a bear, driven out of its cave,
Sat at a desk and forced to work. Now I am longing for silk scarves
And music; now I speak German and, teeth-gritted, proof-read.

It’s been like this for a while now: men losing their heads about women
And women watching, watching, watching them. ‘Prove it,’
Everyone sighs, ‘prove it pragmatically.’ And you should do,
Before time’s tidal wave sweeps it all away.

Afternoon there


I see a wee dog in the snow
Head run white and pausing.
I doubt dogs have riddles in their hearts
Though I have no way to ask.

‘And do you retract your wish
Or do you wish it to be heard?’
‘I do not retract my wish,
I wish my wish to be true.’

Others at Christmas


Absent friends, and suffering friends,
Those who life has hurt,
I wish you a moment’s respite,
A breather in the heart.

Between the enigmal of arrival
And the departure of restraint, you pray
‘Oh Lord do not be too hard on my heart
Or I think my heart will break.’



The question in the supermarket was if we’d have chosen to live.
Doc picked the vegetables; ‘Probably, yes,’ he said.
‘Because it’s always been funny, interesting and strange.’
Meanwhile as I chose the wine I thought, ‘Maybe we did.’