Sunday, 8 May 2011


A poem sequence of mine from 2001. Published in Keeping faith, the anthology from the 2003 Spire Trust competition.

(i) Godwin's Law

By Godwin’s Law, you lost at your first mention
of Hitler. Should certain acts be held as sins?
Whichever, calling the Bishops' Conference
a Nazi rally has to unconvince.
Here on, it's automatic: like machines,
we trade what's triggered, empty of what means.

And you, of all men -- you who wrote
(I paraphrase, I do not quote),
if we must choose truth or choose God, choose truth,
so you said once, for when truth wins, God wins.

(ii) Gravity

Spring Harvest -- anxious as the happiness that astonished the stars.
The speakers told us tales, by way of illustration,
from driving, parking, losing, crashing, being driven in cars.
The Riding Lights play made the car central to its narration.

A woman with a stick brought one speaker a note, tight-lipped.
The expert on time management turned up at the end of his session.
The long-wed couple departed badly from their script
that should have led us through married communication.

So many times the mechanism slipped!
Yet for each one, our race seemed all
the more driven by gravity, mechanical.

(iii) The Tallis Fantasia

G major opens --
a dawn chord through five octaves:
the stars sang for joy,
we marvelled at new shadows,
saw the notched stone and skyline.

G major concludes --
bright, compact, and working hard.
Solar-powered watch,
calculator, hot water,
spring sun drives the radio.

G is for the departed glory.
G is for the goodness of the day.

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