Saluting Magpies

Poetry in Motion


don’t normally drink coffee
but offered some,
I start to say no-then-

drink it neat
for full effect.

have I cheated on my tea?
and all those mugs
stationed in their tree
soldiers who take the heat
three times daily?

No. Despite this brief parley
I have not,
would not stray;
tea leaves –
armed forces
for any kind of day.

per diem

Sunday has snuck up on me
shifty at my shoulder
with Monday morning gagged and bagged
a hostage of world order

the ransom, paid in tea and make-up
grows heavier every week
fair of face, but Monday’s child
does so drag her feet.

cat flap

pussy cat, pussy cat
where can you be?
you went out at breakfast,
now it’s half-past three

no answer to noon biscuits
rattled at the door
anxious hypotheses: hurt/
by neighbours?

helpless, we scour the trees
then the pavements
already dreading laminated pictures
on lampposts –

and then here you are.
trotting tail-high and oblivious
past us to the kitchen,
and one’s overdue luncheon.

Gone, to the dogs

This country
Becomes that country
Another, of others.

You might accuse me
of fair-weather fealty
But what faith I had left
I have lost.

maladie orpheline

what a very long fucking day
one of many and more on the way
there should be an ombudsman
for days like this
« messieurs-dames,
I don’t recall signing up
for this shit »

guessing the reply would
respectfully insist
on contractual obligations
and the smallest of small print:
« madame, you chose to take
your first breath;
take thus the rest
and whatever goes with. »

ombudsman, known as god?
I wish.
with faith
comes rhyme or reason
at least; respite
in spite
of days like this.


This winter
can we be hermits
who hide away?

I don’t know what those look like
but I’m thinking,
knitted everything.

hot water bottles,
removed only for

scuttled slip-outs
to non-apocalypse
scurry back before bitten
by outside-rs.

(a thought. if we stock up,
and practice)
next winter
can we be hermits
who hibernate?

Molière’s tongue

mes amis,
lites ceci
ah – vous disez, lisez?
et quoi encore –
ça se dit dites,
pas de e-z?

bon, d’accord,
je m’excuse (m’auto-pardonne)
on fait de notre meilleur
pour plus bien parler –

du french-bashing
(mais ce ne serait pas un peu cherché ?
avec vos parkings et brushings
et footings et fair-play)

oui, entre le verlan et le chi’ti
et l’amuse-bouche d’en-on-an
la mission est périlleuse
mais tous les jours

nous l’acceptons.
l’impossible n’étant,
(selon vos légendes)
pas du tout français.

the (door) knob

they come
in all shapes and sizes.
there are some
who will always do us
a good turn. bless them.

and then there are others –
in every household.
delicate handling

to budge.

generally single-purpose,
they would yet claim
some mastery of the universe.
without me,
where would you be?

better off, I think,
let’s kick the door down
and see.

Wheeler dealer

Trick, or treat?
Depends on spin:
vote remain
vote leave
vote again.

is it a done deal,
a none deal,
the will of the common people
or collective defeat?

(Brussels sprouts nonsense
foreigners’ federalism
imposing the migrants
and well-bent bananas.
take back control –
we shall never surrender!)

no. but do you see the flowers
which finally grew, atop the trenches?
peace in our time:
or die, in a ditch.

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