'Tenez bon. Nous arrivons,’
the Allies told the restless Resistance
in messages dropped from the sky.
Von Choltitz held firm, defying
Hitler’s demand to fire the city.
‘Come quickly,’ he urged the Allies.
Laval and Petain fled as Paris rose;
hundreds died before the ceasefire.
Sixty years on, our Friday Eurostar
from Waterloo packed with rugby fans....
Monday 30th November 2015 10:14 am
A sad little station
on the Hampton Court line,
the place where the fast
slowed down for Surbiton.
It overlooked a sewage farm
we’d cycle past, a short cut.
Lower Marsh Lane
more or less summed it up.
Sad? Not for us.
John and I would trainspot there,
watching the Merchant Navys
and Battle of Britains
round the bend and thunder
towards us, while listenin...
Monday 28th September 2015 3:43 pm
Did we somehow know the score?
How could we? We were only students,
mostly. Five hundred outside
the gates on a November night
when the “Milk Snatcher, Union Basher”
came to speak at a Leamington
girls school’s speech day.
Union basher? Some small measure
that the education minister
had taken against students,
hardly an augury.
Milk snatcher? She’d cancelle...
Sunday 27th September 2015 2:20 pm
Halfway through the year I knew
I wouldn’t make the grade.
A freezing night in ’72,
the time of Bloody Sunday.
Tension in Coventry.
But rock and roll
can save your soul.
Johnny B Goode,
lift me from my misery.
I had nowhere else to go.
The duck walk, Nadine, Carol,
Maybelline, and that novelty
song that must have
eaten half the set.
The wolfish grin,...
Saturday 26th September 2015 9:39 am
They were glad enough to see
so much thrown in the bin
when the Wall came down;
but not the Ampelmannchenn,
the traffic light’s little green man
with his jaunty, Erich Honecker hat.
After his deposal
by the west’s more staid cousin,
there was outcry. Now
Herr Everyman’s cheery, rapid gait
sets Berlin’s tone on carrier bags,
coffee mugs, T-shirts.
Sunday 20th September 2015 7:51 pm
The empire called for more men, and they came.
Shipped from sub-continent
to western front,
Gallipoli, Mesopotamia, East Africa,
largest volunteer army in the world.
They weren’t ready for the cold;
couldn’t understand new officers
when theirs were slain.
Some wounded, shipped to England,
died and were buried
in a corner of a foreign wood
with Muslim honours...
Tuesday 7th July 2015 4:14 pm
Rome lays bare its bones,
a body dissected for sightseers:
in a corner of the square, the spot in 44 BC
where the Senate met and Caesar fell.
Pillars, ruined temples, marble lavs
uncovered, for the cats to colonise.
gnash their teeth in vain.
In the nearby shadows of a back street
small shrine to politician Aldo Moro,
found in the boot of a...
Wednesday 27th May 2015 5:23 pm
Mature English Blonde lady
offers no rush massage.
Old postcards wanted
by private collector.
pads, briefs, accessories.
Wanted: Dinky toys, model trains.
Underwear by post.
Continental lady offers
to discerning gentlemen
in discreet Marylebone surroundings.
Sunday 8th March 2015 10:08 am
Listing buildings, confluence of rivers,
shops full of bric a brac. Ghosts
in the museum, compiled
by clairvoyants: an inventory
of restless spirits. Well-kept secrets,
alleys and passages,
unsignposted Wars of the Roses
battlefield, tracking the blood shed.
Naked trees in midwinter,
the turning of the year.
Within the abbey a woman’s voice,
Friday 2nd January 2015 9:59 pm