Falling short

What hope remains while politicians skirt

around the crisis, pledging they will shut

a few polluting plants but token cuts

in fossil fuel extraction fall so short?

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climate changeCOP26fossil fuels

The River Fleet

I think I only walked down Fleet Street once,

my grubwork year in London. Not much wowed,

not like I’d heard - most rags no more ensconced

but fled to Docklands - the street name but a label          

for billionaire media magnates trumpeting loud

reactionary taunts and celebrity libel.

I had an inkling then: there was a proud

historic river, sadly much polluted,            


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fleet streetnewspaperrivers

The lure

Looping round till it’s a blur 

the falconer swings the weighted lure

beneath the bird, enticing her

to go into a stoop.


With hooking bill and crookéd claw 

and plunging like a meteor

she swipes the fakery to the floor

with a vicious slap of feathers.


Around the crowd, a communal gasp.

The predator’s grappling in its clasp       

the prize, but is the bird a...

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Peregrine Falconsfalconfalconrybirds


A boisterous assortment of martins, swifts and swallows 

is swirling above the lushly forested hills

of West Amanga, a scatter of soft green pillows.

Wherever a radiant splash

of morning sunlight spills


out through an open window in the cloud,

the canopy emits a plume of steam

and bird calls resound: the rattle of wrens; the loud

cracks of whipbirds; squawks

of parr...

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Peregrine Falcons

A change of frame

They’re like some alien culture’s hieroglyphs

these utility quotes, scrolling down my screen.

Fixed price or variable? TV and broadband scheme?

My eyes are stuffed but still I’m grudged to sniff

the tricks tucked in the tariffs and warily choose 

which deal might steer my budget round the reef.

My parents weren’t coerced to skirt such cliffs:

back then you’d pay flat rate for ...

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cost of living

The minstrel of the meadow

The balance of life and death

rests on a dot in the sky

whose frivolous shivering breath

rivals the moths in its quivering

rippling hovering, high

and triumphant amongst the cumulus,

the twin-piping syrinx delivering

an opus more complex, more tremulous

and vaporous than any cantata.

The minstrel of the meadow 

sees the grasshopper climbing,

sees the froghopper fal...

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birdsskylarkSkylark Song

To Robbie x

The day when you don’t kiss me I shall starve,

and if you should dismiss me I should starve.

If I wake one frozen dawn

to chilly winds and find you gone

I’ll lose the will to carry on.

I’ll curl up in my lonely bed and starve.


And if you didn’t care for me I’d starve.

And if you were not there for me I’d starve.

With you not doing what I don’t ask:

putting coffee in...

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The shock of silence

A colony of terns concedes no paucity

of energy: the strident racket rising

in steep vociferous steps

envelopes your whole mind as if by sorcery. 

But one event might strike you as surprising:

now and then - untold by any augury

and with no cause - it stops.


A rigid talon grips the atmosphere 

and sound shuts down, as though there’s been a sudden

resetting of the wi...

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Anastasia rises

Her family home is blood-soaked rags and rubble

when Anastasia rises from her cot.

At first she’s pleased she’s suffered not one cut,

then shrieks: she wears an iridescent bubble

like those of the saints in Mama’s picture Bible

and the doorway to her life she finds slammed shut.

Though Mama won’t come now to quiet her shouts

she howls her anguish dry, then with the pliable 


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Green sheets

The fields are laundered sheets,

ironed and smoothed across the dale,

tucked under walls for the comfort of sheep,

clean green cloths that veil

the messiness of former days

when vetch outstretched untrammelled tendrils

randomly grappling floriferous sprays

of meadowsweet; when spangles 

of cuckoo-spit sparkled 

blobbish on stems of raggéd robin;

when there was miscell...

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Morning gridlock, nose to tailpipe, can’t see a soul on foot or bike.

Not stuck in traffic - I’m the traffic! Going nowhere, engine turning,

and though I changed my ancient van last year for one that’s burning 

half the fuel, it still consumes much more than I would like.


It’s gestures, gestures.


I turn on the radio where a Greenpeace chap’s on mic and getting shirty.


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No exit

Back when I was young I didn’t fear:

I knew the world could solve this situation.

We understood the cause, so the way out was clear:

a comprehensive pact between all nations 

to stop emitting CO2 

into the atmosphere.


Back then there seemed no need to march and shout,

to sit down in the road and press for truth.

We could not conceive of a climate up the spout.

In th...

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climate change


Every gob of oil we suck today,

every turd of coal we flame resplendent,

every age-old species we erase 

is assault against our own descendants.


I stoop before the few that reach tomorrow:

striving to live, I understand how they

must curse us, dodging lethal hails of arrows   

we senselessly let fly today.

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climate change


Shut my eyes on Sunday evening. 

Moments pass, the clock is screaming.

Flip my switch from dream to drowning 

in a sea of morning light.


Scoop the mucus from my lashes.

Splash my cheeks and scrub my gnashers.

Quell the bloating crush of pressure.

I’m already late!


Complacent men and placid women -

TV Breakfast hosts - sit grinning

at the fan-like big hand sp...

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Under cover of the night

Shufflings in the shrubbery,

leapings on the lawn,

furtive assignations and who knows what skullduggery,

surreptitious shadow shapes, sundown to dawn.

It’s my own familiar garden but it happens out of sight:

it’s all undercover

…under cover of the night.


Nighttime was a blank space, destitute of life,

a time I’d stop the clock and quit the world.

But then I bought a...

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AnimalshedgehogsnightRolling Stones

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