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MMXX

after Philip Larkin

 

Never again such crowds

shouldering such exultation,

no more the sea lion choir

hauled up on the stands.

The stadia and arenas

silent like grief,

the sun quenched in remembrance 

of a million flowering hands.

 

And shutters on the High Street

tight against the abyss,

the weekend staff furloughed,

the checkout bleepers schtum.

The h...

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Lockdowncovid-192020Phillip Larkin

The second peak

October 2020

 

Once we’d bagged the first we should’ve quit

but we are so elated 

to make it safely down by noon 

we press on like a perfect pair of twits,

sights set on a much-alike, elevated

cairn across the valley, reckoning soon 

we’ll add another summit to our list.

 

We scale a gate which warns us to KEEP OUT!

and brave a barbed wire fence 

before the grad...

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mountainsLake Districtcovid-19hill walking

England, low tide

All the fuckin’ country 

is tense about some dead duck football game

tonight at 8 pm (or so I’m told).

The sea it slinked away but turned again

and stealthily manoeuvres to reclaim 

the mudflats populated by the clumsy

clumps of seals. They loiter, lolled 

 

like slack balloons, like lard

collapsing down to chip fat on the hob.

But we, we sit up straight: our sofa, st...

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EnglandfootballLindisfarneNorthumberlandnaturesealsdolphins

The Island of The Vaccinated

Such jubilation every time a vessel

debarks a new contingent at the port.

So much relief when loved ones, wrested apart

for long, lone months are free again to nestle 

cheek to cheek, to hug and kiss, to jostle,

guiltlessly mingling among the singing throng,

siblings swinging siblings, making rings

to dance till dawn with no one a virus’ vassal.

 

Ravenous variants infes...

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covidVaccinations

Hoopoe

I

 

Sixty tonne of metal bellowing down the sky

assails the quietude

of reeds and muddy pools

where spoonbills sift through sludge and seagulls drift nearby.

 

The mouth of the Ria Formosa’s a birders’ paradise:

miles of salt pans hosting

birds of low-lying coastline,

in thousands upon thousands. It’s Eden beyond price

 

in every way but one: the fence of Faro A...

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birdsbirdwatchingairportflyingEnvironmentPortugalAlgarve

Kudu kudu

Kudu kudu

how magical to view you

your pinstripe torso and your curtain fringe mane.

Kudu  kudu,

posing like a statue

licking at the dawn dew

lifting your head and sniffing for rain.

Kudu kudu

horns in a corkscrew

your muzzle with a tattoo,

a sharp white horseshoe, 

you master the plains.

The bush birds of Africa

are setting up a clamour.

The Bokmakierie’s...

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kuduAnimalsSouth Africa

My name is Silence

I used to range unchallenged on this hill

keeping mankind under my surveillance.

I watched as you discovered

the wonder of the wheel

 

and ways to traffic goods along the rivers.

You harnessed blameless power from water mills

but we became estranged.

My name is Silence.

 

Once I was your day-to-day companion:

the backing to your birdsong at the daybreak

and as t...

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