For Ray, blessed in his diminishing days,
it was gravy – the lingo of his contentment – but
mine is all too real, where working from Carver’s other
joy of what is, it now needs throwing away. My actual
day begins and ends so oppositely, from the happy
expectation and work to make it so with such relish
to then being redundant in a moment’s clarity of truth
and honesty as painful as it turned out to be: also in the
shock of the telling. That too reminds me of Ray
and his warning to keep silent – the will you please be
quiet, please as pure pleading when knowing the
candour of revealing is also the ending of everything.

Carver’s gravy that pains me with the bliss of his ease
and mine left untouched without a word for its verities.

In the Making

Where colossal squid should be sluiced by the
gastric juice of this sperm whale’s gigantic gut,
they now arrive like specimens for viewing
behind clear sheets of digested greenhouse plastic,
the unassembled discards from some industrial
shore our physeter macrocephalus – and link to a
prehistoric past – should have glided by with its
enormous gob restrained and firmly shut.

The cachalot now dead, Jonah might have survived
in comfort had he too been consumed and fallen on
its internal fully sprung mattress, but flung from it
lands on another damaged shore with polymer
pots, ice cream tubs, hosepipes – not quite ambergris
in the making – just human crap and cheap vomit.

This and That

I hop onto the empty cart – which I will see as
an elemental way to travel on this journey of
delivering – and in that I have a vehicle for
exploring which is this: the spring in the step
was my clever-clogs movement, but what if
the rest is just accidental? And if all that I am
is in the thinking these words are the wheels
to momentum in writing, travelling from here to
there is going to be more than just the tour.
It will be when and wherever I arrive, coming
to a sure stop or drifting by having just missed
how the movement in a number of lines took me.
Did you follow this? That is the obvious question
as is the ending that only just nears its temptation.

Christmas Poems 4 – Finale

Christmas English Teachers

Christmas English teachers who career on a seasonal sledge
Christmas English teachers who are as ambiguous as love
Christmas English teachers who know Godot will never
Christmas English teachers who spell Santa with a sibilance of snow
Christmas English teachers who listen to meanings as they change
Christmas English teachers who know an English emporium trades in metaphor
and error
Christmas English teachers who will travel to nowhere they want to go
Christmas English teachers who hear Carver in the simplicity of everything unsaid
Christmas English teachers who know a line can rise and fall like now
Christmas English teachers who fight philistinism for philosophical fun
Christmas English teachers who write sonnets in the rhythm of sound
Christmas English teachers who know when to let themselves go
Christmas English teachers who understand the chimney inside Santa
Christmas English teachers who are standing out on the edge
– 2009

Christmas Crackers 7 – Finale

The gentleman has wicked intentions and a horse. The beggar woman has a baby and a cunning plan.

She won’t have sex with the man unless he has the child for two years, to give her a break.

She wants to be wisked off to a paradise by a gorgeous hunk then all of her wishes obeyed to the letter. What she gets is a thick dunce of a man that takes her to his flat-like in-a-mess house and gets her to sort it out…..She kills herself because she cannot stand being with the wrong man. Many woman just get a divorce instead, but do remember, this is a fairy tale.

When she speaks of her mother in line 128, she experiences jealousy and snuggery towards her daughter.

There is a role reversal as the woman show her female intinuity.

Curley’s wife doesn’t even have a name or an identity, just a tart.

Curley’s wife, no name given, she is feeling trapped because she is, to everyone on the ranch, a bit of an alright, if you know what I mean.

‘Chastity faces them’. This is not having sex, which is a religious thing.

She was called ‘prostate bait’ but also ‘mouse crap’ by george. She was also not given a name because she was classed as curley’s prostity…..

curley shot his guts. this shows revenge is better then staying with your wife

….On the other hand, Aunt Clara fit into that stereotype as she wore a huge gingham apron with pockets. This implies that Aunt Clara was the type of women who didn’t go to ‘whore house’ or give men the eye but the kind of women who stays in the kitchen

the onomatopoeic present participle verb ‘screaming’ demonstrates her fear

Christmas Poems 3

Who Killed The Thought-Fox?

Perhaps it is the decline of winter
as a season – and I visualise now
the paw-prints at their best in a
Christmas snow – but it is more
than this: a cruel warmth
melts the habitat, and freedom to
roam has been curtailed by trips and
traps set by new hunters who know
no better. If this is acceptable
than anything else that could be
imagined to the full might as well
die too, and the murderers can come
running with their measuring tapes
sizing up this final kill.

– 2006

Christmas Crackers 6

Candy and his dog have a good relationship. I think this is because they are growing old together and only one of them can talk.

Piggy is very clever and has a lot of brains. ‘His head opened and stuff came out and turned red’.

The poet’s point is to make him move so slowly. Sex isn’t everything.

The man is weak because he is desperate to give in to his sexual urges when he should still be holding on to them.

Candy is the oldest person on the ranch and so is his dog.

His pronunciation of asthma is purely phonetical. Maybe if he could see it written down he would know it had a ‘th’ in the middle, not just ass-mar!

Michele Roberts, the writer, has thrown emotional writing to a new level so teenagers can read and sometimes understand it.

Reading ‘Flight’ opens your mind so you are able to read for the first time ever.

Piggy and his glasses were a perfect formula they worked together. Piggy was nothing without his glasses and glasses are nothing without Piggy, they are a perfect team.

Snowball puts on Old Major’s fundamentals.

Curley visits a broffel every month.

Curley’s wife has sausage curls and a fatal flaw.

Christmas Poems 2


of snow;
a huge yawn of the sky-mouth
that shouts wind and ice
like knife-slice
and hammer-blow:
winter warms for Christmas
in its cauldron of cold.

A fox nudges snowflakes
with his feather-soft caress of nose.
He dream-drinks each
to the icicle sharpness of both eyes
and enters invisibly
this white-world
in a fire of red fur-glow.

All melts.
All is one.
All merges in the
stall of this moment. Snow again
falls and
falls and

There is a man, iron-strong,
walking in this moment.
His snow-crow hair is like a scarf
around head and neck,
and he moves in the wind-hover
like a ghost.

When he speaks the hills tremble.
“This is Christmas,” he intones
in an earth-tremor voice,
holding in his hand the scent of fox
like a glove: fur-warm, snow-soft,
shrouding bones.

of snow
and this man in its cauldron of cold.
Fox is still watching,
indelible paws never growing old.

– 1998

[Written in memory of Ted Hughes who died in this year]

Christmas Crackers 5

He learns that Mrs Dubose has been suffering from a morpheme addiction.

If he had had an affair then she would be seen to be standing up for herself and that would be a strength. If he had merely left the toilet seat up she would be over-reacting and that would be a weakness.

Curley’s wife flirts with men on the raunch.

This poem has a formal rhyme schream.

Men like to thrash around with their testosterone whereas women like to keep themselves dignified.

In the first stanza the woman becomes a hare.

The significance of the title is that George and Lennie are doomed to walk around America like a mouse.

The pigeon is called Grey Breasts, just like the daughter.

The attitude expressed is very admiral.

The ‘iron gates of life’ are other words for a chastity belt and he wants to get through it.

Ralf doesn’t realise the impotence of adults.

The generals are glutinous.

Of course setting is important. Without a setting they could be anywhere – inside, outside, in a car or even in space!

The left side of the poem is the description of rodney marsh

Christmas Poems 1

The Christmas
(after Ray Carver)

the Christmas with bells on
the Christmas when you were alone
the Christmas with knowledge of snow
the Christmas as smorgasbord
the Christmas transcending home
the Christmas where angels fall
the Christmas pretending to have a chimney
the Christmas inside bonhomie
the Christmas long-distance call
the Christmas in someone’s war
the Christmas behind mystery
the Christmas becoming childhood
the Christmas writing Stocking Fillers
the Christmas through mulled eyes
the Christmas with an open door
the Christmas you misunderstood
the Christmas bloody number one
the Christmas that passes by
the Christmas of frozen breath
the Christmas on cocktail sticks
the Christmas from a store
the Christmas beyond death
the Christmas pouring killer roads
the Christmas wanting more
the Christmas inside soap operas
the Christmas that’s left over
the Christmas you can remote control
the Christmas at a year’s end
the Christmas for lovers
the Christmas of a lost soul
the Christmas card you never send
the Christmas when Ray’s car broke down
the Christmas lived with the old
the Christmas with kids before they’ve grown
the Christmas as an abstract noun
our Christmas

– 1995