Put it on Mute

The foolish optimist wakes each morning
Stupidly hopeful,
Still drunk on love and dreams from yesterday.
The sun is shining and the World laughs:
“Wipe that smile from your face,
Put the volume of the day on mute,
Stay stalled in that line of traffic going nowhere,
Wait if you want…
No will come.”


Empty Places



I see the red carpet, polished floorboards,
The sash windows with shutters varnished open forever,
I see the stone porch laced with wisteria,
The hat stand,
The mosaic tiles.

I see the gallery,
The atrium,
The front stairs that rise gracefully up
Below the solid handrail.
I see the roof,
The chimneys,
The front lawn,
The terrace,
The woods where we walked on Sundays.

I can hear the exact way the glass rattles in the door as it shuts,
The way the gong rings for dinner,
The clock that ticks and chimes, ticks and chimes from the shadows.

I can hear your whistle moving from room to room but
I can’t see your face.
This scene is lifeless,
No one lives here anymore.

Time Machine


I made the time machine from some bits I found in the kitchen,
Like an old blender that I hooked up to a computer.
It’s whir was like a purr.

“Where do you want to go with me?” I asked.
“Forwards or backwards?”

I knew you’d enjoy either.

“How about we freeze time?” you said.
“IMAGINE that…”

And I could
And then my time machine exploded.


Minor Key

I have a key,
A minor key
That I play
And touch
As it rests
Lightly heavy on my collar bone.
You have a key too,
A major key
That you don’t need because
It unlocks nothing
That isn’t already wide open
For you to slip into
Gently hard as I moan.

Rain Codes

The heavy, easterly rain eases in,
Slicing nimbly over the hills,
Insistently numbing ground you own.

Unfazed, night eventually evaporates –
Drawn towards opaque dawn eagerly crawling into place.

Here, everywhere

But on us – this hill –
Only water – magic.

Under cumulonimbus heaven I laugh.
One voice echoing.
Yelling out –

The Nurse

She does the rounds:
Reads the notes at the end of his bed,
Administers pain relief playfully
Whilst talking of sunshine and the promise of Soleros.
She checks his temperature,
His heart rate:
He’s hot
But it’s her heart that races.

‘A Blade of Grass’ by Brian Patten

This poem by Brian Patten is so simple and clever and almost sure to remind you of someone you know…


You ask for a poem.
I offer you a blade of grass.
You say it is not good enough.
You ask for a poem.

I say this blade of grass will do.
It has dressed itself in frost,
It is more immediate
Than any image of my making.

You say it is not a poem,
It is a blade of grass and grass
Is not quite good enough.
I offer you a blade of grass.

You are indignant.
You say it is too easy to offer grass.
It is absurd.
Anyone can offer a blade of grass.

You ask for a poem.
And so I write you a tragedy about
How a blade of grass
Becomes more and more difficult to offer,

And about how as you grow older
A blade of grass
Becomes more difficult to accept.