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Pity the Uncrooked Tree: contents of the book

Bold indicates a section title. Each poem title is followed by its first line.

Open the door …………………………………………………………………………….. 1

Balance…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 2

Work hangs in the air……………………………………………………………………………………. 2

Variations…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2

Rouen Cathedral, G?d out of reach, Mont Sainte-Victoire,…………………………….. 2

Victoria Square 2000…………………………………………………………………………………………. 3

The enemies to peace are many:……………………………………………………………………. 3

Slipping through……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 3

The wound that opens doesn’t close………………………………………………………………. 3

Through the straits…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4

There was a great big bed and I was floating around in it……………………………… 4

Dancing inside silence………………………………………………………………………………………. 5

Hermits say silence……………………………………………………………………………………….. 5

The Contours of Experiencee…………………………………………………………………………… 6

Gently, they lifted the paper………………………………………………………………………….. 6

Fallen……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 7

I hurled myself at life .bouncing off its rubber walls……………………………………… 7

Splinters……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 7

Perhaps I shouldn’t have given away the carpet…………………………………………….. 7

The Authentic Ones…………………………………………………………………………………………… 8

They have no history. Their bones…………………………………………………………………. 8

Wake Up…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 9

Time was, an army of clerks in black jackets………………………………………………….. 9

Another Table…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 10

A man questioning the purpose of living1…………………………………………………….. 10

Now………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 11

Eternity’s the grace…………………………………………………………………………………….. 11

What is truth?………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 11

Tears gather in the glass.…………………………………………………………………………….. 11

I would like to live………………………………………………………………………………………….. 11

Being is a river……………………………………………………………………………………………. 11

Light takes the tree…………………………………………………………………… 12

January 1…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 13

Two-faced, you hand me a manilla file . . .…………………………………………………. 13

Waiting for Brighid…………………………………………………………………………………………. 14

New year at Hogmanay? Too early. . . .……………………………………………………… 14

Bringing in the cows……………………………………………………………………………………….. 15

Regard the sun’s setting:…………………………………………………………………………….. 15

Looking through the boughs…………………………………………………………………………….. 15

Soon gaudy leaves will populate this tracery……………………………………………….. 15

Near the Zen Garden……………………………………………………………………………………….. 16

An elder barely taller than I am…………………………………………………………………… 16

Unfurl……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 16

The new leaves of the holly are as soft as a baby………………………………………….. 16

Why won’t he celebrate?………………………………………………………………………………….. 17

The light around these vineyards………………………………………………………………. 17

‘The sun can’t trick me’……………………………………………………………………………………. 18

I saw her take armfuls of sunlight………………………………………………………………… 18

Fragility………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 18

A lilac mallow flower………………………………………………………………………………….. 18

Once more round the sun…………………………………………………………………………………. 19

That comic duo, earth and sky, dragged him………………………………………………… 19

Prognosis………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 20

Through the double glazing,1 the late spring sun………………………………………….. 20

Phototherapy in November………………………………………………………………………………. 22

You call this light? I call it………………………………………………………………………….. 22

Slouching towards the solstice…………………………………………………………………………. 23

Sun slows right down, approaching his rebirth, . . .……………………………………. 23

The year’s turning……………………………………………………………………………………………. 23

Empty your pockets . . .……………………………………………………………………………… 23

Work in winter………………………………………………………………………………………………… 24

The moment maps the clouds:………………………………………………………………………. 24

One…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 25

A dark night. I strike a match………………………………………………………………………. 25

I learn by going…………………………………………………………………………. 27

Ground down…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 28

You’re staring at the pavement as you walk –………………………………………………. 28

And Adam saw that it was good……………………………………………………………………….. 28

Your life task is to tread water…………………………………………………………………….. 28

The Weir Pool and the Weir…………………………………………………………………………….. 29

The meaning’s in the weighing…………………………………………………………………….. 29

Soundings……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 30

Life doesn’t make sense?……………………………………………………………………………… 30

Meandering with intent……………………………………………………………………………………. 31

I tried to occupy the high ground…………………………………………………………………. 31

All sorts of wonder follow……………………………………………………………………………….. 32

I looked for meaning hanging in the air……………………………………………………….. 32

Yesteryear……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 33

I took a sample of les neiges d’antan1………………………………………………………….. 33

Fare forward……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 33

A decree went forth forbidding nostalgia……………………………………………………… 33

Body Clock……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 34

I can’t recall how long ago it was………………………………………………………………… 34

Fading…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 35

He handed her the cup………………………………………………………………………………… 35

Diagnosis………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 36

She needed to rewire her circuitry……………………………………………………………….. 36

Why won’t these thoughts rot down?………………………………………………………………… 37

There was some cack so I buried it………………………………………………………………. 37

A photograph of a man staring…………………………………………………………………………. 38

There is a man walking around who is obviously dead…………………………………. 38

Announcement………………………………………………………………………………………………… 39

A load of old rubbish was rotting down nicely……………………………………………… 39

Why won’t these thoughts rot down?………………………………………………………………… 40

There was some cack so I buried it .……………………………………………………………. 40

It was his birthday…………………………………………………………………………………………… 41

but he wasn’t there. A policeman…………………………………………………………………. 41

Out of the miry clay………………………………………………………………………………………… 42

‘Me? They call me Sludge……………………………………………………………………………. 42

Falling to earth………………………………………………………………………………………………… 43

Have we any choice but the Damascus road?……………………………………………….. 43

The Discus………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 44

What if you frisbee that millstone,……………………………………………………………….. 44

Excursion………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 45

I wriggled out of rigid skin………………………………………………………………………….. 45

The Secret Stair………………………………………………………………………………………………. 46

Larkin must have missed it when he reached………………………………………………… 46

Taking the plunge……………………………………………………………………………………………. 47

Sea? Paddled in it once. Or twice. And then, . . .……………………………………….. 47

l………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 48

Let me bash out praises……………………………………………………………………………………. 49

Pass the tambourine – let me……………………………………………………………………….. 49

Transition……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 50

taking refuge in dreaming the future: . . .…………………………………………………… 50

Yes…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 52

Do you want to be whole? . . .……………………………………………………………………. 52

Screwed up……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 53

The paper in the basket: lines your life rejected . . .…………………………………… 53

Merrily merrily merrily merrily……………………………………………………………………….. 53

You turn the corner and it dawns on you: . . .…………………………………………….. 53

This single song…………………………………………………………………………. 54

You choose……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 55

Item one: a hero or an anti-hero………………………………………………………………….. 55

A love unlived?……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 56

We were sixteen. We sat in the garden against……………………………………………… 56

Just friends……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 57

The window swings open. She leans out. . . .………………………………………………. 57

The Old Ways…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 58

When he sat a little closer……………………………………………………………………………. 58

Distant hills…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 59

His life became a promise shaped around…………………………………………………….. 59

Through the round arch, sand…………………………………………………………………………… 60

Then she began to draw me, her finger………………………………………………………… 60

Time was away and somewhere else………………………………………………………………… 61

It was their anniversary, an imaginary number…………………………………………….. 61

Let me count the ways……………………………………………………………………………………… 62

Love? Spare me the marshmallows!……………………………………………………………… 62

Chocolate………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 63

I climbed up to my lover’s mind…………………………………………………………………… 63

Rust………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 64

He was out. She left her married self……………………………………………………………. 64

No fire, no smoke……………………………………………………………………………………………. 66

Sitting on an island made of sand………………………………………………………………… 66

A year after he left…………………………………………………………………………………………… 67

She ordered a cardboard coffin……………………………………………………………………. 67

Washed Up……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 68

Hang me out to dry……………………………………………………………………………………… 68

Piggyback……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 69

A heavy ghost has its arms around my neck………………………………………………….. 69

Snow………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 70

The paper stares up at you . . .…………………………………………………………………… 70

These walls, this sphere…………………………………………………………………………………… 71

Unpartnered, lay your head upon the breast . . .………………………………………… 71

Destination……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 72

The sky is empty. . . .…………………………………………………………………………………. 72

What is there in my heart?……………………………………………………………………………….. 73

Love? It’s the receiving……………………………………………………………………………….. 73

Visibility…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 74

He couldn’t be bothered to go to Savile Row………………………………………………… 74

Joy Ride………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 75

I’ve mislaid the present. . . .………………………………………………………………………. 75

Final chapter……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 76

Let me show you round this life-size model…………………………………………………… 76

Recipe…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 77

When you make love, be careful . . .…………………………………………………………… 77

Growing…………………………………………………………………………………….. 78

Son…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 79

The winning sperm headbutts the egg’s membrane……………………………………….. 79

Selving……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 80

A self is something you concoct . . .……………………………………………………………. 80

The greatest show on earth………………………………………………………………………………. 81

Like a comet they streak through our lives,………………………………………………….. 81

Brief Life………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 82

tiddler didn’t………………………………………………………………………………………………. 82

Farewell to Eden……………………………………………………………………………………………… 83

in the beginning she created the breast . . .………………………………………………… 83

The school next door cut down its tallest tree…………………………………………………… 84

the baby inside her is growing……………………………………………………………………… 84

Early Learning………………………………………………………………………………………………… 85

Which part of your brain will you keep, little one? . . .……………………………….. 85

Handing on the baton………………………………………………………………………………………. 86

I fumble forward, mumbling my unstable creed,…………………………………………… 86

Face in the water……………………………………………………………………………………………… 87

The summer before he drowned . . .……………………………………………………………. 87

Thirteen………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 88

The boy with Please can I die . . .………………………………………………………………. 88

Family Portrait………………………………………………………………………………………………… 89

When I’d finished sketching them . . .…………………………………………………………. 89

Household……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 89

They glide around each other: without a glance,………………………………………….. 89

Where next?……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 90

A carriage drawn by four black horses………………………………………………………… 90

Sandsend 2003………………………………………………………………………………………………… 91

The June sunrise murders sleep all week……………………………………………………… 91

Why should the agèd eagle stretch its wings?…………………………………………………… 92

What my neighbour said………………………………………………………………………………….. 92

“Three Bedouin, they say, taken to see a waterfall,………………………………………. 92

All your variants of grace………………………………………………………………………………… 93

I saw your face today in one much younger:………………………………………………… 93

Currents………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 94

This was a river flowing from the past,………………………………………………………… 94

Cycle………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 95

The heart glugs blood around the years . . .……………………………………………….. 95

Sun-dried tomato…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 96

place yourself……………………………………………………………………………………………… 96

in the sun. . .………………………………………………………………………………………………. 96

Gifts Rescinded……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 97

Send no money now, sir……………………………………………………………………………….. 97

A window frame……………………………………………………………………………………………… 98

Diligently he takes up his old role,………………………………………………………………. 98

The Last Line………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 99

The back row in the cinema. The kiss…………………………………………………………… 99

Dust…………………………………………………………………………………………. 100

The Living…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 101

Place wild flowers on my coffin. Let them fade…………………………………………… 101

A refusal to sign compassion’s death certificate………………………………………………. 102

Joanna, are you grieving . . .…………………………………………………………………… 102

Toll……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 103

Consider his life. Nothing exceptional……………………………………………………….. 103

Cave……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 104

His breath paced through the night,…………………………………………………………… 104

The Worms’ Inquiry  …………………………………………………………………………………….. 105

Traces of noxious gas………………………………………………………………………………… 105

A blink of the eye………………………………………………………………………………………….. 106

A blastocyst digs in. A neural tube…………………………………………………………….. 106

Death strut your funky stuff…………………………………………………………………………… 107

‘Mighty and dreadful’? Ground of our living,…………………………………………….. 107

A gathering……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 108

Screwtop plastic in a drawstring bag…………………………………………………………. 108

Hedgelaying………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 108

That thorn tree in the hedge,……………………………………………………………………… 108

Reef*…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 109

There should have been a dimming of the streetlights…………………………………. 109

If you’re going to have a picnic,  first you need a car park………………………………. 110

First they put her in the chiller, 1……………………………………………………………… 110

Cairn…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 112

The moon pulls the sea like a curtain…………………………………………………………. 112

Carrying life…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 112

Someone is walking naked across the sand…………………………………………………. 112

4th November 1918……………………………………………………………………………………….. 113

What victory bells for Owen, smithereened . . ……………………………………………. 113

Twentieth Century…………………………………………………………………………………………. 114

The wind stands fair for France. Look, . . .………………………………………………. 114

The Cull………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 115

The forest marches to the town to build……………………………………………………… 115

Ατομος………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 116

In the 1800s, the atom……………………………………………………………………………….. 116

The clay grew tall?………………………………………………………………………………………… 117

Universe, you’re old. It’s been a while……………………………………………………….. 117

Warmth…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 118

I take the perfect white-furred skin…………………………………………………………….. 118

Not all mammals faced extinction………………………………………………………………….. 119

Enjoy it while you can…………………………………………………………………………………… 120

This time, no asteroid is needed:………………………………………………………………… 120

The earth, the sea and the human spirit are getting tired of the city…………………. 121

The city writes a city in its margins……………………………………………………………. 121

Keep the leaf……………………………………………………………………………. 124

A leaf pointing at the moon……………………………………………………………………………. 125

A child lifts a fallen leaf…………………………………………………………………………….. 125

Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones; Dominions, Virtues, Powers; Principalities, Archangels, Angels……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 126

The heavens come down to earth to be expressed . . .……………………………….. 126

New World……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 127

I cracked the skull of their culture,…………………………………………………………….. 127

Our Landscape of Churches……………………………………………………………………………. 127

These too you have made: stone churches and……………………………………………. 127

And suddenly, a mighty rushing wind…………………………………………………………….. 129

Pentecost arrives on our shores:………………………………………………………………… 129

Exploring emptiness………………………………………………………………………………………. 130

Finding herself alone, she slips………………………………………………………………….. 130

G?d topples from the sky?………………………………………………………. 132

Penumbra………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 133

Few penetrate the night……………………………………………………………………………… 133

The Gap………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 133

He’s gone. This time he took with him………………………………………………………… 133

Creator………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 134

She has no kiln, this potter, no shelf…………………………………………………………… 134

Becoming………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 135

I thought love was the energy…………………………………………………………………….. 135

Prayer……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 136

Turned out G?d was quite an ordinary bloke……………………………………………… 136

Cracks…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 137

I saw my Lord was human meaning……………………………………………………………. 137

AD………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 138

Two thousand times he’s nudged this mineral ball………………………………………. 138

Witness…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 138

G?d? I saw her yesterday,………………………………………………………………………….. 138

Deus ludens absconditus………………………………………………………………………………… 139

I chase him in the playground of my day…………………………………………………….. 139

Love IV…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 140

I struck the board and cried,……………………………………………………………………… 140

To Atheism with Love……………………………………………………………………………………. 141

I’m sorry to say this aloud…………………………………………………………………………. 141

The Creator Speaks……………………………………………………………………………………….. 142

Can you not hear me?………………………………………………………………………………… 142

Pick your own……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 143

If I could choose G?d………………………………………………………………………………… 143

The lush weeds which spring up take us by surprise……………………………………….. 143

Spirit of creation……………………………………………………………………………………….. 143

Hundreds of ways………………………………………………………………………………………….. 144

I’ve laid out the ground like a carpet…………………………………………………………. 144

Breathing………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 144

I gave you the endless sky………………………………………………………………………….. 144

The Growing Word…………………………………………………………………. 145

Fiat nobis………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 145

Word becomes the in-between-us……………………………………………………………….. 145

1 BC……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 146

Creation’s wilting……………………………………………………………………………………… 146

Nativity…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 146

Earth and sky and boundless ocean……………………………………………………………. 146

The world in a bauble…………………………………………………………………………………….. 146

Redeem our sight……………………………………………………………………………………….. 146

Christmas Day in Cannon Hill Park………………………………………………………………… 147

Light leaps out. An alleluia………………………………………………………………………… 147

Shoot…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 147

The seed must die. Let that radicle strike, . . .…………………………………………… 147

Fiat Lux secundum calendarium…………………………………………………………………….. 148

In the olden days the year began in equinox, . . .………………………………………. 148

Bring forth a son?………………………………………………………………………………………….. 149

In all the paintings, light. It wasn’t like that. . . .……………………………………… 149

Who is that  on the other side of you?…………………………………….. 150

That Hem………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 150

My hand brushed his as he passed me . . .………………………………………………… 150

Horizon…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 151

He scooped a handful of dust……………………………………………………………………… 151

Piercing…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 152

imagine the nail through his hand . . .……………………………………………………… 152

Ecce Homo……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 153

Who is this standing before me? . . .…………………………………………………………. 153

Neti, neti……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 154

You are the dimly burning wick………………………………………………………………….. 154

Break, blow, burn, and make me new……………………………………………………………… 154

He fished me out and grilled me…………………………………………………………………. 154

Turning…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 155

In the bedrock of creation where he breathes……………………………………………… 155

Life Raft……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 156

And you, hard master, maker of storms that……………………………………………….. 156

Imaginary Friend…………………………………………………………………………………………… 158

I saw him this evening: the fan vault………………………………………………………….. 158

Proud parent………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 158

He is my song, calling the six-daies world . .…………………………………………….. 158

The Tree of Life…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 159

He planted it. It pointed to the dome………………………………………………………….. 159

Here I am………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 159

Let your I AM be a response to his . . .…………………………………………………….. 159

Love’s the Ground that breaks the Fall………………………………….. 160

Loser…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 160

He just stood there, saying nothing……………………………………………………………. 160

Love’s Trudge………………………………………………………………………………………………… 161

On Palm Sunday, Eeyore raises . .……………………………………………………………. 161

παραδιδωμι*………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 163

The ragged miracle worker arrives at my door…………………………………………… 163

The ground thrown up into the air………………………………………………………………….. 164

This footbath. I do it every year…………………………………………………………………. 164

Seventh Hour…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 165

Two bare planks spring……………………………………………………………………………… 165

To the Rood…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 166

Sweep your arms towards the Christ-child…………………………………………………. 166

That they may become one…………………………………………………………………………….. 166

Graft into me. Let the wine flow…………………………………………………………………. 166

Creation………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 167

The nail tunnels through the hand and bark……………………………………………….. 167

Beginning……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 167

An empty tomb…………………………………………………………………………………………… 167

dust……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 168

lord of the darkness…………………………………………………………………………………… 168

Peripheral vision……………………………………………………………………………………………. 169

I tore a hole in time…………………………………………………………………………………… 169

Open arms……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 169

His raw scarred hands………………………………………………………………………………. 169

The point……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 170

The great feasts are the punctuation…………………………………………………………… 170

No earthly fuller……………………………………………………………………………………………. 171

I left my winding sheet in the sepulchre……………………………………………………… 171

Come and have breakfast……………………………………………………………………………….. 172

This is the spring after the execution:………………………………………………………… 172

Begin afresh, afresh, afresh……………………………………………………………………………. 173

The brazier from the accusers’ angry court………………………………………………… 173

12+3000=1……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 173

I am the vine, climbing the stricken tree…………………………………………………….. 173

And rise again on the fifty-second day……………………………………………………………. 174

Friday. Saturday. Sunday………………………………………………………………………….. 174

Great grace was upon them all……………………………………………………………………….. 176

I danced on a Friday on a hill of bones………………………………………………………. 176

Shall these bones live?…………………………………………………………………………………… 177

Dry bones contemplate………………………………………………………………………………. 177

Three at Table……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 179

Come in, they said.cha………………………………………………………………………………. 179

Diving Lessons……………………………………………………………………………………………… 180

Dive deeper into love: she’s relocated, . . .………………………………………………. 180

The Wedding Feast…………………………………………………………………. 183

Receive each other with cupped hands……………………………………………………….. 183

Food……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 184

I left you a crust of bread for supper on Friday. . . .…………………………………. 184

Let go……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 184

Jesus was tired of swimming against the current in the chalice. . . .………….. 184

It’s physical……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 185

What physics can there be but love? . . .…………………………………………………… 185

A language understanded of the people…………………………………………………………… 185

It doesn’t matter much. . . .……………………………………………………………………… 185

Wafer thin……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 186

Torture hammered him to a round disc . . .………………………………………………. 186

Purush…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 186

The crumbling clod grows tall in grape and grain. . . .……………………………… 186

Meeting…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 187

Maddened by love, he raced . . .………………………………………………………………. 187

What will survive………………………………………………………………………………………….. 187

A grape pressed under a Roman thumb . . .………………………………………………. 187

Manna…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 188

Give us yourself to eat. You taste of forgiveness,………………………………………… 188

Transfiguration……………………………………………………………………………………………… 188

Take, eat. Life is a body…………………………………………………………………………….. 188

That corpse we planted………………………………………………………………………………….. 189

Seven disciples circle a rough table…………………………………………………………… 189

Rhubarb Festival……………………………………………………………………………………………. 191

Bring slugs to the altar……………………………………………………………………………… 191

Meet and right……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 192

A clown comes to celebrate the Eucharist…………………………………………………… 192

More than glass……………………………………………………………………………………………… 193

I can taste the colours in the stained glass…………………………………………………. 193

Confirmation…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 193

Just a little crumb of that loaf,…………………………………………………………………… 193

Take, eat……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 193

Flesh of our flesh………………………………………………………………………………………. 193

This scribbling keeps me steady……………………………………………… 194

Poetry, so light a craft……………………………………………………………………………….. 194

Eternal Lines…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 195

Sometimes I want to write poems on a blackboard……………………………………… 195

In which the Zen art of archery  is compared to writing poetry……………………….. 196

After years hurling gravel from the drive……………………………………………………. 196

User experience…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 196

This poem offers you………………………………………………………………………………….. 196

Reading…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 197

The poem comes a little closer,………………………………………………………………….. 197

Keeping Her Majesty waiting…………………………………………………………………………. 197

Two brown envelopes from Her Majesty, . . .……………………………………………. 197

Library, Balsall He ath. School Visit……………………………………………………………… 198

The monster with the damaged spine………………………………………………………….. 198

Alchemy……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 199

It’s turning lead to gold. First……………………………………………………………………. 199

Learning to look…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 200

Verse-splattered pages!……………………………………………………………………………… 200

Something on my mind fermenting slowly……………………………………………………… 201

Lil rooster crowin. A poem………………………………………………………………………… 201

Written at a sitting…………………………………………………………………………………………. 202

Capture the impulse in your pen………………………………………………………………… 202

Wow that’s really Zen……………………………………………………………………………………. 203

You think your fancy pen will write this for you?………………………………………… 203

Once she could write……………………………………………………………………………………… 203

And now, her pen is empty; her words . . .………………………………………………… 203

A writing group online…………………………………………………………………………………… 204

Poems clock a circle round the week………………………………………………………….. 204

It’s on the cards……………………………………………………………………………………………… 205

La naissance du lecteur –…………………………………………………………………………… 205

The Death of the Book got into bed…………………………………………………………….. 205

Captain………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 206

Here’s a portrait of Fewings, the famous poet, . . .…………………………………… 206

Receive…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 206

I’ll write a haiku and place it on your tongue,……………………………………………. 206

Pouring tea……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 207

I invite a poet to tea…………………………………………………………………………………… 207

Sipping tea with Wendy Cope………………………………………………………………………… 207

How eloquently she intertextualises……………………………………………………………. 207

Little Gidding Revisited…………………………………………………………………………………. 208

It’s wintry and icy but sunny:…………………………………………………………………….. 208

Nature…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 209

A visit to WordsworthShelleyLand™ . . .………………………………………………….. 209

Retouched……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 210

On Breughel’s Icarus, a painter adds…………………………………………………………. 210

His revels never ended…………………………………………………………………………………… 211

His stage was an island of strange noises,………………………………………………….. 211

Dedalus in the library…………………………………………………………………………………….. 212

Shakespeare in a tavern, carving……………………………………………………………….. 212

Translucent……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 212

Like a porcelain bowl of cold spring water…………………………………………………. 212

Did you find him then?………………………………………………………………………………….. 213

Stone plaque……………………………………………………………………………………………… 213

Dreams? Hwæt!………………………………………………………………………. 214

Last week………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 215

The house – sorted. The will – signed. Now………………………………………………… 215

A story grows………………………………………………………………………………………………. 216

Evidence……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 217

Different nations; different justice systems…………………………………………………. 217

Bidding…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 218

I arrived at the station – train delayed an hour………………………………………….. 218

A stranger in a coffee shop‎…………………………………………………………………………….. 219

‘I tore her out of my notebook …………………………………………………………………… 219

I stopped replying, then…………………………………………………………………………………. 221

I heard his poem, written as a drama . . .…………………………………………………. 221

Alive…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 222

I think she would have kept me. . . .………………………………………………………….. 222

Meditation…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 224

Noticing all the petals printed on……………………………………………………………….. 224

Roots…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 225

“Gravity is my father, Peter. I thought……………………………………………………….. 225

Falling…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 226

“I was no stranger to the sudden absence…………………………………………………… 226

Last day working at the therapy centre…………………………………………………………… 227

Could there have been a murder? A kidnapping?……………………………………….. 227

Two stories in search of an ending…………………………………………………………………. 229

Bruce and Sheila were standing outside, talking…………………………………………. 229

Tom’s Devotee………………………………………………………………………………………………. 231

First, he took off his pyjamas…………………………………………………………………….. 231

Highrise………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 232

Here on the nineteenth floor, No Pets………………………………………………………… 232

Metamorphosis………………………………………………………………………………………………. 233

Now all our documents are digital……………………………………………………………… 233

North Sea coast……………………………………………………………………………………………… 234

Here,…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 234

Forebears………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 235

I sit in the porch of a small stone church……………………………………………………. 235

Oxygen………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 236

A set of hoofmarks where the donkey carried the man………………………………… 236

The man who couldn’t dream………………………………………………………………………….. 237

There was a man who couldn’t dream………………………………………………………… 237

Skin………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 238

Night lowers itself gently      rolling…………………………………………………………… 238

Edge……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 239

A traveller stands next to midnight and checks her map. . . .…………………….. 239

I&I…………………………………………………………………………………………… 240

The last word on selfhood………………………………………………………………………………. 240

a wave of the sea……………………………………………………………………………………….. 240

When I………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 241

When I drain away…………………………………………………………………………………….. 241

I am………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 242

As if there could ever be two! . . .…………………………………………………………….. 242

Blur your border……………………………………………………………………………………………. 243

‘Dissolve the self in grace. The face that’s been…………………………………………. 243

Wintering………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 244

I tried on a new name: Chris Winters…………………………………………………………. 244

The Hidden Drawer……………………………………………………………………………………….. 245

Do you remember Nicola striding through………………………………………………….. 245

Divine…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 246

The love that moves the sun and other stars……………………………………………….. 246

The Butterfly…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 247

Let me describe your inner self,…………………………………………………………………. 247

Gadarene……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 248

He shook himself awake. We skipped………………………………………………………….. 248

Interbeing……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 249

So you want to go to heaven – you want . . .……………………………………………… 249

The heart has its reasons………………………………………………………………………………… 250

I gathered characters for my drama…………………………………………………………… 250

The self-esteem industry………………………………………………………………………………… 251

Please – come in. Take a seat…………………………………………………………………….. 251

Ripple tank in air…………………………………………………………………………………………… 252

I’ve presented my soul to you before,…………………………………………………………. 252

Dark wood with a drop-leaf writing surface……………………………………………………. 254

I sneak into a cubby-hole…………………………………………………………………………… 254

A place to keep my shadow……………………………………………………………………………. 255

I was looking for a place to keep my shadow,…………………………………………….. 255

By Chris Fewings

A writer and poetry lover in Birmingham UK

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