How very dull to be taken by a troll
At the start of my visit to Oslo.
If you believe in them
it will be easy to understand a key play of Ibsen.
Such as why they poisoned the water
In a letter delivered by the daughter.
Which gets me back
to the Troll and Dr Stockman:
Who are both rather brave and fearsome.
after Matsuo Bashō
In the nearly sun
A mist rises on the water
To the now awake
Two bees make honey
In a flower sweet but still
Alone as welcome
To something alert
A swan moving in a lake
Upon gold they sit
Observers of light
There is something electric
In this crest of white
As the bees work
A mesmerising sound grows
To constant measure
Light on the water
That sings its song to the dawn
In time to the beat
It was all a bit of a mistake, slightly careless:
due to a mix up with the Americans
the wrong things went to the wrong place.
‘Excellency, that was and is,’
‘Is it … slightly hopeless, I mean,
to lose an Empire due to Suez?’
‘What?’ ‘I mean, Ambassador, shall I draw the curtains?’
‘Yes, draw the curtains at the embassy.’
No rhyme or reason
Some vague notion of globalisation:
A hairy bear will take my home and stay there.
Brexit? Is that you?
I thought, you, I mean, really? Really?
I don’t do detail, don’t care, just fix it.
While I stare at the wall
On my sunken patio.
Sit perfectly still and be kissed
while sunning yourself
beside the heat of home-made screen
this good news, the new year brings.
Bargains by the dozen,
go out visit a crowd of mad gunmen
haunting the aisles of exploding shopping malls.
As when in irrational mood
they spray the car park with guns and food
everyone agrees shopping is ecstasy;
with the wildness on every person’s lips
that speaks direct.
I don’t care, I got here first
with mouth pursed, kneel,
to hear a final word: a loaded quip.
No fire or glamour, no words or hammer
What light is let into the empty brain ?
Is it heroin or cocaine? Or just nerve ending ?
To pause, engage, kiss
with this vast fix
that we see across the sky in smiling lips.
Have I not free will to drive in, shop and kill ?
To celebrate a
prosperous year for all fanatics
and everyone else in any
kind of racket
such as our friends in
There are lots of cameras around
with which to spy upon us.
It makes them smile
to see all that moody heat
chasing deals up and down the street.
Observe the enthusiastic dead.
A carriage of them we will make
and fill their steady, boys, steady,
with steady state.
The bodies we will make.
We tend to speculate
on what they might have said
about their rotting.
Neither will the bugle wake them
As the rotting sun is set
on that long day to say good-bye to all that’s good.