I should actually say ‘past eleven’
because this is ‘twelve’.
Now that the hours have done
their work, they may dance –
madly, blithely, cannabis-high.

(No need for filter papers as I do not smoke.)

We’ve watched today’s games, partaken
of today’s meals, exhaled some sighs.
I will sleep on today’s poems, which
will all look different in the
morning. I didn’t even wear my glasses.

(My husband’s snores are in a crescendo.)

Outside, the birds are asleep, or
perhaps wondering why my candles have
not been turned off yet, waiting for
the sun to touch the trees again
and move them to burst into song.


No crisps, no cookies,
and, most certainly, no
mobile devices.
Nothing like a cranky
conservative recluse to
pry out the raisins before
devouring the bread.
But this keeps me alive,
and unhampered, weird but
so utterly, utterly free.


An endless game,
much like fooling myself.
If one game doesn’t work out,
you can always do it again.
It’s nothing but a simple
tile arrangement and a matter
of choice — who to marry,
where to live, to keep
or not keep a pet, which tile
matches another, and in which
order should the dominoes fall.
Do I push or pull, walk or
trot, live or stop.
And am I ever allowed to
rearrange the years, putting
the cardinal wind directions
ahead of the seasons?
Who am I fooling?


If there is any holy book so close
to embodying poetry, it is the Book of Kells,
that sacred collection of the four Gospels,
at least those agreed on by Mother Church,
who is not my mother, its God not my God.

The Book, though, is worth more than twice
its weight in gold, filled with the richest
of illuminations, mystical figures, symbols,
all any ‘God’ might desire, and any demon, too.
Made by men who prayed, for men who coveted,

as possession was more important than devotion,
and he who held it wished only to keep it
for himself, to exhibit it with pride to
those who could not read, who believed that
‘God’ was exalted, everlasting, and impartial,

and that it was ‘His’ hand that calligraphed
the letters, guided the brushes of the monks,
stretched and purified the vellum. Anyone
who turned its pages became holy, but the Book
itself is modest, venerable, and hidden.

There is nothing like religion to divide
everything that can be found under the sky.
The Book of Kells may be admired but not
touched, venerated but not read. I would like
to know if one day it, too, will turn to dust.


I miss my sons.
My eldest would have turned 41,
my youngest would have hit 40.
Neither of them would have looked
like their father, or like me.
More divine, but with feet of clay,
angel’s wings not quite white,
but a mother does not look at that.
They would have had to work, drown
in their own sleepless nights,
hold their own women with affection.
Or perhaps not. It does not matter.
I breathed their last breath
with them, tucked them in their
beds of earth, explained how
the bogey man came for them at last
and I could do nothing about it.
They would have understood that.
They knew they came from me.
They gripped my hands as they left.
Their lives were my first death.


No, I’m not watching. Obviously,
I’m here in another room, writing.

During the afternoon drive, I wondered
at all the anger in the world, mine
included. Of what other use is
the ground we stand on, aside from
the planting and watering of seeds,
if not for the stamping of our feet,
the violent beating motions of our arms
as we break the earth to use it?
How hallowed is this spot with weeds,
the final resting place of our peace,
our pleasure, and our endless fury.

Sounds of the match reach my room,
no goals have yet been made.

I could make it personal. There must be
some ugly element on my face, perhaps
on my limbs, or is it the way I speak,
that disgusts those I thought loved me,
and whom I thought I loved. What are
words like ‘family’, ‘brother’, ‘home’,
when uttered with such deep hypocrisy.
But they are them, and I, unfortunately,
am me, and no degree of envy or bitterness
on their part will change that. So little
warmth is left over after half a century.

There is no need to wait for half time.
I know how the game must be played.


Too many seeds, too little juice —
life can be a tight squeeze.

I was angry today with too many things,
all of which had nothing to do with me,
and yet I let them all bleed,
ran through their throats with my tongue,
very silently, of course,
so as not to offend, or to be a source
of discomfort.

We’re not allowed to shake the tree, but
must wait till all the worm-infested fruits
drop of their own accord.


When my tribe rises,
I will not be there.
When they hoist the flags,
and draw their swords,
I will not be there.
When they play their pipes
and shout their oaths,
I will not be there.
When they call on their gods
and strike their chests,
willing their demons
to leave the dark dens,
I will not be there.
When the slayer’s songs
ring out in the hills
and victory burnishes
its dented, bloody shield,
I will not be there.
And then, when they are
finally tired of their war,
and fall like the dead
into their weary beds,
I will not be there.

I will not be there.


I. must. not. be.
late. Repeat.

The Danish and Welsh fans are both
in red for tonight’s game. Had this been
a medieval tournament, one camp would have
looked very much like the other. One goal
will look very much like any other goal, but

I. must. not. be.
late. Repeat.

The difference will always lie between
what you catch and what you fail to see.
What escapes you will be more spectacular,
more enviable, more jaw-dropping, and no
slow-motion rewind will change that, so

I. must. not. be.
late. Repeat.

We’re past the flight of arrows, the longbow
has been put away. No need for cannon on
the lush green lawns, no bullets whistling,
nothing but the crowd singing, shouting,
as the ball is thumped from foot to foot.

I. must. not. be.
late. Repeat.


Thunder is booming above the tree canopy.
but I took an afternoon drive today.

The windmill around the corner needs repair,
but breakfast and lunch were excellent today.

There’s a corrupt judge in another country,
but we paid all our debts today.

We haven’t eaten out for fourteen months,
but no one died of COVID here today.

Sometimes I run out of usable words,
but the marathon is running well today.

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