Work hymn

“Lucky you, you didn’t have to work today.”

“What were you doing all day?”


Phillip Larkin called it a toad at first

He wanted to drive it off with a pitch fork

But he loved it in the end.

I can’t get used to weekends.

It’s wrong not to earn a living.

For Adam work meant redemption

i.e. punishment. A day off today.

Remembering holidays makes it worse.

If it wasn’t for shit bosses it’d be OK,

If you could work peacefully,

I say. I’d like to write a book

And never work again, but walk instead.

But what if there’s nothing without work?

And is that what’s worse, Phillip Larkin?

Food and shelter is my purpose

And I smile sometimes too.






I thought that they were looking but they weren’t

Once I tried to run off the stage straight at them

But when I got there I just stopped and said something

They looked a bit concerned, then carried on unperturbed.

I was left standing there in the middle of the auditorium,

Which hummed with people seemingly enjoying the occasion,

I thought, is it me or shouldn’t something be happening on the stage?




Bull’s stern, thud thud thud.

I chew my nails, my eyes are sore.

A goose’s wing is coming off

It flaps across sidewards

And falls, screaming angrily at itself.

Bare blunt stalks stick out of a crust

Like the black trees of Hiroshima.

The starved prisoner is in his cell

His knuckles are bare on its bars

Face pressed up beady, angular, pale

Screaming for the guard.

I inspect myself for black pores

Reach into an ulcer-sore gob

Yank at a cracked back molar

Bite down on my bloated index

And hold it there numbly.

Beta boy in Manchester, 22.5.17

Four times Trump said “losers”

Losers, losers, losers, losers.

Slowly, into the camera: los-ers.

It is not as if they hadn’t

Heard it the first time

They heard it.

Trump heard it before.

He isn’t a loser: he won.

Hillary lost.

Macron is a winner.

Congratulations on your big win.

And America is gonna win again.

We are gonna be winners again.

They are losers.

Lots of losers.

No-Theology Day

By the time you get to Easter Sunday,

You have no desire left to pray,

Say responses, sing refrains

Or ever go to mass again

No reflecting on theological things

Or the message the gospel brings

No introspection, no confession,

No angels, saints or intercession.


No rituals befit the Risen One

It’s finished, the work’s been done,

What’s left is what the angels said:

Why seek the living among the dead?

XXIII – “To use words but rarely”

To use words but rarely

Is to be natural.

Hence a gusty wind cannot last all morning, and a sudden downpour cannot last all day. Who is it that produces these? Heaven and earth. If even heaven and earth cannot go on forever, much less can man. That is why one follows the way.

A man of the way conforms to the way; a man of virtue conform to virtue; a man of loss* conforms to loss. He who conforms to the way is gladly accepted by the way; he who conforms to the virtue is gladly accepted by the virtue; he who conforms to loss is gladly accepted by loss.

Where there is not enough faith, there is lack of good faith.

(*or, heaven?)


Some words are sunset

Throwing shadows across the close of day;

The sun descends softly below the horizon.


Some words are sunrise

A child peers hopefully over the garden wall

His gaze drawing earth’s shadows inwards.


Some words are downpour

Floods course through the city’s streets

Strangers are clustered in dripping shelters.


Some words are cold winds

Who forbid flippant platitudes or cheer

Who push, slam doors and curse.


Long spring or summer’s days’ words

Words which follow the way gladly

Are sung by birds and distant callings.