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Walkie-Talkie, EC3

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London’s breakfasting at Pret –
beneath the Walkie-Talkie convex
steel, just off a blowy Fenchurch Street.

Next door, Suits coffee-huddle outside
Nero – a splash of blue on the grey-black
City spectrum. By 9:15 the tide is turning,

pace easing to a late spring stroll. Students,
tourists, senior managers all weave this
gentler stream. But their phone-clamp stays

the same – eyes, ears, mind, elsewhere – blind
gaze ahead, or down; feet gliding separation rails.
History’s shades and cobbled secrets pause

unseen – hidden down St Mary’s-At-Hill;
within St Margaret Pattens – Wren’s spires
pale and quiet, keeping shtum, as London

walks and talks and breaks its fast in EC3.

Jane Seeing Stars

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Midway from grey to greyer, it starts.
Between nimbus skies and running moors –

a crimson gash. Memories curl back like sea
fret, sediments laid down in marl and peat

and millstone grit. Her amber spirit sealed alive.
Glittering, not bitter. A fighter, stares down

her betters, knows her own worth. No field mouse –
more kestrel and ruffled feathers. But beneath

this tussock heath, tectonic ripples – Jamaican
heat seeps clints and grykes, sheers til death do

us part – Hurricane Bertha whipped by the wide
Sargasso Sea. Yes reader, she married him – but not

at first shot when her luck was too sudden to hold.
No, much later. Much richer and wiser, when

she knew blindness for all its faulty worth.

Relativity

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In the broad brim of her Sunday-best
hat, lie motes of space dust – genes
she gifts her son, his daughter, her son

and his daughter. One hundred years
in sepia. Right there. While she is washed
in last century – her heat and chaos stopped –

her alchemy lives on. In us. With a shot
of developer, stopper and fixer, his hands
halt time, freezing her fleeting mundane

to still history. Our gaze, alight with
recognition (her nose? his bright eyes? )
revives her now. She’s us and we are she;

spiraling this cosmic string.

The Theory of Rapture

 

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Rapture of the deep – free
diving for the Martini effect,
drunk on one more fathom.

Rapture of the bluest zenith –
thins blood and lightens limbs,
whiffing ozone in your fizzy mouth.

Rapture of the mellow hum, zen
yellow windows flung wide, muscles
dazed by summer’s head-rush lawns.

Rapture of the sonic boom; girdling
the whirling earth, eager for the blur
of transience. Now to yesterday.

The Theory of Rapture. From all points
and every angle – it’s singular. It’s now.
And never merely relative. In theory.

Triscombe Song

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Walk me down the drover’s road
in blazing sun and rolling mist,
walk me under twisted rows
of golden bronzing beech.

Crisping leaves and laughing crows
shaggy cows and Sunday hikers –
just walk me through this ancient
trail – to Triscombe Stone.

Skip me through this Saxon grove
and up the spiny Quantock ridge –
through blinking sun and damp-grey
fret – to crouching Triscombe Stone.

Walk me through the season’s hush
as fog enbalms the orange fall,
walk me singing back again
along the drover’s road.

We hear the march of Alfred’s men
the clash of Roman swords
faint ticking of the decades
down this gilded drover’s road.

So sing me out and walk me back
from timeless Triscombe Stone.

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Starry-eyed

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In the heart of Perseus there’s a little
chaos brewing –
red, white and blue bolts, fingering
the dark.

We see what’s firing on the X-ray spectrum
with a shift, a leap of faith,
a lucky break in time –

knowledge gathers like a starry cluster,
budding from the fluke of our nativity.

On Einstein’s shoulders, we teeter,
popping infinity, hungry for the Hubble
that lends eyes distance, precision
and perception:

supermassive black holes, it seems,
have had a bad press,
and are actually the good guys,

the stellar heart of the matter, streaming
what will be,

has
been.

St Bueno’s

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This coastal path, tipping often into
hair-pin turns, dips through primal
twisted oaks; witnesses life on the edge.

Grey in the dim afternoon, through summer
rain that doesn’t dampen us, the way tends
naturally, to St Bueno’s, crooked in a dark

elbow where stream and footfall imprint
history. Here, Saxon breath and Norman
sinew knit a weave of families in coracle

curve – the clan of Red, grittily supreme;
churchyard memoranda to tenacity. Damp
lichen patina on grave stones tolls lives

in this half light. We hear them, glimpse
their days with our poor resources; this dell
chill even in August, giant rhubarb basking

in its mammoth glory. From the lepers’
window, the mist of centuries is upon us –
fingers twine ours through the gloaming.

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