Diary: The Love Of Rotting Leaves


leaves.jpgToday I am mostly moved by how beautiful rotting leaves are. They are precious relics, gone unnoticed, holier than hair clippings from the head of a saint, and far more pervasive in terms of the blessings they offer to the world.

Breaking down into mulch and soil, in senescence, they become the very matrix of life, the womb of trees, insects, flowers, and the dancing space of crucial, earth-pullulating worms. When you bundle leaves up into your arms, you are holding the lymph, the blood, the marrow of the earth – the distillation of what it means to be alive.
Let them not go unnoticed. Feel their crunch beneath your feet, the satisfying snap that sneaks into your ears – examine closely the march of mould across its surface – an evolutionary invasion. The landscape of a leaf is as arresting, as fascinating in its ecological brilliance, as any waste, heath, wood, or tundra. It is the thing that fungi get excited about and thirst for – the dankness of its moisture as it decomposes is the muse of goblins and gnomes – the cold, yet warming animation of what was once an exhibition of colour yielding to the life-germinating darkness of crows.
The scent is a mixture of a dirt and promising urine – its dry crackle is the crackle of storytellers round firesides, of pneumonial lungs being cleared. It invites us to scurry, to roll, to play, to be surreptitious. It makes death look exciting in the certainty it offers for regeneration.
Trees are shedding their gifts for us. Do not dismiss their offerings as mere mess or clutter – as an invasion of your neurotic denatured neatness – but as the sensuous tokens of a cyclical eternity. And I look forward to the day when our vapidities of cement are buried beneath leaves, and locked deep in the vault of the earth.

Poem: The Severn


Wind-blasted hawthorn, crude contender of The Severn,
Crisscrossing mudflats, groove-worn into neurons by sandy
Engravers, with power lines decussating to the relics of old
Power stations, curlew calls twist and spiral out of these
Reefs of landscape, reed beds never sleeping but always in

You do not need the ocean to be anything but ocean,
Binoculars can look back on themselves to be the obituaries
Of recently drowned tourists – but it needn’t be all so gothic-
Just give yourself up to the salt wind – no need to go through
The mediator of a first-born daughter, when motion and stillness
Are the shadows on horizons, that hemispherical line slicing
Eternity in finger sandwiches

No, there are no castles here – only things that will seem
Ancient in but a couple of years – history can rewrite itself
Every day in these fingers of sand – and the writer is the one
Who writes himself a journey he never planned

Then, coming into vision, accumula and strata non-dizzy
Out of the water, and my pen finds itself to be the etchings
On a wooden lighthouse – a tree carved out of itself to be as
Light-bearing as it really is: burn all your negatives, and
Photograph your own apotheosis – for this is the coming
Of the Future


Poem: The Birds of Autumn


Wind-blown maple keys whirligig through the air,
Whitebeam branches fall to the ground,
Piles of leaves rob the trees of their hair,
And migrating fieldfares erupt with sound

Filling autumn with the commotion of bush-exploding chatter,
Zipping from cypress, to yew, back to fir,
Oh, dearest birds, whatever can be the matter,
To make you whizz, bang, cluck, and chirr?

Is there something you feel that eludes human hearts?
A secret in the chill air that makes you come alive?
Flying all the way from farthest Scandinavia,
You come here to mate, thirst, frolic, and thrive

And I can relate to you, my darling thrushes,
For soon a little bird will be flying to me,
Who will whisper to me, softly, in the night’s autumnal hushes,
And enable me to feel happier than I ever thought I could be!

We too will go flying, swooping over meadow,
Preening each other’s feathers as we recline in the lea,
Snuggled up together as snuggest of bedfellows,
Perched close together in a horse chestnut tree

My passion, once flightless, can now take wing,
And my caresses and kisses are as starlings in the sky,
Though a troubadour, only to you do I sing
Of a heart now empowered to fly, fly, fly

To fly with you, to smell you, to feel your breath on my face,
And the ecstasy and comfort of knowing I am loved,
With you, I can find a paradise in the ugliest place,
Heaven in the rooftops, my Stebba, my beloved,

To be with you as a rook, as a jackdaw, as a crow,
To be a feathered thing – beak against beak –
To nuzzle in a nest – to know and be known,
To trickle with you, as water, down life’s placid creek

And still the maple keys whirligig through the air,
Still whitebeams branches fall to the ground,
But now our migrations bring us together,
And I hear your music in every soft sound

Poem: From Trump to Stump


Were you to cut-off the arms of Donald Trump
You could rename him ‘Donald Stump,’
Roll him around, fat and feeble,
Like an over-sized, presidential weeble

Reduced to only torso and tush,
No atomic red button could he push,
Yet with tongue still intact – his verbal diarrhoea
Will still cause chaos with North Korea

Oh, Stumpy, dearest, start no nuclear war!
It would be such a tedious, glowing-green bore!
I’d sooner see you as an amputee hobble
Than convert all the world into a new Chernobyl

So, Donald, darling, be the bigger man,
Kindly reduce your own lifespan,
With your imagination so apocalyptic,
Isn’t about time for your fit – apoplectic?

To rob you of your power – and leave us alone,
Without your bad breath poisoning our ozone,
And while you’re in your tongueless retirement,
We can see about the process of nuclear disarmament

For war is just the game of the misguidedly rich,
And if King Jong-un and you wish to beat eachother with sticks,
Please do it in privacy of your own sex dungeons,
Instead of getting us involved – you asinine curmudgeons!

But I’m sorry, Donnie, if I’ve hurt your feelings today,
Don’t rattle off another tweet – don’t lose your toupee!
We can resolve it over drinks, my dear darling Trump,
Once we’ve cut off your arms, and renamed you – ‘Donald Stump’

Poem: The Murder of Morrisons

cattle markets

A skeleton of steel looms in the dark,
In the old Cattle Market opposite Bailey Park,
From Market Place Rise, ‘tis a cancerous cathedral,
Not yet malignant, but still germinating evil

Oh, monster of homogeneity – cannot you remain
A jumble of ruins of which we cannot complain?
I look forward to when all our supermarkets, shabby,
Are as derelict and ivy-covered as our monasteries and abbeys

When aisles no longer peal with barcodes being scanned,
Those acres of tin-canned fecundity, sterile and bland,
Grow no more – unwanted Morrisons – superstore of the abyss,
Spread no more cells of your cancer’s metastasis!

But crawl back to the corporate cesspit from whence you came,
No more a blot upon Abergavenny’s humble fame,
Along with Subways and MacDonald’s – it’s enough to make you pop
At the endless proliferation of needless coffee shops!

And if The Sugarloaf were the volcano it was always meant to be,
I would pray for it to pour its lava all over thee,
And all those godforsaken, identity-robbing shops,
Would be imprisoned forever within gorgeous igneous rocks

The Rebekah Rioters will give each other high-fives,
And our small market town will as a market town thrive,
And Morrisons will be another dodo – another fossilized trilobite,
To help our archaeology professors get to sleep at night!

Poem: My Twin Brother


It is true I died a long time ago,
But discontented with death, I found a way to renew,
Leaping out of the grave, I inscribed my own tomb,
Painted with the ink from a shaggy inkcap mushroom

As an imposter in this world, from churchyards I seldom strayed,
Without tombstones to bolster me, I affeared to be waylaid,
By life much too lively – not as sweet to me
As a flock of long-tailed tits in a dying Rowan tree

But when twilight deliquesces, I still sometimes creep,
To the grave where my twin brother does disingenuously sleep,
Kissing cheeks, and shaking hands, we take eachother’s places,
To test who can tell apart our living and dying faces