“How often, I thought to myself, had I lain thus in a hotel room, in Vienna  or Frankfurt or Brussels, with my hands clasped under my head, listening not to the stillness, as in Venice, but to the roar of the traffic, with a mounting sense of panic. That then, I thought on such occasions, is the new ocean. Ceaselessly, in great surges, the waves roll in over the length and breadth of our cities, rising higher and higher, breaking in a kind of frenzy when the roar reaches its peak and then discharging across the stones and asphalt even as the next onrush is being released from where it was held by traffic lights. For some time now I have been convinced that is out of this din that the life is being born which will come after us and will spell our gradual destruction, just as we have been gradually destroying what was there long before us.”



  1. G. Sebald Vertigo. P63

Storm Song of the Hawthorn



Storm song of the Hawthorn


Gales come and gales blow

Its winter out on the hill

Gales come and gales go

Streams and rivers filled

The land flooded and full

Rainwater has nowhere to flow

And we hope for the lull

But still the storms blow.


And the Hawthorn still sings


Tribute to Astrid Lindgren’s “The Fox and the Tomten”.


Paola Deffendi is still waiting.



Paola Deffendi is still waiting.


Paola Deffendi is waiting.

Giulio Regeni her son lies buried under a line of cypress trees.

her son’s gravestone is just a plain marble slab.

unadorned except for flowers, devotional candles and a small photograph

his face open and earnest.


Paola Deffendi is waiting.

‘It’s all over the happiness of our family was so short.’’

she waits for justice to be done and for truth to be told.

Veritas for Giulio Regeni.

and love will triumph, love for a child will not be out done.

his face open and earnest.


Paola Deffendi is waiting.

Nagy said – ‘‘We will just have to wait. Inshallah, something will come of it.’’

And the secrecy of darkness enfolds always playing for time,

hoping people will forget, and we and the world will stop watching.

and Giulio Regeni lies buried under a line of cypress trees

his gravestone a plain marble slab.


Paola Deffendi is waiting.

for the real truth and not the convenient truth to be revealed

those at the top In Egypt know – they hide secrets in the darkness of their hearts

Giulio Regini’s broken and violated body was left propped up.

Waiting to be found. But they’d found it already

It was in plain view. And they knew, they knew.


Paola Deffendi is waiting.

A mother honours the child she brought into this world,

the son she loved and watched as any mother would.

A child who grew into manhood with brilliance and compassion,

and the intense inquisitiveness that showed his humanity,

and now Giulio Regeni lies buried under a line of cypress trees.



“But we will not stop until we find an answer. We owe it to his mother.”



Coronation Day 2nd June 1953

So Labour lost an election … we’ve been here before … resistence continues!



Coronation Day 2nd June 1953


From the bench on the street corner one legged Jack sits watching the scene

pennants and bunting draped ready for celebrations, the crowning of a queen.


Jailed for killing a sheep to feed half-starved kids in the far away depression days

Jack remembered the struggle to survive and the children dying in those ways.


On the tree lined flowering street a white haired boy tried and failed always

when the showering confetti of petals slowly made it their time to fall too.


Red white and pink spring colours in a time of khaki, navy blues, and greys

the white haired boy walked kicking along the stony road a blue tin zinc ball


Battered and dented dull on each of its three sides from so many tries

to make it fly, it was in those days with long hours they called peace.


Thundering and lightning crackled without warning in clear blue skies

the silenced old gods and wise men left only indentations, remembrances


Of psalms and words in the places they’d once stood in so many guises.

In the tall aspen trees above the school yard Jackdaws turned into blackness


No longer offering advice to the boy standing in silence on a stone edged street.

He wandered listening to hammering hard voices in those endless days of friction.


It was a time of remembrances of yearning for memories, idylls and those years

before the great fracturing, when men stared too long into the crematoria’s fire.


Of the man-made hell when God looked away from supplications, turned deaf ears

to the prayers of beseechment from the lost, the implorations for intervention


For salvation. And only silence reigned. The old Kings head stared one eyed

on silver sixpences and farthings but he was dead and the Christmas tree lights


Fixed to the windows and doorways ready for the street party rationing allowed

And all those old songs – knees up mother brown, oh knees up mother brown,


They pushed the damper in and they pulled the damper out and the smoke went up

And she’ll be coming round the mountain will be sung again and sung again.


It was a time of remembering past times, it was a time for forgetting times too,

there was hope for the future, for a better life that so many had fought and died for.


But spin the gaudy worn tin carousel sixty four years or more forward and see

a future of food banks feeding working poor kids in the high streets of ghost towns


Where charity shops fill every other door and the worn out junkies haunt the parade

and we turn our backs too as so many lives are stolen away before our very eyes.


So our class celebrates the Jubilee of a queen and our impoverishment

Relinquishing, forgetting what life, poverty and struggle was like in those days.


These days.


My names Jack.


What’s yours?


Published Red Poets 2018.