Who can see the green earth any more
As she was by the sources of Time?
Who imagines her fields as they lay
In the sunshine, unworn by the plough?

Matthew Arnold, ‘The Future’

Barley field, cut, dried,
Brewed, poured, you’re so garrulous
Long after you’ve gone.

Old English riddle from the Exeter Book



What rutting beast snorts
‘Let me give you some pointers’
Then trots through the mist?


In the beginning
Was the Word, and the Word was
Parsed into creatures.


I am a hunter
Until the moment comes when
My quarry is milk.


My females are brown,
My males are black, though always
My song is pink, pink.


Seduced by AI,
We’re already impatient
With a frail, old world.


We are baptised now
By our total immersion
In Loch Computer.


In a data trice
We glean the harvest that’s kept
Ravelled inside light.



You get off my land
Up in the air as I heave
You out of the nest.


My elongation
Approaches its apogee
In legs, neck and ears.


All soar and wingspan,
What idiot would want to
Hang me round their neck?


I gulp flies. I fly
South for the winter, darting,
Overtaking spring.



The greatest gift
Is to fuse the riddle with
The riddle’s answer.


We somehow lost touch.
How could we have forgotten
All our neighbours’ names?


Our lives together
Are not easy, but they are
Our lives together.


You can lead a horse
To water, then patiently
Sit and watch it drink.



Each morning, to wash,
I pack my trunk with water
Then hose myself down.


I lie wise in lochs,
But, having coursed through ocean,
I will jump for joy.


I eat another,
Then another colonist
Ad infinitum.


I relish the buzz,
The highs, but I relish most
That sting in my tail.



I am a sly, red
Machiavelli, barking
And stinking of heat.


To target cancer
Needs precise calibration
And a hinted kiss.


Haiku are pollen,
Bright angels danced off
The head of a pin.


I feather my nest
With dazzling embezzled coins
And worthless tinfoil.


The chuckie-skimmer’s
Wrist-flick teaches us the art
Of letting things go.



Hop light, hop light, off
I go, green as a soldier,
But always singing.


Wherever we are
We love the sand, earth or sea
Which is almost ours.


I’ll lead you a merry dance
Or just a short walk.



Always time to flit:
Even when I’m upside down
My ears miss nothing.


Each ear of wheat hears.
You only have to listen
To each ear of wheat.



I eat anything
But am an unwanted guest
Whose gift is famines.


Lord, save us from jets
And smug, breathless SUVs
And meat; but not yet.



A small island bird
Drops its shadow on the sand
Then dives to find it.


True eloquence is
The Down’s Syndrome boy ringing
The old abbey bell.



Dogs run rings round us.
We rise damp, rank and matted.
We need a good shave.


Swinger, I fondle my tool
And look quite like you.


All through school and work
I clouded plate-glass windows
With my bated breath.


Knitting in summer –
Intricately odd, useless
Until winter comes.



My game’s playing dead.
I can’t for the life of me
Think how to wake up.


The future was not
The Citroën Deux Chevaux.
It was two horses.


Bounce! Bounce! Bounce! Bounce! Bounce!
Oh God – a manic depressive
With a baby on board.


Noah’s saddest beast
Crossed continents, arriving
Alone at the ark.



Wink to the mirror:
You have never looked better
Since a day ago.


Just like the ocean
The Large Hadron Collider
Flexes with the moon.


I’m saving myself
For a very long journey:
God gave me the hump.


Eternal start-up,
Organic light emitter,
Hallowed be thy name.



My pelt is Tipp-Ex.
I’m the tip of the iceberg.
I go with the floe.


In black and white prints
I’m just too photogenic,
Fellating bamboo.


Each day is a gift,
Though not quite, as it once was,
So freely given.



Greedy big shitter,
I fool you, following wakes
Of fishing boats home.


We learn from mirrors
That we are unknowable
Even to ourselves.


I move small mountains,
Travelling on a subway
Of my own design.


With bright, hair-fine wires
The earliest LEDs
Wove a nest of gold.


We want the wisdom
Caught fast in the uncluttered
Nonchalance of light.



I am fleet of foot,
Carrying everywhere
These four lucky feet.


Main man, I’m the king.
In my pride I’m the show-off.
Pure dental. All mouth.


Each sunrise makes sure
The work of enlightenment
Continues unquenched.



God is both the word
And the white paper on which
The word is written.


Just for an instant
The freeing of light.



I sound like a toy,
But believe me, friend, this here’s
No baby’s rattle.


Do Wittgenstein’s shrewd
‘Family resemblances’
Make wild beasts our kin?


Leather, I lie flat,
Counting my teeth, and just may
See you, in a while.



The moon teaches us
Weird originality
Would be a mistake.


What is it, honey,
Where is it, honey, oh, please
Lead me right to it.


‘Art’s origins lie
Deep in the farming songs
Of seed-time.’ (Bashō)


All day and all night
Without wool, wheel or needles,
I’m an old weaver.


Serene and buoyant
Over Roshven’s mountain range
Floats the harvest moon.

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