24 October 2017

The old order (sundown in Vršovice)

This sky,
black

descends to
marine
green as glass
in the reaches

and in these branches
bare
ruins of cold
October stir

while in the south
solid gold
bursts from the mouth
of Bohdalec.

07 March 2017

For the Untransported

Is this the land to which they were sent,
Those hundreds? Passes stamped and
faces pressed against misted windows;
buttons done up against the coming bombs,
shoelaces tied one last time against
tripping at the gap —
that inconceivably wide gap
between step and platform?

Is this the land which took them in
and held them through war and winter,
never hearing from those who gave them up —
not brothers, uncles, aunts,
never from fathers, mothers?
Whose people sent them parcels strung with more than love
though less than blood?
Is this the land?

Is this the land that bore me, taught me?
The land whose pass I carry still, stamped
with the right of the bearer to go
unhindered across continents,
that now will take no more?

No more sufferers, no more war-torn widows
No more broken children, no more exhausted fathers
No more tentative victims, no more orphans.
No more of those crying at the roadside
No more of those millions waiting in Lebanon,
No more of those who have lost, and lost again.
No more who can take no more?

England, what changed so silently, without a word?
Answer me that.
What, exactly, changed between, say, Winton, and now?
The answer inflames, makes furious. On
this morning of freedom, as I walk near to
Prague's main station, I feel for my pass
in my pocket and want to break it.

19 September 2014

A Change in the Weather: three double haikus


Only the rain now,
After so many weekends
Wasted, just the rain.

And we have lain here
Dreaming of nothing more than
White flecks on the pane.

---

The walls are standing,
But the evening sunlight shows
Cracks in the plaster.

You tell a story,
And I'm listening, but the air
Is filled with static.

---

Senseless this slow walk
To the closed door, beyond which
May lie many more.

Better to turn away,
Despite your inclination,
And pocket the key.

26 February 2014

Street history

In our bit of Prague,
‘Black Sea’ and ‘Crimea’
lead straight to Moscow street,
while that dog-leg at the corner’s
named for Sebastopol.

Only ‘Ukrajinska’ doesn’t fit
into our psycho-geographical
suburb.

According to the map,
it’s tucked away down in the valley,
separated from the rest
by the once-yearly flood
of the Botič.