God’s Wife

God’s Wife He grew up round here. His own country. ‘Since God were a lad’ they say, remembering. The local paper prints yesteryear photos of old teams. There he is, foot on the ball. He was always restless, spent hours in our back yard, fettling. He’d come up with all sorts – animals you’d never […]

Tin Roofs

It’s more than malaria gets in the blood in Africa: its red-soiled, potholed towns, jungles of car parts, sewing machines, mended T-shirts from Leeds and Seattle, herdsmen lean as their cows. We were asked out as honoured guests. In the village where we stopped on the way for yams and cooking oil, every other roof […]

Life and Other Terms

LIFE AND OTHER TERMS I split autumn perennials, layer rhododendrons for spring lashed by winds, lacking even good bones against the virtues of age. With full hands I pull at heels of rosemary, lad’s love sweet and sad, bitter rue and yarrow. Geraniums on the patio turned out like children to get the sun; the […]

Chalk Farm

CHALK FARM Blaring elephants echo from the zoo. Friday evenings as you cross the Square I watch from the fourth floor, throw down the key. We’re squashed into the side room while my flatmate makes it with a violinist just back from Prague and its brief spring. She can get us freebies for the RFH, […]

ANCESTORS

Dust on the mantelpiece; postcards and brittle letters telling of boys in old swim-suits, picnics on hot sand, piano-playing at dusk. Photos of aunts and unknown friends of aunts; laughter in gardens of houses long moved from; baby and dog on a rug. Merciless, I rip papers from folders, pack books and ornaments for charity. […]

Day Trip

Never go back, they say, you won’t find what you are looking for. But I did go back. We both should have returned for our 40th but we delayed – next year medical treatment would make travel easier. Seven years on and travel is certainly easier now. The time was right, and the place. Of […]

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