Posted in Passages


Grandad died in 1963
the same year JFK was assassinated
according to Philip Larkin, sex was invented.

His wife had died years before,
when the children strained into the distance
and concentrated really hard, they could just make her out.

My mother said his funeral was on an autumn Saturday
under graphite skies.
She said she always remembered two things –
the creaking of the mechanism lowering him into the earth
and the grace of God enabling her
to make it to the refuge of the car before any tears –
“ breaking down,” she called it.

Where to put the grief
for the man who had been both father and mother
– anywhere but in public
– “ no one wanted any fuss,
that’s how it was in those days.”



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.