Posted in Truth

Fool’s Gold

Had Charles Dickens got to Antarctica
he might have sound bitten the contradictions
as the best of places and
the worst places. It was.
Beautiful and ugly,
abstemious and concupiscent,
expansive and close minded,
but there was a moral code – of sorts
not entirely hard and fast, except for trips.

The South Pole, The Dry Valleys
the glacier field camps
all needed fuel and food
all accessible only by air
flights sometimes had space not bequeathed
room for one or two sightseers
a day out,
at the bottom of the world.

Rule number 1 – inviolable
all trips to be balloted
names + hat + chance – already have = the chosen one.
No exceptions.

He said he knew that
but this was different
a personal invitation,
reward for helping him get things done
he was speaking as the welfare officer
when asked to go beyond, I had.
He repeats his offer
I repeat my conditional acceptance
tell him of our accord –
all for one, and one for all
he says that’s very commendable
“no,  …… you’ll find out.”
I did.

Posted in Truth

Off the Record

It was comforting to never to find out
ignorance allowed pretence to pretend
that what imagination, sometimes imagined
may not have been true.

My predecessor had been a pain in the butt
a single target provocateur
never missing a chance to wind her up
to stick it to her.
But he had style – and got away with it,
it helped that the boss liked him.
Often, his mischief was funny
but sometimes it went too far –
personal turning professional … one department against another
and when he left,
resentment stayed behind: coiled and lurking.

And now it was payback
the chase of important paper
wind snatched and taunted along the pavement
then spinning away
watched with such obvious gratification
rancour knows it was released …..  not escaped.

Superstition carries unspoken dread
and inadmissible truth.
I always feared she might die unexpectedly
or tragically
and I would experience no grief or shock
only relief,
it was comforting to never find out.

Posted in Truth


Sunday, the seasons are confused
the hope of spring, the maturity of summer,
high sun, perfumed grass, proud rhododendrons, ball games
the chill of the tackle has yielded to the warmth of bat and racket.

Couples stroll, dogs strain on leash
children pendulum through afternoon light.
High octane happiness shrills from
arcing swings and indefatigable flying fox.
An earnest footballer mindful of next season
or attempting to atone for the past
pants around in circular penance –
no blood, invisible tears, much sweat.

Stepping through the curtain of trees
into an amphitheatre of quiet
no noise, no flagrant joy, no ball games,
or spirited sibling tussles … but competition, different and serious.

A triangle of optimism and heartbreak
three vertices, two female, one male.
Just as cells synthesise cure to long extinct pathogens
middle-aged men activate the instinct of comparison
he seems rather plain and unprepossessing.
From the camouflage of distance speculation is fact.
An announcement :final – no appeal.
Two people leave … perhaps it’s only imagination.

Intuition is ambivalent, counselling retreat
anxious to be proved right.
I move into the space now filled by one
grief’s DNA splashes down her face. We both look away.