Tag Archives: response



The first week of term, School of Literature Drama and Creative Writing, UEA. The Wyatt storm hits. New students are subjected to seeing one poem (‘They flee from me’) over and over and over again, from lectures to corridors to social media. So I did my part with the two following short pieces on Twitter:

Sounds of fleeing feet
softly stalking my own heart:
hunter or hunted?

Tom Wyatt, that bearded old Tudor,
fancied himself Boleyn’s suitor.
Even though they were wed
they both lost their head,
one admittedly more than the other.

NaPoWriMo Day 12 – Fiumi II


Erano tue le acque straniere
contate nel flusso continuo
di lacrime e sangue dei tuoi compagni?

Era tuo il compito di tessere
le fibre universali
in un’unica, tragica storia?

Erano tuoi i ricordi
di schiene curve sui campi
e braccia stanche?

Era tuo il ramo spezzato
tuo il sasso frastagliato
tua la giovinezza riarsa?

Era tuo il dolore
di non appartenere
di non sentire
di non credere?

Quante altre storie
sopravvissute, mai scritte
affluiscono allo stesso fiume?


This is a response to Giuseppe Ungaretti’s I Fiumi, from a prompt by Jo Bell.

Risposta a I Fiumi di Giuseppe Ungaretti, su un’idea di Jo Bell per il giorno 12 di NaPoWriMo.

After Ungaretti


Maybe Rises

There is the haze that erases us

A river maybe rises up here

I listen to the song of the sirens
of the lake where the city was

G. Ungaretti

There is a lake, there is a city
and the city was her universe.
The lake wasn’t always a lake;
at times, it was a
green patch of grass.
She wouldn’t have known.
But the city is a city
as only a city can be.
The streets spiral out
galaxies and systems without stars.
She stares unto the river
of people, running through, flowing freely
onto the patch of grass
which at times is a lake.
She can’t see the crowd
for the people.
But she thinks she can hear
a song from the lake,
and the song flows back
from the lake to the city
sounding its sirens
as it runs on its path.
There was a lake
there was a city
and the universe
was hers.

Crazy Jane at Tesco


She treads through the aisles
dragging her cart and feet.
She mumbles and mutters
but mostly she shouts.
She knows he’s been here.
She knows he’ll be back.

Aherne, Robartes, they’re gone,
their minds so set on symbols and moons.
(Never saw the bus coming.)
She nods and sighs, grips tight on her coat
(his coat, he made it for her
a long time ago)
as she steps, back into the cold,
a smile cracks her wrinkle-aged mask.

She’s the last of them all.
Even Aengus, who visited her dreams,
has wandered off, way beyond the veil.
Yet she smiles, and tugs at her coat.
She outlasted them all:
the bishop, the vicar, the dancers,
even him, with his coat!
She grins and laughs
and laughs and coughs.
Even him, with his coat.

Sadly she looks
at the cold winter’s road
and she treads through the streets
dragging cart and feet
but softly, because she knows
they still are his dreams.

Another Anecdote


I placed a jar in Norwich
but round it was, and rolled downhill.
It made quite a mess
as it fell.

The road rode up, around and into it
it became, for a moment, a creature of wild.
The jar lay shattered on the ground
shards glimmering and sharp.

It lay around everywhere
but not grey and not bare.
The light playing with its glass
changed everything in that street.

Anecdote of the Jar

I placed a jar in Tennessee,
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness
Surround that hill.

The wilderness rose up to it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.
The jar was round upon the ground
And tall and of a port in air.

It took dominion every where.
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush,
Like nothing else in Tennessee.

Wallace Stevens