The discontinuous
English life
As soon as you die
Everything goes

To the sale
To the tip
To the bonfire
The council rules
That nothing stays
They need everything
Cleared away

To the sale
To the tip
To the bonfire

Even the body
Of the one you love
Is cleared away
By the cold hand shove

To the sale
To the tip to the bonfire

Relatives who pick
And peck at remains
Are left with emptiness
And grieving pains

As everything you knew
Of husband and wife
Gets quickly discarded
By this
English life

You go to the morgue
More like a thief
As if you were stealing
Your own memories

From the sale
The tip
And the bonfire

To break from the past
In a thunderbolt smash
Into your life
Your love, your past
That goes to the ale
The tip
The bonfire

Death comes with flowers and trees

Death comes with flowers and trees
Death comes with the whole sky and every sea
Death comes with grasshoppers in your hair
Death comes with rabbits in your nose

Death comes with song thrushes on your breast
Death comes with cats between your legs
Death comes with rivers beneath your back
Death comes with stars in your stomach

Death is a knob of butter in eternity
Death is a stone in a meadow
Death is a falling maple leaf
Death is a passing shadow

Do not fear death we are told
Death comes and goes
Instead, fear the Creator of life
And trust in all He knows

The silence of snails

The silence of snails
As they drown in the rain
Can you hear them talking

I went out one morning
Some had escaped
Got caught by the weather

All of their secrets
All of their days
All of their longing
All of their ways

I went out in the morning
And many had drowned
They died in the rain
With hardly a sound

A death like ours

A death like ours
Like crumbling towers

That nature un-tunes us
To let death wound us

The only time we crack
Is when we dress in black

Time stands still then turns to stone
We each must mourn alone

A death like ours
Upon the wooden stake

There are no lies about it
Death is not a fake

Jesus died just like us
To do what’s right and just for us

The glue that holds together

The glue that holds together
Out heart, our soul, our mind
Why does it lose adhesion?
Why does it fade unkind?

No, it is not the spirit
It’s what it cannot find
The interface of body
God’s Love complete to bind

For when we die, we cry
Why are we forsaken?

Cry first and then write

Cry first and then write
I cannot think, my chest is tight

Love is crippled by the past
Like a sparrow in a trap

The air is thin, the lungs are dead
The blood swells inside my head

Love is terrified by crones
Witches spells and vulture bones

Into the cave, death leads the way
Night laughs at weeping day

Love stands before the cave-in
Like the ghost of a screaming raven

The train is riding down the river
The suspension bridge is black and withered

The sky is filled by angels fighting
And from their mouths fall drips of lightning

His soul is still in Paris

On the day
He was expected to die
His son
Went to Paris

The father and the son
Didn’t seem close at all but still
When what little love you had
Dies – it hurts a bagful

The son had made it happen
The trip to Paris
With a group of art students
Eager to write their names
On the hallowed ground of Montmartre

The son had hoped for life
But found out about the death
Of his father
And his grief was wrong

It was wrong for the streets of Paris
It was wrong for the bright sunny air
It was wrong for the gaiety planned for
It was wrong
Being there

No one could console him
He wouldn’t be consoled
His soul is still in Paris
And always was

Little Ghost Dog

Little ghost dog
Appearing out of nowhere
In the dark
Living room
Out of the side door
In the grey haze of light
From the back room window

The little ghost dog
Would I
Even remember you now
But for your ghost?
There was a half-told story
That the little white dog
Was mistreated and died

I was in the miner’s house
In Cannock
The father was dying
In the front room
That was hardly big enough
For his bed

Everywhere in that house
Tragedy collected
Hungry for suffering

The front door
Was hardly ever used
By the family
Went in and out
Of the back door
If you did
By chance
Happen to knock
On the front door
You would
Be strangely aware
You were knocking
On a dying man’s door

The family dog
A little white poodle
Was meant to be loved
Was meant for love
But instead
Like the master of the house
It died or it was killed
To become
The little ghost dog
That I saw that day
As I sat waiting alone
In the terrible gloom

The soap opera

The soap opera

You sit and watch the small screen every day
There is no memory of you or me there
Not in Coronation Street, not in East Enders.

And you religiously watch them day by day but beware
There is no memory of your life in them
And when you die they will carry on, cruelly not remembering you

I watched you hopping over the grass

I watched you happing over the grass
Flapping your ominous jet-black wings
There is bleak loneliness, do you wait for the night
A godlessness, do you dislike yourself
As if your first ancestor passed on sin to you
And for all of your generations, you had to represent death
Unloved bird, tragic creature, the fearful shadow of a dream.