On finding plastic litter on the beach.


A dull day, some would say

I like dull days, the colours muted

The sky soft, the sea grey. At the horizon

They merge, indistinguishable

So a rowing boat seems flying.

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A Find

This poem is inspired by Burns Yard, a junk yard in East Lothian.



This is a place where worlds collide,

Where the present presses on the past.

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A Sleepless Night

I composed this poem one night when I couldn't sleep. It was also partly inspired by hearing about an ancient method of hunting where two or three hunters with only basic weapons would run for days, pursuing an animal until it was exhausted and then kill it. In the poem, I compare the process of trying really hard to get to sleep to this kind of hunting.


Through the wilderness of night, I hunt sleep

Spear in hand, I try to run her down.

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Season: Summer. Scene: A Slavic War.

I wrote this poem in the early 1990s after travelling round the former Soviet Union with my friend Georgina Wroe. We stopped off in the breakaway region of Trans Dnestr which was at war with the neighbouring country of Moldova. It was a Leninist enclave which was fighting to remain part of Russia.

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