for grandad



The cloud like slow-motion popcorn

rose atop the other cloud like a starship —

the Enterprise, with a strange fluffy spur 

as a momentary engine,

which disappeared between the gravel drive

and balcony deck,

which is where I am right now.


You saw such things, when I wasn’t even 

a hope in mother’s heart, 

never mind a mote of father’s.

Before I had learned to fear death,

you were breathing in life and loving scenes

as gorgeous as this —

though they went by different names:

Hatfield, the Brecon Beacons,

Taj Mahal and Mont Saint-Michel.

The seasick journeys, with skies more blustery,

and picnics with a woolled-up jesting family;

the thermos full of tea when the winter southern pier

had no one on it,

apart from the other gentle English people, 

for whom the weather is in its own way

‘rather nice’.


But you had many more years than I,

at latest count,

and I don’t regret the years I was not here,

before I was born.

And you, in hallowed ground you chose,

have no regrets either,

I think.



24 June 2017