I  Saw a Dog Die

I Saw A Dog Die

I once saw a Dog Die:
the flame of anguish in his eye
burnt to the very quick.

Will this flick of gutting wick
show equal pain before its rest
and like that cur incur some little pity
as the God of Dark infest?

Le Benedicte - Ovenden & Partridge

Le Benedicite
(Apres Chardin)

Such is their grace
(as grace conceives through grace)
shall grace all time.

This benediction holds the key to faith:
for here, each wraith
perceives beyond the figment of its form.

And if in pigment grace be drawn
to grace that love is borne.

The Bottle Fly

The Bottle Fly

how easy one might crush the bloated beauty bottle fly
and this despite the myriad facets of each eye
so sharp of sight.

For if you trap that jewelled blight
between the palm and pane:
destroy its body, maim
to add another act of hate.

Or rather, leave – so it should mate
and spawn a carrion clan.
Child, the choice is yours
for fate holds in your hand.



This love child lies in a forgotten grave.

These years have passed their cycle round
all but remoulding her bedded mound …


A life marked by a simple stone
whose letters, sown amongst the grasping green
of ivy growth, give just a name and death his troth.

Ten summer's sorrows lie beneath …
To those who pass, we share her grief.

Unloved – through love, was born in shame:
no fault this child of passion's flame.

But now, this dust in trust of nature's womb
will grow her seed and flowers bloom.


In distant memory's toll of telling time
the model scale of bell-wind-chime:
sounds caught, then lost in catching air
that carries thought of youthful care.

In childhood, I too was caught
by Ketelbey's Sunday-parlour keyboard chime.
To stumble fingers, learn in time
of music's fulsome, pealing voice … sought
simple sentiment: not false, but care
of blessed beauty, Bach … his air.

Man's precious heat of fugal pace,
or tender – equal heart's own grace,
who ever casting trite tune out
graved deeply, sung with joyful shout!

All this and more were forged by bells.

The Italian Church Wilton

Two gravestones paired, each with angels rampant.

Short years
so flow my tears
the lacrame of childhood gone.

This pavan is a dance of death,
most mournful plays the song.

But here within her fecund womb
an organ's trumpet sound …
His piping joy renews the hope
that we may gigue our round.

To Sir John Betjeman

(In remembrance of him giving me his second hat)

Sir John has gone
from the womb of this world
to Heaven, where words, their wisdom unfurled
sing praises in posies, each melody sent
to freshen the ear.

We'll remember the sigh as his passions let fly
to the glint of an eye
as he fashioned with grace
the romp of a chase
to the curve of her waist …
Both bawdy and chase was his mind,

Too often we ration
the marks of compassion,
so mask poor achievement with cant.
Your work, so well seasoned
has none of that treason
its reason is fleeter by far …

But to dwell on this hat
though its battered and slack
shows the truth of your living,
the ruth of your giving …
(No rhyme can read righter than that).