• Alan Gould


The Common Miracle


The bookshelves stand like walls around their bed,

where sheets lie rucked and blankets kicked away.

And every book is at a loss to say

just where the loving happens, loins or head.


Their window frames a tree with heart-shaped leaves.

a daybreak magpie signals like a pulse.

‘I’ll never ask you to be someone else,’

he blurts. ‘I’ll love you as I can,’ she grieves …


… but takes him as he changes, is surprised

the constancy this weaves into her day,

finds parts of self where he’s habitué,

finds parts of him where she has been disguised.


The books say nothing how this came to pass,

the winter leaves now plastered to the glass.




Streetscape, London Circa 1212 A.D.

(a course in London street-names)


In Foster Lane Maud takes her bucket,

hurls warm weather through her window.

Strollers under duck or lick it,

Let it nose its course and wander.


Look! it snakes in quick glissando,

Trinity’s old ditches bear it,

warbling us the old rejoinder

climate change is how you wear it.


Intriguingly Cordwainer slants

and useful are its chessboard cobbles

to train a populace to dance,

stepping stones for liquid troubles.


Downstream the street is Garlickhithe,

and Maudie’s ordure seems to like it,

though stroller you must hop or bathe

in the spa-bath from that bucket.


Dick Whitman and John Hatherly

must work their downstream livelihoods,

the one to lee, the other weatherly

of London’s flinging them the goods,


must grin and bear each vivid bucket

donated to the brimming Thames,

where not a molecule says ‘Fuck it’

to our planet’s stratagems.