Textfinger Tremens

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Textfinger tremens: a clinical condition
To which I am a martyr, I confess
A symptom is suppressing inhibition
To reply to an erotic SMS.

As a girl, I had no mobile phone or email
There was only waiting for the phone to ring
With the deadly passive patience of the female;
But technology assists my final fling.

To grow old wearing purple: that’s for bishops,
I’d rather see my vital force revive,
I don’t care for summer gloves and brandy piss-ups,
In aging, there are other ways to thrive.

If I wake up dead, I’ll know I was in error,
My judgment hasty, immature and rash,
But in spite of some anxiety and terror
Like Cyrano, I could exit with panache.

For David Baker and David Gould 1990

David in Jerusalem

Beside your bed, a cupboard marked ‘David Baker’,
A former patient returned now to his maker,
From one side of the bed, a constant drip of saline,
Your lovely face is changed: how are the mighty fallen.
A nurse speaks in her own distinct vernacular,
Her task is re-positioning your cannula.
A fifteen second interval between each breath,
I count, as if in labour, but you toil for death.
You face the window and I view the scenery,
Thus turning my back on your bleak machinery.
I see ambulances, cars and the long, straight drive
Which leads back to a world where, strangely, people live.
Now the everyday can never be the same
And you lie in this room. Its cupboard bears a name:
‘David Baker.’ I’d like your own name to endure
But hospital furniture clearly lacks allure.
I call your name but death will not be over-ruled.
Where can I inscribe your name David, David Gould?

A Mystery 1999

“>hubble3
When I was young
I thought God would be like teachers
Full of censure,
Angry, disapproving preachers;
When I grew up
I thought God was a mystery,
Transcendent God,
Revealed in the world’s history;
As time went by,
I thought human fellow-feeling
More than most things
Tended to be God-revealing,
That compassion,
Sorrow, pleasure, even humour
Must be God-like,
But this could be just a rumour;
When two people
Converse with benign intention,
Some say that this
Signals divine intervention,
That the presence
Of God is like people talking,
Reassuring,
Their deeds of love like God walking
About the world,
And Ethics of the Fathers tells
With one alone,
Even there the Almighty dwells.
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Poets’ Epitaphs c1999

yeats's tombstone
Yeats dreamed of his final bed
Under bare Ben Bulben’s head,
Viewing this life’s transience
Coldly, with insouciance.
Rupert Brooke was forced to yield,
Cornered in a foreign field,
And under heaven’s starry dome,
The hunter Stevenson is home.
Those who follow glory’s path
Or favour the domestic hearth
Are bound, at last, like Thomas Gray,
To hear the knell at parting day.
Tennyson sailed out to sea,
Born forth to eternity,
Following the evening star
Noiselessly across the bar.
When the stone is carved for me,
Find some words of gravity
Or tranquility and calm.
A verse of scripture from a psalm,
Predictably the twenty-third,
Would make a fitting final word
And this, engraved in Hebrew font,
Would suit me well. I shall not want.

Valentine’s Day Massacre

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Our brief brief love went thud thud thud
My heart, your tool, my blood,
Your tall and heavy Slavic frame,
The high romantic game;
The years alone, the moment ripe,
The nightly talks on Skype;
The Stansted meeting, winter skies,
Your most unusual eyes;
The tie you wore to suit my taste,
How courtship goes to waste!
The language books that I perused:
Moj dragi, no longer used,
And you were quite a polyglot
Which I considered hot.
I saw with greatest clarity
The age disparity.
You, younger, still in middle age,
Myself mature and sage.
Your furry skin is what I’ll miss,
The slow lick of your kiss,
Your big hands twice the size of mine;
I tell myself I’m fine
Your presence slips into my past,
Not something that could last,
And certainly it’s no one’s fault,
This juddering, thudding halt.