Category Archives: Old Day 03

The Harvest Moon

The harvest moon


When summer loses its pace with life

A time of quiet contemplation


And fragrant hills


Have you seen the harvest moon?

The moon that is full

Before an autumnal equinox

Before summer ends

When flowers die

Trees are gold

Russet, yellow

And when the smell

Of burning wood

Lingers in the air

Have you seen the harvest moon?



No time to meditate
on gravity’s dumb force;
you’ve gone to ground,
faster than a thought
can pass from toe to brain,
that instant when a shoe
is lifted (but not quite enough)
to graze the root, the rock,
that unseen stick-note
telling you that time is up
and you are down


Your say your name means
nothing to you.
Just a name like a thousand others
but to me your name
is a dancer bending close
or a signet in the fold of a swans wing.

Even when your face is crumpled like
crunched newspaper and anger spills out of
every pore, even then your name
curls up in my pocket and lies safe in my fingers.

Sometimes I see the little boy
who was you and whisper that
the walls of your house won’t always
shake and thunder around you.

It is as if you have always been with me.
Your name imprinting itself
like a fingertip in clay.

Mornington Terrace

Mornington Terrace

Leaving the soaring sandstone
of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral,
my eye seeks out the name
on the pediment of the terrace opposite.

Many years ago, glanced up at that name
and thought: A mornington to remember!
First love left dreaming in bed
as I strode into town, first day, first job.


A memory of Air raids and Bombs,
the imprint of flash and Crash
amidst the Devastation of war
in London’s East End.

Then Exodus to the Foreign north,
a Leeds Grimness, my first school
before the return to Hackney
and Uncle Izzy

and Jack Myer, my demobilised
father who suddenly reappeared;
the same old Mick, but not quite
right in the head.

We were Kosher up to a point;
neighbours might detect the smell
of frying bacon so we sang along,
not questioning the song

although my mother was a Levy
one of the priestly tribes. So what?
We couldn’t afford orthodoxy.
Mick’s work was all that mattered,

the rhythm of Needle and thimble
and fuck Oswald Mosley
as long as there’s Potatoes,
fried fish and chicken soup.

I met the Queen before she was;
Rheumatic fever laid me out
so that she could visit me
with a Smile but no words.

Mathematics, Trafford, University
and Monsal Head Viaduct
were a long way off in those days,
a galaxy away from Whitechapel

where there was no Xmas,
only the warm sounds of Yiddish
and the family of Czapa
now known as Zarrop.

It takes two

From Peter and Jane there came Pane
– and he was.

From Anne and Fred came Ared
– and his nickname was Head.

Frank and Margaret bore Fargaret
– and far be it for me to judge the upper crust.

But who created NyQuil
– such a small and silent child?

I waited for a pair of names
to float to the surface and fuse.

Was the mother an Arabic queen
with a ruby for a heart?

Did the father have something of the Blarney Stone
on his lips asking to be kissed?

Who was NyQuil
and why was he always so sleepy?

You must know who I mean

You must know who I mean

He was in that film, what was it called?
The something or other.
Oh it’s on the tip of my tongue.
We went to see it with that friend of yours.
Bob… or Bill something.
It was at the Odeon in town.
What do you mean, it wasn’t the Odeon.
Where was it then?
Come on, you can’t say it wasn’t the Odeon
then say you can’t remember the name of the other place.
What other places are there? I don’t know any.
Anyway, as I was saying, he was in that film called…
Bleistein with a Cigar.
There, I knew I’d get it.
Look it up on the International Movie Database.
What do you mean, it’s got to be there.
The main character was called Bleistein…
or maybe it was Burbank, yes that’s it.
Try searching for Burbank with a Baedeker.
No joy?
Well I’m positive the character was called Burbank.
Try googling him.
See, I knew I was right. Truman Burbank.
Of course, it was the Truman show.
So where did Burbank with a Baedeker come from?