top of page



Out of the warm primordial cave

of our conversations, Jack’s gone.

No more chit-chat under the blankets

pegged over chairs and nipped in drawers.


Throughout his first five years an ear

always open, at worst ajar,

I catch myself still listening out

for sounds of him in the sensible house


where nothing stirs but the washing machine

which clicks and churns. I’m loosening his arms

clasped round my neck, detaching myself

from his soft protracted kiss goodbye.


Good boy, diminishing down the long

corridors into the huge unknown

assembly hall, each word strange,

even his name on Miss Cracknell’s tongue.


from Thinking of Happiness (1991)


bottom of page