John Greening

Two Roads

There are the fast people who check their emails hourly, engage with Twitter and multi- task their way through the day. And there are the slow ones who never reply even to your third request, and almost miss meetings and prefer pencil. The first — the fast — will be up to advise the worm,

At Kew

To Occupation Road again, a whole year nearer my own retirement now. The track slopes down past the Record Office to the river. I am looking for any of the soft fruit canes my grandfather planted, but find instead a stag beetle upside down on the tarmac, struggling like a memory, the feelers at full


Shops that only pop up in your dreams are not unlike the ones you visit awake, except that what you buy then vanishes in the blink of an eye. In my case, it’s never anything practical but always some obscure edition of verse or a record salvaged from the Soviet archives and much of the


One moment basking in the sun, the next knee-deep in snow astonished at the way these tracks must have filled to the top of their dry-stone walls during the April blizzards. To walk has been the idea since we were small, and so we go on along new paths and old, the way our parents


Invisible hand that jangles the lantern over the porch and tells the leaves on the pond to imagine they are clippers and wrenches the shed door , and makes leylandii lurch, unnerving the cat, wobbling the elderly; that viciously clobbers pedestrians at the corner, then snatches up bills and payslips put out for recycling and


for Stuart Henson So Petrarch lived here? First saw Laura here, invented the sonnet and began a craze that turned to ‘tyranny’ (your word). These days they’re hardly de rigueur, but there’s the fear that if you can’t balance seven hundred years on fourteen lines and five rhymes, then the Muse will leave for Tony Harrison.


The bus slows at the dancing blue and ignis fatuus of yellow vest and chequered bodywork. There’s one car in the ditch and one with an L slewed across the featureless straight run from Cambridge. Our driver rolls down the glass – five or six hours, it’s as bad as it gets – and lets