Paul Deaton


The weather is unseasonably cold, the flat’s floorboards cold. In the garden the courgette flowers but fails to fruit. The tomatoes hang green and heavy, like water bombs. Everywhere the boughs bend, the elder with its black beaded bunches, its little popping mice eyes. The crooked old pear across the street is having a stellar

This is May

The soot sunk clouds have gone — to blacken someone else’s landscape. The tugging, ripping, girl-fight wind that stole the weekend’s peace has been abracadabra’d away as though life’s difficult days never even happened. Sometimes the stirred world stills. The trees refitted and re-greened appear overslept and drowsy. How long have you been sleeping? How


The sparrows banter in the bushes that crowd the walls of the World’s End alleyway as I walk to the library. There is, it seems, much to catch up on. Winter was bitter cold; five months that had us by the throat, five months in our house that were bone lonely. April. And earth is


Late afternoon I speak to Mum on the phone; she’s sorting through her past, four hundred or so odd-sized photographs. ‘Well, you won’t want to do it,’ she says, ‘when I’m gone, I won’t leave you that task.’ We switch tack, not from fear, from silent truth, what can’t come back. We talk of mulish


These sprightly flowers are no cowards. They poke forth sun seeking heads, proudly proclaim when earth remains clenched in winter’s pale dead. See, before you rise to your day, these shattering yellows hold sway, say something we cannot, or have forgotten, in garden, park and verge, believe, before there is proof, of what will come,


I sold the sleek black bike you said I should buy. My special treat, in the shop, on my own, I couldn’t fulfil. It took your love, your woman’s will to tutor me in the art of self-giving and not to fear the gifts that feed. My self-denial father’s handed down creed. Cycling was the


The moon comes knocking on our door; a slavish stalker who hangs around all night. The slowest of walkers, he matched at an equal distance each of our homeward steps. We close our door on him, push him out only to find he’s already skirted the house, taken the side alley, slipped the padlocked gate,

Black Knight

A few forgotten objects Dad passed on: copperplate pens with long nail nibs, still stained black, one coal-fire red, laid to rest for twenty years in the shed’s office chest; a Monopoly set yanked by a seaman uncle from his sinking merchant ship U-boat torpedoed at the beginning of the second world war, but minus