Light & After

A selection of poems from





The house was empty. In his dream.

A modern house. Large rooms. Polished tiled floors.

The house was empty, except for a green plastic table in the dining room.  The garden furniture variety. A plastic table only. No chairs.

And he was sweeping the floor. In his dream. Because there were hundreds of small dry seeds all over the floor. Small white seeds. Just like you might find in a pepper. And he was sweeping them up with a grass broom into a pile underneath the table.

From all over the house

Sweeping. Sweeping.

And the more he swept – fetching them now from the shiny kitchen, now from the cold bedrooms – the more he found.

It was night. The doors were open. Big glass sliding doors. He could hear the crickets and the frogs in the dark garden. As he swept.

It was their new house. With all the lights on.  Their shiny, new, empty house. With large rooms. And that peculiar, slightly sinister, echo that all empty houses have. Houses that have not been domesticated yet.

The untamed silence. Of the new.

And then it happened.

The electronic motor-gate suddenly opened. All on its own. Suddenly. The large metal gate just trundled back slowly on its small metal wheels. Trundled along its metal track. Open.

And slowly shut. All on its own.

And opened again. With a life of its own. Open and shut. Slowly. Open and shut. In his dream.

Because something was coming in. Which he could not see.

Something was coming in. And going out again. Coming in. And going out again. Unable to make up its mind. Something he could not see. Of unrecognisable shape. Something he sensed only. With the hairs on his skin.

The way animals sense danger.


And God gave the man little wingless birds,

small as a shock,

to eat while He was away.

And a cup the size of a scab,

in case His return was delayed,

and the rain ran out.

But the man ate all the birds on the first day,

he was so hungry, and by

the second, the scab was picked raw.

Now the man has nothing left

to live on except

the dirt under his fingernails.


We who accept survival as our password

accept incompleteness as our blessing.

We who dress in blindness and in faith

do not know the colour of our palms

nor the weight of our feet upon the water.

We who have dust in our mouths all day

have stones on our tongues instead of songs.

We who quench fire with fire all night

know that wings are not the only ladders

to the dark, that heavy wood swims too

in the tide of the wind.

We who accept survival

accept survival as our curse.

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