Waiting for Poppy

Training done with and the pool deserted I took a deep breath and exhaling cornered myself in the deadly quiet of water. Its emptiness, the bright blue distance like nothing you might imagine. I sat still, a sluggish thinker the oxygen curdling in my adult lungs. All the time I was down there I thought […]

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Home

Long questing days the anchor raised we longed to ground in territory we could not find. The anxiety about money which frayed and rowed, the hateful to and fro. We kept going. II The steel-shod boots of men their paint-fouled radio filled our new house with other music. Where now our bed is assembled was […]

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Fruit cage

Fieldfares flutter its fine netting maddened by the scented air, their hard eyes looking for holes into this open-air larder where currants and berries sit bright as jewels under the green leaves.

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The deepwater port at Piraeus

At Piraeus’s deepwater port ends Europe where Themistocles built his navy sheds and high walls against the Persians, walls to protect the precious Athenian way of life. Now Europe ends in concrete and quayside cranes made elsewhere, raised over the sea to process containers sat waiting in the sunshine. An international ship approaches slows and […]

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Swimming for England (complete)

“And time passes, it is only life itself that never changes – when we are all gone the clouds, the gone the clouds, the stars, the cities will still bustle and hum with no thoughts at all for who lived for a bit and then disappeared.” John Hickman, 1960 Chapters The Bosphorus Page 3 Alcatraz […]

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February morning / the 7.18 to London

A press of metal on metal, the simplest trick and yet the most important, so soft and true we might be starting on runners in the snow, leaning something heavy against a tree. Any man’s walk, his run, now a dash by a free horse, steady, incrementing around a bend and we are travelling. A […]

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Swimming for England (extract)

One week before they flew to Turkey he met Eric for a final training swim. It was dusk and warm. As he waded into the cool water he was overwhelmed with despair. When he put his head down into the dark water and began a slow crawl towards the centre of the lake voices of […]

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