Shtisel Said It All

Nobody’s dead, it’s okay.
The people who made you
are in you. And those you knew,
whose folks were in them too,
came into you as well.
And the crowd of you mingled
into the crowd of them,
Late arrivals ringing, appeared
and oh the reunions,
the smiles, the sorrys,
and the laughter.

Photo: The Bohemian Society, Dublin. My grandfather Peter Moran is seen in profile, seated on the right. I don’t know who the others are or the date, possibly late 1930s.

Last Day, Final Reductions

Wake up to
A bubble in my ear.
And in my other ear.


A gap under the door.
The idea of a mouse exhausts me.

My attitude is no good.

My skin is no good.

                    My history is no good.

                    My character is no good.

                                        My personality is no good.

My behaviour is no good.

                                        My poetry is no good.

                                        I am no good.

                    Make a note.

Photo: Mothercare store closed (Harrow, June 2022). Handwritten signs on the windows say “Last Day” and “Final reduction” .

Come up and see me in Kentish Town

I’ll be popping in to read for a few minutes as a guest poet before the main act. I’ll bring copies of my book and sign them for you, unless you would like one of the rare unsigned ones. (The old jokes are the best.)

June 12th – Judi Sutherland reading from her new pamphlet ‘Following Teisa’ introduced by Pauline Sewards. Here’s the Facebook event link:

7:30 pm, Sunday, June 12th
Torriano Meeting House
99 Torriano Ave, London NW5 2RX.

Tickets £5/£6 on the door.


If I think of a poem
as I take the next step
on the stairs of my home,
I will fall to my death

and you’ll never have known
that I loved you the best,
because I lost that poem
when I missed the next step.

Photo: Traditional eve of Mayday bouquet on doorstep

Dear Foot

Dear foot, you are as much a part of me as this thought.
I see our veins the doctor said were not of concern “at this stage”.
I’m sorry for thinking you were ugly, now I need you, you are lovely.
Don’t think of socks as hoods for kidnapped hostages kept in the dark
In a humid, sweltering basement,
Think of them as robes of armour and invisibility
So you can go everywhere without being seen.
And now forgive me, I have to talk to Righty.

Photo: This text as I typed it into my notes on my phone the other morning. It came to me while getting dressed. You can argue that this is not a poem but do I care? (Screenshot from Evernote)

Postcard from Venice

On a vaporetto back from the island,
turbulent wake of Murano jade
splashes about us out in the stern.

The sun is chasing platinum facets
from the lagoon to molten confiserie.
We roll with the swell, then into dock.

Children awestruck, the engine reversing
churns the canal like a waterspout
and our vessel wallows by the wharf.

Where we go there’s not much shade
but water trickles always from a brass tap
to the flagstones, for us and for the birds.

Photo: Venice lagoon in bright sunlight with view of a small cargo boat, its boatman in the stern. In the background is the church of San Giorgio Maggiore. I took this photo while on the journey referred to in the above poem, returning from Murano to Venice. (2001)


Years fly by and you get to an age
when they give you a pension.
Then in no time at all, you get to an age
when they give you a funeral.

And they carry you out of the house
past your last joke, so typical,
a sign that says Dunbotherin.
I wonder who will say, ‘Well he is now.’

Photo: Union Station clock number 570, window of architectural salvage shop

On the Island of Me and You

On the island of me and you, there are no worries.
It’s only cold enough to make us keep warm.
I get up early, you have a lie-in, the dishes are done
When you appear and I go for a walk along the shore.

On the island of you and me, we’re always online.
Hundreds of friends in your mind, a few in mine,
So I listen to yours, playing ukes, reliving youths,
And never tire of your old friends, who loved you.

I can see the island of you from the island of me,
And I’m going to swim over.

Photo: With Tess on Inchydoney Beach, Cork, Ireland. Photo by Craig Moran.

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