The Poet at the Breakfast Table


Somewhere W.B.Yeats writes of the poet at the breakfast table (“the poet never speaks directly as to someone at the breakfast table, there is always a phantasmagoria”). I suppose, however, that the poet foregoes ‘phantasmagoria’ when eating his or her breakfast…


The poet at the breakfast table
toys with ideas he stirs into the oatmeal.
Looking in the glimmer of the milk for a reflection
of the idea of himself, and his next selection
of words from the tumbling Babel,
he considers which he owns and which he’ll steal;

considers also the idea of making today
not just another Monday, or any old new day,
but the first day of the rest of his swift life.
Only a moment’s reflection shoves the knife
into that one – there is his body, for one thing;
still working but with various aches and pains;
and then his mind, that ragbag of known things –
things that puzzle him; uncertain memories –
also troubled with various aches and pains;
and then there is the whole of history…

Whereas there was no futility in eating breakfast
there was, he thought, futility in his vocation,
the poetic one, in which he had been steadfast
ever since he had the inspiration.

Nothing he composes can change the world.
No love poem ever made him loved.

Still, he comforts himself, the porridge fills him up;
he reaches for the handle of his coffee cup.

Seek, he reminds himself, and ye shall find
(but what we seek for is what we must not find).

Folkestone Benches


The Fishers unimpatient sit;
They angle in their emptied minds;
Behind, a worn-out plaque recalls
The Bailiff, Dead at thirty-five.
His name was Steve, born 1965.
Happy Memories, it says; At Rest.

Memories of you Stay with us Forever
Loving Husband, Father, Grandfather
Goodnight Godbless.
I cannot tell you how they dressed
But know that once they walked their dogs
Sat here to rest
Now they, too, are At Rest.

An exhortation- Love Live Laugh
Beside the Water- Ved Siden Auf Hauet
Thomas, Josef, Pop – Forever In Our Hearts
Your Loving Family.
Half of my Life- a Gift of Heaven To Us
My Angel Daughter Rest In Peace
So Dearly Loved and Missed so Much

In memory
In memory of
In loving memory
In memoriam
Farvel lille Skat, sol godt
Treasured memories
In memory of
Memoria in aeterna

We like to think of people who are dead
(Memories of you stay with us Forever)
There is the not-knowing –
Not-knowing who they were and how they talked
What they were like –
There is only this best of them
The happy times, the ever-love, all that is missed and lost

Will be missed by family and friends
Love and miss you
Mum Nan and Greatnan

All of the folk who loved The Leas
June Ruth Fulford Muriel Trotter
Kathleen Hattie Bristow
Kenneth Charles Bristow
(Such Happy Times)
Leslie Porter Mary Cleghorn
John Stuart-Bottle, Surgeon
(Justum et tenacem propositi virum)
Josephine Odile Flageollet
Constance Alice Bartlett
Marjorie Cook
Adrian ‘Ginge’ Petley, Alan and Maureen Petley
(Loved to stroll along The Leas
and gaze across the Channel
Come sit here, gaze with us for a while)

For all the happy times
Much loved and remembered by all
A Friend to All
Loved by All
Adored by All
Always Remembered
Always in our Thoughts

Together again
My one and only love for 67 years
Loved and missed every day
Till we meet again, George

Dulcis Pro Patria Labor
In ever-loving memory of our dear parents
Albert John
Valerie Evelyn
Who were married in this town in 1947
They dreamed their dreams and taught us to follow ours

To sit with people who have died –
my wife, our mutti –
On sunny days, at Whitsuntide –
Edith Anna, Brakel, Westphalia –
Eating ice-cream side by side –
The most Beautiful mum, nana and sister
May you dance my darling dance
With the Angels in the vibration of love

In memory of
In loving memory
In memoriam
Farvel lille skat, sol godt
Treasured memories
In memory of
Memoria in aeterna