I haven't written or performed any poetry for some time. I have been invited to a small event at Ellen Terry House in Coventry, and I am going to read the Neruda translation, and a new poem called Styvechale (pronounced Sty-chul) which is the part of Coventry I live in.
Back-alleyways of the West Midlands
Where is the country that you have replaced?
Your stinging nettles and your meagre dirt
Recall much harder years that went before
Your sorry palings stand
Where there were poplars in a lonely line
I saw Algol the red-eyed star
Hanging above the garages
Where the transit van is parked
And in the hot woods behind the houses
The relict woods
The Himalayan balsam chokes the banks
A fox races through the bracken like fire
Veers from my path
‘Reynard don't you know me?’
That morning on the London Road I saw you split apart
All red components spread
Do you know me now?
Have you learned my ways?
When I was a child I thought the alleys went on forever
I thought if I were allowed to run down, down the meanders, they would never end
I would be running on,
At the back of other children's houses
Forever and ever