Philippa Rees






Under the gnarled root of knuckle,

below the drooping dug; somewhere weeping

somehow smiling, the cracking heart jokes on.


It signs no undertakings; is deaf to pleas from pain.

Conscripts the clock sotto voce; occupying uninvited

the body I called home.


Foundations gape; the lung-stove chokes,

windows rheumy leak; bats hang by their toes in the belfry...

Still the squatter speaks


He whispers to the night jar, is convivial with sheets;

entertains incontinence,

shares my vintages with ghosts


Mind, outraged by loud presumption no longer can compel

this bully boy; the drumming heart

or negotiate the lease.


No coup will now dislodge him; the palsied hand refuses...

the knife just turns its cheek. No diet, ropes or baited traps

persuade the thug to budge.


Come slippery ice, oblige me; or you sharp guillotine glass?

If I could thread myself on a railway line...or fly from Bristol Bridge....

Perform passade-con-moto with a bull-bar’s screeching thud...


My steely friend, Herr Zimmer; he’s impervious, won’t help.

He’s kinder to the robin, or the carer’s mangy dog;

disregards all my inducements...


Insists he’ll work his contract out.




Philippa Rees © 2008