Author Archives: sjlavery

A Burglar in Bright Daylight

The helicopter, a corpulent,
double propellerd beast.
Follows the line
of Camden Road.
So low you can
almost see inside.
Its noise cancelling out
all traffic and human speech.
Deafening us down
on the street.
Later I read the news –
it was that famous blowhard
making a landing
in Regents Park.
Avoiding the great unwashed,
at all cost.
Entering via a back garden.
Like a burglar in bright daylight.


70 years and still there.
Abused and battered,
left out in the rain,
for far too long.
A forgetful old friend,
helpful to the end.
You mender of hearts,
bones and so much more.
Many times you’ve
made me whole again.
Kept me in until
the storm is over.
Even the privileged
make use of your skills.
Long may you live.
Long may you disprove
all who wish you ill.

On the High Road

A sunny afternoon
on the High Road.
A parade of sorts.
Of short sleeves
and short dresses.
Of exposed tattoos
and soft summer fabric.
The pace is slow,
sluggish some may say.
In and out of
pound shops and charities.
Sitting at pavement cafes.
Steaming on a bus.
Face a gleaming.
Mouth as dry as tinder.
Windows open, air still.
Dead shops lingering
for longer than they should.
Missing teeth in a mouth
that’s getting older.
The sweet strawberry
of a vapers vape.
Fresh fruit, and
rotting vegetables
of a rubbish truck.
Heat rising in a haze
from the pavements.
It’s just like Greece,
someone says.
Only with less dust
and a lot more pollution.

The Sun and Moon

Up with the sun,
down with the moon.
He can’t stand it.
That’s what they say.
The cycle.
The same cycle.
Every day.
Up with the sun
and down with the moon.

Plans for Escape

They executed Plan B
long ago.
Sailed away
from splendid isolation.
Before it became
a prison from which
there was no escape.
A few chose to play,
like the orchestra
on the Titanic,
with waves lapping
about their feet.
Suicide was the name
of the game.
Commercial suicide.
A route to nowhere.
An impossible strategy.
No plan to speak of.
No one at the wheel.

Rambling Impressions

of Regents Park

Grass, a black butterfly,
Gel Oberon.
‘We were here with Noah
and Effie and Ophelia.
Just right here.’
The musician playing,
country blues, invisible
in amongst the undergrowth.
Birds singing loudly,
in counterpoint.
A sleepy sweet
dreaming atmosphere.
The steady swish
of the road – the pull
of the city’s undertow.
The sound of the singer
drifting away on the breeze.
A light grey greyhound,
with a luxuriant coat,
scoots sleekly past.
A white vapour trail,
shooting to the sky.
Now he’s talking about
the midnight rambler.
I sit up and spot him
sitting beneath a tree.
A reincarnation
of Gerry Rafferty.
Fair skinned and bearded,
a little Stealers Wheel.
A seabird crying
high above the trees,
lost inland.
The music stops.
The ghost has gone.
Time to go and greet
The crazies of Camden
and Kentish Town.

When Will I Be Home ?

By Li Shang-Yin

When will I be Home? I don’t know.
In the mountains, in the rainy night,
The Autumn lake is flooded.
Someday we will be back together again.
We will sit in the candlelight by the West window.
And I will tell you how I remembered you
Tonight on the stormy mountain.