1.Love will be your legacy.

Love will be your legacy
Do not think otherwise
Do not presume that something you write or-
Even less- something you do will be
What you leave behind:
What hubris! What self- delusion!
It is love and love alone.
So regard this Old Man
When you sit at the head of your table
Cutting your guests down to some smaller size:
Once the dust has settled (and settle it will)
One question above all others will be asked:
Who Did Your Love Touch?
&, make no mistake, it is on this
Finally & with no appeal
That You Shall Be Judged.
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2.Who notices days.

Who notices days when there are years ahead?
Who notices the fidget of the air or the way
The bunting flicks in the wind or 
how the leaves Of the Lemon tree shake.
There is the ginger cat who we do not feed
& On the verandah there is the avocado,
just opened but brown, 
though it felt just right in the shop
Where it sat next to the olives, the peaches
& the still warm bread.
There is the sound of the frogs in the pond
& if I head down the path there are a thousand wasps
Feasting on the Palm flowers that sit along the fence
Just above my head.
I'm reading a book- lying here in the sun-
That strikes me, actually, as very good-
Perhaps not great-
There are a few things to underline but,
I think, there is time, the day is young,
It can wait.
For where is the hurry when all is slow,
Slow like the heat that opens our pores
& stretches our bodies ,leaving a line of sweat
That drops down from the nape of your neck
Onto the curve your back-
I could and I do spend a long, long time 
Looking at that.

							
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3.All time came calling

All time came calling
In this one moment
All the past
& all the present.
It swooped
Like a swallow
Through the open car window-
It came from the sun
That sat between the mountains
Blazing down
Upon the pines.
It flew, a blur
Up the winding road
Faster than I could drive.
It rushed through the forest
Over the dry red earth,
In and out of the thin grey trees
(Many fresh burnt):
Both future and history
It could be forever
Though it was only
The 10-minute journey
Between Forada
& Buscatell.
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4.

 Religion is all
 Shellfish
 Pork
 Incense
 Confession
 & a God who
 Is teaching us
 Some Unbearable
 Lesson.
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5.Isn't it enough.

And as she talked of love that lived on after death
& spirits in the air & karma
& all the ghosts that she had seen
And as she talked of Universal connections
Life's ebb and flow
Astronomy and tarot
I thought,
"You fool."
Isn't it enough
The stars and the moon
The streets and the stones
Art and movies, books and coffee
& the way we build our homes
Isn't it enough
The love between us and within us
Aren't we enough?
How do planes fly
Migration,alcohol-
How did we discover Olive oil or wine-
Milk with tea.
Isn't it enough-
Virginia Woolf or TS Eloit
Jane Austen or Nabakov
Frasier and The Sopranos
The ants at work
Tides and clouds
Space, history, time
Life, every moment of it
Every drop of it.
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6.Bar in San Miguel.
I know why you sit in your cups
As we arrive, foreign and hearty,
Flushed and alive from finishing our walk
Across the camino,
Through Balafia, San Lorenzo,
Ending close to the church on the hill
In San Miquel.
For I have seen your sons in the morning
When I go to fetch hot fresh croissants:
They are off to work in yesterday's clothes
Which carry yesterday's dirt,
Stopping only to buy panne and water
& 6 cans of Mahou.
I think, though, idly, that it would be good
To sit as you do
Inside the bar in San Miquel-
To drink first whisky and then red wine,
Reading El Pais
Coming out only and often
To smoke a cigarette or two:
Leisure,
Quiet,
History,
The simple life,
Hard but fair,
The land,
Sunday best,
Autumn fires,
Beans and meat,
Olives and lemons,
A dinner being cooked
In a thick walled home
By a wife with rheumatic fingers,
Small windows,
Whitewash,
Plastic chairs,
The Virgin Mother,
Dogs and chickens
Red earth, almonds.
My wife orders an 'aqua sin gas, por favor'
For me -I want fizzy
& the kids get-as a treat - cocao caliente;
We feel elated, refreshed-
For even at this time it is still hot
& the walk through the fields & woods,
Past the oranges and olives, the burst pomegranates,
The dogs on chains,
Has been long.
We want to laugh & wiggle & talk
As the sun, in its full glory,
Falls behind the bar
Noticed it seems
By us alone.
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7.Coming Home to Die.
Picked up by your wife
In the car you used to drive,
Let in your front door
& there you see
(As you had been told)
That your bed has been moved
Down a floor.
That afternoon
You go to sit
In your garden
By the sea
&, wrapped in a shawl,
You watch your wife
In the kitchen
(Naked as you asked)
Making tea.

							
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8.

Not what I expected.
My wife  my God, a wife She's out with friends.
Hope youre having fun,
She has just texted.
Mobile phones and a four-floor house,
Holidays we dont go on
Unless the nanny can come,
This is not what I expected.
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9.Kommandants and Kapos.

I've read more & seen more than enough
Of Kommandants & Kapos,
'The complicity of the German People',
To hope that if such things
Were to happen again
I would be a Rebel, an Objector,
Not just in my words
But in my blood, my bones,
My heart, my skin.
A few months back I was in Munich
Outside a lovely cafe
Watching 4 long haired, blue eyed hippies
Who smelt of dope &
Sat drinking coffee.
Just a few generations past
They would have been in
Smart pressed grey uniforms
(With Death Head insignia),
Still happy in their conversation,
Their laughter,
But soon to head off into the world
There to do
Truly Despicable Things.
My son, he loves to play computer games,
Made by Disney no less,
Where you kick, punch, shoot & destroy-
Kapow! Kaboom!
I want to show him a film or 2
About the Holocaust
Because I need him to know
What violence really is.
But my wife says we should wait
It's too soon, he's just a boy
Let him live, let him grow,
There are certain things, after all,
About which there is no hurry
For any child to know.
She is probably right-
It is my problem not his.
It just pains me to see him killing
So gleefully,
So scientifically
(Strategically, mathematically)
Without compunction or remorse.
He is, after his homework,
Allowed an hour a day
For what, at times, seems to be
His own little holocaust.
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10.Winners and Losers.
"The battle is won before it's fought,"
My Father told me-
He an avid follower of
History-
"And what exactly does that mean?"
I asked back then,
Aged 16
& chasing a girl
Who I desperately wished
Would fall in love with me.
"Be prepared," My Father said,
"Be ready."
So taking his advice
(With my hair, my clothes, what to say),
Sure enough
The girl, that night, was very nice
But, nevertheless
She left the dance
With Paul John Eddy,
My best friend back then
who,after all these years,
I still see now and again
(Recently though he went bankrupt
&, by his own admission,
Married a 'slut').

The girl herself?
The girl I thought I truly loved?
Her Facebook status says, "single"
& she must be,what,
44?
I wish I could say to my dad
(Who died of a stroke last year),
"It's not, after all, about the battle.

It's all about the war."
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11.

All I ask from breasts
Is a little bit of distension
(They don't have to be big
Though that catches my attention)
A bit of gravity to pull them away
From the body they cling to
& (when the sun is shining)
A shirt that is 
Practically see through.
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12.My First Child
In her arms and in her heart
Lie its ten fingers and ten toes.
The baby is so soft
So soft that you can see
It will be that way
Even when full grown.
Her love for it- however - is hard:
Though this love is wrapped
In sun, in bubbles, in coos,
In cashmere & cuddles-
It is hard
Harder than stone.
So I watch her with the tiny thing
(all country water & cloudy eyes)
& see her love for it as a waste:
It's a love that would be better used
On something (or someone)
With more muscle, more fibre.
More backbone.
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13.Shelter.

Sheltered from the sin of the Island
Sheltered from the Gypsies
Inbred & ingrown
Wonky limbed, dark
& undersown
Who sell drugs along the wall
That leads up the hill
To the Old Town.

Sheltered from the first party of the summer
Up on the cliffs, in the clearing,
Among the evergreens,
Where the fat men, sitting in plastic chairs,
Hand out pills
& watch the dancers dance
Considering closely the efficacy
Of the new season's supply.

Sheltered from the 4 by 4s,
The Hummers, the Porsches
That come-
Like snakes in the Olive trees-
With their drivers
(The straightened hair,
The dark glasses,
The constructed faces)
Out of driveways
Through the high electric gates
Of designers houses,
Down yellow earth caminos
Passing Hippies
In beat up Beetles
Who dress in bright colours
But rarely smile.

Sheltered from all the Divorcees
In beachside cafes with their
Non-fat lattes
Talking about how, only now,
Are they Really Discovering Themselves.

Sheltered from the Older kids
Who get lifts to Santa Gertrudis
Where they gather in groups
To hang in corners-
Pale skin & headphones-
Cigarettes and Hoodies-
High on testosterone,
They push and shove and shout
While their fathers and mothers
Do lines and swap partners
At weekends.

Sheltered from the Transvestite's Parade,
Through the port where cocktails are 3 for 1,
Headdresses and feather boas,
Men's shaved legs and Cuban high heels,
Claps & shouts, bad food, plastic chairs,
The smell of sweet perfume & sewers.

Sheltered from the sweat of alcohol and pills
Of men fucking in the dunes behind the fence
At Las Salinas;
Sheltered from the car crashes on the San An Road
With the Guarda Civil, ambulances,
Stretchers, oxygen masks
& clubbers taking pictures
On mobile phones.

Sheltered

Sheltered by the olive grove
Where the leaves, flecked grey and green
Soften the sun & shade the walkway
From our house- our home- to the wooden table
Where sits the recent lunch,
The open books, the towels upon chairs.
Above & around is the sound of birds
That mix with the hum of the pump
Which brings water up from the well.
A tractor revs, the little dog snores
& a gust of wind sends the smell
Of lavender and lemons across the path
That leads down to the far corner of the field.

& there-
There they both are-
Sunhats and laughter,
One with a bucket
One with a spade-
There they both are-
Not a care in the world
Deep in concentration
Passing the afternoon
Digging in the deep red earth-
Digging for gold.

 

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 14.Good to be home.

 Back in my bed tonight
 Makes me feel good-
 I can hear the rain
 On the skylight
 While beside you
 I am warm.

 When the kids wake me
 At some unearthly hour
 & demand pancakes
 Made as only I can
 I follow them
 Down the stairs
 Thinking
 It's good to be home
 To walk on my own ground
 Where, for better and for worse,
 I am known.

 I open the kitchen door
 & the dog goes out, barking
 I smell the weather
 & from the clouds
 I  see the day ahead.
 I have the rare pleasure
 Of having built the life
 I want to lead.

 It's good to be home.
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15.

 From a friend who wasn't mine
 I tasted friendship
 From a lover I had to share
 I learnt love
 By the beauty I didn’t have
 I grew inspired 
 & 
 From work I never did 
 I became tired.

 There was too much second hand
 Too much always already there
 Before I have arrived.

							
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16.

Life you'll see,
(But unlikely
Until you are old
Like me)
Is not in the big fights
The break ups
Or the mad loves;
It's, rather, in
The small moments
The humdrum
The nothing much.
Life is not some
Huge and push pull,
Some unceasing swell-

No...
It's Febuary, Ford Fiestas,
Forgotten names
In old mobile phones,
Half remembered lines
From average films;
The passing of days,
Flu, flight delays,
The marching band
Been & gone;
It's Kent,
It's local radio,
It's all that space
Between here & there,
All that space
Between right & wrong.

Here are the places
Where life goes on.

							
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17. Thin.

Too many women I now know
Try too hard
To be too thin.
Maybe it's this battle
Against age
That actually ages them.
Either way
It's a battle
That deep in their hearts
They must surely know
They cannot win.
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18.

 After my wife has died
 & my kids have gone-
 One to America
 & the other too far to visit
 Too often
 & I am, say, 80 or 85
 I will then be handled
 I guess
 By people
 Who do not know me:
 If my bath is too hot,
 My bed not made,
 My nails not cut,
 My hair-
 What's left of it-
 Too harshly washed
 Or not washed at all
 So be it.
That is all.
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19.

As a child they couldn't keep me from the grass
From the morning as the sun rose
& the keeper opened the gate
Returning only when my father called
Saying it was dark
It was late.
I walked back, my hand in his hand,
Asking a thousand questions
Which had grown, all day, inside of me
And he- my father-
A big man
(Who slowly grew smaller)
Laughed
& suddenly-
Woosh!
He lifted me up on his shoulders
So that with my hands around his head
I travelled as if I was part of him.
At that moment
(Which seemed forever)
I had no questions left:
I had been answered, unburdened:
I was free.
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 20.

 My mind just sweats the small things
 These days
 It's not interested in learning Spanish
 Or writing poetry
 Or even reading
 History
 (Something that up to now
 I have always found
 Very easy).
 I know
 At my age
 I'm coming down the hill:
 I swim less,
 I run less
 (And feel it more
 When I do).
 But I didn’t know-
 I had no idea-
 That my mind
 Would come down with me too.
I used to have my head in a book
 At times like these.
 Now, while my kid
 Reads his Kindle,
 I just lie
 & look
 As the women pass
 In their bikinis.
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21. The Dons.

"What about form?"
"For me it's not about form-
It's about meaning."
"Well, maybe one does not work
Without the other."
"Maybe or definitely, sir,
Which do you believe?"
"I think perhaps
We should take a step back..."
So comfortably reclining,
A fire lit,
Legs crossed, socks showing,
We build our towers,
Brick by brick,
Defending our positions-
Using the rules
We have made
Over the years
Until-
"Oh, gracious, your taxi is here."
"Lord, so it is-"
We put down our glasses, pull ourselves up
I put my hand, diffidently, on his back,
While he absently searches his pockets
For this and that
& with a fine feeling
Of time well used-
A job well done-
I return happily to mine 
& he goes happily
Home to his.

							
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