Hope dawns

Day is not come.
Not quite yet:
Malignancy and malice linger still.

But this is now, at last,
The hour before the dawn
And somewhere in the dark

A throng of birds begins
To sing, full-throated; and soon their song
Will ring unchecked across the land.

Then light will flood the sky
And with it we’ll forget
The night we once believed would never end.

God bless America. The thoughts and hopes of the world are with you. Thank you. And Johnson? You’re next.

Unspoken for

God knows they broke us too, back in oh-eight:
Sent years of struggle swirling down the drain;
Left short of everything but names to hate,
We railed and swore they wouldn’t win again.
We rolled our sleeves and got to work. The road
Out of the ruins left us bleeding, raw
And raging at the faceless few who showed
Contempt for us and all that we’d strived for.
But who speaks for us now? We will not stand
With those who serve themselves alone; nor raise
Our banner with the mob who’d cut our land
Adrift. What light for us in these dark days?
We have no voice, no power to decide
Our fate. On our watch, truth and reason died.


We’re seemingly having Brexit forced upon us here: across the Atlantic, our American friends now face the prospect of a POTUS few ever thought possible. For those of us getting by as best we can, neither May’s ‘sneering metropolitan elite’ nor Trump’s (justifiably) angry ranks of the ignored, marginalised and truly left-behind, these are troubling times indeed. And what’s more, it looks as though it’s all our fault. N.

Battleground state


A shocked and blasted silence. All is still
Except the crows that blow like tattered flags
Among the shattered stalks reduced to rags
And splinters by steel blades and iron will.
Both sides dug deep: across the battlefield
The breastworks brood where tyres and heavy clay
Clashed in their ancient feud. Machines held sway,
Forced sodden crop and stubborn ground to yield.
A triumph, then. Yet this exhausted land
Remains unchanged: in time these marks will fade
And then the victors will be forced to trade
Once more; release the throat, and clasp the hand.
To leave enough to do it all again.
The truest test of country, and of men.


On Thursday, I passed a recently-cut field of forage maize, which, to judge by the mud and ruts, had put up quite a fight. It made me think of the US election: all that time, effort, money and struggle, yet nothing fundamental appears (at least to an outsider like me) to have changed very much; on our TV news here in the UK, pundits are already talking about the challenges facing whoever comes after President Obama. Seems to me that, just as farmers need to keep their land in good heart while striving for the greatest possible yield, our politicians need to remember that, even if they win this time, they’re going to need our goodwill again somewhere down the line. N.