February 8th, 2005


It seems like the Hubble Space telescope is wheeling closer and will soon be caught by gravity and pulled back to earth.

There's not enough money to fix it.

"Oh," I went and "Ah," but then I read how it's no longer the newest piece of kit and there's a telescope in Hawaii that's twice as powerful.

So let's not be sentimental. We'll just be losing the equipment, not the science.

Even so....

Here's a poem I wrote a few years back, when those amazing photographs started coming in. I think I'd just been given a book of them for my birthday.


A tiny point of unfussed space,
Above the north galactic pole,
No stars or anything visible
To your common or garden telescope,
And, look, look, there's galaxies-
Like specks, flecks, sparks, whorls
In a chunk of granite- white ones, blue ones,
Red ones, discs with rims of gold,
Fifteen hundred, all of them billions
Of light years distant.

I'm not yet used
To these big numbers.

Three thousand years
That's all- will carry us back to Homer
Who, thanks to the trick of script,
Gave us our first good look at ourselves.
Wives and old men on the wall
Watch as the young men fight and die
Far off, light flaring from their bronze.

Easter Poem

On Being Asked For An Easter Poem

The body once dead is- within four minutes I think- so much unusable carbon and water.
I don't like to think of that body on its ledge degrading.
I wouldn't have turned up three days later like Mary Magdalen.
I'd have been thinking- eugh gross!

So that miracle doesn't fly for me. I cannot feel it here
(thumps chest.)
I cannot think that anyone met Christ in a garden after his death.

I believe in ghosts but that's another matter.

In a churchyard in Kent there was a gravestone with a carving of the Noli Me Tangere.
It was dead clumsy.
Mary had huge hands and Christ, mistaken for the gardener, was leaning on a spade.
Last time I paid it a visit Mary's face had sheared off.
Loose knit stone, Easily carved, easily un-carved. Rub it with your thumb and you get a smear of Ordovician mud on the skin.

Nothing comes back as it once was. Nothing. That's the economy of Terra. There are only so many atoms whizzing around and they are continually being reconfigured. Nothing is lost but everything is remade. And the new thing is not the old thing come back. Does it remember what it once was? Does it hell!

Never before
Never again.

That's the song the midges sing, twirling under the overhang. How long do they last- minutes?

The body drops into dust and the dust is good for something- I don't know what.

It makes the weeds in the garden grow.

Yes, why not!

It makes the weeds in the garden grow.