We fallen angels

Sul’s yellow waters
were stirred by wind and time
As we lingered there.

Up Jacob’s Ladder
Isolated angels climb.
We fallen angels
Look up with sadness, minds and
Feet earthbound, yet holding hands.

In Bath, a long time ago!

Orion shivers

Orion Shivers

Orion Shivers

Orion shivers in the winter night
But keeps his lonely vigil. I watch too
And wait for morning and the healing light.

20 February 1992

Noah’s Ark


Noah's Ark by Aidan Smith

Noah’s Ark by Aidan Smith

The Golden Man

“What is man that thou art mindful of him?” Psalm 8

I am a ragbag of organs
With guaranteed obsolescence,
A parcel of aspirations,
Of failings and infirmities.

And yet! and yet
Pure cosmic gold flows in my veins,
Gold laurel leaves surround my head
And, in the arcades of my mind,
A spirit moves, begot by stars.

I am a pit of misgivings,
Beleaguered by ancient taboos,
In the land of instant image,
A mirror without reflection.

And yet! and yet
Beyond the final range of hills,
I am my own El Dorado,
In the swamps of absurdity,
My own walled garden of delights.

19 March 1990


We are, forever,
Sighting, approaching
Or retreating from
Unexplored shorelines.
Footprints on sandbanks
Seeking higher land,
Fresh tracks on shingle
Downwards through gullies
Out to waiting seas.
Unfinished journeys,
Always casting off,
Never arriving…
New conquistadors
Watching for omens,
Birds, constellations,
Driftwood on currents,
Voices in the wind.
Each successive shore
Spread more seductive
Than the one before,
But no abiding
Haven for the heart,
Still less for the mind.
At the tide’s turning,
Anchors are lifted,
Islands receding
To hazy horizons,
Leaving images
No more permanent
Than spray in the wake
Of dawn caravels.

9 January 1991

Rome Revisited

I travelled light this time
And came to Rome without
Religious certainty
To pin my conscience down,
Free now to excavate,
From strata of belief
And primitive taboos,
Some vestiges of truth.
Now, gods and ages merge.
Inscriptions, sculpted all
By one perennial hand,
In unison proclaim
The noble promises
And hollow alibis
Of each successive age.
St. Peter’s colonnades
And fallen architraves
Of Augustan temples
Possess this in common:
All are, terminally,
In varying stages
Of decomposition.
No crying of the geese,
High on the Capitol,
Can protect the City
Against time and reason.

13th November 1990

Giant Tortoises

Was this the one that carried on its back
The elements of the Earth and caused to break,
By each seismic step, the bulging crust
And fire to flow along the widening cracks?
Was this the one that sightless Aesop knew,
Which furnished fables to a later sage,
And served as tutor to the Roman troop,
Their corporate armour modelled on its shell?

The sun burns down and drifting sand blows through
The whitened carapace but legends live.

Seychelles 1969