The Way We Live

Pass the tambourine, let me bash out praises

to the Lord God of movement, to Absolute

non-friction, flight, and the scary side:

death by avalanche, birth by failed contraception.

Of chicken tandoori and reggae, loud, from tenements,

commitment, driving fast and unswerving

friendship. Of tee-shirts on pulleys, giros and Bombay,

barmen, dreaming waitresses with many fake-gold

bangles. Of airports, impulse, and waking to uncertainty,

to strip-lights, motorways, or that pantheon –

the mountains. To overdrafts and grafting


and the slow pulse of wipers as you’re

creeping over Rannoch, while the God of moorland

walks abroad with his entourage of freezing fog,

his bodyguard of snow.

Of endless gloaming in the North, of Asiatic swelter,

to launderettes, anecdotes, passions and exhaustion,

Final Demands and dead men, the skeletal grip

of government. To misery and elation; mixed,

the sod and caprice of landlords.

To the way it fits, the way it is, the way it seems

to be: let me bash out praises – pass the tambourine


Kathleen Jamie


Everything Is Going To Be Alright

How should I not be glad to contemplate

the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window

and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?

There will be dying, there will be dying,

but there is no need to go into that.

The poems flow from the hand unbidden

and the hidden source is the watchful heart.

The sun rises in spite of everything

and the far cities are beautiful and bright.

I lie here in a riot of sunlight

watching the day break and the clouds flying.

Everything is going to be all right.

Derek Mahon