Friday, 28 November 2014


What to us was a park lined
the drive up to that country house
where The Beatles’ maharishi
made arguably plausible claims.

Damp yews turned out to be
promises made but not kept.
At that age, of course,
we raced amongst them,

played war games in thickets
on the far side of ploughed land
which led to Bridego Bridge –
a 1960s topography.

Where Beeching’s cut line
swung around the border
of an aristocratic estate,
we fired air pistols into bark.

Dunstable lovers came out
to woo in secluded lanes.
We were already there –
witnesses and irritants.

In the decade’s last evening,
we marched home, immune
to sunset and shadows,
a geometry of trees.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips 

Friday, 21 November 2014


How your blue eyes stopped me.
Your exhausted mother was out for the count.
In that small room we’d been moved to,
upstairs somewhere
in the maternity hospital,
a nurse came in and handed you over,
asleep for the moment,
and I was like what now?
No more than one hour old,
you woke up on my knee,
took a look and went back to sleep.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips 

Friday, 14 November 2014


A face is etched at the years’ expense.
In the longest of runs, something reached at
comes down to a look, a landscape,
a placement – to the particular
arrangement of time and space,
and then, sobering, biology.
Emotions tumble like circus gymnasts.

In the longest of runs, it boils down
to discoveries in the asteroid belt
and this etched face.
We'll say ‘I’, of course, but pronouns
are always more than
the first word in a story.

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The Old Bridge in Winter

Because I only remember the place in summer,
it will never be the same, revisiting
arrangements of wood and stone,
angled balconies, shuttered windows –
the histories I thought to decipher
by running my fingers against the grain.

Too cold for that now. And the trees
have sharpened for winter,
thinned along a softened horizon.
What’s fixed here’s illusion seen
in different weather, affirming the old thought
that every return is also an arrival. 

Image: Marina Shiderova; text: Tom Phillips