(3) Holy Month


Peter Philpott





look! another time to start

this year has nothing but, so

look at what it gives us

summer again(all brief)

and a chance to dig in

harvesting slow to make

due sacrifice to all the powers

manifold & circumambient

last brightness in the air


it starts with us all together

you can say we begin with nothing

except what the world now gives us

insects again & all small life

thronging where we dig

harvesting in the middle of decay

preparing what is due to live

many folded around us

lost in the brightness of the air


Let’s just hold it together

begin again with nothing

open to what the world gives

life innumerable & delicate

bursting out where we dig

harvest triumphing over decay

preparing some brief escape

our lives are folded in this world

lost within its final brief air


His as later involved Gaul, migrants own new are the hunger.


what does need?

ascending to gods

I am fragile

           – don’t touch

           tossed up poet

           in the world of her heart

           capacity for delusion


           only now the

           pity of this world




3a     Day of the Early Coffee at Café W


what’s open here? Oh

most things unwritten in our diaries

all the due occasions

aren’t  they full of sun today?

It might change, yes one

day but it always starts off like this

irregular but you just get used

it carries on

– there is no regard


what we can’t do – oh!

everything unwritten to smudge at once

the occasion may be of anger

– no – now you’ve lost us our sun

things might change, no better

every day starts off like this

don’t you just feel used

there are no options on

no regards to anyone


can we hold it? can we?

everything can begin again

no anger at what the world gives

innumerable and lost – yes

things burst out & change

every day some triumph against decay

don’t prepare any escape you feel

all options folded in

regards to all the airy brightness




3b     The Anniversary of the Destruction of the World Trade Center:  A Reading


The secret is water. There isn’t any here. Our ration of full-stops, or periods, is also limited, and we have only a single burning torch for light. The rocks are real, ragged, rascally, reprehensible in their refusal to engage with us, except as absolute blind, dark other, sharp and without sentiment. Our feet crunch over so many priceless treasures – even Athelfrith in all his glory saw nothing like this. I doubt too he had the dubious pleasure of walking across his own hoard at night, occasionally lurching into a gleaming fragment of skeleton, long picked clean by whatever scavengers are allowed to survive in such a place. The steps down into this sump of corroded gold and silver will not be the way out. Something even more dark and terrible has been prepared for us. Fine ash, too, drifts across the air, dull air, absolutely lifeless, agitated only feebly by the spastic fluttering of the bats’ wings and the inaudible racket of their sound world. At one level, the whole sensory continuum we are engaged within loses resolution, breaks down into hard dark abusive hatchments. Nothing fluid.




3c     To Commemorate the List of 10 Best Places for a Girl to Grow up in


We must thank the Blessed St Eadgyth of Stortford, of whom nothing is known, especially not around here. We are all impressed by the news – we had fled the place generations ago in disgust: that nest of self-deluded Brexiters and minor cadres in the City Guilds of Usurers and Thimbleriggers. How virtue shines in unexpected corners! Does the blessing exceed the frequent cursings we must also endure? Do the memory and hope of better things overrule the constant risks of blight, plague and dragon breath? Maybe let Eadgyth tell us in her long silence. Her perpetual withdrawal and self loss, despite all these things – who else can we thank? Don’t ask the priests, with all their bloody tales of sacrifice. Plan for your locality, my friends. Build up utopias. All stories will come true one day.




3d     The Day After the Grandchildren Return to Their Parents


some harvests are a blessing

which is why this day is holy

don’t count the syllables or stalks

bring in every word that’s ripe

you have survived the white plague

and this may be the month

that things hope together

if we have enough here for winter

we last out the dark


it starts us all together

to begin with what we can gather

from all the world gives us

the myriad forms of life

let us join its throng

haunt & decay cover this world

from which come all life

we must fold up within it

found in its brightness now


maybe we can hold it

to let it all begin again

nourishing what the world gives us

lost within its multiplicity of course

accepting the perpetual change

each day a new triumph

nothing to escape but to feed

the options folded around us

holy and alive as bright air




3e     The Day Amazon Wrongly Charged Us


The people we need are those strenuous warriors, Unwin & Wade. When we’re faced with problems this bad: think! Then adopt a constraint:


 all these migrants from Gaul

 what do they need?

 how fragile really are they?

 don’t touch their parcels!

 tossed off their wagons

 like a woman discarding her lovers

 we don’t know what is delusion

 only now something comes

 starting here with pity


                                                    is that constraint enough? My god, we need those hairy arsed bastards now, not prayers to non existent saints.

Uh-oh – you don’t know do you?


What? It’s simple – use only the best.


No one knows anything about them either – oh, yes, some late stuff about a boat – dubious as a Mercian royal nunnery. The whole point is that everything about here has dropped off – just think signifiers with no other side to them. Names that mean nothing. Harvested fields too late even for the gleaner.








Peter Philpott’s most recent books are Ianthe Poems (Shearsman, 2015) and Wound Scar Memories (Great Works Editions, 2017).  He is founding editor of the websites British Innovative Poetry and Great Works