It’s been cold outside for weeks now – that’s ok, it’s winter. But here, Plath demonstrates how, seen from this side, late autumn can be a wonderful time – even if very few of us actually have any sense of ‘bringing in’ produce straight from the field to the house…


Woodsmoke and a distant loudspeaker
Filter into this clear
Air, and blur.

The red tomato’s in, the green bean;
The cook lugs a pumpkin
From the vine

For pies. The fir tree’s thick with grackles.
Gold carp loom in the pools.
A wasp crawls

Over windfalls to sip cider-juice.
Guests in the studios
Muse, compose.

Indoors, Tiffany’s phoenix rises
Above the fireplace;
Two carved sleighs

Rest on orange plush near the newel post.
Wood stoves burn warm as toast.
The late guest

Wakens, mornings, to a cobalt sky,
A diamond-paned window,
Zinc-white snow.

[Read in Collected Poems, published by Faber & Faber. Ripped from]


in my big picture, only vampires quail
at stakeholder engagement, only knights
attend roundtables. only doves dovetail.
only a horse is harnessed, and makes strides.

a stovepipe smokes: a silo is for grain.
the wheel’s invented. doggies jump through hoops.
you need a roadmap when hor-lanned in spain,
a rollercoaster is kept in the loop.

but leave firefighting to the firemen.
let cashiers run change management. at noon,
we’ll close, leave a key thrust in every lock,
convene a picnic in the park with friends.
we’ll watch a lonely clown float his balloons
and eat low-hanging fruit out of the box.


This content is impossible to transcend in ‘high’ poetry – knock something that’s full of hollow language, and it will sound hollow. But it’s clever in it’s construction, and entertaining for all of those who already know they are guilty in their desk life, even as they try to avoid it. Poetry has many purposes – sometimes, this is just enough.

[Read in Sonnets from the Singlish, published by Math Paper Press.]

A mistranslated manuscript
whittles a halo down to horns,
and serves to show
how quickly definition slips
when all that’s left is outlines, forms
we lost the knack of bending back
the tongue for.

Half-opaque, a window
leading into something else,
as an optician clips
a second lens over a blurry first
and flicks–one two, one two
until you can’t be certain
which is which.

And you, turning your nose
before a kiss as if you turned
the pages of a codex
with your vellum palms,
pursing your parchment lips,
you think of the conversion
of twelve calves and pause–
you know that there’s a boundary in this.

[Read in The Salt Book of Younger Poets]