"Leagrave": a poem by Philip Coales

Sitting on a dormant train at Leagrave
I am at eye level with a sign asking if I’m
“IN DESPAIR?”. I guess I care.
My attitude to the Samaritans might be
“British ambivalence”, and, as
My attitude to a man without a First Class fare
Sleeping alone in the First Class booth,
Depends. This might be the “British culture clash”,
Of a begrudging sympathy – packed train, he’s tired, it’s fair –
If he can get away with it –
Vs. a jealous desire to see him dragged by the hair
And thrown onto the tracks, “IN DESPAIR”.

This article first appeared in the 19 August 2013 issue of the New Statesman, Why aren’t young people working

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“Minoan pendant”: a new poem by Mark Granier

“Yes – I press my nose / to the pleasantly warm glass – / it’s a copy of one I saw / cased in the cool museum”

Yes – I press my nose
to the pleasantly warm glass –
it’s a copy of one I saw
cased in the cool museum –
gold beaten to honey, a grainy
oval dollop, flanked by two
slim symmetrical bees –

garland for a civilisation’s
rise and collapse, eye-dropped
five thousand years: a flash
of evening sun on a windscreen
or wing mirror – Heraklion’s
scooter-life buzzing and humming –

as I step in to browse, become
mesmerised by the warm
dark eyes of the woman
who gives her spiel and moves
softly and with such grace,
that, after leaving, I hesitate

a moment on the pavement
then re-enter with a question
I know not to ask, but ask
anyway, to hear her voice
soften even more as she smiles
and shakes her hair – no.

Mark Granier is an Irish poet and photographer. He is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Haunt (Salmon).

This article first appeared in the 16 June 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Britain on the brink