I left a spelling at my father’s house
written in small coins on his front step.
It said which star I was heading for next,
which channel to watch, which button to press.
I should have waited, given that spelling
a voice, but I was handsome and late.
While I was gone he replied with pebbles
and leaves at my gate. But a storm got up
from the west, sluicing all meaning and shape.
I keep his broken spelling in a tin,
tip it out on the cellar floor, hoping
a letter or even a word might form.
And I am all grief, staring through black space
to meet his eyes, trying to read his face.
[from TRYANNOSAURUS REX VERSUS THE CORDUROY KID (2006)]
From Paper Aeroplane
Selected Poems 1989-2014
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As an Artist in Residence at London’s South Bank from 2009 to 2012 he conceived and curated Poetry Parnassus, a gathering of world poets and poetry from every Olympic nation as part of Britain’s Cultural Olympiad, a landmark event generally recognised as the biggest coming together of international poets in history.