Independence Day

A cuddle of children playing behind me

on swings and slide, chattering in Spanish

a bird song full of summer play.

Mothers chiding, flocking and nesting new flyers.

I can hear their young wings flapping.



Get Home Safely

Children, all grown up, on their own,

come home to visit, and you worry,

until they return to their own home,

that they are safe. This parental fear

does not cease, perhaps, it even increases.

van Gogh


Hamnet Shakespeare was baptized 2 February 1585

and buried 11 August 1596. Only son

of William Shakespeare, fraternal twin of Judith.

No poems or speeches written for him.

No lines can ever bring one back.




1890 engraving by unknown German artist of William Shakespeare reciting lines to his family. His wife, Anne Hathaway, is sitting in the chair on the right; his son Hamnet is behind him on the left; his two daughters Susanna and Judith are on the right and left of him.

In the Museum of Natural History

where an elephant, quite unnaturally, holds court

amongst groups of schoolchildren – and like children,

elephants are disciplined by their collective elders.

Fifty million years, 170 known fossil species,

mastodons and mammoths – and now only three.


museum elephant