Sunday, 18 May 2014


Written on the 19 December 2013. The theme for the poem was "numbers", and was not inspired until I woke one morning to see the red LED digits on my old-fashioned digital clock.


I woke in darkness, turned my head,
Saw Five Eighteen emblazoned red
And as I snuggled down, a thought
Inveigled there: my sleep cut short.
I paid that much for “David Live”;
Such longing – for it to arrive.
I’d never paid that much before
For Bowie at a record store.

That waking thought: It’s odd, I find,
How numbers linger in your mind,
Associate with things of note,
A trigger for an anecdote.
Yes. Numbers, prices of all sorts
Bring special albums to my thoughts
Two Seven Nine. An analogue:
Collecting Mott’s back catalogue.

Now “digital”, we’re all aware,
Means noughts and ones are everywhere.
The CDs, DVDs, TVs
The Internet and MP3s
The smartphones, tablets that we use,
The eBooks, laptops that we choose;
They all have numbers at their source –
The software. Makes them run, of course.

I wonder if one day I’ll see
An Eighty Nine and think with glee
That’s what I paid, recall what I’ve
Downloaded, saved on my hard drive.
Associations. Not the same.
Anticipation’s lost the game.
A victim of that God, “Progress”;
A minor thing – but I digress.

Yes, numbers trigger memories;
A calendar, its legacies.
The Twenty-Fifth: it’s Christmas Day.
The Twenty-Third: St George’s Day.
The Fifth: A bonfire lights the sky.
The Thirty-First: the year’s goodbye.
Specific birthdays: twenty-one,
Each passing year, each decade gone.

The date you wed that precious spouse.
The date you parted from that louse!
A loved-one dies: all’s Pre and Post
That date, that year – the least, the most.
These digits, they define our lives.
They’re abstract, yet their ‘fluence drives
Us from that babies’ feeding cup
And will, until our number’s up.