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The Necessity of Ice

One frosted time,
Orion rising roughshod
in a clenched & closing year

left us living meagrely, by coffee,
cigarettes, by bread, alone,
& wanting nothing more

than the slow tread of ice
too thin for any argument
from icecaps that are yesterday's news

that will soon have no mysteries
to conceal or reveal,
dwindling to the thinness

of a concave lens,
focussing all our contraries
to a diamond point of need:

for the rigour & dispassion
of ice, its clarity
& clouded mystery,

We need its night-time crack & groan
of shifting darknesses,
floe & crevasse, berg & glacier

& structures that are given to us to name.
We need so much light,
so many cool rooms, & music;

we need icebergs to see the tip of,
ice to pack against pain,
to cut with others

to put our plans on, or to crush
with lemon & vodka, & melt
in warm young mouths.

The Election Candidates Promise To Be Tough On The Causes of Disorder

Car doors secured, fathers leave for their orderly office,
Mothers leave for school with their disorderly children

Sparrows seek asylum in the orderly sunlight,
Squabble for scraps in the disorderly breeze.

At the airport, a man is detained on suspicion of future disorder,
Although the man is afraid of uniforms & order

& is afraid of the locked room where he'll await a court order
Which may send him back to his country's civil disorder

In a van down a road that smacks of order,
Cars bound for the office, mothers & disorderly children.

May 2001

Alan Baker was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1958 and now lives in Nottingham. 'Not Bondi Beach' is his second collection.

The poems in this collection range over the authorís native north-east of England, and its working-class heritage, and look at family and social relations

The poems are well-crafted, with a good eye and a well-tuned ear' (Shearsman)

Read the extract below:

Not Bondi Beach
Alan Baker
ISBN: 0-9537634-7-1
£3.50/$7.00  Out of print