With huge apologies to Edward Lear whose Quangle Wangle Quee did not deserve to be associated with in any way with the present incumbent of the White House



On the top of Capitol Hill

the Trumpettypotus sat

And his face was plain to see

Because he wore no hat

For his face was fake orange his teeth fake white

He liked to tweet throughout the night

SAD! Unfair! It’s all FAKE news !

The only truth is the one I choose

said the bigly mad Trumpettypotus


The Trumpettypotus said to himself

as he sat on Capitol Hill

This is a finely tuned machine – things are going swell

but the longer I sit here in the Oval Room

It seems the world is full of gloom

millions cheered me on my Big Day

My people love me, and those who don’t will pay

Fake media tweet #impeach the SCROTUS

but I’m draining the swamp

said the Trumpettypotus






I sat down beside a girl with a white hijab

I smiled, she smiled back

Everyone on their phone

You said

No-one talks

I know, it’s London, no-one talks

Eyes down glazed, entranced by the screen

The odd glance as the station approaches

West Ham

Our eyes met

Your eyes danced dark and lively

I always talk I have to talk

You said and told me your story

(So much pain behind the dancing eyes

Arranged marriage

Domestic abuse

On the run from husband father mother-in-law


Canning Town

I was in a bad situation

You said

I still suffer

I live in a refuge now

I can’t go back

Not even to my family

But I am strong

I want to be free

I want a kind man

Are English men kind?

We talked a lot

Her life in a northern city

So boring you said after your native Marrakesh


Just because I wear this

So young and pretty in your white hijab

London Bridge

My stop is next

Where are you going?

Westminster I think-to walk, explore

Then back North to the refuge

I will be free one day


This is my stop

Thank for talking

You said

Thank you for your smile

I said

You have a beautiful smile

Stay safe

WRITING THE MOUND (with apologies to Clive Scott)*

Translation does not preserve does not perform
 it is not static nor is it a sort of approximation 
a pale imitation of style or form – even meaning 

fixed or immovable in time or space not a sacred 
image held in aspic a single aesthetic set in stone

                                                                                    layers of A
                                                                               an accumulation
                                                                            of a metamorphosis 
                                                                       modulation perpetuation
                                                                     projects the text in variation
                                                              TRANSLATION IS dynamic  it evolves

*inspired by a lecture he gave at BCLT Summer School this year on “The aesthetics of literary translation”