SPOTLIGHT: Ariel Sweetshop by Lawrence Moore

Keep Flying

Keep flying,
with the jet trails making rabbits in the sky,
don’t let the busybodies ask you why
when they mean don’t.
Rabbits aren’t for everyone
and some won’t even try.

Keep flying
for the little boy who’s watching from his room,
distract him from the scrubber and the broom,
for what’s the harm?
His chores will go much faster
if he spends them shouting ‘Vroooom’.

Keep flying
for the runway that is waiting out of sight,
there’s no such thing as dark without the light
and what the heck –
perhaps you’ll never make it there,
but then again, you might.

Keep flying,
but if flying wears you out, then be a swift;
if sleeping on the wing is not your gift,
then press eject –
double check your parachute
and set yourself adrift.


I want to turn words into magic
I want to turn hate into love,
I want to call to my heroes’ graves
till they climb to the land above.

I want to make people with frantic lives
start to care about distant things,
I want to make Jess patch it up with Beth
and then buy her extravagant rings.

I want to make children who camp in forests
beware of the creak of a tree,
I want to make horses who come to my readings
rotate on their haunches and flee.

I want to make innocent, gullible fools
read the paper in disbelief,
I want to get cowboys who ride out west
holding hands with the Indian chief.

I want to make businesspeople dream
of a wild and untouchable land,
I want to make timorous, reticent men
take their clothes off and dance in the sand.

Yes I want to turn words into magic
and to fire them into the blue.
I’d like them to brighten the shade of the sky
and I’d love them to lead me to you.


They grope down twisted corridors
where walls have eyes and ears.
The girl and boy – they have no choice
but listen for their guide.

It scuttles left, it scuttles right,
claims to know the way.
Antennae working overtime,
it crawls along the walls.

He can’t believe he came to this.
One minute he was safe,
confident initiate,
eyeing up the rungs.

A heady dose of rashness
and a lack of common sense.
Now he stumbles in the darkness
with the girl upon his heart.

She came along to spite him,
play the dutiful intended.
He’s gone and messed up everything;
it’s only fair he knows,

but hopes of resurrection
mingle shyly with her anger.
If they can make it out of here,
perhaps she’ll stick around.

They’d make a lovely supper,
but the hunger has been sated.
No harm in being sporting,
it will lead them to the bridge,

then slip into the river
for a night of peaceful slumber.
If they can’t make it out from there,
they don’t deserve to live.

Pretty Dream

We wrestle with foundations reckless fate
has foisted on our sacred temple sites.
Surveyors show reluctance to proceed.
We pay no heed, obliterate the nights
with paint and canvas, microphone and tape,
with pen and paper, clapperboard and screen,
lay ‘would have loved’ and ‘never did’ for bricks,
mix ‘still to be’ for mortar in between
and if our walls should crumble to the ground,
we shan’t forget we shared a pretty dream.

Holding Hands

On a warm, cloudless day,
we walk along the waterside,
soaking up the beauty and appreciating, without words,
everything Bosham means to us.
We’re both naturally given to acts of affection,
but when we pass the pull-in where I proposed
and look warmly into each other’s eyes,
we then find ourselves looking around furtively
as if we were criminals.
The coast is clear and we join together.
I put the slight awkwardness down to a four inch height difference
and a lack of practise.
As the seconds go by, we begin to relax
until we no longer feel conscious of what we are doing.
A lady rounds the corner and
we let go.
A mild feeling of shame ensues –
not shame of what we are,
but shame born from a suspicion of cowardice.
There are reasons for our cautiousness
and many of them are sensible,
but we talk of never letting go
and it’s not an impossible dream.


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