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Pot Shot

This old poem is still one of my favourites. It’s about our two sons when they were small. We were cooking sausages at night on a bonfire, and Paul looked at the moon and said ‘Pow! Pow!’ and Ben said, ‘Look, Paul’s shooting down the moon.’ And that was the poem.


Paul thinks he can shoot down the moon.
He thinks he can point
his finger straight at it,
say ‘Pow!’ and in a second or two,
the moon will jolt from its socket,
tip sideways, and fall
not with a fiery whoosh or a shower of sparks
but in a slow spin through the blue evening air
through tall black pine trees
to land with a soft thud
right at his feet.
It will bury the edge of its curve
in the needles
with a faint hiss where their dampness
cools its white skin.
And Paul will stretch out his hand
touch with his finger and say
‘Did I really do this?’

Sport 2, VUP,1989; a stone seat and a shadow tree, Inkweed, 2001