This poem was written whilst on a river trip from Amsterdam to Budapest in May 2017, whilst I was awaiting the results of a biopsy to determine what sort of cancer I had.



Here in Bamberg we are buying history

grateful that no symptoms show

the guides are lancing our ears with dates

the biopsy scab no longer itches.


We have come to look back in time

ignore the irony of mortality.

The Old Town Hall from 1386

me from 1944.


The Rathaus splits the surging  Regnitz river

I feel nothing of my rogue dividing cells

six hundred and thirty one years of division

my abnormality’s age unknown.


A light tap on my leg,  a flying jewel –

Cockchafer! I move it to my hand

where its stays for several minutes

a significant part of its existence.


Cetonia aeruginosa larvae live in wood-mould

high in the crowns of ancient oak trees

metamorphosing in May to final grandeur

 bringing me  a gift, the sense of equivalence



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