Simon Williams – two poems

Man and Pigeon

The guy with a pile of Big Issues
has a pigeon on his hand,
tosses it gently into the air
and it settles back on his fingers.

He has a small flock of them;
each, in turn, lands on his hands,
takes off onto the awning.
No sign of birdseed on his palm.

Outside Boots he earns a few pence,
as people are amused by his birds.
It’s a gentle show, no entrance
on the gate, it may go on for hours.

I buy him an Americano
with a small cup of milk on the side,
a bag of mixed seeds for the birds.
Open sesame.


Lucky Man
after Noriko Ibaragi

When I was at my most fortunate,
I travelled the world,
took buses to Caracas,
sailed boats down the Euphrates.

When I was at my most fortunate,
I made a living from sweets;
Black Jacks and Love Hearts
put money in my pocket.

When I was at my most fortunate,
I loved, left, right and centre;
long, passionate trysts
that all ended amicably.

When I was at my most fortunate,
I was lauded for my wit;
never crashed a party
I wasn’t the soul of.

When I was at my most fortunate,
they made me Professor,
departments of Science, Law and English,
more chairs than I have buttocks.

Now I’ve retired from all that.
I walk and look about me,
see siskins for the first time,
lie among the plantains and burdock.

Simon Williams has been writing since his teens, when he was mentored at university by Roger McGough. He has nine collections, the latest being The Magpie Almanack (, from Vole, published December 2020. Simon was elected The Bard of Exeter in 2013, founded the large-format magazine, The Broadsheet and published the PLAY anthology in 2018.

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