Roddy Williams – The Atheist Poet


In bed (2004)

My lover snores beside me in our bed
while I, my back toward him, scribble notes
tuned only to the thoughts inside my head
(My muse is pleased by this and no doubt gloats)

as traffic grumbles past and now and then
a siren woohoos like a camp banshee
whom God has given wheels and speed, my pen
unflinching, scratches on to quatrain three

where great profound important things are said
about the issues that affect us all,
but think instead of pies, the cost of bread
and what that noise is coming from the hall.

The final lines are done, their meaning clear
and yet I feel I’m missing something here.


i hate you more than (ii) – (2004)

i hate you more than
naff net curtains, suits from burtons,
uncertain taxi drivers, bald
connivers of bad prose
and small ugly children
lined up in
local beauty shows…

and i really hate those.

i hate you more than
cadgers at the fag break, christmas cake
baked for decades till
its crust can
theoretically resist the thrust
of a builder’s hardest

and more than rhyl.

i hate you more than
germaine greergorian chanting,
films with hugh grant in,
holy nutters ranting about
god’s plan
outside the burger van
on goldhawk road.
more than jehovah’s witnesses,
jordans, abby titmusses,
and itv at christmasses…

but not much more.

i hate you more than tracy barlow,
plays by marlowe, royalty from
monte carlo, oven chips and
turkey ham, any form of home-made jam
but never spam. i like me spam,
a spamaholic me,
i am. just ask me mam.

but anyway

i hate you more
than channel four’s new breakfast show,
more than the corrs, revolving doors
and people with only one
name and bogs on three floors,
more than people who say
‘you know what i mean?’
more than the tescos self-service machine
or those special needs twats with
the britney gene;
the pope, tracy emmin, small dogs and
the queen….

ok… maybe the queen has the edge.

scissored legs (2004)

with scissored legs she slashed toward the dim
one hour wick. eyes peeled to bleed;
saw cartwheels turn in shirts of gloss,
fast fashions rise and fall like panting chests.

greenhouse flotsam blessed her feet.

he watched her navigate the wounded fragments
slicing thighs that scythed the wily lawn
through the dank oiliness of artichokes
having cut
through riser strokes of flitting,
she stops with scalpel foot
to mark her sharp retreat.

the air she trills with razor notes,
to this herbaceous border bound
and there lays bladed glassy
eggs of grass
and makes no further sound

Excerpt From My Haiku Diary – 2 August 2004

wake up, wash, dress, drink
coffee, go to work, come home
tv. food. bed. sleep.

(repeat haiku till death)

Tube Woman I (2004)

I saw a woman on the train
neither beautiful nor plain
but one whose face had
fused forever to a single
frozen mask of shock.
Her eyes held wide
her mouth downturned
in grim and permanent
like twenty-five past seven
on the clock.

‘There’s something in her eyes’, I thought.
‘That look of stunned surprise,’ I thought.
‘I think that it’s betrayal.’

Then she got off at Paddington
and changed for British Rail.

train (2004)

doors would not open
we waited to push the doors
watch the train tip, fall

it lay with its wheels
turning impotently
trying to grip air

then we cheered
for reasons complicated
but justifiable

Excerpt From my Haiku Diary – August 21 2004

mourn the extinction
of typewriters, dodos of
the computer age


their keys will form a
geological strata
thin as a ribbon.