Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Two poems by Brian Docherty


brian mugshotHe is still wearing his Burtons demob suit,
even though this is 1952 and he is supposed
to be on holiday. He stands here every day
for an hour or two, in between breakfast or
lunch or tea, among the rocks, away from
the deckchairs & donkeys, the fishermen.

His wife has one of those deckchairs, his kids
given money & warning, “Don’t bother Daddy.”
As if they would – they know certain subjects
are off-limits, from fragments overheard
when their uncles come round, know better
than to ask what he might be looking out for.

Like Mum, they know little of his War history,
except some of it happened in North Africa,
some in Italy, but the rest, “that’s Classified.”
They do not know, and never will, that he was
a Commando, and that his best mate died
in an Operation to mine U-Boats in Norway.

Now, in the bracing air of Robin Hood’s Bay,
where his wife is thinking Butlins next year,
he spends his time looking towards Norway,
as if a U-Boat might surface at any moment.
At times like this, he is a stranger to himself,
his wife & kids, and anyone who comes near.



First visit to Golden Gate Park in a year.
I want to pretend that nothing has changed,
that I was here yesterday or last week.

This is not true, can never be true
until I am offered a job in this City
or a miracle, or that unique lottery ticket.

I can hear a radio, playing Classic FM’s
local franchise, running through Haydn
then Schubert, before the forecast of fog.

“Drive carefully,” is our intro to Vivaldi’s
Four Seasons; “you never know, it might snow.”
Well, it snowed over in Moraga, Dec 7.

I stroll on towards the De Young Museum,
past a bank of glorious pink blossoms I need
to know the name of before the fog erases them.

A handsome & bold tiger striped cat calls me.
We are both meditating lunch, he wants to be
my new best friend, but he is not welcome

in the Museum’s excellent café. A turn, a raise
of the tail, I am not worthy, then he is gone,
weather sense better than mine, fog on the way.

He might get a free lunch, I will pay gladly here,
take the lift up the Observation Tower, look out
over Richmond & Sunset, wish I was here.


 FRONT3-1 resizedThese poems are from Brian Docherty’s newly published fifth book of poetry, In My Dreams, Again. A Hastings-based poet, Brian has been active on the local poetry scene at venues such as SlamDunk and Sheer Poetry, as well as Eastbourne’s Poetry Cafe and Brighton’s Shine So Hard.

Brian says he is noted for the blend of politics, social comment and black humour that characterises his work, but that there is also something new this time round, and that his work never stands still. He has been described as a ‘resident alien‘ by one reviewer,  and that’s why he now feels at home in Hastings.

In My Dreams, Again is available from Bookkeeper Bookshop, Kings Road, St. Leonards, and Bookbuster, Queens Road, Hastings, or direct from the publisher, Penniless Press, price 7.99.


Posted 17:50 Friday, May 26, 2017 In: Poetry

Also in: Poetry

More HOT Stuff

    HOT is run by volunteers but has overheads for hosting and web development. Support HOT!


    Advertise your business or your event on HOT for as little as £20 per month
    Find out more…


    If you like HOT and want to keep it sustainable, please Donate via PayPal, it’s easy!


    Do you want to write, proofread, edit listings or help sell advertising? then contact us

  • Subscribe to HOT