I hate the mirrors of the world, held up to my face screaming

20-year-old poets, schoolfriends with PhDs from Cambridge

One, even a journalist whiz-kid, reminding of that dumb dumb ticking of seconds

That rise like mould on the substance of youth

Already pretty much cemented by the time.

The world forgets me, is “sorry”, knows “that

This letter is sure to come as a disappointment for me” but

“the calibre of applicants was outstanding this year” and

“the competition stiff”. “Many of high-quality”

Have been left stranded on the self-erected island of hope

While the banner and the crest were quietly rolled down.


There comes eventually calmness in failure, that allows at least

Enjoyment of things which otherwise would only be

Of weak sentimental significance, like

A comment under your blog post with a new poem

An understanding of a difficult passage by Habermas

20lb less on the bathroom scale,

A sip of red wine, so nice, at this price!

A sight of the sea, at last.


Disappointment is too quaint a word

To do justice to that rot, which gets pushed back

By happy trifles, that sets mellifluously on

The dulled consciousness. Relief is so frustrating

In its fickleness.