Poems, I think, are best read singly. One of the most successful poetry publishing projects in my lifetime was Poems on the Underground. Just one short poem to be read while travelling and remembered later.

This page aims to be like that, one poem at a time, each taking the place of the one before, like stops on the Underground.

No choirs of angels

the day I got out
walking down the street
nobody there to meet me
just me on my own
it crossed my mind this might have been how Jesus felt
when he rose from the dead
it’s over
I’ve done my time

God knows what made me think of that
I must have gone to chapel too many Sundays
which you do to get in their good books
earn your parole
anyway that’s what came into my head

you might say the two cases were completely different
him being released to eternal life with his heavenly father
me being released to God knows what
and God knows who my father was
he was thirty-three when he got out
same as me
it’s a funny feeling
getting out
you feel invisible
out on your own
nobody keeping an eye on you
you want people to see you
I reckon that’s why he kept on appearing
he’d have wanted somebody to talk to him
touch him
anything just to prove he was really there

you get to the end of the street
you’re sitting in a café
drinking a cup of tea
just you on your own
no choirs of angels singing alleluia
and that’s how it goes on
day after day
roaming the streets
like a stray dog
and you feel like topping yourself

I bet it was the same with him

Neil Rathmell

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