Here is the smallest window
in the world. Look through it
squinting with one eye.
You’ll see the things
you’re not supposed to see:
the politician cheating

on his wife, the fat priest
stealing from the poor,
the poet scribbling
someone else’s lines.
Only in this quarter,
in this district of the town

and only through this green
and stamp-sized frame
that didn’t shatter in the blitz
can you expect to see
things as they really are.
Other windows hide from us,

distract us and distort.
But this is the Land
of Green Ginger –
a place where the sky
and the estuary meet;
where all the thin alleys

deceive, double back
and lead to a spot
where strangeness occurs.
Put your eye to the window,
see how England goes:
its coalitions and its wars,

the steady consolation
of the rain, the failure
to respond to change
its constitution or its laws.
Once I drank bitter
from a clouded glass

among the city’s dissident
and peered out later
on the green-tinged street
where the world
of commerce came and went,
their ebb and flow

refracted and contained
inside the confines
of a thick glass plane.
The barmaid blinked
a tear back from her eye.
Then, after drinking

I went out into the bright
unequivocal day,
arrived too early or too late.
For this is the Land
of Green Ginger
and this is the window

that never lies –
where looking just once
means looking again
in this city of lost chances
where the rail lines terminate.