Tuesday, 20 April 2021

 A Familiar Story

It’s a familiar story

well told

and many of us can identify

with some part of him -

Odysseus the escapee,

Odysseus the wanderer,

the adventurer,

the explorer

the leaver of a past life

and embracer of the new.

We’ve all desired

to sail away 

in boats that fly

as quick as thoughts

and at some point we’ve all 

ate the sun god’s cattle

and paid the price.

We’ve all described our relationships

as “complicated,”

or wanted to.

It’s a familiar story

well told.

Each landing was a new challenge

in a newly discovered land

inhabited by Other people,

Other creatures

monstrous beings

to be vanquished by superior swords

or stolen to serve 

as housekeepers or herders,

to be made into fish food if they resist. 

It’s a familiar story

well told.

Then there’s the women

the temptresses

with their beautiful voices

weaving with shuttles made of gold.

Beautiful voices 

but dangerous mouths

enticing us with their cupid lips.

And there’s always others,

the ones who seem all mouth

or have many mouths. 

We can quieten them.

We can steal them away to become our maids,

our handmaids

as Atwood might describe them.

It’s a familiar story 

well told.

And we’ll load up our ship with lotus fruit,

or lounge about while they do it,

and then we’ll forget the long swords

and how we fed the fish

with the heroes of the Resistance.

We’ll be the heroes when we get home.

It’s a familiar story

well told.


Tuesday, 13 April 2021

 Holding My Breath

It looks as though the historians of today

have finally caught up 

with their nineteenth century colleagues

and discovered

that fresh air is rather good

for treating 

and preventing

infectious diseases..

Even politicians have noticed

and now have a new slogan

to promote

the discovery

in Britain.

Britannia rules


Not long now before they ‘discover’

that the isolation hospitals of history

were pretty cool in preventing cross infection

and might have saved one in five people

from Covid infections in England. 

That’s the number acquired by hospital in-patients,

the number acquired by out-patients being unknown.

It seems that hospitals can be very dangerous places.

More dangerous

maybe than bars,

or cafes,

or schools,

or even crowded metros.

So I don’t expect to have to wait long

for this discovery.

Shall I hold my breath?

Maybe not,

no matter

how fresh

the air



Saturday, 10 April 2021


I didn’t silence easily,

not even as a child

I spoke first

and listened later

to the embarrassed laughter

or pourings of outrage

from adult mouths.

I resisted my mother’s attempts

to quieten me,
I knew it would ruin me,

arrest my development,

curtail my growth,

my flowering.

So I was ready for you 

when you tried.

Yes, you tried.

But by then

I was ready,

I knew who I was,

knew too much altogether

and there was nothing we could do 

about it.

I had already spoken out.


Friday, 9 April 2021


The king is dead!

Long live the king!

The crown of thorns,

the cut to the heart

in the end

there was no end,

so it's said.


Thursday, 8 April 2021

 Inappropriately Dressed

I wasn’t dressed for snow,

or clouds,

or wind,

or for walking at all,

if I were honest.

But sometimes 

you just have to give it a go

and trudge through the clouds,

kick up the snow in passing,

challenge the wind

with the size 

of your hat.

It wouldn’t dare to blow

it away, would it?


you just 

have to don

your dark glasses

and stride out to the sun,

regardless of snow, or clouds, or clothes.


you just have to go.


 I Was Not Like Her

I was not like her,

the girl in the picture

looking out




No I was not like her

not me

not then.

I wore the gloves in summer 

that my mother bought me

the classic cut clothes 

that she had always 

wanted to wear

even allowed my hair to curl

as it wanted to

as she wanted it to.

No I was not like her,

the one in the picture

not then.

But when I broke free

made myself up

wore minis

or long skirts

controlled my curls

with an iron in hand


I think

I became her



 Leaving Home

The van departed

fully loaded,

I stood there 

empty handed

and took a last look round

the house 

where I’d once been happy.

I felt empty now,

like the house,

empty rooms

and faded dreams.

I was on my own now,

going solo.

I walked briskly away.

I didn’t look back.