Thursday 31 December 2015

Through the Glass
A long time ago, Alice saw herself
in her looking glass and walked through
into a topsy turvy world 
where everything was back to front and inside out.
She drifted into a dreamscape
of madness and unreality,
without breaking the glass.
She wasn’t cut by the shards of her mirror
or the place she entered into.
She had only to wake from her dream
to make things the right way round again.
But with a clear glass,
a transparent window to the world,
things would have been different.
She would look towards a place
where everything seems the right way round,
where everything makes sense
and adds up sweet with reason.
There seems no madness in this place
which looks easy for her to enter
and welcomes her without sharp edges.
But the clear glass is an invisible barrier
to the life on the other side
that seduces and entices her.
And to step inside she has to break the glass
whose sharp edges cut her, really cut her.
And then propel her crazily on.
Unable to wake, she finds herself in
a jagged, topsy turvy place
where things are spinning round wildly.
Where caricatures of humanity scream out,
distorted, trying to make sense of it.
Front to back and outside in
Everything is the wrong way round again.

Saturday 19 December 2015

Dawn Chorus

It starts with one.
One skylark singing.
One Carson warning.
Then the robins and blackbirds join in. 
The early birds, like Carson.
Then the wrens and warblers
as the daylight warms them.
Can you hear them?
The warning calls are warming up as well,
strengthening their numbers 
as the bird song
dies away.
Can you hear them?
Don’t sleep.
Don’t wait
to hear 
the silence.

First published by Ealain, Extinctions Issue 7, April, 2015

Thursday 10 December 2015

Behind the Mask

Will I ever see
the man behind the mask?
I think I can 
through the eye slits,
when they are open.
Eyes are revealing, after all,
and difficult to hide.
Maybe they’ll tell me enough,
tell me all I need
to know.
So I will have no urge
to peel off the mask,
to tear it away from the skin
It would be too painful, anyway.
Too raw,
for both
of us
and would leave behind a soreness
that would not heal.
And still
not all would be revealed

by the exposure.
So many new warriors
grown from the seeds

planted by the invaders 
sent by the money men,
the arms traders,
the super ego-ed politicians.
So many dead warriors
lying whole or in pieces,
destroyed by the invaders
sent by the money men,
the arms traders,
the super ego-ed politicians.
Dead warriors.
Soon to be transformed,
transformed into butterflies,
according to the Mayans who knew
about transformations - and about warriors.
Butterflies with the souls of the dead warriors.
Butterflies that can fly across continents,
cross oceans and borders.
There are no barriers for butterflies.
And they are experts in transformation,
experts in disguise.
They will consume them,
the money men, the arms traders,
the super ego-ed politicians.
Will worm their way inside them,
infest them and destroy them all,
Yes, they should beware the butterflies
with the souls of dead warriors
and the memories of slaughter.
They carry karma with them.

First published in Ealain, Karma Issue
He looked down,
Eyes deliberately 
Not to be met.
“Hmm”, she said,
"Aunt Celia."
He looked up.
Eyebrows twitched,
a spark.
The spark.
The spark
that would ignite the fire
that would consume them.

First published in Leannan

She’s standing still 
pale as England, 
slim and serious
as I stood 
Hair chopped 
above her shoulders
with a little curl allowed
as mine was 
A little curl allowed,
in memory of it’s ringlets
earlier than
Then it grew longer 
and we pulled it straight.
So now, it’s more like it was 
before then.
Before then, 
it was longer still,
and ironed straight
under thick brown paper.
It had been shorter still before
it’s feminine length curtailed, but
with a little curl allowed,
a reminder of it’s ringlets earlier than
Of it’s earlier hated ringlets
grown  from loose curls.
Ringlets cut 
father died.
Not until

First published in Silver Birch Press, Looks Like Me series 2015
Washed Up
So many dead people
caught in the crossfire
created by the the money men, 
the arms traders,
the super ego-ed politicians.
They lie dead where they fell.
Flesh and blood transformed to
fertilizer to nurture the seeds
and grow the crops, in a future
they will not see.
Their bones decaying to dust
to form the building blocks
of homes they will never inhabit.
Dying where they fell,
over there, not here
and not looking like us.
Unseen or soon forgotten
by us here.
But the dead washed up
on holiday beaches
look like our flesh and blood.
They’re wearing our clothes.
They’re washing up to haunt us
in the Old World.
Then there’s the living,
washed up alive
and by any means necessary
moving on to bear witness,
if any one is listening.
To bring the horror home
to those who created it
in the Old World.
Bringing it home to the Old World,
but not as yet to the New.
First published in Whirlwind, Issue 6 2015
It’s said that you should remember your roots,
remember where you came from,
remember where you belong,
anchored by your long tap root.
But I have fibrous roots too,
growing out strongly from the main tap.
I have spread them out and
put them down in many places,
taken sustenance from them.
They’ve been part of my growth,
fed my main stem and it’s splits and branches.
I’ve branched out from them and belonged in them all,
all those places.
And some rootlets have broken free
and I’ve left them behind there
no longer belonging to me.
And I’ve left something of myself behind.
Would I find it if I returned?
I don’t think so.
But others may

First published in Writers Ezine, November 2015
Last night at the theatre I saw you again,
Your smile in a face so much younger.
My confusion, my thoughts, my stares made him turn
And your warm smile chilled me.
The past and it’s future all came flooding back.
The shock of sensations long gone.
The dance and the music, the books that we read,
the memories that we must both have
of the pain and the pleasures,
that were part of our love
a long time ago.
So I ask myself now, can anything stay
to give pleasure to us in remembering those days?
For my remnants now seem to be only pain,
and their sadness engulfs me
and halts my return.
So I left, in the end, as I left you, my love,
Saying nothing, taking nothing,
leaving nothing behind.
Without saying goodbye.

First published in Leannan, ‘Lovers’ Issue 1, October, 2015

Traveling through northern France
with Michel driving.
The Beatles singing on the radio,
“Michelle, my belle”.
A sky of uniform grey,
dark, dark grey.
And then,
a surprise rainbow.
And then,
to one side,
a helicopter 
outlined black.
Mosquito like.
And then,
I bottled it.
I can still remember.

First published in Silver Birch Press, Song Series, November 2015