Saturday 30 April 2016

        The Spark

There’s always a spark.
The spark.
The flash that ignites the fire.
Just a glow at first,
then a blaze.
Flames shooting out
choosing their directions.
Out of my control.
Out of all control.
Creating and destroying

as it will.

Lynn White: A Tale Of Height and Light

Lynn White
The Lighthouse

I was a little crazy
to buy the old lighthouse.
I knew it at the time.
But I wanted to be somewhere,
somewhere where I could shine,
shine lamps out into the vastness,
shine like a beaming beacon.
And it was so high.
It matched my mood and then some.
Higher than high.
Higher than high.
There was no housewarming.
No one came.
There was no one to come.
So, only I could relish the exposure.
Only I could walk round the top
of the tower and look over the edge
into the dark deep depths.
Only I could see the swimmer,
a mermaid, surely? waving.
Or was she beckoning
as she approached the mooring.
Only I could come spiraling down.
Come down from the heights
to open the door,
to run down the steps
to the mooring.
And then the lamps went out.

Read the poetry of Lynn White
Read a profile of Lynn White
That Was Us

That was us
who wandered through Europe without maps or money, 
or sense of direction.
Who got lost a lot, 
but didn’t get raped or murdered. 
So far as we can remember.

Who charmed hoteliers into letting us stay for free. 
Who got up early (too cold to sleep),
and cleaned the kitchen and the floors of the hostel in Laumiere 
for the first time in many years.
Then sat on the stairs and said ‘No Pasaran’ to everyone, until it had dried,
explaining carefully in languages we did not speak, 
why this was necessary. 

Who, with wide eyed innocence and impressively bad French 
failed to understand the policemen’s demands,
‘Vos papiers, s’il vous plait, vos papiers!’
Until our new friends with the nice smiles and no papers had disappeared.
‘Vos papiers, s’il vous plait, vos papiers!’ 
Sod off! 

That was us
who swam off the rocks, with a man we’d met in a cafe,
because he said we could.
And swam and swam until two policemen came, 
(one very stern and one very twinkly),
and said we couldn’t.
Nor could we leave the rocks without clothes on,
or with clothes clinging to our still wet bodies, 
or lie on the rocks until we were dry,
in case we disconcerted the traffic or populace. 
This being the main street in Trieste.

Who lived in a house ‘typique du Turque’ with a water pump in the garden
and a toilet, also ‘Typique du Turque’, which made us very ill indeed.
But the parties were good and the conversations interesting,
even though no one spoke English.
And we learned to speak some Albanian, which was always handy.
And we survived to sit thirstily by a hot, dusty roadside and fantasise 
about the ice cold mountain water streaming through the streets of Pec,
and even about the water pump in the garden. 

Who left Barcelona dressed in summer skirts and sandals 
and arrived late by a dark roadside in snowy Andorra,
at a place full of ‘apres ski’ types with plummy voices and fat wallets,
inviting us into their warm hotel to buy us drinks and hot food,
to warm us up, they said.
No chance! 
No class traitors, us! Not us, 
Not us.

They’re not like us, 
these two old women in the mirror 
wearing our jeans and our smiles.
Not us, 
they can’t be us.
Not us.

Not us.

Wednesday 27 April 2016


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,

Reprinted in

Monday 25 April 2016

In The End

In the end 
I’ll be like you.
Dust with
flakes of skin and bone
wrapped in long hair.
Teeth chattering
With no voice.
No sense of taste
or smell.
No reason.
In the end
we'll be invisible,
But then, we always were
you and I,
we always were.

First Published in In Flight Magazine, Paper Plane Pilots, January 2015

Saturday 23 April 2016

Dream Catchers
These hairy, feathery, stringy things
are supposed to catch my dreams,
but I don’t believe it.
I’ve hung them above my bed and
inspected them carefully in the morning
but I’ve never found a dream caught
in them,
Not even a tiny dreamlet.
they’re just a trick,
a deception, to make me feel
I can capture them and relive them
when I want to.
But I can’t.
No one can ever go back to a dream.

Thursday 21 April 2016


Round and round, 
the grinning, gaudy horses 
round and round
on the merry go round.

Round and round,
but the grins are faded now 
and the once bright horses 
drab and disheveled 
staggering and lurching.
Round and round 
on the treadmill 
of the merry go round.

Round and round.
Round and round.
Just one more revolution
and they'll be ready.
to bite the hands
that refused to feed them.

Round and round.
Round and round.
Only one more revolution,
to sharpen up the teeth. 
Round and round,
just one more revolution
on the not so merry go round.

Reprinted in Quail Bell 2016

First published in Ealain, Karma issue, December 2015

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Summer in Gaza

In the rain of the rockets
there’s no water.
Metal rain.

In the rain of the rockets
there’s no sunshine.
Smoke rain.
Black rain.

In the rain of the rockets
there’s no life.
Death rain.
Life ending rain.
Death without life rain.

In the rain of the rockets
there’s no hope.
Deaf rain.
Deaf rain.
Deaf rain.

Sunday 17 April 2016

A Grey Place?
This is a grey place, 
there's no denying.
Grey slate, grey granite,
grey houses built of both.
And it rains a lot, there's no denying.
Vertical, or horizontal, or swirling rain
falling greyly from heavy misty clouds.
But when caught by a sunbeam
it makes glistening slides 
shimmering across the slate 
and falls in bright white tails 
or snakes like silver
where the mountains leak it.
And spills heavily over rocks,
it's foaming, frothing, yellow ruffed 
cascades catching rainbows as they crash
then spitting them back out 
in a fine spray of colours.
And now there's no grey 
in the dark blue, black sky 
filled with gold and silver twinkles.
No grey at all in this place now,
there's no denying.
First published by Silver Birch Press in Where I Live Series 2015

Reprinted in Shades Of The Same Skin

Friday 15 April 2016

Wild Fruit

I like the wild berries best.
Juice spilling over.
staining my tongue purple
or my lips red.
Each one a new sensation.
A little harder to come by,
than the bland clones,
the cultivars.
A bit more of a struggle.
And, it must be said,
not always sweet.
One never knows
with these wild fruits.
With each taste comes
a surprise.
Spit out the sour,
take in the sweet.
Such joy!
Oh yes!
the wild berries are the best.

First Published in The Dawntreader, Summer 2015

Thursday 14 April 2016

Ground Force Gaza

Another volley of stones.
It’s frightening.
Lucky we’re protected 
with our body armour.
Lucky we’re safe inside our tanks.
Frightening though.
So many stones.
Such big rocks lobbed 
by such little people.
We’re not allowed to kill them
if they’re under twelve.
And orders are orders.
But it’s difficult to tell
Could be worse though.
Could be in a war zone
with phosphorous flying
and armour piercing shells
doing more then scratch the paint.
We could be fried alive in our tanks
But now,
only us can do the frying.

First published by Vagabond Press in The Border Crossed Us - An Anthology To End Apartheid, October 2015

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Dandelion Seed

There's a dandelion seed
caught in your hair.
A fluffy wisp of white and grey
hanging there, 
in your frothy crown.
A shimmering seed held
like a star in a wiry halo 
made by the light.

Blow it away.

Perhaps you will,
if I tell you it's there.

Blow it away.

But it looks so beautiful
suspended there.
I won't tell you.
I'll just admire it's beauty
as it hangs
in your hair.

Blow it away.

No, I won't.
It will leave soon enough.
Best not to rush these things.
Who knows where
they will end up

after all.

reprinted in Piker Press

Monday 11 April 2016

The Circus of My Dreams

In the circus of my dreams
the unicorns are are prancing, rearing up,
flashing their rainbowed hooves,
pointing with their golden horns,
with their unique golden horns.
Then, ridden by Leprechauns,
they’re dancing round and round
the circle of the ring.
Kicking up the gold dust ground
from their droppings into
shimmering sawdust.

In the circus of my dreams
there is a rainbow.
A rainbow which has painted
their hooves with it’s light
as they climbed their way up
and slid their way down
to the crock of gold at the end.
Time for the little people to dismount
and mould the gold into hearts of love.
Time for the unicorns to use the gold
to nurture and replenish
their golden horns, their unique
golden horns.

First published in Pilcrow and Dagger 'Leprechauns and Love'
Sweet Heart

He’d seen it glint earlier
when a shaft of light hit
the open box.
He kept watch till they left.
Back now, still watchful.
Turn his head this way,
then that. 
No cats.
No humans.
Upturned the box 
and seized his prize
glinting gold among the dull
browns and creams.
Carried it off.
Then carried it home,
a home now fit for his new lover,
his sweet heart.
But he didn’t unwrap it.
Didn’t discover the greater prize
lying under the surface glitter.
Didn’t find the jewel 
of sweetness in the centre.
Soon life dulled the surface glitter,
screwed it up.
And  the sweet heart 
melted in the warmth,
Melted into sticky goo.
Melted away as
sweet hearts do.

In Quail Bell - Unreal

Sunday 10 April 2016

Ten Minutes

In the next ten minutes I have to go, 
and you can’t let me just walk 
out of your life again.

Can’t let you! Can’t stop you, I said,
and I won’t try, won’t try.
How can I? What should I do?
Follow you from place to place?
Sit outside your house and chance 
being turned away, by someone?
I don’t know where it is, in any case
and I don’t want to know.

So what’s it to be? A thread?
An occasional e mail to keep in touch? 
I don’t think so!
Our lives are so distant in every way,
how to join them up?

The trick would be to store the memories
and leave behind the sense of loss.
Ditch the sadness.
But we’ve tried before. And failed.
And we’re running out of years.
If we meet a next time, 
the chances are
we’ll be to old to care.

We need to achieve a modus vivendi, 
that will at least allow 
our lives to touch each other.
Nothing less?

And, in the next ten minutes!
I said.

First published in Leannan, Lovers issue 2015

Friday 8 April 2016

Separate Development

We must develop separately, you and I,
you on your side, me on mine.
The wall between us

They built it so.

We must undermine it, you and I,
you on your side, me on mine,
Burrow beneath  
the rocky foundation,
scratch away,
one stone at a time.

Wall fall down.

First published in The Miscreant, Issue 8

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Monday 4 April 2016

     Am I Dreaming?

Is this a dream, a mirage?
I could be sleeping.
I was looking out on trees
with rooks calling and nesting
when I started to eat 
my picnic.

But am I asleep now?
The trees are dancing,
but no longer trees.
Young people from another time
are dancing to the music,
swaying to the music of the crows.
No longer crows though,
but fiddlers and singers
making raucous music
for the dancing.

So am I dreaming?
The cheese is real though,
and I’m still eating.
I’m still chewing the bread 
and drinking the wine.
And I can feel a stone
against my back, 
digging into me.

I’m sleepy now though.

Will they be there when I wake?
Or will I come back into life
to see the trees and rooks 
as I clear away my picnic
and pack up.

Sunday 3 April 2016


He’s standing on the beach
with a small suitcase.
Not sure if he’s coming or going,
if it’s an arrival or departure.
It’s unclear.

It’s unclear
if the suitcase is full 
or if it’s empty.
Once he packed it full
of his dreams, but now
it’s unclear
if any remain.

If any remain caught
in the lining, perhaps.
Or if all have been carried away
and are gone forever on a storm tide,
or washed up and buried in the sand.
It’s unclear.

All that is clear
is the emptiness 
of a long horizon.

First published in Paper Planes Inflight Magazine, Spring 2016

Saturday 2 April 2016

If in the afternoon I come upon a land
and find the lotus blooming there,
I wonder if I will recognise it’s flowers and fruits.
I wonder if I will remember it’s story.
And in the evening, after sniffing the fragrance
of the flowers and tasting the fruit,
will I have forgotten

to wonder.

First published in The Miscreant Issue 8