Thursday 29 December 2016

Death at Work

Such a terrible thing,
to go to work and not come home.
To put yourself in danger,
risk a fall or an infection
just to do your job, earn your bread
without hurting anyone.
An accident happened
or someone was negligent.
So much grief unheard
except by those close.
Personal grief staying personal.
Maybe some were heroes,
maybe not.
Some good, some less so.
Just people.

Soldiers though, they are always heros,
especially when dead.
Those sent out to kill for the politicians
and the generals.
It's automatic, goes with the territory,
whoever's territory it is.
Heroes when they kill the other guys.
Heroes again when the other guys kill them.
Murdered heroes the courts say now,
unlawfully killed
killed by criminals who should be brought to justice.
Not corporate manslaughter to be forgotten.
Criminals or someone else's heroes.
Depends on your territory.

Wednesday 28 December 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.

Published in The New English Verse, December 2016

First published by Dawntreader, July, 2015

Tuesday 27 December 2016

The Hedgerow Fairies

Where have they gone,
the hedgerow fairies 
in their harebell hats?
I used to see them sitting
under their leafy roofs 
stitching their summer dresses
of poppy and mallow petals
with long silk threads 
catching the summer sunlight
as the smiling spiders spun.
I miss them so,
the hedgerow fairies
in their harebell hats.

I used to see them collecting
armfuls of meadow sweet
to stuff their nighttime mattresses,
making doorways in their new
toadstool homes with sharp stones.
Maybe they’ve gone underground
to escape the passing cars and tractors.
Maybe they only come out at night now
and stitch and stuff under the moonlight.
I don’t know.
But I miss them so,
the hedgerow fairies
in their harebell hats.

First published in Vox Poetica, December 2016

Monday 26 December 2016

My Felt Hat
Felt hats have a long history,
or so I’m told.
Back even to the Romans.
Back to St Clement.
Back to medieval Nurnberg.
Back to the Roaring Twenties
and the trilbies, bowlers and cloches.
Perhaps some creative enough
to be the product of someone’s
fired up imagination.
Maybe some were made in Tallinn,
fairy tale hats from a fairy tale place.
Creativity without bounds.
Such hats are made there now
and as a hat fanatic,
of course I have one.
I thought the dye might run in the rain
and cause it to lose it’s crowning glory,
in woad-like streaks down my face.
But it hasn’t happened.
I thought it would fail to spring back
into its bowler shape when squashed.
But it hasn’t happened.
It’s still a crowning glory,
my beautiful felt hat.

Friday 23 December 2016


The rock looms large above me,
the petrified remains of the last time the sun burned,
the time of giants.
Giant rocks and giant creatures fused together in the fire.
There's on with a long nose!
Or maybe it's a beak.
And there's a human molar,
And here I stand,
on my tiny rock.
I'm lit now by moonlight,
but soon the sun will rise
and consume us,
fuse us together
and we are both so small,
I am not sure that anything will remain.

Thursday 22 December 2016



How can it be that someone
I don't see, 
only think 
about sometimes,
but never contact,
or try to,
leaves such a gap,
in their final leaving.
My life has not been changed.
All is the same.
So why the difference now
that you're really in the past,
when you were already part of my past
and not of my future.

Nothing has changed for me,
not really,
not in reality.
So why do you occupy my thoughts
in a different way.
Why does my future feel different
now you cannot be part of it,
even though you never would be
and I knew it.

Perhaps because I can no longer
dream you there.
But why not
when you could never be there
and I knew it
the same then, 
as I know now.
Why is it different,
even to dream?

Tuesday 20 December 2016


I look into the river and see myself in reflection.
Colour fast but unstable, I move helplessly in it’s flow.
I am constantly being moved and changed,
but left stationary, moved but not moving on
like the fishes and pebbles.

Here I am, disturbed and abstracted,
surrounded by this rippling, babbling, watery world,
which leaves me unclear who I am and,
more unclear about the solidity of my background
and what is happening around me.

I look into two worlds which are intermingling,
becoming inseparable before my gaze.
My own distorted image fades and breaks
with the images behind and beyond me
in the background of my life.

This river is becoming a metaphor for my own confusion.
For the displacement and fragmentation I feel inside.
I am in danger of being broken up and washed away.
Unable to bring myself together, I remain in pieces,
undecided, lacking definition.

It is also a metaphor which stretches beyond my person,
into the confusion and fragmentation beyond it’s edges,
into the reality outside, which is pressing in on me.
It excludes any coming together, any resolution as
it embraces me in it’s ripples and sounds.

Such sweet, watery sounds, cooly relaxing my spirit.
Shutting out the incoherent babbling outside.
But still, even as I put my hands over my broken ears,
I know it will find a way inside and overwhelm me,
in any case.

First published in Selfhood Anthology, Transcendence Zero Press, December 2016
BLUE NIGHT IN BLAENAUBlaenau Ffestiniog, Wales (2010)
Blaenau Ffestiniog is the small town in north Wales where I live. It has a reputation for being grey and rainy, but sometimes when the weather is clear, we get an amazing dark blue sky at night. I painted this landscape after walking home on just such a night.

Published in Topology, December 2016

Tuesday 13 December 2016

If I Were A Butterfly

If I were a butterfly
where would I fly?
I could grace every home
bringing good luck every time.
Make sure that my children
ate up all the weeds,
and recycled the waste
without judgement or hate.
In a world that’s at peace
I’d find my place.
Hmm, if I were a butterfly
I’d think this must wait.

If I were a butterfly
where would I fly?
If my soul were parochial
it would hang in my space,
It would look pretty in my garden,
propagate where I said,
and keep watch with indulgence
as my kids ate the rest.
If I were a butterfly
I’d think this was sad.
A life is too short
to live in the past.

If I were a butterfly
where would I fly?
Like all souls of dead warriors
for justice and peace, 
I’d fly
down the throats of the haters,
war mongers, arms traders, 
parasitic self servers.
They’d choke on my body
and ingest my eggs.
My children would eat them,
feast on them, thrive
then fly on to the next.
If I were a butterfly
that’s where I’d fly.

If I were a butterfly
then where would I fly?
I would grace every home
bringing good luck every time.
I would make sure that my children
ate up all the weeds,
and recycled the waste
without judgement or hate.
In a world that’s at peace

I’d find my place.

Monday 12 December 2016

Seed Shells 

The first seeds were sown a long time ago.
When these small seed shells burst open
they were scattered locally.
They grew patchily at first, in Palestine, in Israel,
in Lebanon and throughout the Arab world.
There were only little streams to irrigate
and fertilize them, so they often failed to thrive.
But that was then. 
Now the shells have grown bigger
and the seeds have flown further.
Further and further.
And the streams have grown wider and longer.
And more nutritious. 

When the seed shells have burst in this century,
they found ground that was even more fertile.
So more and more has come under cultivation,
irrigated and fertilized now from rivers, 
rivers of blood.
So well irrigated,
so well nurtured and tended that
the patches of brown soil became rare indeed.
But there were some.

Later the seeds spread wider over Gaza.
As larger seed shells broke and splintered
they found and colonised new areas 
outside the brown patches
where it was now easy to germinate and thrive.
Now even trees could grow there and send out suckers
into the newly bloodied green places. 
Soon there was a wood with dense undergrowth.
The rivers were torrents now
bloody torrents
with plenty of irrigation channels.

Now more seeds have flown from Gaza.
Ever bigger seed shells are exploding and unloading 
their crop of giant seeds.
The wood is a forest now,
a forest of giants now spreading their own seed
in the already fertile ground, 
spreading it ever more thickly,
growing ever taller.
A forest of hate,
a writhing, spitting jungle
that we are unable to cut down

First published by Guide To Kultur Journal, Issue 8, July 2016

Saturday 10 December 2016

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.

Thursday 8 December 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.

Published in Snapdragon, Welcome Home Issue, December 2016

First published by Silver Birch Press in Where I Live Series 2015

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Soul Searching

Will I find you shining
among the sharp pinpoint stars
gleaming gold and silver?
Or shall I search the ocean
and find your spirit
buried down there
amongst the sand and pebbles?
Perhaps I should comb the beach
raking through it’s silver grains
and broken shells.
Only your restless soul could
have washed up briefly there.
You never liked beaches with
their sandwiches of sandy bites
and the boredom of sun seeking.
No you wouldn’t stay there.
I wouldn’t find you there.
You were always the deep one,
so maybe I should look deeper,
deep into the blue black night
beyond the white milkiness
into the sweet soft starlight.
There would be a place
for your soul to hide
and I could join you
and rest a while,
a long while
with you
First published in Writer's Ezine, December 2016

Saturday 3 December 2016

                     Washed Away

        Cool cleansing water running over me,
        washing away my sins, my impurities,
        Cleaning me up, getting rid of the villainy
        and lack of chastity.
        Absolving me.

        But who’s to say they should be washed away,
        like the scruffiness of childhood innocence.
        Who should judge these scents and tastes and sweats 
        of a life cleanly and clearly remembered.
        What sins, what villainy?

        I wished they could remain unwashed and pure 
        retaining their essence within my reach.
        Hanging about me in my lived in face.
        A testament to my life, an affirmation.
        It didn’t take much water to remove them.
        But I was already clean.
        I can remember.

Published in Whipers In The Wind, December 2, 2016

First published in Snapdragon “Your Wild And Precious Life”, September 2015


Thursday 1 December 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.