Thursday 29 October 2020

Wednesday 28 October 2020

 Trick Or Treat

They’re spilling like jewels 

from the child proof jar,


sugar coated,

‘Eat Me’


Or are they tricks?

Try them

and you’ll find out 

soon enough,

just suck them,

and you’ll see.

 The Suitcase

Back then, we had a theory.
We thought that a suitcase
was easier to get into cars
than a rucksack and thus,
drivers were more likely
to pick up hitchhikers
with a small suitcase.
It worked like a dream
and it carried our dreams.

I came across our old suitcase
buried in a heap of debris in my attic.
It was battered from it’s long journeys
and even longer vacation.
Its clothing was torn
exposing its cardboard credentials.
I haven’t opened it yet
so it’s unclear
if it’s still full
or if it’s empty.

Once we packed it full
of our dreams,
but now
I wonder
if any remain,
caught in the lining perhaps,
or if they’ve all have been carried away
with our lost memories
or buried in the debris
of the past.

Monday 26 October 2020


She hangs


like a puppet


to the tune

of the wind.

Blown this way,

blown that,


but only briefly

before she takes control

like the mistress puppeteer

she is



to spin her silk

to weave her web

as she wills.

Or so she thinks.

But it’s an illusion.

She’s trapped.


and wrapped 

by her dna

as securely

as any fly,

her patterns




to be repeated 


after millennia

in her genes.

Sunday 25 October 2020


Ripples of time

gathering pace.

Working up to the wave 

that crashed into me, 

propelled me forward

and now sucks me back.

Thirteen decades.


To a place beyond my imagining,

so tidy now after the crash.

Gentrified now.

Rippling gently.

But before,

in my father’s time.

There was beer mixed mud

and crowding children.

And smells of horses

and metal.


Fire and metal work.

Children who 

would leave behind

the mud,

and country 


for the dust

and smog.

For the city grime.

Streets and factories.

More fire and metal.



And what then?

Still poor.

What then?

What secrets lie in those ripples

of time

washing over me


 I Remember My Father

I remember my father.

Remember being carried high 

on his shoulders when

he was walking into town.

I remember that I was scared.

I had never been carried

on shoulders before.

Was there a bus strike

or no money for the fare?

That I don’t remember.

I remember my father

sitting in a chair, a passenger

on a bus or tram,

as I collected his fare

and gave him a ticket.

He drove trams once

and then later he cleaned them.

I remember my father.

Remember sitting on his knee

looking at Rupert Bear books.

I knew the stories by heart

so people thought I could read

and were very impressed.

But I could only remember.

I remember my father.

I don’t need photographs

to jog my memory,

which is just as well

since there are none,

None of him whole, anyway, 

just one of his legs

in loose grey trousers,

sitting by me as I planted seeds

in my first garden.

Friday 23 October 2020

 Perfectly Imperfect

It started when we stood hopefully, 

with our thumbs outstretched

by an English roadside.

We were heading towards Italy and Yugoslavia

without maps or money, 

or sense of direction.

And we made it to Italy. 

and swam off the rocks, 

with a man we’d met in a cafe,

because he said we could.

And we 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.

And we made it to Pec and 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 fantasize 

about the ice cold mountain water 

streaming through the streets of Pec,

and even about the water pump in the garden. 

And we made it back home.

We had got lost a lot, 

but hadn’t got raped or murdered. 

So far as we can remember.

What perfection.

Thursday 22 October 2020

Wednesday 21 October 2020

 All The Devils Were There

I used to dress in bakers white

and take a basket of bread

to Halloween parties. 

I never found many takers.

Spiced pumpkin,

apple cakes

and candy

were always more popular.

So I had a re-think.

Now I take a basket of babies.

They can’t get enough of them

all of those devils out there,

even those who come as angels 

gather round for a bite.

Just one bite will transform them

so they’ll leave as devilish

as the rest.

Sunday 18 October 2020

 The Sun Is Burning

The sun is melting little by little

falling to earth like blown glass

Turning the sea to fire first.

The land will be next.

It looks like a bright angel now

but the angels have burned

and this final fire will pipe the last post

leaving nothing, but darkness

when the fires burn out

and the light melts away.

Saturday 17 October 2020

 Plague And It's Doctors

It must have been terrifying,

a deadly illness airborne

spread by miasma.

It sounds like a conspiracy theory now.

Perhaps some thought so then.

It all sounds so familiar

the specially made Personal Protective Equipment 

required for those treating the afflicted.

Boots and gloves,

head to toe waxed covering

with sweetly pungent perfumes underneath

and a stick to make sure people kept their distance.

It all sounds so familiar

the distinctive mask,

so distinctive 

it is popular in events today.

But the shape was necessary then,


it’s long beak delaying the passage 

of miasma to the doctor’s lungs, 

with a cocktail of disinfecting herbs 


for further protection.

It all sounds so familiar.

But is efficacy was limited.

They had misunderstood 

the causes and remedies.

We have more evidence now

but still wrestle

with competing theories.

So when all is stripped down 

and the masks are off

we are still ill equipped.

It all sounds too familiar.

 Marked Out

The marks are fading now

in the old playground.

It’s deserted now,

and since the crisis

no one plays games anymore.

I try to remember the the rules

but my memories are fading 

like the laughter of children 

like the marks on the ground

there are new rules now

but no games to play.

Friday 16 October 2020

 Lest We Forget

We think you can see us,

you know who we are 

behind our masks

Not everything is hidden.

We are not hidden.

We are out 

in the open

in plain sight

even if masked.

So join us for a snack,

a glass of wine,

a coffee.


Take a sip with us

lest we forget

what to do

when we go outside.

Step back in time

one taste at a time,

one sip at a time.


the first time 

is always challenging

and won’t ever be forgotten.


As we will remember

the ones behind the masks

and the ones in hiding,

the ones we know are there

but cannot see.

We know who you are.

No one is forgotten.

Nothing is forgotten.

That’s our promise

one sip at a time.