Thursday 31 December 2020

 Self Contained

There used to be a man

who would sit here

on this bench

every day


at the view.

He was always alone.

He would stretch out his arms 

across the back of the bench

so that he filled it,

completed it.

Though he was

always alone

there never seemed space

for anyone else

he seemed complete

in his aloneness


So there were no conversations,

or even “good mornings”.

He didn’t seem to need them.

So we all passed by.

And now

we can sit there

with the view,

with his view

and wonder where he is.

And wonder if he is still alone.

And wonder if he is lonely.

Sunday 27 December 2020

 The Breathing Days

In the days when I still breathed air,

the days before 

living took my breath away,

the days before 

I knew my soul was there.

I thought about this time,

this time of no light,

the forever night time

with no breath, no air 

to breathe.

Just dust and darkness.

And I pondered.

Would there be slow decay 

or fast.

Stillness or movement.

Now I know.

I know everything about

the dust and darkness.

But I can't tell you.

Not now

in these days 

of no breath, 

no air

to speak.

Only my soul can speak.

Can you hear me?

Thursday 24 December 2020


It’s a long and desolate road.

I think it’s always been so.

Such a desolate road to travel

before the brightness ahead,

the light after desolation

when the sun is freed

from it’s winter shackles.

Such a desolate road to travel



searching for the brightness,

the light after desolation

when the sun breaks through

to nurture and feed 

the earth again.

Wednesday 23 December 2020

 The Circus of My Dreams

In the circus of my dreams

the unicorns are are prancing, rearing up,

flashing their rain-bowed 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 that 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.

Tuesday 22 December 2020

Monday 21 December 2020

 New Times

The birds are singing an opening chorus 

for the pollen laden bees to hum

over the flower beds in the park 

which buzz as well as bloom.

Summer is in full swing.

But in the playground

the swings are empty,

the marks of courts and pitches

have already faded.

It’s deserted now.

Since the lockdown

no one plays outdoors.

None of us play the old games anymore.

There are new rules this summer

as we stay at home 

carefully distanced

in our hazy miasma

of enforced laziness

waiting and hoping

that the clouds

hanging over us

will be blown away

before memories fade

with the laughter of children 

and the marks on the ground.

Friday 18 December 2020

 Mirror Image

The mirror was old,

not antique

just old.

Perhaps that was the reason

it didn’t seem quite right,

didn’t seem to reflect

me as I expected.

I looked harder.

I could see my surroundings

reflected as I thought they were,

the curtains and the colours,

the lamp standing naked

all present and correct.

But I wasn’t there.

I am here.

I know I am

and I’m looking

into the old mirror

where I should see myself


but I can’t.

I think it has swallowed me,

body and soul.

Wednesday 16 December 2020


Hanging suspended

like a puppet

dancing in the wind,

a marionette

with a master

working her strings,

or blown this way and that

buffeted by the wind.


she rises to the challenge

and takes control 



a mistress puppeteer

floating on a string

of her own making

swinging from tree to tree

catching raindrops

and her dinner

as she weaves her wonder.

 One Way In

The door was locked



against the entry

of the merest draught

shut tight

all gaps closed

against the ill wind

Don’t let it in, 

they cried

we’ve blown it away,

then closed up the gaps.

But what about the gentle breeze?

That should have space

to enter.

And will we know

which one is blowing

when we feel

the first touch.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

Blow it away,

the ill wind.

Don’t let it in.

But if there’s a sweet breath

within it

that should have space

to enter

and there’s only one way in.

for both.

 As The Crow Flies

I think it’s always quicker to travel

as the crow flies

more direct,

a Roman road

without ups and downs,

not that the crow notices such things.

It needs no air traffic control system either

has that built in and is never in collision.

And has no call for oil refined to kerosene,

just picks up fuel as it passes by

with eyes sharp for road kill

if it’s hungry

and maybe even if it isn’t.

It knows nothing of crowded airports 

with security delays

or blocked up motorways

to be factored into journey time.

The crow has risen above it all,

it looks down on them

and knows it will get there first.

Tuesday 15 December 2020

 The Crow Remembers

Through the mist

the crow is watching

the beach party

as they pile up the stones.

He watches them build them

higher and higher

but he’s not impressed,

he knows that the stack of stones 

was even higher once.

Their ancestors built it first

and the crow remembers them

remembers their faces

through the mists of time

in life and in death.

Remembers that

it formed a stairway

all the way to heaven.

That’s what they told him in life.

That’s what they tell him in death.

Monday 14 December 2020

 Christmas Tree

Trimming the tree each Christmas Eve

was my family’s ritual.

My cousin would come to help my mum

carefully take the glass baubles from the box

that used to hold Topsy, her big doll.

Then they would put them all in their place.

“No the elephant doesn’t go there,

that’s where the peacock should be

and the Christmas pudding goes above.”

Everything had it’s place on the Christmas tree

in my family.

There were shiny miniature crackers 

never to be pulled

and curly, coloured candles 

never to be lit

for economy.

No cheating tinsel was allowed 

only glass baubles should cover the tree, 

hiding the green.

The baubles had belonged to my cousin,

so had the tree. 

And earlier, to her mother and granny.

They were part of the family.

My cousin’s husband used to say with some truth,

we were the only family to fall out over trimming a tree

as every year the arguments were replayed.

Then they drank Santa’s sherry and ate his mince pies.

Must have needed them after trimming the tree

in my family.

Sunday 13 December 2020

 As Winter Falls

Willow don’t weep for me.

Back in the summer

I hid in the shadows

of your leafy canopy.

Now you have left me exposed


for the winter of my content 

which falls every year

as the lost leaves

turn golden

then brown

with decay

then white

with the silence 

of the first snowfall.

I’m waiting for it

to blanket me with light

and make me smile.

Willow don’t weep for me.

Thursday 10 December 2020


We thought we’d done it!

Created the basis for a future

based on peace and love and civil rights.

Even a pandemic couldn’t stop us at Woodstock.

We were unstoppable!

In diverse countries

we saw the rebels become statesmen.

We thought the struggle was over.

And now with hindsight,

I wonder if we would do it again

now we know what happened next.

And if I could go back

with that knowledge,

would I want to?

Would I want 

to face

the person hindsight made me.

And with hindsight,

would I be there for me to find?

Monday 7 December 2020


It takes a giant

to take hold 

of the sun

and wrap it up

like a lantern

and hold it


shining gold.

There were such giants once,

so it is said.

They would light the way of travellers,  

guide them through the darkness

and shine a light for all of us,

guide our way,

so it is said.

It is said that 

we killed them all. 

Even though it is difficult to kill a giant.

We worked out ways to do it,

worked out ways to kill

them all.

So now we just have only the sun

and now it shines less than before.


we have no giants

to capture it

and wrap it up

like a lantern.


we have no lantern 

to guide us through 

the darkness


Sunday 6 December 2020

Barcelona Sandals

Standing in the Andorra snow

shivering in our Barcelona sandals.

Glad of a lift down to Foix

as darkness was falling.

And the driver knew a hotel,

Hotel du Centre.

Very grand

and full

of people looking down

long noses.

But the driver knew the owner

who was a kind man,

a nice man.

So we shouldn't worry 

about the cost, he said.

A lovely room

and in the morning,


We must eat

the owner said.

Warm bread and jam.

Coffee with hot milk

which tasted sour.

But I don't like

the taste of milk,


so most likely

it was sweet.

And then the bill.

But there was no bill.

Save it for the journey,

the owner said.

A kind man,

a nice man,

who believed

the driver's story,

whatever it was.

A few years later, 

we returned to Foix

and went to find 

Hotel du Centre.

But it wasn't there.

No one knew it.

It didn't exist.

Did it ever exist?

Did any of it happen?

Or did we somehow


a memory 

from our