Friday, 31 December 2021

 Burying the Hatchet

Where better to bury the murder weapons

than under the bodies

in their graves.

No one will know

and there’ll be no hard feelings then.

So that will be my strategy

to bury hatchets under buried bodies

so that all quarrelling will cease

and everyone will live happily ever after,

everyone still living, then.

Friday, 24 December 2021

 To Be A Witch In Scotland

Scotland was not the place to be a witch,

it really wasn’t.

There were more than four thousand witch trials

in Scotland

putting Salem to shame,

the Witch-Finders boasted.

One would suppose that 

wise women did not become witches,

but it seems,

many did

and paid a hot and heavy price.

So not many would be dancing,

even at Christmas,

even in spirit 

few would rise

for the occasion

only the bravest

would celebrate.

But this Christmas in Scotland

there is something more

a vindication,

a recognition of innocence

that does not require bravery to celebrate.

Even though it’s three hundred years late.

Thursday, 23 December 2021

 Christmas Crow

We watched the crow with fascination

as it tap tapped on the window pane,

saw its black eyes gleaming,

its wet feathers shining

in the moonlight.

And we understood.

We understood that it wanted to join us,

to perch amongst the baubles

on our shining tree

to share our fireside warmth

on Christmas Eve

and escape 

the cold winter rain.

We heard it promise

to sing for us

We opened the window

and let it in.

It crowed a Christmas carol.

 The Usual Santas

She was not the usual Santa

corpulent and whiskered

in baggy red pants 

and loose jacket

stretched to fit his belly.

No she was something special,

something out of the ordinary.

At first the reindeers were a little nonplussed

when her mini-skirted elves 

with green spiked hair

and bright red lippy

loaded presents

on to the very ordinary sleigh.

But they were impressed 

with the practicality 

of her red stripy leggings

as she climbed up

into the driving seat

and were happy 

to spread their wings

and fly through the stardust

at her command.

The presents were delivered as usual though

and this Santa enjoyed the mince pies and sherry

left out for her in every home.

Not everything had changed!

Wednesday, 22 December 2021

 So Many Things

What would you like for Christmas?

It’s a problem to decide

what to buy for the one who has everything!

There’s a birthday coming up,

what would you like?

It’s a problem to decide

what to buy for the one who has everything!

But now even our special things

are taking us over 

growing like triffids 

and suffocating us

spewing from our homes,

first to fill plastic bags

and then the land,

the seas, 

the air 

we breathe.

Too many things.

It’s all too much.

Tuesday, 21 December 2021


Slowly at first

almost imperceptibly

the days become shorter

minute by minute

as winter whispers 

her arrival once again.

Listen carefully

but take care.

Soon you will cover your ears 

as she learns to shout.


If I could choose my memories

I would keep the ones

that make me smile


keep them safe,

so I can revisit them

and throw away the rest

watch them blow away

in the wind.

But I cant.

Theyre self selecting

they chose


and I wonder 

what choices will be left

for me 

to the end of my days.

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

 How To Float

They told me a stone would never float.

I didn’t believe them

so I threw it carefully on to the water.

It stayed there

on the surface,

a miracle!

So I threw another carefully to land on top

and then another

and another.

Now a stack of stones was floating 

on the water.

They told me a stone would never hang in the air.

I didn’t believe them

so I threw it carefully upwards.

It stayed there

in the air,

a miracle! 

So I threw another to land underneath

and then another

and another.

Now a stack of stones was hanging

in the air

casting its shadow on the water.

Believe in the miracles you can make.

Don’t believe what they tell you.

Cast a long shadow.


Still they try to find it,

the secret of eternal youth,

the women with their heavy made-up masks,

the men with their toupees,

the nip and tuckers, 

the stretchers and smoothers.

Like the alchemists of old searching

for the secret of turning base metal to gold,

they’re searching,



endlessly searching

magic and science

as they get older

and older


And still 

the fountain of youth eludes them.

And all the alchemists are dead.

 Beyond Our Control

Beneath the surface of the night

the daylight is hiding.

I saw it disappear

as the sun sank 


the straight line of the horizon.

It’s still there somewhere,

hiding here 

but showing itself

shining roundly 

somewhere else

in a different place,

a different hemisphere.

That’s how it works

this day and night business

that’s in control,

that tells the flowers 

when to close up their petals

and the animals to sleep

and dream.

Every day

it happens,

a shining




beyond our control.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

 Winter’s Tale

Slowly at first

almost imperceptibly

the days become shorter

minute by minute

as winter whispers 

her arrival once again.

Listen carefully

but take care.

Soon you will cover your ears 

as she learns to shout.

Sunday, 12 December 2021

 Life After Death


Something startled me:

where I thought I was safest

where I thought I belonged

so I will follow Whitman—

avoid the still woods I love

and fields where I used to walk.

I won’t emerge from my home

to meet friends in open spaces

or hug them and share a coffee,

there are no cafes anymore.


Even the ground has sickened.

Men in white spray disinfectant

over streets to stem disease.


Yet, I’m alive to sounds of spring

rising from death and decay of winter.

I’m alive to the prospect of summer

when death-fertilised ground shows life

where even death had planted blooms.

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

 The Crossword Man

We saw him often during our stay in Moscow.

Every time we passed the opulent public building

he’d be sitting there in his ‘Enquiries” cubicle

intent on his crossword.

We watched in awe 

as the small queues formed,

marvelled at the increasingly imaginative ways

devised to attract his attention.

All failed.

The women in high heels,

the men in smart suits,

the young people in jeans,

the workers in uniform,

there was no discrimination

they were equal 

in his resolution to ignore them.

It was sometime later at the end of an era

when I saw him again.

He was sitting there at his desk 

intent on his crossword

and then came the breakthrough1

We watched in awe

as he leapt up,

rushed animatedly to the door

shouting and gesticulating

to the camera crew who had opened it.

They were making their way inside

as I watched on the television News.

Now I know, 

all that is needed is a camera!

 Looking Glass

I’m gonna break

that looking glass.

Too many of them

are walking through it.

I’m gonna break it.


I’m gonna stamp

on the shards

grind them to powder

so the fuckers can’t get back.

 Lost At Sea

I’d had the dream before

so I’d seen the waves,

heard them


and there was I

my childhood self


but still upright

still on my feet

playing games

in spite of it all.

And there am I again

my teenage self


but still upright

still on my feet

looking cool


the rough

and the smooth.

And here I am now

my adult self


trying to work it out,

somewhat lost

all at sea


to let it wash over me.

But as the images flash past me

along with the jetsam and flotsam

I don’t think I’ll wake up this time.

 Magic Words

They say you have a magic tongue

that can weave the words 


from your mouth into tapestries 

laced with gold thread.

Curl the words into scented ringlets

of flowers

formed by petals shining like

stars even in the sunlight.

I want to catch them and hold on to them

without any rearranging.

To soak myself in their perfection,


so I can keep them with me

when the magic turns dark


and the golden threads hard,

when you turn them to sharp steel.

They’re still your words with a kind of magic

twisted together by your tongue 

but they have become


explosions of your anger and despair


but no longer falling


I’m going to catch them and hold them now

so that I can rearrange them


to what they were.