Tuesday, 30 March 2021

 Brenda’s Turtle

When I was a child,

Brenda’s turtle walked

into the hot, hot embers.

No one knew why.

So badly burned

we thought him ready 

for an easeful, sleepy death.

“No, no” said the vet,

“very resilient, turtles,

could live to be a hundred.”

I would like to tell you

that he made the hundred,

but he’s not quite there yet,

though he still seems happy enough.


Saturday, 27 March 2021

 Midsummer Madness

I saw a rabbit in the clouds

it was eating something,

but what was it?

Didn’t look like a carrot,

more like an ice cream cone,

well it was a hot day.

Perhaps it was no rabbit

but a hare with a touch of 

midsummer madness.

Later it re arranged itself 

and became a cat,

quite definitely cat,

a Cheshire Cat 

no doubt about it

hoping to join Hare and Alice

at the tea party.

And who knows,

if the White Rabbit is on time

maybe he’ll bring ice cream for all.

Anything can happen 

on a midsummer 



Monday, 22 March 2021


Still they try to find it,

the secret of eternal youth,

searching out lotions and restorers

for the men with their toupees,

and the creams and fillers

for the women's made-up masks. 

When that fails 

the nip and tuckers, 

the stretchers and smoothers

are ready to apply their trades.

Like the alchemists of old searching

for the secret of turning base metal to gold

and the source of the fountain of youth,

the new commercial al-chemists

are searching for the potions,

that will transform

the heavy leaden flesh of age

back to the bloom of its youth.

They know we’re also searching,



endlessly searching

magic and science,

as we get older

and older still.

For the fountain of youth remains elusive,

but not all the alchemists are dead.


Sunday, 21 March 2021

Saturday, 20 March 2021

 On The Inside

The circles are in such a tangle

it’s impossible to explore them

impossible to see what’s inside

impossible to plumb their depths

the coloured threads of a life


So I’m left with the outside

which is much simpler

much clearer

much duller

less colourful

and yet still 



even when things are straightened

and appear clear

I can’t make sense of them

can’t manage to join the dots

and the dashes

and the tangles are more beautiful

which seems to be important.

The colourful threads of a life

intertwined round and round

on the inside of my head.



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.



Am I fat, am I thin

which mirror will show me

the shape I’m in.

Which mirror will show me 

the rolls of fat, 

the bony ribs

which mirror will show me


if I exist

outside their gaze.



I feel such a bright energy flowing,

zipping through my veins.

I can’t wait to move with it,

to uproot myself,

to be transplanted and reborn,

to recreate myself 

at the time when all of nature

is recreating itself and starting afresh.

I will be reborn too in another place.

I’ve done it before and felt the new buds open,

bursting and shooting into a new life.

I've felt the excitement of the new spaces,

embraced the interest in the new peoples’ faces.

And then..

I’ve opened up my blowsy petals and

let my heart show through




to turn towards the summer sun,

not believing it will destroy

my bloom,

make my petals fade and fall

when the shock of the new wears off

and the fresh green shoots start to brown,

and prepare for the season of wrinkles,

which always follows,

as my life folds out as before.

Soon I’ll be getting ready 

for the ice of winter

in this new place.

A new place, but

with the same person in it.

To change where I am is the easy part.

To change who I am is difficult, hardly possible.

But without this change, 

nothing will change,

except that summer will have gone,

winter will surely follow fall

and spring will be a long way away.


Friday, 19 March 2021



All we need is the magic word

to open up the past

and step inside

the mountain

long gone,

and enter an age

of cold and ice,

a vastness, 

a void

of unknown

ice caves


in our warming times.


All we need is a touch of magic

and it will be back

the worn down,






for us

to step inside,

a new old world

waiting for us to enter.

Just say the word

before it melts away!


Tuesday, 16 March 2021


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, November 2015


Sunday, 14 March 2021


They’re hanging like spangled banner

draped over the night black globe.

Pin pricks in the blackness.

But no red blood flowing.

Silver spangles oozing 

gleaming white light.

The red will follow soon enough as

the sun plots its rise to power.

As it schemes to flood the black,

obliterate the white,

drown them both,

blind them in it’s 

golden glow and

blood red heat.


Saturday, 13 March 2021

 Are We Any Older?

Am I any older

my dear, tell me

I cannot tell 

can you

tell me,

are you any older,

my dear tell me

if you can 


can you tell?

Can you tell

if we have aged 

from the inside out

or the outside in

or is it just on the outside

only on the outside.

I think 

we should keep it outside.

Tell me

that we can keep it outside

my dear, tell me.


Thursday, 11 March 2021

 The Power Of Gods

He would have had an easier journey

if he hadn’t harmed Neptune’s son.

He should have beat a hasty retreat

from the sailor-eating giant

leaving him unharmed by anybody

or nobody.

And Aeolus’s gift of winds to speed them homewards

was not a blessing when Neptune heard about it.

So unsurprising that he magicked the sailors

into letting the winds out of their bag 

with a chorus of  “all together now”.

What did he expect!

Gods are powerful, 

some more than others.

The blinding his son was a fairly big offence in Neptune’s eyes

and having control of the seas is a pretty impressive power.

So, Odysseus paid the price.

And then there was Circe.

Not only the goddess daughter of Titan,

Circe was also a witch,

of course she was, 

she was female 

so it went with the territory,

but her magic skills 

were more renowned than most

and thus more feared by men

and rightly so.

I wonder if he ate pork in his year long stay.

I wonder if he counted the swine restored to sailors

or if he preferred not to know if any were missing.

I like to think he knew she bested him

with her roasted pork and crispy bacon.


Tuesday, 9 March 2021

 Leading the Way

The male will always lead,

so it’s been said,

a flamboyant rooster

strutting his stuff

while the fluffy bird-brained 

females dutifully follow,

so it’s been said.

But, we say no

not here,

not now.

We’ll only follow

where we want to go.

We’ll let him stride on ahead,

strutting his stuff,

and make a diversion

for a little of what we fancy.

We’ll scratch up a juicy morsel here,

reach out to catch a flighty creature there.

We’ll have a nibble of this and a nibble of that.

And he won’t know,

he never looks back, 

we know

so we’ll chuckle away

to ourselves

while he strides on alone,


strutting his stuff

thinking he’s leading.

We won’t be watching.

We won’t be following.

We’ll make out own way.

We’ll stray.


Saturday, 6 March 2021


They scared me as a child,

those scenes of madness in Jane Eyre

with the wild hair and ripped wedding veil.

And for years after I was still afraid

in the wakeful night

even though by then

I’d come to understand her,

to sympathise with her situation

still it scared me,

scarred me even,

the memory of those scenes.

Then there was Psycho.

I was only fifteen

but looked older.

I was my friends ticket

to all the horror movies.

After Psycho, shower cubicles 

would have made me uneasy

if they had existed in 1960s Britain.

Fortunately they didn’t so the fear 

of knives and blood slashing and splashing 

lacked context and was less.

Next came the vampires

occupying my dreams

along with the triffids, the monsters, 

the demons and the possessed.

They all stacked up


all of a sudden

the magic was gone

and they were just movies,