Saturday, 29 May 2021


I am being haunted

by my ghost.

It must be my ghost,

it knows too much 

to arise from someone else’s body.

It remembers my past. 

Remembers my dreams,

the ones I forgot so quickly on wakening

and the ones I left behind later,

only to revisit in future dreaming.

It knows too much.

It remembers the past

I prefer to forget,

the mishaps,

the missed opportunities,

the opportunities grasped too soon,

too impetuously,

the people left behind, happily or not,

the feelings I felt.

It remembers it all

and stalks my present with it’s memories.

It must be my ghost.

It knows too much

to arise from someone else’s body.

No one came that close.

Not for so long,

a lifetime.

I made sure of that.

But how can it be my ghost?

I’m still living.

Still alive.

And ghosts belong to the dead,

to those with no future.

But it must belong to me,

this ghost of my present

living in my past.

Friday, 28 May 2021


They tried them all,

the amulets and potions

of their time and place.

Some worked for a time

but death overcame them

in the end 

and proclaimed

their ungodlike mortality.

They were buried like treasure

with their treasures 

from this life

readied for the next,

living on only in memories

which faded like funeral flowers.

It was not enough.

So portraits were painted 

on the bindings of mummies

or the wooden lids of coffins,

stone effigies were carved 

on tombstones,

but only 

for the rich and already godlike.

It’s democratised now.

Ceramic portraits carefully

incorporated into gravestones,

likenesses to be viewed 

down the centuries,

glimpses of a life passed,

a brush with immortality.

 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.

 Seaside Holiday

No one swam in the seas around Britain

when I was a child.

The water was empty beyond the edge

of the shore

even on the warmest of days.

Paddling was as adventurous as it got.

Nothing wetter was allowed,

nothing wetter was desired

in that cold, cold water

with our trousers were rolled up,

or skirts tucked in knickers

we took care not to kick or jump,

care not to let the cold wet waves

go too far.

Now the seas are warming

and clothes purpose made 

for playing splash.

No one sits in deckchairs

wearing overcoats and newspaper hats

even on British beaches

it’s bikinis and sunscreen

and most are on the Spanish Costas now

Affluence and climate change

have changed traditions.

Soon we’ll really feel the heat

where will we go then.

Thursday, 27 May 2021

 It’s a Worry

He bottled up his worries,

his fears,

and sealed them in


Put them inside a bottle firmly 


Then he thought, suppose they grew


and, expanding with the heat 


forced the cork free from the bottle,

releasing all

those fears and anxieties to reoccupy

his being.

It was another worry

for him 

to ponder and fret about.

He knew

a screw top bottle would have

been better,

would have kept them confined

more securely.

Too late 

now though, to have that thought

done is done.

The best ideas are, always

too late.

Past has always passed.

And then,

another thought came to him,

so timely.

Maybe he could he transfer them,

move them

to the bottle with the screw


and screw them up tight


letting them out of the bottle.


letting them escape.


giving them 



to invade 

his soul,

his dreams,

his being 

his reason

for being.


Such a risk


Such a worry.

 Through the Glass

Alice saw herself in her looking glass

and walked through

into a topsy turvy world where

everything was back to front and inside out.

She drifted into a dreamscape

of madness and unreality, 

without breaking the glass.

Uncut by the shards of her mirror 

or the place she entered into.

She had only to wake to make 

things the right way round again.

But walking through a clear glass,

a transparent window,

it would have been different.

Her reflection would float 

towards a place where everything 

seemed the right way round.

Where everything made sense

and added up sweet with reason.

A place without madness,

which looked easy to enter

and had no sharp edges.


But this glass forms an invisible barrier

to the other side and the life

that seduces and entices her.

And to get through she has to break the glass,

whose sharp edges cut her

and propel her crazily into a place

where she cannot wake.

A jagged, topsy turvy place 

where everything spins round wildly.

Where caricatures of humanity scream out

trying to make sense of it.

Front to back and outside in.

Everything is the wrong way round again.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

 After The Storm

After the storm comes the quiet time.

Even the birds aren’t singing

and the streams have ceased to rage.

All natures anger seems spent,

it’s noise chastened 

damped down,

it’s heat lost

for now.

So we will walk in the stillness

relishing this quiet time,

this interlude

of peace.


The crack became a slash

almost splitting her in two.

She could have sought help,

could have striven to heal it,

But after a while she quite liked it.

It had become part of her

and she felt it became her

and who knew what would emerge 

to wriggle 

and squeeze

though the gap.

Saturday, 22 May 2021

 After The Storm

After the storm comes the quiet time.

Even the birds aren’t singing

and the streams have ceased to rage.

All natures anger seems spent,

it’s noise chastened 

damped down,

it’s heat lost

for now.

So we will walk in the stillness

relishing this quiet time,

this interlude

of peace.

Friday, 21 May 2021

 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 fertilise 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 fertilised 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 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. 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.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021


For a long time, such a long time,

invisibility has ironed out the creases 

in my soul, 

so I can hide,

so I can decide

if I want to be seen.

I was always hiding.

But now invisibility hides me 

even from myself. 

It imagines my future

as it has distorted my past, 

separated me from my history.

But I cannot abandon it now, 

since I no longer know who 

I am.

If I could make 

a new person

to fit this moment,

a new me for the now. 

Maybe then for a short time,

I could step inside,

find myself and

no longer need invisibility.


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.

Friday, 14 May 2021

 Two Sides to the Story

There are always two sides to every story,

you said.

The protesters were armed.

The protesters were violent

when faced with soldiers in full combat gear.

Faced with snipers armed with live ammunition.

Armed but

only with stones,

and only some of them.

There are always two sides to every story,

you said.

I ask,

to every story?

Do you really believe that

for a demonstration of unarmed people

when the snipers and soldiers

are already waiting


There were terrorists amongst them 

intent on doing us harm,

You say

so, yes, to every story every story.


Would the not harm be similar 

to the tens who were killed

and the hundreds that were injured?

We have a right to defend ourselves,

you said, 

so yes,

there are always two sides to every story.

Every story.


so, you will want to hear it for the Nazis then!


That’s not what you meant.

That story stands alone

one sided.


Perhaps the number of sides

depends on the differences in power.

Perhaps it’s not alone.