Tuesday, 30 November 2021

 Coming Through

We used to head out from our homes 

to explore what remained 

of the countryside,

to walk in the lanes

and through the wood

hoping to leave the darkness behind

and push ourselves upwards and onwards

into the light.

Now you’re following us

making a new pathway

all the way through

to the river

where the golden glow of sunlight 

will seek you out

as it passes 


the wood.

Now we have all come through

and are ready to cross over the river 

into the light.


Monday, 29 November 2021


Hold the moon carefully,

it’s very fragile

so easily broken 

by the human touch

just like the earth was broken,

just like the earth is broken

by that same touch.

Perhaps the world ends here

its tears falling like autumn leaves


to its end 

with a whimper.


Thursday, 25 November 2021


I didn’t spoil easily,

not even as a child

I took the treats in my stride

and resisted my mother’s attempts

to mould me in her image.
I knew it would ruin me,

arrest my development,

curtail my growth,

my flowering.

So I was ready for you 

when you tried.

You tried.

But by then

I knew who I was

and there was nothing you could do 

about it.


Wednesday, 24 November 2021


What a fearsome beast she became.

Beautiful humans often do

when they make themselves up

to honour  the myth-like Medusa 

of their imagination.

To dress for power

or style

or fun.

To tempt,

or not to tempt,

that is always the question

to tax your thoughts

till it makes your head ache

with the stress of it.

If the answer lies in the hair

lying in it’s snaky tendrils

ready to pounce

then cut it off!

Cut it off!

But it won’t help.

It’s just a distraction

from those killer eyes

that will leave you standing


She’s no guardian angel

but she’ll take care of you

her way

and there’s no safety

in her death.


Tuesday, 23 November 2021

 Facing Up

You’re looking past her

avoiding her eyes,

the eyes of the woman

in the front line of the protest

the one who reminds you of your mother

or your mother in law

or your grandmother

or all of them together.

You don’t need to look at her,

don’t need to meet the challenge

of her eyes,

you have the power 

you have the choice

to look past her.

You can do anything

so long as you don’t face her

so long as you don’t cower

you have the power.

You know it 

when you collect your pay check

when you slither on your belly

in the wet fetid gutter

to collect your police pay check

and take it home 

to your wife

or mother

or grandmother

ready to meet her eyes proudly

if only you could open the door

if only she would open the door

if only she would let you in

if only your key would still fit her lock

if only she would still look in your eyes.

But she has the power to look past you.

She knows it.

She knew it then.

You know it now.

Diverse Voices


I’m not waiting for ageing or changing,

for growing,

restoring, or


the mask.

I’m not waiting for structures to collapse

and reform

and reshape

and remake


from the ruins.

I’m not waiting for the revolution

in thinking,

in acting,

in feeling,

to happen

when the walls finally fall.


I’ll dig the tunnels.

Then I’ll wait.

Wait for you 

to scramble through

to greet me

then we’ll be away,


with our waiting.

Diverse Voices

Sunday, 21 November 2021


We have all lost our loves

and revelled in our misery

while longing for oblivion and release

and the hopeful terror of reliving.

We may have experienced the distraction of birds 

tapping at a window or fluttering sootily down a chimney

to enter a room like an uninvited saviour or demon

and worried and fretted as we try to discern

which is witch. 

I would like to believe Poe

but can the raven

really call ‘nevermore’.

I have heard many a ‘caw’ from the crows

and ‘jacks’ from the jackdaws.

And I have heard many a raven call,

but never a


‘Never say never’ says Poe.

But ‘naw’, say the crows.

‘Cack’, say the jackdaws.


never a




 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.


Saturday, 20 November 2021


Once I was whole.



Once I breathed


Once I walked.

I spoke,

I smiled, 

I looked sad.


once I had feelings.

And then,

my sadness was selected.


and frozen in it’s beauty.

And then,

the rest of me decayed,


returned to dust.

And now

even the effigy is broken,

the marble decaying.

Only sadness remains.

And soon, 

even that

will join me

in the dust.



It was an accident.

You were involved

but it was an accident.


it would have starved and died,

but you fed it lies and watched it grow

fatter and fatter.

It was you,


who fattened it up

to make the bloated monster of today.


Friday, 19 November 2021

 Winners And Losers

There’s always one.

Always one


to cast the first stone.

Always one 







And the rest

of the pack will follow.

It makes no difference 

who they follow 

which prophet

which god,

the game’s the same 

and it will play out


the stones become a mountain

from which her blood flows like a river.

Then they will celebrate.

They’ve won again.


Wednesday, 17 November 2021


It’s the monsters who come out of the light

that are the most fearsome,

but those that sneak up from the dark

are the ones we fear the most,

even though they’re smaller,

and often as afraid as we are.

That’s why they

hide and sneak

in the dark places.

The ones hiding in the sunlight

are the more difficult to see

and the most monstrous.

They lie in wait

blending in

and waiting, 

waiting to pounce

and destroy 


us all

to destroy



Sunday, 14 November 2021

 Her Collection

They called it her collection,

mementoes from all over the place.

I didn’t know where all over the place was

but the painted figures were so colourful 

I thought it must be very different 

to the grey drizzle of this place.

They told me they weren’t toys,

I was not even to touch them,

I could only look 

as they stood


in line 

on their shelves.

Sometimes, though

when they pleaded with me 

through their silence,

I gave them a little stroke,

I know it pleased them.

And once,

just once,

I took them down,

freed them from their cupboard,

from the straight lines of shelving

and allowed them to touch each other

to behave as they once did in their place.

That was the only time I heard them speak

and the colours poured from their voices

all over the place.

And now, it’s another time

and I’m in a different place 

watching them still standing speechless. 

Even their colours are muted with dust now

but I can hear their voices through the silence.

They’re pleading with me to free them again.

So I shall bid for Lot 53,

her collection.


 Leap of Faith

We make it look easy,

dancers always do. 

Even out here

on the heath

performance is all.

The rest is hidden

behind the scenes

usually in the sweaty studio.

It took a leap of faith to carry on

working alone month after month

with no prospect of performance,

of audience,

of applause

of income.

But we’re out now

out in the sun 

jumping for joy

leaping with faith

ready to go again.


 I Remember

I remember my father.

I don’t need photos

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

for my first garden.

I remember.

Perhaps he didn’t like being photographed,

or didn’t think he took a good one,

I don’t remember.

Perhaps he had blanked himself out,

put a sheet over his head

metaphorically or even really,

or placed his hands over his face.

Perhaps he then peeped through his fingers

opening and closing them like blinds.

I don’t remember.

The photo is black and white

but I remember life’s colours,

the coach trips to the seaside,

the walks to the town’s cafes,

visits to relatives with gardens

before we had one of our own,

gardens full of bright flowers 

and my father sitting just there 

watching while I planted seeds.

I remember.