Monday, 28 February 2022

 No One Noticed The Noise

She lay there still

quiet in her bones

quiet in her flesh

but her heart was drumming


and her head was screaming




her bones

and flesh

were quiet.

The parts that can be seen

were quiet.

So no one noticed the noise.

 Certain And Impossible Events

Age is surely a certainty,

or so Alice had thought

after all birthdays are hardly

impossible events 

arriving each year

on the same day, 

as they certainly do.

But the Red Queen assured her

that certainty was unnecessary 

when it came to determining age.

You are just as old as you feel 

and seeing was believing anyway.

So Alice reconsidered her hypothesis.

The older one gets 

the more difficult it is to know

for certain, she thought.

How can one judge the wrinkles

under make-up

or Botox.

It was impossible to be certain.

Really, she decided

as she looked through

her looking glass,

age should become one of the six

impossible things to believe

before breakfast.


We didn’t need a kettle,

we already had one

quite smart

and in working order.

But this was so beautiful,

a shiny black 

that no pot could match

And such an iconic Art Deco shape

that we bought it anyway.

We placed the old one 

at the back of the cupboard

out of sight

and the new one shone

in pride of place

ready to be filled.

This was not so easy,

its balance was somehow wrong.

Pouring from it was even more difficult,

it’s balance was certainly wrong.

So the old one was brought back

into service

and the new one shines gloriously

on a shelf.

Even if we never use it,

it still looks beautiful.

Friday, 25 February 2022

 The Road To Pec 

It was long before the war wreaked it’s destruction,

long before the massacres stole so many lives

that we decided to hitch hike to Pec.

Well, to hitch hike as far as Belgrade, that is.

You see, we knew the road

from Skopje to Pec,

knew it was impossible,

had already explored it’s awesome hairpins,

spent two days driving slowly,

very slowly

over it’s suspension wrecking rocks and ruts.

Had already gazed in alarm

at the rusting corpses of dead buses

scattered down the vertiginous hillsides.

So we took the overnight train from Belgrade.

Uncomfortable, but at least it was possible.

And then, some months later, we met someone

who had achieved the impossible.

His lift had dropped him 

near the beginning 

of the rocky road to Pec, 

but he had seen enough 

not to chance it further.

So he clambered down

onto the track made for donkeys

and continued his journey on foot.

There was a long way to go.

Two days later he came across a horse market.

One old horse was unsold.

It had a hollow back, he said

and was coughing up green stuff.

So laughing, they let him have it for fifty pence.

He never rode it, 

but it carried his guitar

and on it’s good days, 

his rucksack and tent.

And so it was that two weeks later they arrived in Pec.

He left the horse in a field and began to hitch

along the briefly asphalted road.

Something seemed familiar about the approaching car

that slowed and stopped, the driver was waving

and ready to greet him with the hugs and smiles

of a friend not seen for two weeks.

So together they resumed their journey

along the rocky road from Pec.

Thursday, 24 February 2022

 The Neighbours Fish

The neighbours had asked her to feed their fish.

They were going on a short holiday.

It sounded straightforward,

should have been straightforward.

“But I overfed it,” she said,

“and it burst open,


all over the place.”

She looked glum.

“But that wasn’t the worst of it.

Next thing is

the dog’s eaten it.

And that wasn’t the end of it,

next thing is

he started to be sick,

just puked it up all over their carpet.”

She looked glum.

“The carpet’s wrecked,” she said.

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

 A Blue Whale

Look at them all 

swimming round me

taunting me 

waving their legs at me 

tickling me

pinching me

and swimming away

constantly taunting me.

No wonder I’m depressed.

I am truly a most remarkable creature,

no one could argue with that,

but what a wheeze to make

the largest creature on the planet 

need to eat one of the smallest.

Well Joker, I’m not laughing.

Forty million krill a day

I need to eat

according to Wiki.

Yes, I keep up.

I’m well informed

but it doesn’t help me

doesn’t make me feel better.

To add to the insult

I was given a tiny mouth,

too small for the job.

See, I’m hardly a basking shark

swimming round all day

with my mouth open

so they can swim straight in.

No, it’s open and close

open and close

till my jaw aches.

No wonder I’m blue.

Friday, 18 February 2022


I wonder,
when will I reach the end
of my beginning.
Everything will have been started.
Everything will be active, 
on going.
at that point,
I must move on 
to the beginning 
of my end.
My end
when everything is completed
and nothing left to be started.
Will this time come?
Perhaps it has already come
and I haven’t noticed.
But I don’t think so.
So I will carry on
working towards 
a new beginning
and cease to wonder

how it will end.

Monday, 14 February 2022

 The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

They all said the same,

that the light 

at the end 

of the tunnel

had been switched off.

She didn’t believe it.

Who would do such a thing?

So she went in search of it

wended her way along

the long dark tunnel

until she saw it

just a speck at first,

a glimmer of




from the outside in

while leaving the dark


Perhaps they were right

someone had turned it off 


She scrambled up towards

to the end of the tunnel

and searched for the switch.

She found it

turned it on

and then 

all was bathed in light

flooded with bright white light

but still she saw nothing

nothing hopeful

just emptiness

bathed in light,

in blinding light

so bright

so blinding 

she fell back


into the dark

into the emptiness of the dark.

She left the light on.

Saturday, 12 February 2022

 Whistler And The Butterfly

It was a small exhibition

but it stayed in my memory.

I had never encountered Whistler

but the butterfly signature did it for me.

“The Company of the Butterfly”,

what a wonderful concept!

It really spoke to me,

I even wrote a poem

about the company of butterflies.

The title trips off my tongue so easily.

And now I am put in mind of it again

as I look at this image

and see her


in the company of butterflies

ready to whistle up the wind


Friday, 11 February 2022

 Same Difference

Spot the difference,

those that show,

the height, 

the colour, 

the sex,

and those that are hidden

inside our bodies,

inside our heads.

Our thoughts,


and dreams.

The things 

that make us special,

the things that make us

interesting to each other.

But the basics,

the fundamentals

are the same

and it’s that sameness


when we see it

should bind us,

bind us



to each other.

Thursday, 10 February 2022

 A Grey Place?

This is a grey place, 

there's no denying.

Grey slate, grey granite,

grey houses built of both.

And it rains a lot, there's no denying.

Vertical, or horizontal, or swirling rain

falling greyly from heavy misty clouds.

But when caught by a sunbeam

it makes glistening slides 

shimmering across the slate 

and falls in bright white tails 

or snakes like silver

where the mountains leak it.

And spills heavily over rocks,

it's foaming, frothing, yellow ruffed 

cascades catching rainbows as they crash

then spitting them back out 

in a fine spray of colours.

And now there's no grey 

in the dark blue, black sky 

filled with gold and silver twinkles.

No grey at all in this place now,

there's no denying.


The book belonged to my cousin.

A relic of her childhood

it was thick and heavy.

Greek legends,

she told me,

myths and fantasies,

gods and goddesses,

not quite fairy stories

and not many pictures,

not enough to interest me,

the eight year old me, 

so we both thought.

But then it fell open

and so entranced me

that I was afraid

to look

at the dark

fearsome picture,

the god of the underworld,

a king and his queen 

both dark as night.

I closed it quickly,

then opened it

just as quickly

again and again.

I did this each time I visited

just to feel the pleasure of the fear.

She gave it to me eventually,

sacrificed her book to my fear

which wore away 

with familiarity.

But the book remained,

so did the underworld

and its dark god.

 Order, Order

We built their cages.

We gilded them.

We listened to their croaks,

no one could call it song,

hear, hear, hear hear,

call to order.

Order, order,

keep them in order.

Keep them stuffed

with food and drink,

we did that too,

keep them fed and watered.

No not watered

they won’t drink water

that would be out

of order.

Order, order.

Watch them

flapping their paper wings

to order.

Order order.

We should give them orders.

We pay the pipers,

they should sing for us

but they can only croak.

hear hear, hear hear,

for themselves.

We don’t have to listen.

Sunday, 6 February 2022

 Off The Wall

“Ceci n’est pas de la soupe de tomates”

Magritte might have said with irony.

But even off the wall 

straight from the can 

the same may be said!

And language spills out

with the contents.

“Quelle horreur!” 

say the gourmets in French.

But Warhol was as American

as Magritte was Belgian.

Irony on irony.