Thursday, 31 March 2022

 Listen To The Birds

She asked me why the caged birds sing.

I couldn’t tell her,

not for sure.

No mate will arrive this year,

just like last year.

I wonder if they remember,

perhaps they still

live in hope

or sing in contentment

for their good board and lodging.

She asked why humming birds hum,

if it was their song,

a mating song

or song of joy,

of freedom.

I told her it was a work sound

made by their wings

like bees buzzing,

a song of struggle

and survival.

“Do they still sing,” she asked.

Monday, 28 March 2022


I didn’t silence easily,

not even as a child

I spoke first

and listened later

to the embarrassed laughter

or pourings of outrage

from adult mouths.

I resisted my mother’s attempts

to quieten me,
I knew it would ruin me,

arrest my development,

curtail my growth,

my flowering.

So I was ready for you 

when you tried.

Yes, you tried.

But by then

I was ready,

I knew who I was,

knew too much altogether

and there was nothing we could do 

about it.

I had already spoken out.


In her dreams she would go to the ball.

She’d meet her prince.

and dance with him


so unforgettably

that he would search for her later,

search until his lost love was found again.

With a poetic little spell and a wave 

of her wand the fairy godmother 

made her dream come true.

We read it! 

We heard it!

We know it!

Well, we know that

the ball gown and transportation were sorted

but who the fuck

taught her to dance?

Cracked ankles..

crushed toes.. 

bruised feet..

these things

might have led to 

a different outcome.

Maybe the glass slippers were magic

and carried her, step perfectly

in time with the music.

But we should have been told

even in a fairy story,


in a fairy story

we should have been told.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

 But Some Of Us Are Brave

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 on Halloween,

even in spirit 

few would rise

for the occasion,

not even the white witches.

But there will always be some,

some women

brave enough 

to celebrate.

 Performance Art

He’s the last man standing.

Whether comedian

or statesman

performance is all

for the last man standing.

Standing in the rubble of the city.

Standing on the bodies of the dead heroes,

those lions led by donkeys once again.

No more laughter,

no more tears,

the final curtain

came down on them.

Hollow victory

or glorious defeat

it’s all the same to them.

But the last man still stands,

the star of the show


Wednesday, 23 March 2022


Angel came down 

from heaven to earth 

on her first trip abroad.

Her friends were envious

as word was that earth was 

the most beautiful of the planets,

so beautiful that it had been the model

for building the paradise that was heaven.

Many had never really believed it

some things just weren’t believable,

like heaven, 

few people on earth believed in it anymore

and even fewer

believed in paradise

or angels.

But I believed in them.

I told her how pleased I was to meet her,

how glad I was that I’d believed in her,

how sorry I was that she had to leave

before we found paradise

on earth.

But that’s life 

on earth.

Ekphrastic Review Sonya Gonzalez Challenge, January 2-22

Monday, 21 March 2022

 Third Birthday

Until I was three I had a pet rabbit.

For a long time

I took him everywhere with me.

He was made of felt

and stood upright

tall and thin

holding a bright orange carrot

in front

of his yellow chest.

I held him by his ears

which were dark green like his back.

And then

my mother decreed he had become

too shabby, too dirty

to be my constant companion.

A wash did not improve

his appearance too successfully.

So he became my sleeping partner

and I still loved him as much.

And then

for my third birthday

he was allowed

to come to tea.

I was sick,

too much cake,

my mother said.


I was sick

all over

my pet rabbit.

And then

he disappeared.

No one knew where.

“He’s gone,” 

they said

hippy hop.

I never saw him again.

Sunday, 20 March 2022

 What Is To Be Done

History is littered with stories of imaginary futures


Bread, land and peace were Lenin’s promises

and the Bolsheviks believed them

and, like others before and since,

believed in themselves,

believed they could achieve them


But, they weren’t uncontested. 

Power intervened

power and conflict

external and internal

and internal contradictions

all in the mix

and look where it took them.

What was there to be done


Education, re-education, terror,

year zero nostalgia for primitive simplicity,

they’ve all been tried.

Such promises,

such imagined futures,

have a long history

and even longer future

similarly re-imagined every time.

So, what is to be done


Once my generation thought we’d done it,

achieved the imagined hopes of Lennon’s song

and created the basis for a future

based on peace and love and civil rights.

Even a pandemic couldn’t stop us at Woodstock.

We were unstoppable!



In diverse countries

we saw the rebels become statesmen.

We thought the struggle was over.

We’d done it!

We’d buried the monster 

with a stake through it’s heart

so it could never rise again,

created something better

with our demonstrations,

with our blood and sweat and tears.

We’d seen the rain wash away all the traces.

We’d seen the sun come out.

We’d seen the colours of laughter in the streets.

We’d thought it would stay there for ever

but now it’s raining again

washing it all away.

The Corbyns and Sanders of the pasts and futures,

are standing there in the rain over and over again.

But as the polar bears know well,

nothing lasts for ever.

Saturday, 19 March 2022

 Good Thick Darkness

The darkness enfolds me like a cloak,

a good thick winter one

with a deep velvety pile

warm and comforting

matching it’s shape to mine,

the good thick darkness.

It was blue before,

then blue black

turning purple

purple black


the good thick blackness came

the good thick blackness

that I need to wrap me,

the good thick blackness that I like.

And I know that all too soon

it will be broken


first by the harsh, pinpoint lights

of stars

glittery things

pointlessly breaking up my dark

and then 

as the day breaks through

splitting it open 

cutting it


the blue day breaking

like a knife

opening up a wound

ripping through my comfort,

my darkness.

Not thick enough at all.

Friday, 18 March 2022

 Odyssey In The Afternoon

I remember that day of the voyage

from the moment the dawn rose

out of the golden globe

and stretched out

pink fingered roses

into the blue

of the morning,

without knowing 

what was to come after,

in the afternoon

when the wind took us

to a strange land.

But I embraced its strangeness

and its indolent contented people

who showed me the lotus

and smiled 

as I bit into the delight 

of its flowers and fruits,


it’s dreamy sensations

with no need to wonder

what would to come after,

there were only afternoons,

forever afternoons.

But the moment 

when I woke,

shook myself awake,

I dragged us all away

out of fear of forgetting, 

forgetting where I’d come from,

forgetting where I should go

and before 

I forgot to leave that place

with it’s sopheristic days 

of perpetual afternoon. 

And in the evening

as night fell

to envelop me

stretching out

its grey blanket

and touching me with black,

I wondered

if I would I even remember

sniffing the fragrance

of the flowers 

and tasting fruit

alive with the sleepy sensations

of the days of afternoons.

I have already forgotten

to wonder

what came after.

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

 Raining Tears

It’s raining again,

endless rain

or so it seems

the clouds breaking,


letting it all pour out

as I watch


my heart breaking

bleeding like the rain,

the raindrops of my heart

pouring out like tears of blood.

 Keep Your Hat On

There was a time when going out 

was an occasion to be dressed for.

You could not be seen,

should not be seen 

without your hat.

You would be ostracised,

talked about, 


left alone


Hats were mandatory,

a smart felt trilby or bowler for the men

and a fashion statement of flounces or formality

for the women.

Even later 

my visiting aunties kept their hats on 

while drinking their afternoon tea indoors.

They left them on in cafes and bars,

it’s the generational norm

from the time when one knew

the dress code and conformed.

But not everyone did so

even back then.

Some were daring,

daring enough to go without a hat

and they still found company.

Others followed the code 

and kept their hat on

but still sat on their own

the code didn’t admit everyone,

some were left outside.