Tuesday, 27 September 2022


There’s so much emptiness

that I’m engulfed by it

sitting on a bench 

that would seat three,

maybe four,

I sit in the middle 

to make it feel full

but it shouts out

about the emptiness 

surrounding me.

Then there’s the chairs

and the table

all empty.

And where are the words,

my words

the ones in my head

that should be seeking paper

and pouring out quick as coffee

in a crowded cafe.

They used to be there

but now,

like the cafe,

my head is empty.


 Who Am I

When did I last know who I am?

I wonder if it when I was a child,

when I made up stories 

from my imagination.

Was I separate then

from the imaginary children 

with imaginary parents 

and imaginary friends.


where my story began 

and where I ended.

I don’t remember.

Perhaps the story ended before I began.

Perhaps the two began together.

Perhaps they may end together,


or eternally 



I cannot say. 

I never could.

Did I ever know who I am?https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BGKL46L6?fbclid=IwAR2o7M0BqrAB0yzsT9UcJzB4XwLMV6zD--doKh4KOERtJFDvoQKe0ndq3fw

 My Sister Maud

I had a sister once.
Her name was Maud.
I never knew her,
never even knew of her.
No one said.
Not our father, 
or his son,
not my mother, 
no one.
No one spoke.
All were mute for Maud.

She never grew old,
never even grew up.
And her little life 
became engulfed in silence.
My father cried 
when she died,
I know it now
more than eighty years later
I know it.
When there’s no one living 
who knew her.
When there is no one left
to tell me her favourite games,
her hopes, her dreams. 
All are gone.

I know it now.
I even have a photograph
so that I can see her,
picture her as she was.
And I won’t forget her,
won’t forget that
I had a sister once.
Her name was Maud.


 Motherly Love

I have spent a lifetime 
trying to break away,
trying to break out, 
trying to find myself.
Always on the edge,
always on the outside,
not quite a part,
of it, not quite 
a beatnik,
or a mod, 
hippy, or 

I was early to realise that
what she wanted me to be
was what she had wanted 
for herself, about her, not me.
I wanted to escape such love.
I thought I could escape.
I thought I had escaped.
And I did, surely I did
of it.

But not all.
Not enough.
So even now I feel tethered.
After all this time of leaving
her behind, 
I remain 
of my 


 Keeping Mum

At nine years old
she’d never had a chance 
to know her father.
Not to know about his life,
his personality,
or his dreams,
Only that he loved her
and had been frail and ill
all her life.
“She never even asks how her father is”,
said her mother’s friend disapprovingly.
Her mother must have told her that.
“They won’t tell me, so there’s no point
in asking”, she thought.
I think she said!
They wouldn’t tell her why 
he was in hospital.
They wouldn’t tell her why
he died,
not at nine years old,
not until years later
when they were all dead
and more voices could speak.


 In Memoriam

She thought her large hands and feet

were due to her hard labour

one summer vacation

on an archaeological dig

in Germany.

It was there she met Max,

an Art student,

a Sculptor

who also had trouble finding shoes

large enough for his big feet.


he cycled to Florence to view ‘David’

in all his marbled flesh

and later

on his return

he slept on the sofa

in our shared student house.

In return

he carved a large number ’14’

in our sandstone gatepost

with a rusty spike 

and a half brick

that he found

lying around.

Where are they now?

I don’t know 

but still

the gatepost stands 

in memoriam

a small footfall

to their passing by

that way

and still

there is no gate


Monday, 26 September 2022

 From the Clouds

I’ve seen a dragon in the clouds

and a big cat

a leopard


and a tea table

set for tea.

Some say they’ve seen Christ

or Mohamed,

or fairy kings and queens.

They have all stayed a while,

my shapes in the cloud.

None have left.

Not until now.


when the leopard has grown so large 

and so solid looking he no longer belongs there.

His teeth are not barred yet

so I don’t feel afraid

just dreamy


all at sea

with wonder

and moonshine.


 Photo Opportunity

I watched the man crossing the path

underneath the cascade of the waterfall.

It had been part of the route wine was carried

from the high lands, to be sold on the coast.

Back in the old days, that was.

But the old days weren’t very long ago.

He seemed confident

as he placed a foot carefully

in each of the footholds

hacked into the precipitous rock face.

He gripped the thick metal hawser

attached to the rock with strong

metal rings.

Gripped it firmly

and proceeded slowly

one step at a time.

I had a camera

and I thought

that it was a picture he would like to have

when he was dry and safe back on terra firma.

Then I thought,

suppose he falls,

falls into the waves,

to be smashed against the rocks

far below.

I didn’t want to have such a picture,

a picture of someone’s last moments

and I thought,

to take it

may jinx his journey

and even cause him to fall.

So I never took the picture.

But it made no difference.

The man fell anyway.


Friday, 23 September 2022

 The Vase

The kitchen looked tired and worn

like my mother did,

the last time I saw her there.

I felt no nostalgia for it.

It was not my childhood kitchen.

It held no special memories,

I thought.

And then, 

I saw the vase on the counter top.

My friend found it on the Kings Road.

Bought it and brought it home.

I’d asked her to buy me something, 

a souvenir of swinging London.

She bought the vase.

I never much liked it.

Dark and bulbous,

it spent most of it’s time at my mother’s,

though she didn’t like it much either.

Then time stole it away,

took it from my memory,

erased it.

And now,

here it is again, sharp as ever

bringing the past home

as it stands empty

on the counter top.

It seems that her death 

invested in it a poignancy

that it had not known before.

I took it home with me.




 Dream Catchers

These hairy, feathery, stringy things
are supposed to catch my dreams,
but I don’t believe it.
I’ve hung them above my bed and
inspected them carefully in the morning
but I’ve never found a dream caught
in them,
Not even a tiny dreamlet.
they’re just a trick,
a deception, to make me feel
I can capture them and relive them
when I want to.
But I can’t.
No one can ever go back to a dream.



'To sleep perchance to dream'.
That’s what he said.
Sounds so gentle,
but there’s a rub,
a rough edge to this sleepy escape
that would see me float away
sending me spinning,
out of control
to an indeterminate end.

So perhaps it’s daytime dreaming 
that has the edge
to smoothly move me
from one place to another.
In wakeful dreams
I can determine the beginning,
at least,
and invite the participants.
they may act out an old story
with a predictable end.
I can write a new story
and then
bring it to life.


Only Dream Harder

If you dream hard enough
you’ll find castles in the air,
or build them.
If you dream hard enough
you’ll find secret cities 
under the waves
ruled over by a fishy king
with his beady eye on you
as you walk on by.
If you dream hard enough
you’ll find unicorns
and ride them across the desert
to discover lost oases hidden there
amongst ancient cities 
once in ruins
now recast 
in shimmering perfection
by harsh sunlight.
If you dreamer harder 
you’ll rise above the waves of sand
which threaten to engulf you,
float in the sunlight
instead of being buried 
head first.
It’s all possible
if you only dream harder.


 A Not So Still Life

What a strange tableau,
a still life 
in a dream.
The birds flew over
and looked down on it,
but there was no place for them 
to hang out,
to roost, 
to dream.
So they didn’t care about the dust motes
escaping into the sunlight
floating like fairy dust
getting themselves organised
to follow their dream.
Did they escape
from the jar?
the bull is wondering 
if they were ever inside
and the birds don’t care as usual,
hardly notice her dog emerging 
from the mist to inspect them. 
Unmistakably her dog
just more amorphous than usual.
It doesn’t look inclined to chase the motes
or stick its head inside the loop they’re making.
But the birds don’t care as usual.


 American Dream

We were such special people then, 
the two of us, flying high above the rest
like the arrogant angels we saw 
playing way above the clouds.
We could almost touch them
with our arms outstretched,
as we danced our way through 
a cinemascope of endless possibilities.

But other people were unimpressed.
They had no wish to touch the angels, 
or reach the stars, even if they could.
They looked down towards us, not up,
fulfilled and sacred to each other, 
with a specialness unknown to us.
We did not hear the soundtrack of their voices.
Did not see the fractures of their dreams,
or of ours to come.
But now we have become the rest
and know that we were not so special then. 
But just practicing for a life that would elude us 
as dreams remained dreams in cinemascope.
Dreams which became decayed imaginings 
growing dusty with time and fading,
as ordinariness reclaimed us and the angels let us fall. 


Thursday, 22 September 2022

 Thoughts And Prayers

Like towels hung out

to dry in the wind

line upon line

pegged out 

prayer flags

sending thoughts

sending blessings

line dried from

days gone by.

Thoughts and prayers 

sent on the wind

not in the ether.

But in the end

it made no difference. 

In the end 

it makes no difference 

how they’re hung out to dry.


Wednesday, 21 September 2022


It was the purr she heard first,

so loud it was almost a growl.

But a dog up a tree?

No, she knew that would be mad!

So she wasn’t surprised to see a cat 

when she looked up

and wasn’t surprised to see it smiling.

She expected it to be happy with so loud a purr.

You must be pleased to see me, she thought,

watching it stretch and sleepily curl.

She felt sleepy too so she curled like the cat.

And together they dreamed smiley dreams

until she heard a crash

as the branches broke

and the cat landed heavily in her lap.

Then she woke

to find

the cat had disappeared.

Only the smile remained.

And that weighed nothing at all.


 A Question of Place

‘Who the fuck is Alice?’

said the March Hare

inhaling hard.

‘She’s rather large’

said Dormouse


as the smoke ring engulfed him.

‘I find her quite intimidating, actually,

not the little girl I expected.

Really, I hope Hattie 

doesn’t invite her

to the party.

I don’t think she would

quite fit in.’

‘You’ll sleep through it anyway’,

said the White Rabbit consulting his watch.

‘It’s time. We should go.’

The March Hare lit another cigarette.

‘We should all change places

if she’s there’ said Dormouse.

The March Hare blew out more

smoke rings.

‘Who the fuck cares if she fits in or not,

in a mad world no one has a place.

Hatter knows that.

He’ll be asking her questions. 

He knows the place of madness.’

‘All in good time’, 

said the White Rabbit consulting his watch.

‘He’ll ask her who she is’.

‘There’s no answer to that’ said Dormouse.

‘No one knows who they are’.

March Hare lit a cigarette.

‘If she can’t answer Hatter’s question,

then she has no place. 

There’s no answer to that’.

‘In time there’ll be an answer.’

said the White Rabbit.

In time we’ll know our place.

In time we’ll know the answer to who we are.

Then times will change again’.