Tuesday, 28 February 2023

 To Rest In Peace

They were men of the north

suitably suited

in black dense as new hewed coal

or dark grey shiny as wet slate

or, rarely, the midnight blue

of a northern night sky.

It was a formal occasion

this laying to rest

of the dull grey

past known,

of the bright red

future hoped for.

They laid them to rest

with broken flowers

petals crushed

with ashes

and dust.

It was a formal occasion

this laying to rest

in peace

or not.


Monday, 27 February 2023

 The Curse Of Consumption

I can hardly remember my early life

when I wiggled and wriggled 




all before me.

I know I sensed the warnings

not to bite off more than I could chew,

but consumer of cliches that I was,

I carried on regardless

making a meal of everything

I could swallow,

even the words.

I could feel 



was coming

and eventually

it happened!

I made it happen!

My curse became a blessing

and I broke out 

of my hard carapace,

split open the shell

that had become my prison,

did my best to leave it behind

to have a look at the world outside

and continue my cruise of consumption.

Nothing was sacred

I ate it all

and grew fat,

so fat,

too fat.

So fat I felt ready to explode.

And then it happened, 

I swear,

it was like a nuclear explosion

inside me

all the dust and debris of decadence 


into something unspeakable,


into something unintelligible

to be spewed out

of my big accursed mouth.

I don’t know what 

will become of me now.

I don’t know what

I will become now.


Saturday, 25 February 2023


They put a fence by the waterfall

all along the high bank near the path.

It was ugly,

an eyesore

but it was supposed to make it safer

stop people climbing up the rocks at it’s side

and jumping in

though no one could remember an accident.

It didn’t work.

The children went under.

The adults went over.

It was more dangerous

as the approach was much narrower now

and slippery from the increased footfall 

on the restricted area.

But at least 

there was no accident

it was just ugly

an eyesore


someone took a saw to it

and threw the bits

into the water

to float away

down river.

They built it higher then

a bigger eyesore

and difficult for children

to climb over.

But they still do.

After all, they've been doing it for centuries.

It’s probably in their genes

and no one can remember an accident.



Imagine a sitting room peopled with dolls

an attic space filled with toy trains and cars

adult places filled with children’s playthings

passive playthings

out of their time

and moved on

into a time

when even the box

with it’s wrappings

and writings

fails to excite us


no spark,

no glamour,

only needy memories

in passing

as time




 Game On

Even as a child she could play

a mean game of dominoes

sometimes it was just against her mother,

sometimes other members of the family as well,

or her friends and their mothers.

Games were always sedate,

well mannered, even tempered

dominoes carefully placed on the table

with a gentle click clack.

She usually won.

Later she discovered that the pub game

was quite different.

Every move was contested.

Dominoes were slammed down noisily 

with a bounce

which disturbed

those already placed

and led to heated debate

about where they had been

and where they should be now.

And there was always an audience 

which joined in as well

shouting advice

and abuse,

whichever was deemed appropriate.

Excitement mounted as the beer flowed.

And she won again.


 I Am A Child

I am a child of the revolution

created by the wake of

fascism and imperialism,

that sought to construct 

a more just society.

I am a child numbed by poverty, 

stultified by working class conformity,

of a mother who wanted better for me,

but also wanted to keep me the same.

I am a child of these contradictions

who became a rebel 

in the cultural revolution

of the rock and roll generation.

Who was liberated by student life,

by control of fertility,

by other places, 

by the music and art 

all parents hated.

I am still that child.

This is what made me.

This is what shaped me and

became part of my present, 

became part of my future.

Sometimes I have tried to escape it.

Sometimes I still do.


 Never Never Land

My sister has gone to Never Never Land

It’s where all the lost children go,

those who don’t find their way home

and those who fade away and die

like the wild flowers I pick for the house.

My mother says 

they stay children for ever

and can play all day long.

My sister was allowed to take her trike with her

even though it was all smashed up.

My mother says

the magic people there will fix it.

It sounds like fun there

but my mother says

she will never let me go,

not even if I find a magic carpet

to carry me up into the sky.

Perhaps she thinks I’m getting too old go there.

She says that the children there will grow wings 

and become angels,

I think angels are a bit like fairies,

and when my sister gets her wings

she will fly back home

so we can be together again.

My mother says, no, never,

but I don’t know.


 A Question Of Perspective

The theatre was full of children.

I was there with my mother and auntie.

We were all excited,

especially first timers like me.

I’d been told it was a fairy story,

Cinderella, they had said,

but I couldn’t work it out.

The prince was a girl,

a ‘principal boy’, they told me.

So why a girl?

It made no sense.

And the wicked step-mother 

looked suspiciously male.

A dame, they told me.

So how can a dame be male?

It made no sense,

not to me.

I guess it’s all a question of perspective.


Friday, 24 February 2023

 March Hares

They’re getting ready for the boxing matches

where the winners will take all.

Afterwards, they’ll stand still

for a moment

and sniff the air

to check all is safe

and then they’re ready to roll

so climb on board

feel the wind

in your hair

the witching hour has arrived at last

and soon all will be transformed,



as they spring


in any shape

they choose.

It’s like magic.


Saturday, 18 February 2023

 Far Out

Like Stevie’s young man, 

I was too far out  

much too far out

and not waving

I didn’t want the attention

that waving would draw

to my foolishness

or precociousness

or my stubbornness

when I’d gone too far,

wouldn’t want to be judged

on my waywardness.

But I wasn’t drowning.

I had my mask 

and snorkel,

even a wet suit

of a homemade kind

so I just floundered

a bit


I found I could float,

and go with the flow

for a while

and then kick off 

against the current

in my own direction.

Sometimes I reached the safety

of the shore

and stayed close for a while

but only for a while,

only for a while

I stayed

too far out all my life

but not waving or drowning.


Thursday, 16 February 2023




Wednesday, 15 February 2023


We were timeless

timeless as the moon.


of ourselves


of our opportunities


like polished silver

in the dark.

We forgot about the tides

the cycles

the ebb and flow.


we would be worn away

to a crescent.

We only remembered

the renewal

our chance

to do it all again.


Saturday, 11 February 2023



Friday, 10 February 2023


Weather wasn’t always like this

forever winds 

bouncing off the mountains 


bringing the chaos

of flailing and falling 

leaf heavy boughs, 

their trunks lying 



or uprooted

and the gush 

and rush 

of wild, 

wild water


in chaotic 


I had thought that here

we were sheltered

by the mountains

but now we’re

in the centre

of an angry vortex

under the still blue sky,

it’s a whirling blue vortex

in this dervish of a blizzard.


Thursday, 9 February 2023

 Spring Dreams

I close my eyes 

and listen

to the first sounds

of spring.

Hear the bees fly past

and feel their warm settling

sometimes they alight on me

as if they wish to examine

this strange creature,

this lone interloper 

in their world.

I open my eyes 

when I feel them

so that I can admire

their beauty

and strangeness

before they move on,


or crawling,

off to make their honey

they leave me alone again.