Wednesday, 31 May 2023

 Clouded Vision

I knew you were there,

out here


I tried to find you

but my vision clouded.

With my head in the clouds

I could only dream.

Now I know

I must let you go


Free with the birds.

Saturday, 27 May 2023

 The Eyes Of  The Storm

What does the owl see

when the lightning


light up the night sky

with sheets

of light

horizontal flashes

with vertical 

floor to ceiling


from heaven to earth.

What does the owl see

when lightning strikes

through the hail and snow,

the wind and the rain.

What did the owl see

when awestruck

by lightning

 Nothing Is Quite Right

I thought I would go to the beach today

but when I got there nothing was quite right.

It was too cold for bikinis 

in spite of being August

with bright summer light

it was buttoned up winter there.

So I thought a coffee would be good,

or maybe warming hot chocolate,

but the cafe was topsy turvy,

had tipped over 

on to it’s side

and I couldn’t find a way to get in,

a way to sit down and place my order.

So I walked down the streets

and wondered how long

it would be before they became topsy turvy too.

Or perhaps they’ll stay the right way up, 

I couldn’t say.

I tried to cross the bridge to reach the pink castle,

but it had become the wrong shape 

too steep 

to walk over

and I was disconcerted by the paper shapes 

that were replacing the buildings.

They looked pretty,

I liked them,

but they still weren’t quite right.

Even later, when I woke up

it still looked all wrong

and nothing was ever

quite right 


Friday, 26 May 2023

 Another Country

Their move to north Wales didn’t go to plan.

It was so different from the south of England

and the house, bought in a phone call was not as she expected.

There was so much she hadn’t been told over the phone,

and so much more she had forgotten to ask.

There were more leaks than expected,

but she had expected a bathroom,

however basic

and even the old toilet outside 

didn’t work.

There was a lot to think of

a lot to sort out

in their new home

in this new place, 

in a new country

where she knew no one.

So, she could be forgiven 

for forgetting

to warn him.

She picked him up eagerly

after his first morning in school.

“Was it good?“ she asked.

“Were the other children nice,

did you have fun?”

“It was great, Mum,” he answered.

She sighed with relief.

Something had gone right.

“There was one thing 

that was really strange 


She looked up alarmed.

“Oh no, what was that!?”

“They all spoke French!”

he said.

Thursday, 25 May 2023

 That Was Us

That was us

who wandered through Europe without maps or money, 

or sense of direction.

Who got lost a lot, 

but didn’t get raped or murdered. 

So far as we can remember.

Who charmed hoteliers into letting us stay for free. 

Who got up early (too cold to sleep),

and cleaned the kitchen and the floors of the hostel in Laumiere 

for the first time in many years.

Then sat on the stairs and said ‘No Pasaran’ to everyone, until it had dried,

explaining carefully in languages we did not speak, 

why this was necessary. 

Who, with wide eyed innocence and impressively bad French 

failed to understand the policemen’s demands,

‘Vos papiers, s’il vous plait, vos papiers!’

Until our new friends with the nice smiles and no papers had disappeared.

‘Vos papiers, s’il vous plait, vos papiers!’ 

Sod off! 

That was us

who swam off the rocks, with a man we’d met in a cafe,

because he said we could.

And swam and swam until two policemen came, 

(one very stern and one very twinkly),

and said we couldn’t.

Nor could we leave the rocks without clothes on,

or with clothes clinging to our still wet bodies, 

or lie on the rocks until we were dry,

in case we disconcerted the traffic or populace. 

This being the main street in Trieste.

Who lived in a house ‘typique du Turque’ with a water pump in the garden

and a toilet, also ‘Typique du Turque’, which made us very ill indeed.

But the parties were good and the conversations interesting,

even though no one spoke English.

And we learned to speak some Albanian, which was always handy.

And we survived to sit thirstily by a hot, dusty roadside and fantasise 

about the ice cold mountain water streaming through the streets of Pec,

and even about the water pump in the garden. 

Who left Barcelona dressed in summer skirts and sandals 

and arrived late by a dark roadside in snowy Andorra,

at a place full of ‘apres ski’ types with plummy voices and fat wallets,

inviting us into their warm hotel to buy us drinks and hot food,

to warm us up, they said.

No chance! 

No class traitors, us! Not us, 

Not us.

They’re not like us, 

these two old women in the mirror 

wearing our jeans and our smiles.

Not us, 

they can’t be us.

Not us.

Not us.

 Through the Glass

Alice saw herself in her looking glass

and walked through

into a topsy turvy world where

everything was back to front and inside out.

She drifted into a dreamscape

of madness and unreality, 

without breaking the glass.

Uncut by the shards of her mirror 

or the place she entered into.

She had only to wake to make 

things the right way round again.

But walking through a clear glass,

a transparent window,

it would have been different.

Her reflection would float 

towards a place where everything 

seemed the right way round.

Where everything made sense

and added up sweet with reason.

A place without madness,

which looked easy to enter

and had no sharp edges.


But this glass forms an invisible barrier

to the other side and the life

that seduces and entices her.

And to get through she has to break the glass,

whose sharp edges cut her

and propel her crazily into a place

where she cannot wake.

A jagged, topsy turvy place 

where everything spins round wildly.

Where caricatures of humanity scream out

trying to make sense of it.

Front to back and outside in.

Everything is the wrong way round again.


Tell me, mirror, 

which face do you see 

behind the glass?

Perhaps it’s a pale face

unsullied by sun, 

moist and unlined,

a glowing reflection




But, let me scrape away the surface

to reveal the clear glass in places,

as if it were old, tarnished

and distressed.

Tell me mirror

which face do you see now?

Perhaps the face seems hazy,

patchy like the glass

as it reflects lines

and textures,


and blemishes.

Well, as time has passed both have

picked up some dirt in passing.

Maybe it’s darker still 

in places,

in the deep places

not usually seen

Did the scraping away the glitter

reveal the treasure

and texture beneath

or is the new reflection a distortion

of reality.

Tell me, mirror, 

which face do you see?