Wednesday 27 September 2023


It was hardly a gingerbread house.

Only the roof was gingerbread colour.

We thought the old woman living there was a witch.

Later we didn’t believe in witches 

and we knew she was no more a witch

than the raindrops

hanging from the trees

were really diamonds,

though she said that they were.

Now the house stands empty and derelict

and we know no one has lived there for centuries.

Only the raindrops remain

frozen in time 

hard as diamonds

just as she said they were

Monday 25 September 2023


A long time ago
St George killed all the dragons in England.
All of them,
the black ones,
the green ones
and the white.
He killed all the dragons in Sweden
and in the Middle East.
He killed all of them,
the black ones,
the green ones
and the white.
But the red dragons defeated him,
hid in the rainy Welsh mountains.
Leapt out and ambushed him.
Bent his sword with the heat
of their fire.
Ate up his horse,
so that he had to run away,
slipping and sliding over the wet rocks,
into the muddy dense wood
in fear.
the red dragons defeated him
and left him hiding in his cave,
in fear.
come for a walk with me.
This is the dragon’s country.
They are very shy and secretive these days,
even though St George is long gone
and they have nothing to fear.
Come for a walk with me
and I will show you dragons
when I find them.
I know that

it’s only a matter of time.



It was opened at the time of the Crimean War.
This does not seem to be a legend.
Though probably it was not built by Russian
prisoners who left their boots behind.
This does seem to be a legend.
After all this is North Wales and ours is the land
of legends
and we all know that the pub at the summit
served ale on Sunday lock-ins right up to the time
when the purple dragon was sent to burn it down
to nothing.
Only pine trees remain
miraculously unscathed
to mark the spot for ever.

And as for the dragon, he found a mate
with our native red and made happy families
in a slate cavern for many years.
But when the time was right
the still angry drinkers
raised their glasses
to cast a spell
which transformed all the dragons.
Changed them into the rhododendrons
which grow like pink and purple miracles,
breaths of dragon fire colouring the slate tips.
It’s something to ponder when you pass over
the Crimea in springtime.


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 its 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.


It was a country guest house,
once a working farm.
The lady of the hose was brushing Lily’s hair.
“Lily doesn’t go out anymore,” she said,
“she refuses.”

She put down her brush
and gave Lily a custard cream
which was delicately eaten.
“I tempted her out for a walk
a couple of years ago.”
She waved the packet in explanation
of the source of temptation.

“We walked down the lane
and she was fine at first
and then a rabbit ran across.
She stopped and turned
and looked at me
with wild rolling eyes.
She would go no further
wouldn’t be tempted
so we turned.

She wanted to go home
but I tempted her,“ she waved the packet
“and we went further.
Then a bird flew across
and she stopped and turned
to look at me with wild rolling eyes.
She would go no further
wouldn’t be tempted.
So we turned
and went home.

She gave Lily a custard cream
which was delicately eaten.
Then she opened up her storeroom
to show me the piled up boxes of
custard creams,
floor to ceiling
custard creams.
“Lily won’t eat anything else now.
And well, they don’t go far.
A packet of custard creams,
it’s not much for a horse, you know!”


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 weather god doesn’t speak Welsh.
She’s tried.
She’s really tried.
She’s wept tears
of frustration.
She’s wept tears
of anger.
She’s wept tears
of sadness
that flow from the mountains
to the sea.
It’s the vowels
she finds hard.
And the consonants.
And the mutations.
And the way it’s spoken form
over the distance traveled
in the time it takes her
to make a small cloud
and a tiny puff of wind.
A tiny puff,
not enough to to raise the cloud
above the mountains.
So it hangs in a sad, sullen mist.
Or blows in angry swirls.
And still
she tries.
She really tries.
She weeps tears
of frustration.
She weeps tears
of anger.
She weeps tears
of sadness.
Floods of tears.
Tears which fall
in cascades
from the
to the sea.

Friday 22 September 2023

 Writing Poetry

‘That’s a beautiful poem’,

she said.

‘Where were you sitting when you wrote it?

I would imagine you by a river

with the water babbling by

and the birds singing’

I had to tell her, ‘no’,

that I was sitting by my computer.

That that is where I always write.

No pencil or pen for me

with my endless edits

and illegible handwriting.


when an idea occurs on a sleepless night.

Then it’s off to the bathroom to catch it

and hold it fast.

The bathroom,

where there’s a supply of tissue

that will do the job

and a pencil

kept specially for the purpose.

Thursday 21 September 2023

 Peace Is

Peace is more 

than the absence of war

though that would be a start.

And then the dissolving of boundaries

constructed by humans

to cordon off one from the other

and shout across the divide.

Then we can whisper and hug

our way to peace.

Sunday 17 September 2023

 Rise And Fall

We buried the monster with a stake through it’s heart

hoping that would kill it dead,

hoping it could never rise again.

Sometimes we almost believed it

but only sometimes 


we weren’t optimistic but we tried.

What else could we do?

And we created something better

with our blood and sweat and tears.

We saw the rain wash away all the traces.

We saw the sun come out.

We saw the colours of laughter in the streets.

We hoped it would stay there for ever.

We doubted it, but what else could we do?

We feared the monster would not die.

And we were right

the monster was not dead

just lying dormant

it’s heart still throbbing



out the rotten stake.

And now there’s no laughter in streets

full of grey people

carrying grey umbrellas

knowing that it’s raining again

washing away the sunshine this time,

waiting for the blood to flow.

And here am I

re-reading the old words

re-living the old times

re-viewing the album 

of old photographs

of people locked in their past

forced to live there again

history gone in a flash




placing us on a treadmill

taking us back

to the beginning 

to start over

as the clouds gather

and the rain starts to fall.


Always on the move,

darting here, dipping there,

blowing hot, blowing cold,

mercurial as quicksilver

dispensing woe or joy

in clouds of dust,

fairy dust,

falling like starlight

and landing


I’m just the messenger,

she said,

I don’t get to choose,

gold or silver,

coal or shale,

it’s just dust

blowing in the wind

and landing


I don’t get to choose,

she said.

But I wonder.

Saturday 16 September 2023

 Growing Up

I’ve grown so tall

I live up there

with the giants now.

They’ve taught me 

how to polish the stars

and make sure

that they hang in order.

Painting the moon pink

was my idea though.

They haven’t seen it yet.

You’re still so small

I’ll have to lift you up

for a preview.

Tell me what you think!

 Turning To Stone

A lesser man would have been turned to stone

by such a look,

such a dirty look,



certainly worthy of a Gorgon,

but I survived it

I’m glad to say

though I still look uneasily 

at the stone statues

commemorating the famous and infamous,

the religious idols,

the gargoyles,

devils and pixies

and I wonder,

was it the skill of the unknown carvers,

or was it just a look that did the trick?

Well, we’ll never know.