Monday, 31 December 2012

Rough Mystery

Van Gogh 'God took a terrible lot of trouble with this world study of his' 

Van Gogh says the whole world’s a painting study;
with form and colour, pencil dust
roughly pushed by fingers into arcs
on paper, shining, planned, unplanned.

Stepping back,
loving the action of it,
(and all the time it took)

I bet it feels good to taste
and smell and see
all the nascent parts
emerge and, listening, be.

Friday, 28 December 2012


What shall we talk about – what’s up
(we’ve got a little bit of time)
and who will speak and who will follow whom
(what’s new upon this kitchen table top)

and shall we circle round and round
(with eyes and ears and touch and tongue)
giving little pats-on-the-head
(and will we choose to work, eat, dance or sing or sleep)?

Who shall we please and who not please
(tomorrow and tomorrow’s ace
encounters, meetings, semaphore)

or hate or care or love, respect,
or look across the surfaces
and feel for sudden truth - and trust?

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Every year

it’s clear
that Xmas day is my mate
John’s birthday

and any old glitter on the table,
scissors and sellotape,
will be in play.

As two festivals collide
he often gets the thought
that, ultimately,  everything unites

although, as he looks out through
swiveling snow,
we know that (deep down) too

it bugs him – because
he keeps squinting to the East,
waiting for the next Jesus

coming - the second one
who will turn the table, soften
his inevitable burden.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Life’s backdrop

One day we set off
on a little trip,
oh Lord, to hike up
a middle eastern hilltop
in a madcap
attempt to find (on top)
a theatre of blocks
and yet no cairns of rocks
were there to guide or map
our way on up;
no arrows, dots
of paint - but on we stepped
(not at a trot)
without a single drop
of water in a cup
(to sip or sup)
and we didn’t stop
until we reached the top
where we three chaps
gave up
and stopped,
then clocked
we’re in the soup
and on that spot
we dropped
our cross.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Andrew will

dance through time like Peter Pan
and keep us dancing still;
freer than a sober man
or a girl who drank her fill.

Dancing’s like a spirit
that sober men endure
but drunken folk enjoy it
before they lie and snore.

Kick your feet and wave your hands,
feel the music’s wave;
drunk or sober, help us dance
like Elvis from the grave.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

To my sons

I fear I did not give
enough attention, time,
and, when I look death in the face,
will my dreamed-of God forgive
a working father’s crime
not far beyond our last embrace?

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

For Emily Dickinson

I will not tally letters up
- or dots, apostrophes,
or add the words typed on a sheet
of prancing poetry.

Instead, I want to simply take
a feeling of the whole
enwrapped in music, rhythms – breaks -
and resonate a soul.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Fear and Melancholy

Through a perspex sheeting I can see
a massive ocean pushing out her strokes;
knowing, for a time, I won’t be caught
and pulled into her cold eternity.
With all the power sea invokes,
whitened by salt, let’s not fight!

Flight! This is no place for single human power
and not because I’m older, slow in years,
unerringly losing dignity.
No! Because, unending, hour by hour,
those waves push into solid stone with tears;
unlevelled water has no fear or pity.

Poet, move on! Feeling I will stand inevitably
one day and turn back towards the flow;
against those tumblers’ sure retreat, advance,
and so re-enter sweet eternity,
traveling fast but also, even, slow.
That day the waiting sea will take my sense.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


Today, relaxing, floating,
I’m lifted by a milky sea until
the sirens call and sing
and down I dive into a deeper chill.

That’s when I start to swim
up and on towards a golden rim
and stand again as I had once begun;
welcomed home into Byzantium.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Yeats could feel

a desire to be young,
greener than springtime trees,
and sing assembled songs
to sweetly hit top C’s,

and play like butterflies
(less caring how land lies)
ignore the path – so long
- that leads into Byzantium.

Thursday, 29 November 2012


Sons, alive in my mind’s eye,
wear guitar and tee-shirts, lyrical ones
strum and (in sing-song) blue notes fly;
faces aglow like hot stones.

Strings are shimmering side-by-side
and faces stand eager in the bar-room door;
enjoying the craick, along for the ride
of brothers and magical music once more.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


The first word of any new day
could maybe be yes or maybe no;
both words seem equally valid
reactions to onrushing light.

Maybe look romantically back to yesterday’s love
or glance for tomorrow and hyena laugh:
inexorable fate is pushing through now;
growing from substances, maybes and dreams.

Maybe laughter is tearful and ugly's a beauty
- something is nothing – and maybe we’re falling
conscripted by newness, up, into destiny;
hello and, well, thank you, maybe today.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


There’s harmony
in Andrew’s dance, hidden
in rhythm and infinite
orbit, suggesting

‘Care less of scorn
or judgment or gossip
but feel for the real song
in movement and tears.’

Turn immortality,
sweet nature’s harmony
infused, and infusing,
body and soul.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Hunger Games

At the end of our little flight
- right among the scrambling moments
when people panic, stand and panic again
(grabbing their luggage) a lovely girl

twirled and kissed her handsome boyfriend
- open mouthed like a hungry fish
unhinged her jaws and swallowed head,
shoulders, torso, then his legs.

She looked around and gulped down a fatter girl,
whole, and formed a bigger plan for dinner
- wings and fuselage, engine, petrol, oil,
all inside her belly, masticated.

Frustrated now, she turns her beady eye
towards the airport, city – walks along and hugs her belly, sighs.

Thursday, 15 November 2012


most people on a flying train
would ‘get’ that space is time
- that space is limited,
- that time is ticking fast;

and an emptier tunnel is coming,
where (at a moment when brakes won’t work)
the tracks run out and we don’t know
who will steer or drive the engine on

but if you ask Andrew
to stop singing and dancing
he’ll look direct and quizzical
to say ‘Oh what!?’ and then ask

the big bad ask we all could ask;
‘Are you mad, mate, are you mad?’

Monday, 12 November 2012


Plentiful, a few leaves rattle overhead;
uncountable , brown collateral
-  mulch of a future generation

and, every second, a dry cornflake floats
or plummets onto muddy autumn ground;
to be soaked and eaten by water, worms and earth.

Whilst airborne, no longer fixed or allied
to a mother tree with her branch and fire; deep, deep roots,
but, re-formed, sways away from her great connection
(with soft-hard edges) into a new collective.

Heading for chemical, mineral, damned decay
in a spinning fall from old body to new body
at the turn of the season, heading inevitably into
a turn of the year.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Writer's Block

Like a stroppy teenager, one blank page defies
my intention to write down words:
an empty mind and empty paper.
Silence, blank, void – until I listen with intent
and hear my train trundle and rumble South.
I let a pen leak a few words
and some thing’s down there now.

I learned the duties of a clown from Andrew:
at home in a world of nonsense,
turning up voltage again and again;
not perfectly perfect but urging
inclusion; connecting the hearts of some people
through smiles – with spaces between all their talking and words,
where, truly, a mystery lies.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Pass the Buck

Happiness seems
to COME out from
a small centre
- in a ray – a
SHOW of teeth, but
can be also
rude or vulgar,
expressing as
an anima
(Carl Jung would say).
Happy people
feel an inner
RUSH and Andrew
learned, this year, to
swear (in his own
way) intense, org-
asmic splurging
four letter words
like in a cough
or sneeze, a lit-
tle BRAY
     ‘if you
can’t find a way
to sing or sway,
BUCK yourself up,
make a noise, play
and dance today,
I’ll shout and spray,
and cry, exclaim’
he’ll say
    ‘Buck off!’

Saturday, 3 November 2012


I smack
the same ball
at the same wall.

My version
of what’s in front
is a blinkered person
marching, drunk.

I’m a disgrace:
today I caught
a grayling fish,
lost my rainbow trout.

Apart from this,
I do exist;
a little bliss.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

When Andrew’s at the karaoke,

eyes are drawn to a young star
that only wise men follow;
microphone and punching arms,
exuberant little fellow.

We look and look – he burns a hole
in boredom - can we learn
beyond our resignation, beer,
to tread the boards and burn?

Sunday, 28 October 2012


To all poets with
writer’s block – a small piece of
advice;- Don’t you start!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

To James Bond

Many a theme song
bangs-on about love;
‘Never say never again’
‘She loves you - yeah, yeah, yeah’

but it’s more than a missing
when romance turns off;
a desire for a person
can cloud into tears

and it’s not quite right
this quality – love or desire -
let’s not make it pretty

as I twist in the night
(quiver a heartstring)
welling up from fire;
love can feel shitty

and, so, Mr Bond
distract us with sex;
institutions are saved
when your balls lead you on

but pick up a hand,
soften your looks,
for to love and be loved
rescues women and men.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Time in St. Ives

Outside, the wind’s a howling beast,
more unpredictable than dragons
and water lifted from the sea
washes blue sky grey.

Off shore, a killer sea
waves out – then in – predictably
and moon time people crab along
from blinking caffs and shops.

Caressed by sun, clockwork town;
a timepiece ticking on.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

On the last day,

after all, it’s not been
too monotonous
or momentous either.
You stare out from a
window that isn’t
what it seems.
Nor can you be seen.
You finally got
that reality is

All you did get, after all,
was to stare awhile and swim like a demon.

Reality transforms from warm to cold,
wet to dry, then rhythm to

Birth and death aren’t gradual,
after all.

Monday, 15 October 2012


In early April, cruel showers
turn and splash and fade,
without a plan or auto-cue
or credits rolling at the end.

No sleep is possible in this wind
- memories of camping rain
spatter and splatter and splat again
my rooftop tingling brain.

Memories! A tent flapping,
ghosts insistent for remembering
- calling but uncalled for.

Almost, they breathe, look,
aching for texture
as wind and rain let up.

Friday, 12 October 2012


he looked into a compass face:

East – the clarity of morning
North – a thump of afternoon
South – the warmth of midday love
West – a poignancy of sunset

… and a little face
winked back, lit up by
midnight’s grinning moon,
asked a tiny question;
‘which direction mate?’

‘Matey, which direction?’

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


Originally Pinocchio
twitched and danced like Neo;

caught inside a matrix
of jerky little puppets.

Giuseppe and Marius
saved their special lads:

Pinocchio and Neo
also saved their Dads.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Oh God

Happiness or lousy life?
Head to foot in fear and wonder,
am I in the dark or light?

Will I live as prey or hunter?
Am I plunging in the sea or
lifting wings for flight?

In a swirling world,
will one Technicolor movie
stop my head from worry?

Oh, let me stop ringing this bell;
Oh, let me escape from this shell:
Oh hell.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


Mostly, I do my best to fend off
but here, with breakfast bacon,
coffee, iPad;
I get it down.

Left and right, two
flying finger pads
try to weave a net
from what’s around,
through ears and eyes,
heart and head,
with letters, words and spaces
tying a little philosophical knot
of what the hell is maybe happening,
why I’m here, what the people at the next table
are really saying
and whether one little letter, another word,
will settle, fly or capitalise.

On the radio, a jingle sings
and it’s travel news next.
Push-on, or stop, review;
turn off the mains, delete?

Monday, 1 October 2012


Feet have
almost gotten
home - through the gate,
the path, a door,
turning green
to grey and brown;
from natural to man-
made - corroborated
by harder edges
and the sounds
of one hand turning
a handle’s practical
activity exhibiting
pattern and habit:
splitting a second. This
has happened many, many times
before - but there’s
a pulse today,
an unending slowness
and a longing old
seeking of senses
zooming their fibres
towards, out, and passing
a dovetail of door jamb’s
open inclusion
compression and feeling
a spot of reality;
a hug with my son
who whispers my ear
‘Daddy, hello;
you’re alive.’

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


He walks along in personal space
- now - worry a lot,
because there’s a violin case in his left hand.
You never know what’s in a case like that!?

The man stands up and grunts, and starts.
He lightens up strings
as if Bach is here, now,
in present tense: string-tense: a sigh.

Hear sixty three repeating bases,
respectful, alert:
stabbing a bow;
roundabout bow

of melody, rhythm and chord.
Like Hopkins he springs
triumphantly tragic;
grief in Bach’s pain!

Alone! And hear an elbow pull
become scratched - a touch
of homecoming earth-time;
heavenly business.

A solitary man gyrates
and puppets in dance,
grieving, he’s busy,
- a lonely string screams:

so catching and real – Bach’s wife’s death.
Let’s grieve like a Bach;
screech in a bow-string,
grieving vibration.

But Bach is up now – lifting now,
envisioning hope.
Play us to ecstasy:
Heaven and Earth!

Has anything changed since last breath?
A man and his bow,
back in its case, away, walking away
from intimate personal space.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Skimming Hope

I threw a Word
- a big, flat word -
* spinning in seconds *
and the Word rebounded from an ear,
mystically bounced
- sped on -
curtly caught an older eye
(twisted by a stranger’s touch)

but now ~arcing clear and free~
it plops
and ripples out
in hopeful rings;
crying, dying through
one pumping heart.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Rain in my Brain

and spatters
the top of our tent.
North wind pushes
wavering walls,
and then

Friday, 7 September 2012


Morning mayhem. The tent’s buffeting
like a mountain lion. Truer than words, it rumbles.  And up
in the sky a huge grey brushstroke stands with light behind.
Today has begun.

Andrew’s asleep and dreaming, snoring,
but smiling. He stirs; begins to dream awake another few hours,
reaching for essences dancing with clay.
Hungry for magic, a boy.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


Page 1
I need a flashy headline – like RAGE!
Pictures of some naked breasts, a star

a girl, a funny caption, someone brave.
Need a colour scheme to catch the eye.

Page two is everything – a little story -
then my adverts – don’t be shy –

in a war of glances I need you!
Here you’ll find excitement – no thing too!

Page 3
Now you’re screwed and hammered-in to gaze;
caught within the noose of every thing

but if you want to feel the air and fly
wild and free and laughing, get RAGE.

Saturday, 1 September 2012


Coffee, black as a final No
vibrant potential cries out – go!

Milk, mysterious as falling snow,
tipped and turning, says – hello!

Up to my mouth, a steaming brew;
lippy little liquid  - suck, suck, thank you!

Turning away, I look at the sky;
old kitchen table, doorway, goodbye!

Lively as a hare, I plant three trees:
omelet, a little plate, yes, yes, please.

Terrible, the pathway from kitchen to lake;
fall down a pothole, my mistake!

Down on my knees, I clean up the mess,
cross another river with a great big Yes!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Rabbit, Rabbit

on ears and lips, tongues.

I’m way-word-weary today,
longing for real language
lilting a runabout between all the dots,
making my way through soft, soggy rain.

The undomesticated have no words.
The butterfly’s page is the wild, wild world
lilting a runabout between all the dots.
I walk, leaving footprints, a muddy trail.

Language, not words.

Sunday, 26 August 2012


I went for a wander to listen
out for natural song;
sheep with their backs to the wind,
a worm on its way to the west,
a horse who stands and, staring,
no longer feels for saddle,
or bit, or foot in a stirrup.

Still as a toad,
I’m aching for
my bubble brain
to stop all words.

the world.

Monday, 20 August 2012


When daylight hits the dreamer’s face,
kaleidoscope’s fading and mingling.
He does not wake.

When darkness hits the dreamer’s face;
deep into longing he enters
his lonely truth.

When music hits the dreamer’s face
and sings in accord with heartbeat,
he dances

up into sunlight (stronger than puppets)
hungry for mischief today.

Friday, 17 August 2012


Waking is a hard attempt to grace a dream,
free from hazy traveling
and, out from the blue-gray sky of morning,
Andrew shouts. (Far away like a lark)
- fibres of sound grab my ears,
swing my flickering eyes. He’s outside,
been for an adventure, saying hello,
holds his hands out to the world.
Good Morning!
                                    I’m tired
and tempted to stay underground,
ignore that green shout
and his trembling cry of intensity.

But I do decide to move up - in one choice moment -
and spread my arms away from dreaming.
He trumpets
a few notes :
dreamscape, magic waking.

Monday, 13 August 2012


He simply wants your spirit
as he fumbles for the key,
with a little song that turns a smile
(he stalks you by degree);

attacks your arrogant nature
with questions in a blow
‘are you Jesus, happy, married?;
‘why not?’ he’ll want to know!

He wants your neck to straighten,
to stop you being ‘cool’
with a smile wrapped round a thunderbolt
- he wants to touch your soul;

there’s magic in a reach of hands;
and then the hugging – love –

Friday, 10 August 2012

Count a birth

Once I was foolish enough
to direct magic at the
threshold of a simple fate.

Fortune swam a mother’s womb
(vivacity of random order)
sex’s creativity.

Heavenly lightning bolted
- heat and helix were guided
nonplussed by crazy harmony
- then a single cry was born.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


I pulled
an air gun
and (at the speed of sound)
word flew.

Monday, 6 August 2012


At my Aunt’s funeral
the relatives were looking at knees and toecaps
in those little moments where words
feel not quite right – less conditioned
spots of vacancy and mystery
made empty by the undertaker screwing down a lid’s
four corners with a practical turn of his wrist.

Next day we caught sunnier weather
and my Uncle, face alight, skeleton moving,
screwed the top off a whiskey bottle
he’d had his beady-eye on for 21 years
‘You can only drink it when I’m gone’
she’d said;
and the liquid winked in the light.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

To be, or not

It’s not a dilemma
when I ask of Andrew,
‘Are you loving your dinner?’
Simple and true
‘I am,’ he says
‘I do!’

Thursday, 2 August 2012


Of this world
- how come that boy in front is grinning?
I mean this boy – the one we label ‘Down’s’;
the one delighted seeing us here,
who loves to chew more coupled to his food,
who closes eyes when feeling-fully a taste,
who smiles at every folly
with eyes more soft and clear than tears.

Now, as he starts to sing - a hymn -
I’m not sure of the point of any prayer
and I seldom taste my food
or stroll along for the hell-of-it
or stare in wonder any more.
I long to tell you what to do
and long to be told what-to-do by you
- so please instruct intensity!

Shall we chew? Shall we chew? Shall we chew?