Sunday, 22 December 2013


Hardy was a misery, Blake the furthest mystery,
Auden was a brainbox, Thomas alcoholic,
Eliot and Kipling – sent their letters rippling,
Emerson a clever one, Chaucer ever saucy,

Dickinson amazing, Whitman went out traipsing,
cummings hated capitals, Owen had a war on,
Larkin was hardworking, Hughes became a laureate,
Tennyson another one, and who was HD?

But Wallace Edgar’s Wallace
tosses Shakespeare sonnets
out into a flat cap
when t’lion et up Albert.

Plenty to laugh at int’ zoo
‘ind ‘im in his Sunday clothes too.’

Sunday, 1 December 2013


Hey moon
cave mouth
is lit
for cubs
and us,
my mouth,
to play
with all
the crunch
of bone
and drink
a beck
and crouch
the roe
who chews
the grass
and stares
at moon.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Bloomsbury Fall

Today I strolled
in footsteps
of T.S. Eliot’s orbit
of Russell Square.

Leaves were falling
and trees apparently
settling for a bitter pill;
their frosty pixilation.

But a warm sun was out.
I kicked waves forward
to a waiting underground voice
‘This train will stop at Morden.’

Friday, 15 November 2013

Yorkshire Traveler

A grand job,
cheers for that
gluten free
Yorkshire pud.

I learnt on t’cruise
a bloke’s repute
is a fractal
of one’s food.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

IF (after Kipling)

If the world was how-less,
instinct would be master.
If the world was why-less,
motive would be clearer.
If the world was who-less,
freedom would be simpler.
If the worlds was when-less,
only now would matter.
If the world was where-less,
self would be the fixer.
If the world was what-less,
all would be a wonder.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Go Fish

At this time of year countless little fish
swim in shallows of the Aegean sea,
newly born there, quick and flickering
cutting slick water under bright sunshine.

Incoming and outgoing waves sensate
and slowly pebbles turn to integrate.

Nearby spots of flotsam move more softly
but, best of all, darting, diverting black fish
seeming to dance in their idealism,
safe and quick, inquisitive.

I’ve seen them before and caught their spell
but this time I look more closely, turning
eyeballs in tandem with an alien
environment that I’ll never discern.

And I see not single fish but, always,
there are two fish – a black darter and a
white partner, arcing effortlessly as one;
nimble and absolute, together.
They are mating, surely, invertebrates,
black and white, peace and space, united.

I show them to my wife as a miracle,
duck even closer, then step away,
stand back.

Waves turn. Like a perceptual puzzle,
two fish, lively, diverge, turn back to truth
and become one tiny silver creature
making its way alone in the ocean;

an explorer sucking life, mouth open,
eyes awake; this way, that way, any-way,
projecting black shadow from a bright star
onto our waiting earth.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

The Gate

When the barrier stays down
a micro phonic voice
stutters ‘I can’t see you on my screen,
what’s the name again?’

There’s no real need to panic
even though panic’s a bodily instinct;
it’s more a need to wonder, be curious
about that continuing need to breathe

and that you really deserve to live
a little longer, to feel butterflies
in the gut and be tickled
for a while, licking lips,
coldly sensing fresh air,
one breath, next step, blinking.

Sunday, 6 October 2013


In sea shallows, I slope a toe
and feel that first shock
of electricity
when a little wave arises.

I take a step ahead now,
numb to the shinbone,

what to do next. To fight
for consciousness,
flee into apathy,

Skip ahead and a new wave catches
thighs - bring it on -
and another forward-move
until a boomer whacks my chest
to almost a topple
of torso and water.

I keep walking
beyond mindful tricks
of cold and danger
to go again
another time,
another push
knowing that heart is red and strong
with muscles a-tightening
ready to leap
and be lifted,
and swim.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

You may see your children regularly

I leave you in the evening,
my heart a running beat;

you turn yourself away from me
devising new pursuits
and friendships for the seeking,
a spell to cast by reaching;
my cells are shrieking ‘singleton’,
your stage is somewhere new!

My answer’s in this question
‘Is there anything left to say?’

I shift myself away from you
for days and nights and days:
you’re sailing after treasure,
digging joy and leisure
along a measure and a stretch,
two weeks, away, away!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Step Back

I listen to Bach,
I get into Mozart
and still I’ve no sense of all the power they wield

in rhythm and tone,
vibrating a note
but movable senses of tension I yield.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

You may see the children

Every second week I take
my sons back to their mother:
with hugs, a final look,
one warm belly to another.

Sun and moon far west
tip a singing heart
‘Ta-ra my lads, it’s for the best’
turning backs, apart.

Throats move,
Adam’s apples,
eyes of love,
no appeals
blurring sight;
twelve days. Goodnight.

Thursday, 12 September 2013


He plods, and asks, for ‘tickets please’
beneath  this old train roof;
alarms are hanging from the eves
- and passengers are safe.

People turn and smile and look
(outside, a shocking sea)
this train is traveling to a stop
wherever we will be

and, in each carriage, swinging doors
so I could saunter through
and talk or pay, or sleep or play,
or curl in my cocoon?

The driver knows the route we take
but only he can see
our spiral west into the dark
on a ticket for today.

Monday, 9 September 2013


Thank you for holding.

We may never know what’s going on
at the very centre of our Earth
where, four thousand miles straight down,
zooms a point, indivisible, hot.

Thanks for continuing to hold.

At least old Mozart’s a tuneful balm
but, sadly, there’s a potential burst,
a chance of magma time:
to do my best or to do my worst.

Thanks for holding.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Like you and me,

Andrew’s growing old
but two fine eyes
(mischievous, bold)
continue to soften my arrogance, pride.

Seasons have turned
red, golden, green,
birthdays have burned;
places we’ve been.

Give me your hand;
what do you need?

There he stands,
how to proceed?

We need a decision some time soon;
retreat or advance, run for cover, Return.

Monday, 26 August 2013


Andrew has odd ways, strange ways,
a boy who’s mostly laughing,
living loud in vibrant days
and often loving, loving.

Singing in delighted tones
twinkling eye to eye,
yielding as the special one
who climbed up there to die

but sensible folk, how could they know
how to see, to be
with Andrew and his runny nose;
a tissue’s ecstasy.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Real Work

Our drive home was calm. All family
in back seats, chatting; and laughing. An orange sun
settling to earth and pillow clouds floating away against
a darkening blue.

Earlier, Andrew
had refused to let anyone at dinner
rest or detach
until they were included.

‘All of us!!’ he loves to say and uses
tricks like I-spy or other
guessing games, singing - so that even the poor,
silent types who love disconnection
find it hard to avoid, without being rude.

It takes a remarkable act of will to include everyone
when some can’t really be bothered.
But now, with engine purring and sky darkening,
Andrew (the boy) sitting next to me, and family
laughing away in the back, is quiet.
And he is virtually never quiet!

But he looks at me sideways,
with a strange little smile
and time stops
and he nods a nod of knowing,
and I nod back, because we know
in our secret nodding club
he has done his work today;
his ineffable work of connection,
in play now,
in play.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Sands of Time

Onto shore
without end
horses roar
white tops bend
golden light
silver crowned
water fight
crash and grind
and my youth’s
furrowed brow
nature’s truth
splashes, ploughs;
lashes, squalls:

Friday, 19 July 2013

God’s Anger

 One day my father said to the family
‘I’m finally gonna train that dog!’
and dragged our vibrant little Westie
out into a chill front room.

He batted its backside so hard
the dog skedaddled across the carpet;
a billiard ball bouncing off solid oak,
then turned on its belly, a crocodile.

‘Come here!’ he yelled and the little sod
had to crawl along freezing ground
to be yelped again across the room;
by volcano pulses of angry magma.

Age seven, I sat next door
deep in icy romance wondering,
wondering, wondering what the holy
King of Heaven suggested I should do.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Particle or Wave

An Einstein question.
When I walk towards a big wet puddle
in the road and a lorry heads on
towards me with a smiling driver

do I walk forward to risk a soaking
if he swerves in a chortling whoosh
or hold back in fear and in anguish,
afraid of a smile and a wave?

Tuesday, 9 July 2013


go lively;
dance the riverbank
and two green plastic
chairs. Let’s guess –

several thousand insects? Fuzzy bills
chained by sunlight
into warm vortex
with a top

in the trees
and a sunlit edge
one meter wide (at the most)
where the whirling company is.

Only a few things matter;
to keep inside
this cylinder of warm light,
to mate,
the rest is not our business,
except  for Mozart
lilting and lifting,
weaving and intertwining

from my iPhone iTunes
and a glitter of
quickening sun on
myriad wings

and my projection of a dance
orchestrated as
show-time, glitter-time and spiraling jazz.
Mozart and Midges go lively.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Man on a Train

Talk to him? Not really!
That story will inevitably
bore and become a sly window to my
own internal mirror hall – impermanent
as plummeting carriages.

I guess this train has scuttled
North and South a thousand times
and seen a share of drama,
snow and tragedy. But could I simply
be here now and let it flow?

OK, I’ll talk to him, connect our
eyes and hear the story of his love life,
diet, working stresses, strains so we will
curtain with our storybook the foxes,
badgers, beauty flashing by.

Saturday, 29 June 2013


Hey feet!
Two pins!!
What tricks?
the fact

your strong
me on
so long.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Over nine months

from nowhere and nothing,
with my tiny hand I twisted a dial
briskly and it clicked, stopped, turned around
and, imperceptibly, like a pantoum,
gradually drove the pulse of one old base drum

all in motion, deceptively slow
in moment after clicking moment –
until, by autumn, leaves are caught in wind
and days tip forward to December’s end
tumbling, ultimately, nowhere, nothing.

Saturday, 22 June 2013


Lit from behind, the keys
on my MacBook spark a room:
simple enough for shadow
in wee black hours – a winter morning.

But what to say of the keys?
A digital schism of light
inviting some sort of story
or mystery from my fingers

leaping for future screens
(black and white like Chaplin)
bridging our banks of time
hoping to light the night

of a future indefinite human
moving their eyes left to right
but looking not so very far
as letters light up on their forehead

projected by backlight shining
and grabbing at irises, brain cells
hurling the past to a future
simply by pushing a key.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Love Sonnet

We journey on as special way,
we got to somewhere, not the end,
there’s still a lot to do and say
as lover and as friend.

Feet will bear us, lead us to
our presence, we will hear and see
as if we know
a great way to be free.

So we go on,
no time to hide,
no cries or moans,
a man and woman side by side.

You’re in my heart and in my mind;
joy before and  joy behind.

Monday, 3 June 2013

On the Afghan trail,

red ants and black ants
face off and then shy away;
busy-ness as usual.

Thursday, 30 May 2013


Eight minutes left and the oboe aums
behind conversation, anticipate
flutes and piccolos tinkle, laugh
as the head of a cello dances from the pit,
a snare drum celebrates, chatter boxes chat.

Sky-blue balcony with gilded trim,
tipping water bottles, men in jackets.
Two minutes now and the buzz increases.
Sondheim’s a word in my phone, you bet
and he strains for truth, beginners please.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Speaking in Tongues

Can I forgive the youth in the park
who plucks out a rose for the laugh?
Well I never!

Can I forgive the mother who shouts at a child?
Well I never did!

Can I forgive a girl who leads-on a boy?
You don’t say!

Can I forgive a boy who leads-on a girl?

Shock, horror!

Can you forgive the surgeon who looks in the eyes
of the man in the bath with his burns
and the doctor, sighing, turns his head

not knowing the nurses had worked up some hope
and who turn on the man with a tongue-lash to re-kindle fire
into love, and then dress down the doc with their words?

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A moment

Stag foraging:
white forefeet
the work of
a master:

why would the hunter
creep through longer
grass to focus
your chest?

And where has the
doe gone, quartering
further back
in the green glen?

Until she wanders
out and touches
nose to soft nose

taking a chance
together and enticing
him back under cover
of high green shrubs.

The hunter’s finger stretches,
turns, determines now what
these two wastrels
will become.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Night Owl

Andrew, even as a young man,
leaves on his bedroom light;

brightly artificial
with an open door.

It’s not that light dispels 
shadows or ghosts. No, no,

it’s to illuminate a way out
and wobble for toilet relief.

I, an older man, holding onto courage
know how darkness has wasted me,
yawning like a zero

with deep sleep a matter of
snoring and lost opportunity

until, eventually, the fuss will be over,
word and wobble.
Last orders.
Lights out.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Talking to a Yorkshire teenager,

he is not  bothered
cus he dunt know what he wants;
he’ll see wot ‘appens.

Saturday, 11 May 2013


Spikey as a hedgehog
she looks into the book of life;
humble as a rabbit’s ear
she reads a sentence there.

Vibrant as a python
she walks across a dusty plain;
stronger that a mountain top
she turns to face the lion.

Breathing like a stallion
she waits before the city gate;
secret like an owl in flight,
dances to her fate.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013


Last night in my sleep
we damped down a fire;
to soften the heat
- so delight wouldn’t fly

but the feeling of dreams
is to zoom to the stars
rage across fields
not knowing how far.