Friday, 27 March 2015



The levee
broke and our
flatlands flooded
up to the farmhouse door.
A cow swam by and all manner
                                                     of stuff floated round
For 6 months I'd sat in my room.
                   Looked out across constant fields.
                                            Watched cattle come and go,
                                                                            taking their turn.
                                                  Wondered at seagulls
                                                                         stamping the turf,
                                                                                      summoning worms.
                                                                Saw last year's rooks grow
                                              feather trousers, balding beaks.
                                                     Slowly, unbeknown to me,
                                                                     the levee was springing leaks,
                                                                              waiting for a storm to break.
                                                 All that time my mind lay numb,
                                                                              empty of words, ideas.
                                                                     I reasoned they might never come,
                                                       and to slake some kind of thirst
                                     I lay down in a deluge of music.
                                                      Stolen blues and songs of desolation.
                                 Now the levee's broken
                                                                                          maybe I'll write again.
                                                                     When the water's drained.
                                              Think I was just dry, you know?
                                                                                    In need of irrigation...

Thursday, 26 March 2015


In order to paint heaven
you must first consider
the colours you love.

But to choose those colours
you must wonder why
you love them.

Is it for their depth, radiance, light?
How they make you feel?
Filled with the precious leopard of day
or the wide eyed peacock of night?

These things aren't answered simply
and may take a lifetime.
But consider please.

For there are those who say
we'll amble into heaven
carrying brushes, palette, easel,
to be granted in the garden
all the colours of our pleasing.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015


So how long have you truly felt this way?
When we both talk about your infancy
I have the sense there's more you need to say.
Sadly I think you're withholding on me.
It's always the same. Novels say too much,
they go on and on, I can't shut them up.
But you poems? Always I'm left guessing.
You just smirk there. Hinting, half confessing.

Yeah, we both know you've done a little time;
you've stolen stuff to keep yourself in lines.
And this thing about being a sonnet
in a past life. Just grow up - be honest!
All poems can change - and that includes you.
Only you must really, truly, want to...

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Radio Signals

The air waves are restless,
the night just a grave.
The DJ's past knowing
if loves can be saved.

Still, he winds up his handle,
spins it out on the air:
"For quarrelsome hearts
and the torments they bear..."

Then music is out there-
where it shimmers like stars
for the lonely and life-worn
in their beds and their cars.

Words in the bandwidth
modulate and decay;
the songs get forgotten,
the voice ebbs away.

Yet out in forever
these signals live on,
like footprints in moon dust
or an astronaut's song.


Tuesday, 10 February 2015


The church bell's tolling over the marshes
and over the frost on the lowlands low.
Philosopher cows are chewing the cud
and pondering down a reason of snow.

A peat fire burns in an old man's hearth
but his heart is weathered as winter gorse.
Once he brought bright yellow flowers on spikes,
down to the marshlands from high on the moors.

Barley haired Celia walked with their baby
where the fishermen's nets lay on the beach.
Mermaid's purses and trinkets of seashells,
shingle shone jewels washed up by rough seas.

Ah, how the dense clouds fold on the skyline
ah, how the stone ocean hammers the shore
and sad how small words, spoken and twisted,
alter the drift of our boats evermore.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015


I started with the little stuff
a wren that flew into the glass.
I skinned it, stuffed it, stitched it up. 
Less Jenny Wren - and more pig's arse!

But soon I got the hang of it
and so went on to bigger things.
Ginger hamsters, fluffy rabbits,
a farmyard hen with outstretched wings.

Neighbour's cats, a runaway pooch,
( - desist! They're never missed for long; 
posters on trees a week or two.
then people buy another one!).

I did a road killed ram last year,
a badger that I hit in Spring
- I've stuffed a stoat, a goat, a deer, 
a fucked up fox and other things.

But I don't intend stopping there.
I have a more audacious plan.
Here's a little clue: Burke and Hare...
Yes! I will kill and stuff a MAN!

I'll have him sitting in a chair
so he can watch TV with me.
We'll eat our tea together there
- though he'll not eat as hungrily...

It's very seldom any body
ever comes by to visit me.
I think that my menagerie
of strange beasts, my taxidermy,

rather puts them off. Which suits me
because my 'friend' and I can be
undisturbed; he can 'rest in peace'
without fear of killjoy bobbies

saying "Can we ask some questions Sir?"
- and  you know the nosey type they mean.
I might keep a handy bear fur
so he isn't accidentally seen

- I'll zip it up tightly round him
if someone rings the front door bell,
so he's neatly concealed within
a weird bear skin - they'll never tell!

And while I'm out at work all day
I'll make him wear a keeper's hat
so he can watch my zoo at play
and keep some order in my flat.

I've thought of everything, I hope...
I've waited for a moonless sky;
truncheon, chloroform, gag and rope,
ten litres of formaldehyde!

And here's the bit that tickles me:
I've made my car look like a cab
so my prey  will call out "Taxi! "
and get a cosh, a sleep, a stab -

then, like Pharaohs from antiquity,
for whom life itself was not enough- 
he'll attain immortality
through being well and truly stuffed!

Image is the philosopher Jeremy Bentham who at his request was stuffed after his death.
Well, being stuffed prior to death wouldn't be much fun...

Sunday, 25 January 2015


There are winds that blow
from frozen places,
telling of ice floes
and Eskimo seas.

Winds from warmer climes
bearing the traces
of candlelit times
and green wishing trees.

Jet streams in starlight
embracing our globe,
its high mountains white
and dark forests deep.

So slumber, my Sweet,
for new dreams that float
like parachute seeds
to grow in your sleep.

Sunday, 18 January 2015


When wolves move out to hunt the hare
and stars burn coldly through the spheres,
dark forests fill with whispered prayer
where snow falls thick and drifts are sheer
and those that can stay in their lair
for night is full of hungered fear;
old owls heed all who hunker there:
the stag horn beetle, stealthy deer,
flame eyed vixen and hulking bear,
yet always hold their knowledge near:
Who? Who?
                    The only words they'll share;
Who? Who?
                    Their questions ringing clear -
through bronze hung beeches, freezing air
- are falling trees that none would hear.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Armstrong's Lost Letter

Walking  on  the  Moon is  similar  to
swimming offshore,  the  blue Earth
like the distant coastline.  You  can
hear the shouting, happy children
running on sand. Fathers rowing
dinghies fifty yards out, weird
inflatable  satellites, their
daughters  shouting
messages back
to  Mom

                                                       if you
                                                  listen hard
                                          you might also hear
                                    lovers kissing in the dunes.
                                 The ocean is so deep out here,
                                    cold too. And me? I'm just
                                      treading water. Leaving
                                             prints upon the

Monday, 5 January 2015

The Christmas Gift

They walked beside the river,
swollen from heavy sleet.
He felt the matted grass
crunch beneath his feet.
In his pocket he knew
a secret, terrible and raw.
She said that she was "freezin'
and what'd they come 'ere for?"

Her white throat, silly heels
puffer jacket, trinkets gold,
she said that she was going back;
his fingers tightened on the cold
blade, eager in his coat.
They'd come a little way now
he could maybe do it here:
he'd already worked out how.

There were no angels singing
a church bell didn't ring,
he felt no warm compassion,
(he never felt a thing).
But he eased up on the handle,
said "Yeah, you're right, let's go"
and as they walked towards the road
the sky began to snow.

Published on Ink Sweat and Tears 31/12/2013
(12 Days of Christmas)

Monday, 15 December 2014

The Huntsman

Evenings, over whisky, I recapture
a youth of feathers, scales, bloody fur.

Wet woodland gun stands
edging the sweet chestnuts
on Sir Willy Roberts'
claggy shooting land.

Or split cane Hardy,
tied flies, hat, tweed;
the paraphernalia
of catch and release.

Rain slipping down the back
of olive waxed jackets;
a whirr of game birds,
propellant pungency,
shoulder thump of twelve bore.

Or crawling to river banks,
keeping flat to plop a fly
between overhanging limbs
and bait a limpid pool
where unknown Brownies lie.

Levelling a Webley
at a rabbit's eye
to claim a carcass
for the kitchen pot.
Skinned and drawn while hot.

Mostly now I hunt phrases;
trap words on the web,
capture essence.
I chase remembered feelings,
as they carve away
                    like winter hares
                              on an iron day.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014


When I see a millipede
it always makes me wonder:
such a loooong bendy body
with loads of legs down under...