Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Hands of Power

She had a pair of hands -
she kept them in a box,
the hands were very strong,
she secured them with locks.
But when she took them out
she would play with them at length,
feel their capabilities,
marvel at their strength.
The hands in turn were kind,
they would stroke her in the sun,
flitter on her clitoris,
quickly make her come.

But time passes feelings change,
she grew weary of this toy,
she looked for different pleasures,
sought fruits forbidden to enjoy.
So she took her pair of hands
and she placed them in their keep,
she never said 'farewell, adieu'
she just left them there to sleep.
And in the darkness of their box
the hands grew flabby, limp and pale,
the fingers probed to find the locks,
they ached and twisted in their jail.

She had some guests for dinner,
they spoke of this and talked of that
and as the wine flowed copiously
so lewdness entered in their chat.
"I had a secret love" she said
to a room of widening eyes,
"a pair of hands - and not my own
- that kept me satisfied".
"Who was this love?"
they begged to know,
Was he handsome, was he tall,
was it someone known to them?
Quickly now she must tell all.
She put her finger to her lips,
she left the company,
when she returned the air was thick,
all eyes watched on excitedly.

Her rusty keys were like a jailor's,
she forced and turned the aging clasps,
within the box the hands were flexing,
exercising their mighty grasp.
The lid came up and there they were,
her mouth dropped open at the sight,
instead of tanned and muscled hands,
these looked fat and weak and white.
Nobody spoke, nobody moved,
each beating heart they all could hear,
she touched the hands: they sprang to life;
the watching group recoiled in fear.
They moved as one straight up her arms,
embraced together round her throat,
the company screamed and fell apart,
their hostess rolled her eyes and choked.
She crashed across the crockery,
the hedonists with fright had fled,
the hands squeezed out her gasping life
and left her on the table dead!

Now you may take a point of view,
with vice like hands around her neck,
she died from vice, as addicts do:
I say she died for her neglect.
A good thing left will turn to bad,
the sweetness soons begins to sour,
the strength of love corrupted
turns to evil in....the Hands of Power!

c. Marc Woodward

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Hairy Arsed Red Cattle

once came here to moo and amble.
Their flat capped, coated men
carried staves and shouted at
the milling cows about them
with their father's calls,
while floral-pinnied wives
carried dawn baked bread
to morning market stalls.

              You can still see photographs
              nailed up on Sports Bar walls
              such as The Farmer's Arms
              and Ye Olde Red Cow,
              all wide screen, fruit machine,
              Wetherspoon houses now.

Those people bought commodities
in musty hardware stores long gone.
Livestock ointments, farm oddities,
coloured bottles with "Poison" on.

            But then, his coat tied up with string,
            I dream a cider orchard boy
            inside the high street Apple Store
            open mouthed, lost; bewildering.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Sing of the mountain,

 of height 
 or grandeur,
wide eyed windy views
and tumbling scree strewn
slopes under sky bake blue.
Instead - dark woods below;
the long-hour to slow-yard ratio.
Billhook slice, shoulder slung gun,
the grab of foliage, head-duck to rabbit run,
sense of direction reduced to up-lean down-lean,
nothing but three foot scope and compass whirl between.
"I'm going back to the mountain, growing up on the mountain,
digging down on the mountain..." They're telling of tangled isolation,
dirt learnt lessons, snowstorm log splitting, talk of "strangers among us",
dog-in-the-thicket thoughts, the under heel stick-crack, bloody beefsteak fungus
on fallen chestnut, land slipped bend in the track, the unseen green around that bend.
Flicker in corner of eye. Imprisoned in rowan, ash and elder - a rusting hulk that'll not mend.
Knowing that weight and bulk is always there, unchanging; and the children of the mountain are tough,
twisted in bindweed and creeper. And then the wolf-owl night. As if the dense days weren't dark enough.

Monday, 10 November 2014


If poppies grew uncontrolled
and choking not on wasteland
but on the walls, doors, machinery
of armaments factories;
not in a fake haemorrhage 
around historic buildings
but on the benches of parliaments;
if they crowded into disuse such places 
where wars are dreamt and manufactured,
then there would be no need
to stand up straight,
pin scarlet paper on our chests,
listen to politicians sermonise 
- then watch those 
same swift hypocrites forget.


Published 11/11/14 at


Monday, 3 November 2014


Sometimes he writes for no reason.

Yeah,  you think,  I've seen the type.
Drunk late at night, bottle drained,
some fuzzy lexicon scrabbled in his brain.

You'd be wrong.
Last week when he was sane
and fully sober he just took off in his car.
Parked up near a Little Chef
by the Burrator reservoir
and wrote.
He told me it was mostly crap.

Other cars had tired salesmen
sleeping off lunch
with an afternoon nap.

Is this how inspiration comes?
The long, silent drive
with no place to go.
Meter set by the slap
of windscreen wipers
knocking rain to and fro...

He showed me his pad.
The ink was smudged
and wrinkled by raindrops.

I said he should keep the window closed.
He said it rains everywhere.
He thought I'd know.

First Published on 'Ink Sweat & Tears'  2/11/2014 

Autumn Tanka

For all that we leave
by our choice or through our loss,
Spring comes to remake.
Aspens scatter promises
prayer flags tremble by the lake.

Monday, 20 October 2014

The Glass Blower's Dream

She turns the melting glass
over a yellow candle flame.
It takes a steady hand
and the patience of prison chains.

As each slow drip loosens
she draws thin legs from crystal wire.
Through candles, sand and time
she pulls unicorns out of fire.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Blackmoor Gate

Blackmoor Gate on market day. A tap drips
by the auctioneer's office in the yard.
Bloody faced ewes shake tagged ears mournfully
as if unaccepting life should be this hard.

In the tin barn sheltering from the wind
the Ridds are talking to old man Dalling,
Mole Valley stock coats tied around with twine.
Their usual topic: subsidy claiming.

Sleet laden Atlantic winds blast and veer.
Young Marc from the NFU looks frozen.
He's wondering why they put a market here,
of all the places they could have chosen.

The wind is dropping, the temperature too
The tap has iced and there'll be snow by noon.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


Summer rain
brings respite;
quenches the lawn.

No more than
a laughing grockle,
here for a week:
better weather -
from somewhere
wetter, heather
rain trapped.

Ireland, Wales,
The Lakes

Winter sun
is a relapse
from the fog
of drizzle,
stair rods
cloud bursts,
cats and dogs.

Ah well,
my friends, 
down in cosy 
where log fires

The months of rain

Monday, 15 September 2014

Ghost Garden


I'm here - though sliding still
through possibilities.
Long forsaken idylls
blow feather songs to me,
where sunflowers reach and rake
on tilting sun baked days,
harvest winds warmly shake
the green sheathed yellow maize.

Ah, such dream-gardens gone:
they will not let me sleep.
The ivy hanging from
their crumbling walls yet wreaths
my quarrelling old heart.
Their gates will not open;
the weed-cracked red brick paths
now slug-bound and broken.

(Front Page Featured Work at 9/2014)

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Cradling the moon

In this photo of you watching on deck
sailing across the Ionian Sea, 
you're cradling the low moon in your hands.

Just like some mermaid from mythology
holding Selene the 'rich tressed' deity,
in this photo of you watching on deck.

So far away, so young - friends say to me:
"the world will be her oyster" - but I see
you cradling the low moon in your hands.

I'm full of pride for all you've grown to be
- as a Father loves his child breaking free -
in this photo of you watching on deck,

holding an orb of light so carefully,
as if a precious torch by which to see -
you're cradling the low moon in your hands.

I wish you calm waters and warm brandy,
friendly ports and a passage pirate free!
In this photo of you watching on deck -
you're shining with the low moon in your hands.