Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Wanton Agnes

My glowing pink skin belies me
and I know that glint in your eye:
you're thinking we might go to bed?
Would you feel the same
if I was pea-pod green instead?

Before the bang and the ringing bells
that chimed us from cave into sunlight:
that's how I was - and my brother too.
Ah, yes, you know me now?
You've heard the gossiped news...

I'm Agnes, the green girl who lived:
I learned to forsake green beans
and to eat your garish food
then watch at the placid mill
as my skin took on your pig pink hue.

My homesick brother did the same
but his heart was always green.
Constant as malachite,
green as the willows
quivering by the wolf pits;

green as loyalty, green with memory,
green as the bright watermeal
that hides newts and frogs
but couldn't conceal
his bloated pink corpse.

So take me to bed, perhaps make me your wife,
I'll love you as any pink person might.
But  you must know that when I hear
the high bells of St Edmund's
tolling out bold and clear,

I'll want to hold the cold hand
of my brother's colourless ghost
and walk where once a way appeared,
down by those lonely traps,
- that stranded us sun-struck and blinking, here.


Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Cookie crumbles

When the storm broke he almost felt relieved.
He'd stowed his stash, had ammo for a siege.

A lobster clacked beside a boiling pan,
condemned to mollify a condemned man.

Not time now though - blood tingled in his eyes;
rude air oscillated from siren cries.

When you're a weatherman living by
the state of salt rind on seaweed;
watching the passage of sparrows
front running advancing clouds;
noting the way white froth
flips off curling breakers;
how howling trees staunch the wind
arcing to the last creak allowed;

...and if all of that is just metaphor
for your constant fracas with the law;
you've accepted Trouble as your friend,
- you'll have reached a state of 'knowing',
acquired the tools to tell,
how some sweet days end
in a gentle western glowing
- others in a hail of shells.

Cookie slid the bolts across
climbed into the dusty loft
and opened wooden slots
below the weathervane.
The two o'clock sky was blue
though clouding over fast,
as the cars drove into view.
Cookie loaded up again...

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Golden Hamsters

You're in a city pet store
full of sandy hamsters
whirling in little wheels;
air filled with the scent
of sawdust and sweet hay.

When you leave,
stepping into the din
of chuntering buses,
squeaky raincoats,
wailing kids,
amped up buskers
and all the slow
desultory hope
on a high street
of forlorn folk...

...ain't it good to know
the golden hamsters
are still there,
spinning wildly away,
black eyes bugging,
eagerly weaving
a great cape of fate
with which to mantle
the stooping shoulders
of this shabby world.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Cosmic Enjambment

I was worried that Neptune and Pluto
would collide as their orbits intersect.
However they're not inclined to do so.
Andromeda and Milky Way are set
to in four billion years time though. Who knows 
what the fuck will happen then? Guess all bets
are off. Still, the cosmic conundrum's posed:
why we've spun and spun but never met? Yet.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

We missed you

While we partied here,
spinning round like coloured tops,
baking, sunbathing,

you were way on down
the bottom of the garden,
chilling, stargazing.

So we sent Clyde out
only yesterday, it seems,
to check you're ok

(he's been your best friend,
unlike those picky bastards
who called you a dwarf).

He said you were fine
texted back some photographs
then went on his way.

It'd be better
if you were a bit nearer
but you seem alright.

So stay cool, old mate!
Though I guess you've not much choice,
so far from sunlight...

                                                  Pluto's axial tilt = 119 degrees.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The Bowman's Lament

When I let fly and heard the bowstring thwack 
against the yew and saw the arrow loose - 
I knew. Just knew. The sky stepped sideways, 
shivered at the brush of fletching as the shaft  
flew past and rushed on up to the white moon.
Her lonely face punctured and deflated,
skeltered down into the confused sea 
swilling on the beaches in uncertainty.
I was cursed by owls, foxes, moths, voles.
All those nocturnal acolytes of moonlight:
astronauts, dancers, lovers. Poets too. 
Me? I'm the man who shot down the moon, 
who becalmed the turbulent oceans;
who brought the blue green earth to ruin.

Included in 'A Fright Of Jays' published by Maquette Press 6/2015

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

A Fright Of Jays


I'm delighted to have my chapbook A Fright Of Jays just published by Maquette Press.
It's a small collection of my darker bucolic, lyric poetry.

Some new, some older ones reworked. The poems included aren't on the blog here (although several have been previously, albeit in earlier rougher versions) - so if you want to see them you'll need to drop in on Maquette's website and order a copy!

Which at £4 incl p&p won't break your bank and will support an excellent small press producing collections of high quality writing (*ahem, clears throat*).

Sunday, 26 April 2015


Guinevere walked through the morning gardens
where primroses partied in slanting light.
A liquidity of songbirds pardoned
the slinkingly slow departure of night

This walking around in meadows at dawn,
this dripping about in ethereal dreams,
was wearing thin on her, losing its  charm
she'd give it all up for Starbucks and jeans.

She'd buried Arthur at Avalon Tor,
that squalid town with its hill of hippies:
already they'd opened souvenir stores,
tarot talkers, spell sellers and chippies.

In a parallel world through a wormhole in time
she'd drink gin and tonic. With Lancelot and lime.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Le morte d'Arthur

Arthur returned to his kingdom in leaf.
Vibrant grass at his feet, overhead
a bursting beech. He took off his armour,
drank from a stream then lay in the April sun
feeling its warmth on his grey stubbled face.
Saracens, Moors, Dervishes. The dust
of foreign lands. He was done with it all.
The wound in his shoulder was still bleeding
and no flowery poultice had staunched it yet.       

The shallow brook clattered through green cresses
and the impatient grass grew taller.
He slept untroubled while blood pooled round him,
until he resembled Ophelia floating
in her willowy glade, the blades of grass,
red as her hair, waving in the Spring breeze.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Celia revisited

She walked the weed and twig strewn watermark
meandering in outsize clumpy boots,
her eyes cast down, as daylight slid to dark.

At dawn, when the singing of a shorelark
echoed round the empty house of owl hoots,
along the weed and twig strewn watermark

she was there - still scanning bladder wrack, bark
and flotsam: all the sea's discarded fruits,
her eyes cast down as day emerged from dark.

One day I met her carer in the park
and asked about her charge's strange pursuit
along the weed and twig strewn watermark.

She sighed and offered only this remark:
"We all seek - she treads an eccentric route..."
then looked downcast, as daylight slid to dark.

Now under a winter sky, iron and stark,
I search through answers that I can't compute
along the weed and twig strewn watermark
my eyes cast down as grey days slide to dark.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Lancelot in the park

I know you used to come here
because you told me. Perhaps
an unguarded confession?
Anyway, that was back then

and now, this bench, this park
- with its quivering poplars
silly ducks and bread-waving
kids. It's just mine alone so

I sit here in chain-mail with my
thoughts, poems, vanity and I
wonder if I couldn't achieve
more in a different life. This

shield I wear, this suit of
words, this sword of art,
once they swept young damsels
off their small glass slippers,

won princess's hearts. I
would regale travellers in
dog-floored, noisy mead halls,
lie about fire breathing

dragons. Then another's Queen
punctured my bravado
split my shield and left
me enjambed and alone

in this theme park of my making.

Monday, 13 April 2015


Looking up you smiled as if willing me
to quickly take a snapshot souvenir.
Behind you in the desert scenery
a disgruntled looking sphinx sat and leered.
You then rose to ease your stiffness away,
sitting down again in a new seat where
thirty foot palm trees fringed the sunny bay
and happy kids threw beach balls in the air.

Egypt was somewhere we'd wanted to go...
They called your number, you stood up again,
disappeared. Instead of reading 'Hello'
studying celeb lifestyles, I remained
fixed on the bright murals. Oncology?
Painted like a damn travel agency..?