Sunday, 29 December 2019

was it so grave

was it so grave

had a scar like a crocodile 
from the tin works
before the war

on which arm
which arm was it on
i cannot remember

but i remember the slaps
and the legs they landed on
and the tears

laughing leads to crying
she said ??
times were hard

the scar never went
it wasn’t peter pan’s crocodile
it was from two clips either side of a gash
she told me of the leather aprons 
in the pickling shop where men died 
in the tin works 
they turned green

told of the bombers 
and the air raid shelter under the furnace
for they were not crocodile tears
that she shared in the slaps

spare the rod 
and spoil the child

play was so hard we laughed until we cried
when the blood dried on our knees 
that the snuffled tears had smeared

we laugh at the scars now
the hurts were life in the making

when the scars heal they bury them
they bury them deep
six feet deep

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Acorn I can’t

‪Sometimes I write.‬
‪Sometimes I don’t.‬
‪If it never came back - so what?‬
‪I’ll read what I have already written, ‬
‪and maybe I’ll write about that,‬
‪maybe not.‬
‪Who cares?‬
‪There are many acorns but‬
‪not many trees.‬
‪From a chopped tree make a coffin‬
‪and fill it with acorns.‬

a start in life

a start in life
you’ll never be half the man your father is

covered in oil 
make strokes for the lifeboat

when the ship went down 
you were all alone with the life belt of marriage

exchanged the float for 
the trawl net of the growing harvest of time

how the surface glitters
from below keeping it just in sight - just 

as the bell curve blows 
it is downhill all the way now

how strange it is that
downhill bursts the surface on the way to the stars

look down
see the undulating landscape of the past

the mists in the sunshine 
the dark hallows where the dew on the mirror runs black 

is this it then
is it all over now that it has just begun

Friday, 27 December 2019

mist christmas

the forecast says mist
much missed from christmas past 

nothing worse than mist
she said

i went off for a sea swim
screaming cold cold
and returned happy

no one forecast that
and that’s my point
they mist it 

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Do you mind - it’s raining

Do you mind - it’s raining

The rain’s collar turned up, boring
into the boy’s holiday day. What,
what, what to do, to do?

All along the long platform shining,
wet-handed pencil hovering,
waiting, waiting, waiting, for

the next green steam train to arrive.
Puffed in a boredom redrawn upon the lines
under the names of golden numbers.

Spot the red clunking hulk that took
a penny and bang! the machine wrote
your name on an aluminium strip. Such

unhappiness the foot-soldier of childhood;
turning on the heels of time, undecided
if enough had occurred to stop.

Platform ticket, wet chewed wetter.
Bus ticket, wet chewed wetter.
A soggy memory pricking the eye

of an unhappy dotage. Sitting bored, 
counting on trains of thought to drift away
to that day ~ that day ~ that day.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

my word

my word

in the beginning was the word
and the word was dog
and the dog brought the stick
that beat the wailings
all the way back
to my childhood
the shadows on the wall
where the dog was sick
on christmas 

Monday, 23 December 2019

sonja’’s engine shed

time crumbles
no power in the world
can stop it 
even the engine sheds 
that dominate the skies
abominate at their demise

Saturday, 21 December 2019

a poem for Leonard Cohen

a poem
   for    Leonard Cohen

a space for a poem
in a space that a woman
has left here this morning
in a dawning that is yearning 
for the night to be returning
your love back to me here 
where do we belong

Thursday, 19 December 2019

why do you still love me

why do you still love me

  why do you still love me
i ask myself when the mood
takes me back to those days
that were drawn as thin as longing
when your music wrapped me in 
an ivory tower that the 
nursery books led me to believe in the
orchard of my secret garden

  why do you still love me
when the solstice days of winter
lie pale on the countenance of
life’s frosted fields over-awed in
the patina of the final cauldrons
at the invocation of life’s spell-bound

  why do you still love me 
when our closeness knows no distance
no fences abound the frost fields 
or fly down the golden fields of summer
a-whizz with the insect days
fluttering in the butterfly belly of youth 

see now how
the stream of our life from dawn’s lake
runs down to the sea’s demise
  why do you still love me
this i will never know
or why the river runs 
into the sea and disappears 

Friday, 13 December 2019

age 12

age 12‬
‪when my nanna died ‬
‪on my mother’s side‬
‪i ran barefoot to the pub‬
‪to tell my dad‬
‪he carried me home‬
‪for sixty years‬

Thursday, 12 December 2019

the scruffy words

comb the scruffy words‬
‪the ugly ducking words‬
‪gather them into the pen‬
‪of a beautiful poesy‬
‪give them a life of their own‬
‪watch them dance the maypole ‬
‪and flower with ribbons of laughter‬
‪of a love long requited ‬

Wednesday, 11 December 2019


looking for the wind’s
running with the clouds 
of a wolf’s concern
for the doors and windows
rattling all night
  hush pregnant moon
let the vastness bear witness
that the owl was silent 
on the night of your fullness
when the children fled the 
invasion of their imaginations
running riot down night’s valleys
night’s dead ends 
night’s lost cause

Sunday, 8 December 2019

the field

the field 

‪lying there‬
‪feet to the stream‬
‪fingers touching‬
‪under the blue‬
‪kissing grasses‬

Saturday, 7 December 2019



is it big
is it small
is it simply
nothing at all

Jim’s World

At the end of December - 15 years of daily photographs - Jim’s World

drawn in

drawn in

dawn over the wind farm

beating the clouds 

beyond the solar panels

the sea 

generates a sigh

will they awaken before the big sleep

will they ever see the light


every scream is carbon dioxide


gas from the cycle of life

much maligned and overpopulated 

in our lament

for us

Friday, 6 December 2019

dare i say

dare i say

the failure took courage 
to get out of there

where what was an escape
was in fact a prison

breaking chains is hard
bloody hard

at the time there were chains everywhere
buried by rusty chains
wet rust cold rust

panic buried under a mountain of chains
forever it seems
climbing those chains with the spider racing

then there was the ‘fuck you’ side
of the fool’s gold 

in the way of the child kicking back 
against the man

the open open openness 
that they kicked against in fear of the lightness
of touch that they thought concealed a fist

the river that slowly bore the raft of time
over cataracts to the fall

a river that ran uphill - for god’s sake
to make the fall the tallest of them all
and on and on and up and up

the gold tarnished as gold should not
the rings turned into chains
the fool’s gold said fool

the box had no windows
the sides closed in
drowning in tears 
banging against the sides with fists of wool

smothering in the blindness of others
screaming at the deaf
running down the up escalator 
into the valley of the mountain


the crash to the core of a world
of indifference in their ignorance

suspended animation 
catatonic panting low

the milestones on the mountain road
are counted in wretched breaths

the blind nails of the climb
hand over bloody fist over bloody time

and now

the view from the summit over the clouds
the joy to be above the fear
oh yes yes
and yet the long thin thread leads
back there

for there is no further up
is there
only down
and yet the sunshine is as bright as life

quiet now
i’ll wait here for
ever to arrive

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

after dawn

after dawn

of all the genes and memes in the 
goldfish bowl that is this world
how extraordinary the infinity of mind
given life by the atoms of the universe
the limit of which we cannot see
while imagination’s candles are
crying in every corner of my mind
and then the sun shines
upon my countenance 
and i think
well ...

how silly

how silly
looking for
precious time
on the barometer 
i found 
time’s pressure
on the clock
of depression

Sunday, 1 December 2019

red it

red it 

the book opened like a vagina,
page mark sliding to the floor;
and thoughts turned hard
upon on the spine, and the 
stain that said much more.



single footsteps in the snow
cold kissed by the honey moon
and falling over the horizon 
called - come home 
come home soon