Thursday, 30 April 2020



i asked the neurones‬
‪is that all i am‬
‪the neurones replied‬
you poor soul‬
‪that’s not the spirit‬
‪is it‬
‪oh god come on‬
‪you’re fired‬

Tuesday, 28 April 2020



‘you moved it’
‘no i didn’t’
‘yes you did’

‘well, it’s your heart’

Saturday, 25 April 2020


walls (Mount Pleasant hospital

at first it was the walls
high of dressed stone 
and then the small windows
workhouse windows #
that’s what they were
down in the kitchen how small they are
the cooks looking up through the steam
to the balcony around the down
see now 
there are nurses in and out of these doors
where the old still remember the workhouse 
although they know not the day
or why i am not their mother
but the stigma - yes the stigmata
god - the stones are hard
and toil’s dried tears resides in mortar
between the stones
and the night light flickering
where the nurse’s station hums
the tune that ages have imbued 
with just enough care for the days ahead

the arrival of the iron man

the arrival of the iron man 

they’ve brought in an iron man
that’s what dad heard the old men say
when he was a child
taking the bread and dripping down
to his grandpa in the tin works

it took two men to throw the tin sheet
over the rollers and the hammers
but now the rat science had sneaked in
and bitten off one of the men at the
knees that poked through the dungarees 
and brought those knees to unexpected prayers
and angry tears that would never roll further
than the dust 

no further than over the doorstep
no further than a slump into the fireside chair
the shift hooters laughing from the vault doors
of the iron master's ruddy cheeks brandied 
and bred in the west side’s sweet sea air
fed by the sweat in the smoking man hours
whose only collegiate clubs were the pub
the pigeons and lurchers and back gate
philosophies of the futility of hope

the iron will being annealed in those very tears
quenched in the damp graveside nodding at
another life run its short span
buried in the drab sarcophagus of the village
pinnies and scarves and shinning doorsteps
of pride and injustice polished to a sheen that
history would reflect down the ages of oppression
and pride at what muscles and mind can sustain
through human resolve and the restitution of time

a memorial

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

the writing shed

and then they roost‬
‪on another of his lists ‬
‪stub pencil lines thick upon‬
the crinkled sheets ‬
‪the words queuing ‬
‪for another fag‬
‪for another cough 
another drink‬
‪until final arrive‬s
‪all wiggly fingers and toes ‬
‪the poem is born‬
a cry without tears
‪for the poet it is‬
‪through all his muddy lies‬
a glint

Sunday, 19 April 2020

snow goes
blossom comes
spring goes
summer comes
flowers go
autumn comes 
leaves go
snow comes
here we go

dawn chorus

dawn chorus

a circus of great tits visits and is gone‬
‪the sparrows titter at their antics‬
‪as king blackbird struts his stuff‬
‪the good queen turns the eggs‬
‪as the magpies turn their backs‬

‪time for coffee‬

Saturday, 18 April 2020



‪we look at the photographs‬
‪of the ones we have lost‬
‪we look at our photo‬
‪hovering over the album‬
‪like a stamp on its hinge‬
‪and we wonder‬
‪is this my best side‬

‪but of course‬
‪they will decide‬

back away back

childhood memories
unlocked untangled
back steps away from the edge
down the lifeline 
hand over hand
the ascent towards the light
it is a dream is it not
the teardrops shawl dry
the sequins on mummy’s dress
ahh remember when
there were no edges
to back away from

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

early summer

early summer

and also did the rancid sun
the daisies spill the piebald lawn
and every blossom known to man
wrestled dark thoughts brightened dawn

for it is late april once again
again all the clichés bloom anew
and all our tears dry even as they flow
as dances dancing across the dew

with you Leander across the bluebell lakes 
the forget-me-nots the potted plants
the ladder buds of these days of haze
when grown men wear shorts and not worsted pants

and old couples kiss like they used to do
and walk down memory lane’s cliché
may it never end as they say ‘i will’ again
and their wrinkled skin colours to red maché 

one breath of pollen
one taste of spring’s bouquet 
and the clat of the hammer
slow score an evening’s crochet

where the Cam sails past 
on gay punts with boaters
swallows skimming over the
pond skaters and the floaters

rest aside a poem written half
or a book of poetry laid aside
as eyelids heavily under buzzings close
and float away on the day’s repose
for dusk is spooning the lovers hearts
as hand in hand the couples depart

for now the rancid sun 
is cut to the chase by the cheesy moon
and blossoms merge with nighttime stars
for the maypole has run away with mars
and our salad days down to evening run
as we float upon Halcyon’s blue lagoon
and let slip our brightly coloured balloon 

covid dawn

covid dawn

the light is the same, it is‬
‪we who have lost our innocence;‬
‪hit in the solar plexus‬
‪while the sun still shines.‬
‪breathless we contemplate ‬
‪darkness ‬
‪breathless we count‬
‪our blessings‬

Monday, 13 April 2020

the well of words

a pail full of pale words‬
‪blinking in the sunshine‬
‪then they open their wings‬
‪and fly‬
‪            and fly‬

Sunday, 12 April 2020

easter hard reset

easter hard reset
the tomb closes again
god has changed its mind
the thorny corona
of dried blood
on the road to
don’t make us
the pain
is just too great

Saturday, 11 April 2020



Feeling guilty when all of you can see,
That at seventy one when most at risk,
This lockdown has not much affected me.
Even my walking is still spright and brisk

I take my daily walk down to the beach,
To swim with my mistress the mighty main.
And never does anyone rise to preach,
Social distancing there to see is plain.

But look you now, no way I want to catch
This Covid nineteen killer thing-me-bobs;
For all of poetry cannot dare match,
Hearts brave plighted to their caring jobs. 

But then I read about their deaths and cry:
Oh why, dear God, oh why, oh why, oh why?

but alas

but alas
ultimately, at the threshold, we are, of course, alone. 
except there is no threshold 
and you alone won’t know it
and will not tell
so we are left alone
with our shared thoughts
birth and death
what an oxymoron 
it is

soft soap‬

soft soap‬
‪lifeboy in the zinc bath‬
‪sandy grit in the bar‬  that 
‪jarred my finger’s nerves‬
‪out tepid‬
in went the scrub a dub dub‬
‪as mum did the washing‬
‪board shuffle‬
‪not a snuffle now‬
‪for those days are gone‬
‪yet linger damp in crevices‬
‪like a lost kiss

Monday, 6 April 2020


they dare to say that
the sound of the sea
is the sound of bubbles bursting
as the waves break

i prefer to think of it as
thoughts breaking along
the long shores of what if

the next time

Sunday, 5 April 2020

the stones

the stones

the blind stones are watching 
        over lifespans over years

nothing  nothing

  the deaf stones are listening
  to the running of the stream

 nothing  nothing

   the warm stones are cooling
to the moonshine of the night

nothing  nothing

those dumb stones stay quiet
     at the pleading of my tears
nothing  nothing


Saturday, 4 April 2020

I am undressing the nation

I am undressing the nation
I will not be listening to the Queen
I did not listen to Prince Charles 
I will be self-isolating in one of my palaces
Let them eat mistakes
like HM’s Government is
The PM said ‘take it on the chin’
What a glass chin that proved to be


what a redundant word
there are as many types 
as many missives as
there are worlds in the universe(s)
to call each one of those simply ‘world’ 
would be a redundancy

there is writing
and if that writing ‘moves’
(another redundancy?)
it needs no pigeon hole 
for it can fly and will not be netted

although it can fall predator 
to feed the pens of future writers
nested and ready to whorl 
in thermal stirring clouds
above this many worded world 

but to be called out as a ‘poem’
is to preordained as post dated 

Friday, 3 April 2020

canal you and i

canal you and i 

dark beneath the boat house
where the predator fishes lie
swaying in the canal weeds
where the currents gently ply
their way the pike needs solitude 
his evil to do or die
and where the communal rushes
whisper of you and i 
and when the walking day is done
then the curlew sure will cry
be up be moon for all too soon
the witching hour draws nigh

memoir mortis ‬

memoir mortis ‬

ventilators ‬
‪our last breaths have gone‬
our last heart beats‬
‪but a monitor’s trace‬
‪our last words‬
‪our last smile‬
‪wide in eyes‬
‪that are dead‬
‪estrangement ‬
‪is now the norm‬

‪finis our epitaph‬

self-isolating in my head‬

self-isolating in my head‬
the poems start to shed‬
‪pages burn‬
‪ashes scattered‬
and ‬
‪things that never mattered‬
‪now do‬
‪and do you know what‬
‪i forgot‬
‪how short a life can be‬
‪on the shelf of history‬
‪this poem‬
‪is an omen‬
‪that things are going to be ‬
‪different ‬
‪from now on‬
‪i promise‬

clap clap clap the NHS‬

clap clap clap the NHS‬

‪so how much do the footballers earn each day?‬
‪  remind me!‬
‪and who is paying them??‬
‪  remind me!‬
‪it makes me think‬
‪how thoughtless you are.‬
‪i applaud you.‬

‪retweet if you dare to disagree.‬
‪cast the first stone - go on!‬
‪why don’t you?‬

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

mug shots

mug shots 

the poets’ mug shots
on the dust cover sleeves 
mainly smiling 
mostly smiling
  as the stiletto slides in
so when they write darkly
why do they smile brightly
  as the stiletto slides in
why do their eyes sparkle 
time and again 
is it tears of laughter
are they tears of pain
  as the stiletto slides in 
pick up an anthology 
and you’ll see them smiling again 
and again
and again
  as the stiletto slides in 



up to
the cefn 
to the clay pits 
where the newts sit
under the warm bricks
the ones with the cool holes
in the trouser knees of summer
jam jarred with wide eyes 
and the satisfaction 
of running home
to the best