Friday, 18 May 2018


On R.V. roof with sun and rain
worked into the dulling aluminium,
a black frog lay in the groove

motionless as a rubber toy; deceased
and stiff as wood, one leg
broken and half missing. Remaining

tiny toes tear-jerking somehow.
Into my heart I took him.
His little sunken eyes

no longer moist and darting
absorbed instead of reflecting light;
a piece of paper I burnt once

looked a lot like that.
Pollen dulled his back to ochre
the way mold encrusts a stale cheese.

Yet his belly retained it's luminosity
away from U.V. rays;
the life once dwelling there

in each silvery body scale: like
candle flame observed through a moonstone.
And I saw thread-like rents there

in the swollen dark bruise
where beak or talon had sliced
painfully into tender flesh.

So sad. It hurt to look.
Slaughtered for what? Not even
sustenance for the marauding hawk.

Friday, 4 May 2018


Because the text absconded
somewhere between phone and mast,
because you had no way of knowing
I'd been held up at the meeting,
you waited in vain. The train from King's Cross
arrived and departed and I wasn't on it.
I can clearly picture the scenario:
your altercation with the porter - probably loud,
describing me in detail and insisting
that he must have seen me leaving the platform
(amongst all those thousands of faces a day??).
It was ten o'clock on a Friday evening
and I appeared to have vanished from the face of the earth.
In denial of having no control over the situation -
a position wholly alien to you - you stood quite still,
stifling the urge to race off up the high street, where
you were certain I must be wandering, lost and bewildered
as I had no knowledge of Guildford whatsoever.
But you wouldn't have found me there.
I was sitting quietly, deeply immersed in a novel,
in my comfortable seat on the later train
that was just pulling into the station.
Someone had suggested I may have caught a later train. So
when I finally alighted, expecting to find you
still there waiting for me, I  was confronted instead
by a frantic whirl of activity from the far end if the station,
followed by a figure swiftly zig-zagging his way
through the flow of oncoming passengers.
Then your livid face, your furious eyes
and your harsh recriminations, "What the hell are you playing at?"
Followed by your crushing embrace,
as if I had been resurrected from the grave
when all hope, all possibility, had been lost.
Then suddenly you were laughing, tears welling up in your eyes -
although you were quick to explain them away as particles of dust.
It was so surreal.
And just behind you stood your saviour,
smiling like a small Leprechaun
to see an Englishman being so un-English:
a mass of frenzied anxiety - and you had
opened your heart to him, asking him what to do
and to help you find me -
and then to succeed in your quest, thanks to his advice.
What a revelation!!
I, who had always firmly believed
that "macho" men like you only faked love
in order to find sex, now presented
with a different truth altogether -
a truth I'd always hoped for.
Your deep concern.
Your across Guildford, fear of having lost me, dash.
And then your relief engulfing me
like a soft warm fluffy blanket;
like a mother hen's protectiveness
of her newly hatched chicks.
Such totally unexpected tenderness.
So I must mean something to you after all.
Could this really be love?
Yes, I am loved.

Saturday, 28 April 2018


My tormentor,  greedy pig,
for my feelings don't give a fig.
You stole my Easter egg and candy too.
You think the world revolves around you.
By telling tales to get me grounded,
you make me feel so dreadfully hounded.
Still Mother's favourite you'll always be,
whatever you do she'll blame me -
like when you scoffed her just-baked bread
and I was punished in your stead;
and that time you crashed your bike
into Papa's rose bed - oh what a sight!
I laughed and laughed until I cried -
but I was the one who Papa fried
because you swore that it was me
who pushed you in there - and no one could see
through devious wiles the way I could,
and I knew right then they never would.
And remember Auntie Mollie's hat,
and the big fat bottom that upon it sat?
Well how come everyone shouted at me
until I considered it best to flee?
Six months' pocket money I recall it cost -
oh all those matinees and ice creams lost!
But did you show the slightest remorse?
Oh no not Mother's blue-eyed boy, of course!
And who broke Papa's telescope lens?
How could you blame that on my friends?
They were swimming with me in the pool.
Oh sometimes you're unbelievably cruel.
Well now I have to play alone
and for all your misdemeanors atone.
It's so unfair when the way you are
still everyone treats you like a star.
So do I despise you? I wish I could,
but somewhere within you I know there's good.
And anyway, your sister I am
and so I love you. Damn, damn, damn!! ;)

Saturday, 21 April 2018


Digesting the Vita Merlini
and obsessed with the world between,
I sought and sought and sought in vain
and so finally sat and scrutinized an Oak
that for all it's rough and age-cracked bark
rapidly possessed my Soul.

Without appetite or thirst I sat
fixated, all-absorbed,
to discover that mystical place within
that worldly eyes can never reach,
for so deep it lies in solid wood
not even the woodlouse has found.

But before any shift in consciousness
toward seeing with Spiritual eye,
every crack, every wart so enraptured me;
each knot, it shone more beautiful
than countenance of a super hero
by idolatry embellished.

Struggle however I would
to penetrate that towering maze
of leaves chattering in Otherworldly tongue
and landscape of mottled and tawny bark,
still no flash of enlightenment
breached my primitive skull.

Instead a capricious sleep-starved brain
cleaved my stupefied senses apart,
saturating sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell.
Now transfixed by this wondrous art
I ride exhaustion's tidal wave
all day, all night.

And such perversion corrupts my vision:
I must watch the wanton wood nymphs emerge
and seduce this sacred Grove,
until not a chaste tree is left untouched
by flux of Nature's darker drives -
the Prophet's human side.

Friday, 13 April 2018


Soft brown sofa - genuine leather -
not for the faint hearted
(animal rights and the contemplation of barbarity,
the rights of all life).
And they creamed, polished and preened it
and draped themselves all over it
while watching TV and consuming popcorn,
and caressed it's neatly buttoned folds.

One Wednesday, a coffee morning.
Upholding it's burden of large ladies,
long-suffering sofa, a big obedient servant.
Then sudden spill,
a splattering of hot coffee over delicate membrane.
Instant panic: damp cloth and deodorizing cleanser,
scrubbing away all traces of beverage, cream and odour.

There was an ashtray too, on a side table,
of solid silver. It was always full -
not that the residents smoked, it was solely for guests.
One day, a guest was a little too animated
in his conversation.
He missed the ashtray, left a burn mark.
Permanent disfigurement.

But they said nothing. He was, after all,
a close family friend, a life-long one
that they could never risk offending: supportive
in all emergencies, funny - the archetypal clown
who lifted spirits: Life is to be enjoyed, not taken seriously!
He was always the centre of attention,
life and soul of every party. He said Never cry
over spilled coffee and What is a tiny burn mark between friends?
And the room erupted with laughter.

Does this sofa have a soul? A new friend asked.
Feel it. Here in the crease of the arm
there's a curious warmth.
Go on, feel it! It feels like your own skin.

There's been suffering here, you know.
And there is immunity. 
Override the latter.
Push your hand further down
until it's quite swallowed up. Reach past
the layers of stitching and stapling,
folding and gluing, with your sensitive fingertips.
The warm, pulsing dermis of the cow.

Thursday, 5 April 2018


Our stop-off in Betws-y-Coed was the result of a wrong turn.
Mike had given us directions the previous Friday. We'd been
looking for Capel Garmon, but had ended up going round in circles -
well, I am a notoriously hopeless map reader!
I was just anxious for the journey to be over, and to be settled
comfortably in our beautiful, newly acquired stone cottage.

However, it was the open fire in the pub that lured us inside.
The wine, though, when we were finally served was warm and acidic,
and it was slammed down on the table so hard
that at least half of it spilled over
and it was a miracle that the glasses remained intact.
Excuse ME!
Whose parliament oversees this entire land mass?
And whose hefty contributions fund your NHS prescriptions?
The two painted dragons behind the bar continued to scowl at us
while gabbling something obviously derogatory
in what I took to be Welsh (but could just as easily have been Double Dutch).
We could feel the poison daggers in our backs - and tossed a few back -
until it became too uncomfortable to stay any longer.
The Roman Inquisition must have been a picnic compared to this!

So we drove around in more circles, until finally stumbling upon the tiny road sign.
On it was daubed, "English OUT!" in red paint.
With mounting unease, we drove slowly on in the gathering dusk
the outline of our beautiful holiday home came into view.
Only as we drew closer did we see to our utter dismay
that it had been reduced to a burnt-out shell.
The acrid fumes from smoldering thatch
seriously irritated sinuses and throats,
making us cough and our eyes run.
On every remaining patch of whitewashed wall
were scrawled the words, "Welsh homes are for the Welsh -
NOT English holidaymakers!"

We were gutted.

But I guess they did have a point.

Friday, 23 March 2018


You caught me by the emotions today
as I glanced out through the window
and glimpsed your little forlorn form
while sipping my chilled Bordeau.

Your wistful eyes seemed to cry
"Oh please let me in.
It's cold out here and I'm all alone,
and it's so inviting within!"

Well I stared at you as though entranced
and felt the winter's freeze
touch me in a powerful way
that filled me with unease.

As you stood there looking in,
it seemed my heart would break.
Compelling desire to bring you in
overwhelmed me like an ache.

Oh how I longed to be your friend
and see you wined and dined.
But I knew I would be killing you,
so had to be cruel to be kind.