Friday 29 June 2012


I cannot speak to you today.
No words of mine
can undo wounds inflicted
by the verbal sword of anger.
Memory will bear the scars forever.
Karmic debt is in the red.

I'm not much to write home about,
I know that.
Of course you'll find others more attractive,
more accomplished; much
more interesting.
I should learn to accept my mediocrity,
not hone it into a weapon
of us annihilation.
As if that could possibly
endear me to you more!

But I am trinity.
And yesterday, Ego declared war
on Divinity inside me.
Ego had glimpsed Divinity
through a chink in my psyche,
then found fragments of It's perfection
reflected in other women.
And it craved the admiration
such brilliance attracts,
mistaking that for love.
So it demanded it's own pedestal:
to be worshipped like them, as a
thing of beauty and desire - sought
self-worth in the opinions
of someone else.
It truly believed Divinity
to be something out there
that could be conquered and usurped.
But Divinity just smiled,
because It knew better.

I just caught sight of myself
in the mirror.
Ego's haggard, post-conflict face
is looking out at me.
But the eyes aren't quite right.
They no longer seem to fit the face;
have become beautiful,
entrancing almost.
I am inexorably drawn
into their bottomless emerald depths,
where I find Divinity nestling
at the core of my Being.
And trinity's warring factions
are finally fused into perfect unity.

I know now that I am OK
exactly as I am.
So are you.
So is everyone else.
And I can't apologise enough
for who I was
before today.

Saturday 23 June 2012


Painting by Ygraine Barrow 1995

San Marino Grand Prix
1st May, 1994

In team garage he puts on his helmet,
then pulls gloves on inside out - an
obsessive superstition of his.
Adrenaline begins pumping.

Easing himself into his car.
Starting the engine.
Now lapping the circuit
to take his position
at the front of the grid.

Formation lap commences.
Cars zig-zagging
to warm up tyres.
Engines revving.

Lining up for the real thing now.
They're all in position.
Tension becoming unbearable.
He can practically hear
more than twenty other hearts
pounding in unison
with his own.

This waiting is tantamount
to torture.
Mind focused ruthlessly.
Every muscle flexed
to the point of pain,
in preparation for insane dash
to stay in pole position.

Red lights flick on.
A cheer from the grandstands.
There's an uncontrollable fluttering
in his solar plexus.

He feels strange today:
sick, light-headed;
as if about to black out.
The vision of first place trophy
in his mind's eye
is inexplicably replaced
by brilliant white light:
The Face of God.
And just for an instant,
he's hovering high above;
looking down on himself
sitting motionless in his car.
There's a voice inside his head, saying,
'You are destined for greater things.'
Incomprehensible becomes crystal clear.
He's profoundly moved,
close to tears;
thinks of his family.

Green lights replace red.
His foot to the floor.
Ear-splitting screech
of engines pushed to the limit, then
BANG! Two cars collide.

He's uneasy.
Is reminded of yesterday's
death crash during qualifying
that he'd been trying so hard
to avoid dwelling on.
Anger grips him.
Why would no one listen
to his demands for change
in circuit safety regulations?
Do they want another death?

Pace car brought in.
Four frustratingly slow laps
that kill gear boxes and brakes.
He feels keyed up, irritated,
anxious to get on with the race.
'Why are such amateurs
allowed anywhere near a car? he demands
out loud in exasperation,
drumming his fingers
on the steering wheel.

Pace car veers off.
He tears away,
defending his position
with characteristic aggression.
He feels fated today:
that whatever happens,
he cannot possibly lose.

A few laps on.
Approaching the Tamburello bend,
he turns steering wheel to the left.
But a pair of ethereal hands
wrench it to the right, driving his car
head-on into the wall.
A blinding flash.
His girlfriends face.
Half-heard screams from the crowd.

But this is not the end.
I'm sure I glimpsed him
a few weeks ago.
He was standing in the road
just ahead of a bend
in the race circuit at Monaco.
A few seconds later
a car crashed,
after swerving at the last minute
as if to avoid him.
If it hadn't veered off,
there would undoubtedly
have been a tragedy.
That driver must have believed
he had a Guardian Angel that day...

Ayrton Senna was Formula 1's
last fatality to date.
Now, I think I know why.

Saturday 16 June 2012


Platform at Haworth station:
Her quest begins...

Crowded with tourists today.
Searching the faces:
a worldful of races;
every colour and creed,
size and shape of human being.
Seeking one, unique, distinctive;
dark, glowering countenance.
Emily's seductive, yet diabolical
literary creation.

He fits the description.
Tall, muscular, athletic build,
black hair; devil's eyes.
Has to be him!
Keeping safe distance,
mouse stalks the lion.

The moor.
He's heading for the moor.
Surely, this is him.
He'll be going home...
to find Cathy - or perhaps to hang
a litter of puppies
from the back of a chair.

Bravely catching him up.
No. An Italian accent,
not the broad Yorkshire
with a dash of Scouse
she so desperately wanted to hear.

Nor, after arduous climb
up steep moorland path,
is he at Top Withins.

Only three women here,
and half-a-dozen sheep.

Back down winding path
to Wycoller Hall.

He's bound to be there.
He'll have gone to settle
that old score with Edgar Linton.

Not here either. Just
a coachload of Japanese tourists,
a handful of Germans and a party
of French schoolgirls.

What now?
Running out of ideas.
Time to consult her 'bible',
a dog-eared copy of  Wuthering Heights.
Of course - Cathy's grave!
He's sure to be there.

Scouring ordnance survey map
for likely location.
There it is!
Small disused Georgian cemetery
bordering lonely Heptonstall moor.
A long stretch on foot, but
she may just make it before dark.

Daylight beginning to fade
as she reaches the summit
of rocky hillock.
There, just below her, ancient gravestones:
leaning like crooked, discoloured teeth.
And he's there!
Dressed in black, on his knees;
placing flowers on a grave.

Such long-awaited moment
brings unexpected terrors.
Heart pounding audibly,
she's tempted to run away.
'No. You've come this far!' she screams at herself,
silently inside her head.

A sharp intake of breath.
Then approaching him gingerly
from behind.
A trembling hand
taps him on the shoulder.
'Excuse me,' she begins,
without the slightest idea
of what to say next.

He stands up, turning to face her.
Not a trace of cruel, sadistic passion
in those soft brown eyes.
Nor in his warm smile.
'Hi, don't suppose you're
tracing your ancestors too, are you?'
He's decidedly friendly,
his accent unmistakably southern.
And she's bitterly disappointed.

But beyond the veil,
Emily Bronte smiles.

Sunday 10 June 2012


William Barnsley Allen  1915

Dignified Captain, posed
in front of family home
for pre-embarkation photo
on the lawn, early morning;
ninety-seven years ago.

What are you thinking?

That it'll all be over by Christmas?
Of how you'll miss your fiancee, Mary;
but that in no time at all
you'll be on your way home
to make her your wife?

What are you feeling?

Tense? Apprehensive, without knowing why?
Certainly not confident,
I can tell by your face.
You seem much older here
than your twenty-three years.

What wind rustles these leaves?

Is it a cold wind
blowing in from France
that chills you to the bone?
Or could it be the wind of prophecy
that brings such disturbing sense
of doom and despondency
to every fibre of your being?

Tragic Hero,
do you already half know
of the suffering to come,
and how you'll die
so young?