Wednesday 21 November 2012


Consciousness was sucked
into the furiously spinning disc,
catapulting me back
to nineteen-eighty-five...
You were there.
I could look, but never touch - that
was denied me.
But, oh, how I looked!
How you shone, God-like,
in the eyes of the idolatress,
as you fought your sword fights
across dreams devoid of sleep
where I endlessly fantasised,
breathless with wanting - where
anything was possible.
And all others around you
faded away,
their voices silenced.
There was only you
in your Lincoln Green,
arrow poised in your bow.
And I became it's string,
responding to your touch
with paroxysms of rapture: and
just for an instant,
I thought I saw recognition
flicker in your eyes.
Did you really connect
with the chaos of this besotted Soul
from your future,
as you stretched her to capacity
then let your arrow fly?
And were you surprised
that she felt it all
so carnally?
Your arrow hit it's mark
in the Greenwood
deep inside me.
And the wounded Oak wept
sticky resinous tears
to the strains of Clannad's
'Robin, the Hooded Man.'
The magic was lost then
in the credits that crawled
slowly up the screen - a
fitting tribute to the death
of blissful reverie,
for I found myself back
in an existence so lifeless
without you.
But the afterglow still lingers...

(Photo courtesy of Google Images)

Monday 12 November 2012


Curiosity enticed me there. I spotted it while passing by on the M2.
Of colossal height, it dominated the landscape
for miles and I found it irresistibly intriguing.
Medieval knights were pathetic people:
forever coveting their neighbours' lands, were
never satisfied with their own no matter
how much they already held.
I felt a need to get inside their heads,
to understand how they could live with themselves
after inflicting such carnage on their fellow man.
So I took the next exit and doubled back,
then followed the brown information signs
until I eventually arrived at the castle gates.

Close to, it was a gaunt, gutted monstrosity
composed of time-worn greyish stone.
Unglazed windows, like the eyeless sockets
of some macabre decaying skull,
gave me a sense of impending doom.
As I ascended steep steps
to the keep entrance and ticket office,
the disturbing notion struck me
that if I entered there would be no going back,
that I'd be trapped in the fabric of this sombre place
for all eternity. I almost turned and walked away,
but a thirst for knowledge overrode my fears.

The audio tour transported
this second millennia psyche back
to Good Friday 1264, where crusader Ralph de Capo
was bravely defending his castle
against the onslaught of Simon de Montfort,
Earl of Leicester, and his men.
I paused the commentary for a moment
in order to picture the bloody scene
in my imagination.
Only the odd flitting shadow, and
a half-heard whisper issued from the unseen life
that lurked in every corner.
I was disappointed, had expected to sense more
in this place so steeped in history.

Turning a corner, I entered a narrow passageway.
In the dank semi darkness a young female
rushed clean through me in an icy chill.
A glimpse of long black hair and torn clothing
barely had time to register in my brain
before she leapt through a window
and fell to the ground below.
'Blanche!' I blurted out, wondering why I'd said that.
Fascinated, I turned back to the commentary,
then later discovered that Lady Blanche de Warrenne,
Ralph de Capo's betrothed,
was rumoured to haunt the keep
sporting an arrow through her heart.
But I saw no arrow, just
a desperate, suicidal young woman.

I ascended spiral steps to the battlements,
my mind still immersed in thirteenth century events.
Then I saw him.
Out of time - both theirs and mine - his attire
and longish flowing hair set him somewhere
in the nineteen-seventies.
He appeared 'high' on something.
Alcohol? Drugs? Perhaps both.
There was a suggestion of others with him,
a group of them.
'I can do it,' he slurred, 'I know I can!'
'Prove it then,' a female voice mocked, 'Just do it!'
He stepped over the parapet,
seemed to hesitate for a moment:
then knelt on the edge of the pigeon net
that spanned the entire top of the keep,
before carefully stretching out flat on his stomach.
The net bowed but held his weight.
My heart leapt into my throat as I watched him
slowly begin to edge forward.
His companions audibly gasped.
I wanted to shout at him to come back, but
found myself unable to either move or speak.
So all I could do was watch in trepidation.

When he was roughly halfway across, the net creaked
and began to tear. I saw the look of terror on his face
as he began scrambling on hands and knees,
desperately trying to reach the far side wall.
Just a metre or so from safety, the net bowed,
distorted into a grotesque shape
then finally gave way beneath him.
Screams from the others hung in the ether
long after they'd faded back into their own time.

Sick to the stomach, I rushed to the edge and looked over.

Thirty-odd metres below, through the now intact net,
I saw a young man in flared jeans gazing up at me.
The expression of bitter regret on that sad young face
was heart-breaking.
I felt such grief for his unlived years,
and deep sadness for the folly of youth
that had thrown them away.
And it really, really hurt.
The custodian later confirmed that there have been
two accidental deaths in Rochester Castle keep in
modern times.
One, in 2010, was that of a forty-year-old man
who fell from the stage during a concert.
The other, years earlier, fits the description
of the younger man I encountered.
However, despite extensive research on the Internet
I have as yet failed to find any record of this
earlier incident, only of the one in 2010.
So if anyone does have any knowledge of
either the accident itself or of the identity of
the man involved, then I would be so grateful
if you would contact me by email.
Many thanks


Wednesday 7 November 2012


I asked your expert opinion once
On my chosen dress for your party
Because in matters of fashion I'm a genuine dunce,
Whereas you are really quite arty.

You frowned as you looked me up and down,
Then you laughed out loud and said
That actually I resembled a clown;
Or, perhaps, more the living dead.

You explained that my makeup was far too pale
To be worn with so white a dress.
You said all I'd have to do is wail
And your guests would flee in  distress.

'That ghastly pallor is ghostly you see,
And your dress is too baggy and loose.
Plus you really should let your hair hang free.
When it's up you resemble a moose.

Such platinum hair needs a hint of gold
And your eyes need enhancing with Kohl.
Like me, you must learn to be more bold
And emerge from that self-conscious hole.'

So you accompanied me on a shopping spree,
Chose a catsuit in black and gold -
So tight I had to go underwear free.
For this image I felt too old.

'Nonsense,' you said, 'you're younger than me,
And now for some matching shoes.'
And the pair you chose couldn't possibly be
Any higher or my balance I'd lose.

Then in the salon my face was painted
And my hair tinted 'autumn gold'.
When I gazed in the mirror I almost fainted.
For me, this look was too bold.

But then who was I to contradict you,
The ultimate glamour snob?
So I teetered along that night with you.
But it was no easy job.

You plied me with cocktails until I was squiffy,
Then enticed me up to dance.
My heels were too high, the floor too slippy.
I never stood a chance.

The entire club was suddenly struck dumb
By the mortified heap on the floor
Whose catsuit had split from boobs to bum.
It couldn't have revealed any more.

Since then I've never ventured near
Nightclub, dance floor, nor you.
My colour's washed out and I tremble with fear
At the sight of a high-heeled shoe!