Sunday 28 December 2014


Fierce waves batter a deserted beach,
almost drowning out the mournful cries of gulls
lamenting the loss of summer.
Nothing is as it was then.
Two crows fight beak and claw
over the meagre contents of a litter bin,
their black eyes glittering
with murderous self-survival.

Clumps of seaweed lie strewn about an empty car park,
the spoils of recent storms. There is a stench of decaying vegetation.
Parking meters have been removed for the winter
and the funfair stands abandoned and partially dismantled
like the skeletal remains of some gigantic alien being.
A lone powerboat carves the misty seascape in two,
as the Isle of Wight slowly disappears
in the grey coupling of sea and sky.

Shivering, I turn my attention to the locked and barred beach huts.

Blue, and red candy stripes conjure up the spirit of summer:
crowds and excited voices of children;
ice cream kiosks and shellfish stalls;
sugar rock batons with "Hayling Island" through the middle;
and rainbow-coloured candy floss...
aah, the power of nostalgia: I can feel
the scorching July sun burning my fair skin!

The sharp pain of wind-burned ears
shocks me back to the present. Pulling hood up,
I gaze once more out to sea. Huge ocean liners
loom spectral on the horizon like barely discernible ghosts
of last summer now trapped in a shadowy region between realities.
Then a sudden shaft of sunlight pierces the gloom:
a tiny splinter of Heaven that fulfils my longing
for an omen of the spring to come.

Friday 19 December 2014


What happened to that photograph of you and I -
you remember, the one of our final holiday together
in 2009?
Searching countless albums to find it...aha!

When Austin framed us,
I wonder if he possibly could have guessed
that it would stir such emotions in me
this far into his future.
I recall how meticulously
he positioned us against the backdrop
of rocks and wild plants, calculating
angles of light and shade
in conjunction with our images.
How many minutes did it take
to perfect it?
Sunshine. Wind, wind,
cold sea spray laden wind
murmuring over jagged rocks.
Territorial conflict
of seagulls and invading ravens.
We retreated, frozen, luminous, gazing at him
through a retina of metal and glass.
He lifted us out of the physical
and into a vortex of coloured inks - to become
an indelible copy of what he saw
that October afternoon, high up in a recess
in the cliff face overlooking Rocky Valley.

A sudden thought: what became
of that grey sweater you're wearing?
Out of the gloomy depths of a sensitive's awareness
sentimentality bubbles up - a spectre that brings
unease, combined with intense longing to revisit
that earlier time...and touch again that warm fluffiness
that must still exist somewhere, although
now grown cold - or else is warming some other body
that was never a part of mine.

And I can't let it go. Have to know where
it is now. Is it being cared for with lashings
of fabric conditioner after every wash?
A disturbing vision of it lying discarded, screwed up
and torn, buried in a landfill site.
It is alone there. Once so close to you
and still carrying your essence, it languishes
in this inaccessible sepulchre...
and I can't bear it.
Is it at this very moment being consumed
by moths, worms, or some deadly petrochemical
dumped on top of it?

Stop thinking!
Nostalgic imaginings can be destroyers of sanity.

But I'm drawn even deeper...
our bags on the rocky ledge behind you.
I have mine still, but yours is long gone.
All that black life, harbouring your memories -
your emotions and aspirations recorded
forever in it's fabric. I remember you donated it
to a charity shop: in the hands of a psychometrist
your innermost secrets could be unlocked -
and all for a few mere pounds.
I am possessive by proxy, can't begin to contemplate the notion
of a total stranger owning our shared past.

Oh I wish I could share these feelings with you.
But just two days ago I found other photographs like these
torn up in the bottom of your bin. As I retrieved them
and began piecing them together like a jigsaw
of your life, I discovered fragile finger prints faintly
patterning the glossy surfaces.
Tears began to well up then.
It seemed so symbolic:
our mother/son bond ripped apart by adulthood's
cool independence...and I am in mourning...still clinging tightly
to these lifeless, yet immortal, doppelgangers...

Thursday 11 December 2014


It's a legendary time say the ancient tales
when the dying summer sun pales
into autumn's ageing embers gold
and starlings have departed for African wold.

Yes this is that time...

So come join me tonight
at Stonehenge in moonlight,
where Summer Queen and Snow Queen meet
each seeking to in battle the other defeat.

Snow Queen's most powerful - she can freeze the sea,
with a single glance can transform you and me
into sculptures of ice with her freezing breath
and bring upon us sudden death.

So if you do come tonight
keep well out of sight
as you observe the deadly Battle of Queens,
for they never survive - any go-betweens.

But for now, the Queens are still inside
Silbury Hill, preoccupied
with honing and perfecting their weapon skills:
Summer heat versus Winter chills.

Hey - watch out...they're coming out!
Hillside spews lightening from inside out,

as two Queens arise
and take to the skies:
one in a chariot of meteorite,
the other in a rocket of ice crystallite.

Now over Salisbury Plain they clash
coming together with a fearful CRASH!
And gentle Summer is stabbed through the heart
by the glacial point of an icicle dart.

Then while she lies heavily bleeding below
into the dawn horizon's glow,
this funeral pyre to Summer's end
ushers in Winter - the Snow Queen's trend.

Friday 5 December 2014


What can I offer you
but fleeting memories
unwittingly stirred:
a forest, with crimson sunset
filtering through tree trunks;
my gift to you - a tiny lizard
carved from pine wood;
and our home of logs
not quite rainproof -
at least, not in the
heaviest of downpours.
And the bluebells in spring -
remember how you picked me a bunch
for our first anniversary?
And how we made love in high summer,
squashing some where they grew
and how I wept for their pain?

Then the snow in winter:
we'd be trapped indoors for weeks,
surviving on love and shared body heat alone
when our food stocks ran out.
"Dear God," you'd exclaim, laughing,
"At least we'll die happy!"

Oh how could you have forgotten all this -
and me,
simply because we were snatched
from Caledonia's past
by an arbitrary whim of fate,
only to be re-born centuries later
on opposite sides of the globe?
When I recognized you on TV the other day,
I wished I had forgotten you too,
because knowing brings irresistible compulsion...

Driving at breakneck speed
along a dusty outback road
in Western Australia.
Spinning tyres throwing up sand and small rocks.
Missing gears - feeling like
Lewis Hamilton on a good day.
Slamming on brakes.
Skidding to a halt.
Jumping out,
door left swinging open,
engine running.
Racing through the open door
of an unknown dwelling
in Meekatharra...
through to the back - instinctively
knowing the way.
Bursting into the bedroom,
running over to the bed, crying,
"Come back to me, please?"

Two pairs of eyes stare at me
in utter bewilderment.
Deeply embarrassed, I hear myself mumble
I must have taken a wrong turn!"

Thursday 27 November 2014


The scene is desolate: skeletal trees
shiver in icy breezes, their naked branches
clutching at ancient gravestones
as if to gather the dust beneath
and resurrect it once more
into sentient life. The lingering anguish

of men long forgotten leaches
into the blood-red smiles of poppies
dutifully laid at the heads of the fallen.

And your restlessness breaches the frozen earth
to fill my heart with intense, all-absorbing compassion.
I am pulled out of time. Clouds obscure the sun.

In the misty grey gloaming, eyes strain
to trace the faintest outline of a man:
slender, caked in reddened mud. His eyes,
wild with terror, momentarily meet mine.
Oh how you learned historians have erred:
the Battle of the Somme still rages on...

Friday 21 November 2014


Of medieval crumbling stone,
your dreamy tower
rises out of reflections
of another world:
bewitching as an escapade
into childhood's exquisite fairyland.

Dancing on chilly winds
autumn's falling leaves,
yellow-gold: a testimony
to nature's endless cycle
of birth-death-rebirth,
enduring - like you.

Marbled afternoon sky.
Shadows lengthening inch-by-inch,
mirrored in leaded windows
out of which peer
the insubstantial faces of ghosts
of those who lived here once...and never left.

Thursday 13 November 2014


Cernunnus awakening divine discontent:
these winter blues are weighing me down
and I long to leave it all behind -
ticking clocks and concrete prisons.
Even woodland path is no longer enough.
Then gazing up into the sky,
there's a graceful figure flying high
who's calling me...

come join me in my aerobatics:
play hide-and-seek with swirling clouds,
mind-to-mind, wing-to-hand.
Oh such freedom!
The Buzzard and the Astral Traveller
above the treetops, under the sun;
soaring,'s just an intent away...

I'm rushing at speed like a rocket,
now gliding on thermals, my body changing shape.
My home is a dot on a distant map
that means nothing now I've gone.
Heights are no longer shrouded in fear,
and my appetite is turning queer:
chocolate bars have lost appeal, yet
at the sight of a vole I salivate.
But I'm no longer sure this life's for me
and I want to be back with my own kind.
Oh I think it's too late:
my hands are feathered, my toes clawed,
and I don't know how to get down...


Friday 7 November 2014


Dedicated to all those who fought in the Battle of Britain...

August 24th, 1943

Leaving the hangar.
Counting the number of footsteps to my plane,
while buttoning combat jacket and pulling on helmet and gloves
like an actor donning costume,
getting into character.
The mask is always last to go on -
a serious superstition of mine
since my first successful dogfight.
Putting it on now,
I visualise myself surrounded
by heavy, impenetrable armour.

Steel grey clouds gather ominously above.
Swirling, constantly re-forming.
Shafts of sun break through here and there:
golden, full of dancing thistle seeds.
A jet black crow
glides through the moisture-laden air.
Scanning the earth from it's elevated vantage point,
it's wings create a seeded vortex
of displaced sunlight in the up draft.

Each scramble to action begins
with the first glimpse of the Hurricane...
proud eyes trace it's aerodynamic lines
to the end of the tail,
finally coming to rest on the roundel
emblazoned on it's side.
Pause and take deep breaths.
Banish fears and negative thoughts.
Leave lost comrades faces on the grass
when you climb inside
the claustrophobic cockpit
because, then should you be fortunate enough to return,
it's easier. You feel less guilt
for still living - the sky's no place
to keep company with dead men.

Strapping yourself in.
The engine roars to life.
You recite a silent prayer as you gaze
into the eyes of your wife in her silver frame.
Speeding down the runway. Each tree,
each stationary plane disappearing
into the rivers of air rushing by.

Then you're finally airborne.
You slice into the whiteness of the cloud
like a knife into butter,
and you're isolated, momentarily disoriented:
"What am I doing here in this nomansland?" you ask
out loud, in an attempt to quell
the now familiar rush of nerves.

Never relax until your job is done.
Only slipped up once these last three years:
a day of thunder storms,
a strong south-westerly wind.
I'd just taken out a Messerschmidt,
banked to the left -
then caught site of another
hard on my tail, spewing fire like some demented dragon...

and I thought I saw God's hand
reach out of the lightening.
How my plane shook in that Almighty grasp.
It would have been all too easy
to just lie back and allow myself to be spirited away
from the dreadful burden of guilt
I have to live with:
killing my fellow man never did come easy.

A drunken conscientious objector once accused me
of being no better than Adolf - of being
no less the mass murderer than he.
Reminded me of a picture I'd seen
in my father's illustrated Bible - of Armageddon
and the demons that descended from the skies,
bringing down flames and destruction upon mankind.
That bugger was prodding me with a nicotine-stained finger
and shouting in my face, his foul breath sickening me...
until my fist laid him out on the beer stained floor.

I'm quiet as a rule - unless, as you see, I'm provoked.
Like my own company most of the time.
Well, I'm used to it, doing what I do.
At Christmas I like a beer or two
while sprawled out on the back of my silver bird
and singing derogatory songs about the SS;
the stars lighting up the sky and crystals of frost
forming in my moustache.
Oh yes, I'm pretty relaxed and at ease then.

Girls seem to like me,
much more than their squaddie boyfriends
with all their camaraderie and wildly exaggerated tales
of bravery in the field.
Instead, they want the man they see
descending from the watery sun: freedom's fearless avenger
returning to earth, having preserved their future security.
How they clamour to touch this Dare Devil -
as if to absorb his essence through their fingertips
and etch it into ancestral memory for great-grandchildren:
"I knew a fighter pilot once, you know!"

At times, when I'm up here
suspended between Heaven and Earth,
I think of all those opportunities to be unfaithful to my wife.
But I love her like my own Soul,
see her face in the rolling clouds,
hear her voice in the engine's white noise...

just as I hear it now,
when she has somehow managed to materialise into my cockpit
and is pulling my mask off to kiss my lips...

Oh God!
I am suffocating in an explosion
of the blinding red flames of ecstasy...

Friday 31 October 2014


Inspired by Christopher Lee - the greatest vampire of all.

Seductive his eyes,
compelling dark eyes
rimmed in red.
So it begins...

A suffocating airless night.
Upon my throat the lightest kiss,
Alone in my soft bed,
while all around the dense ether
is filling with a lover's presence.
Wishful thinking -
or senses' deception?
Yet the airborne stench of moldering earth
grows ever stronger.
As my body craves him more and more,
the starless night grows darker
and a wild excitement
such as I've never known before
grips my pounding heart.
Terrified - yet craving.
Desperate to escape - yet transfixed.
My pupils dilate.
But I see nothing
except the blackest of black.

Oh please
come to me now!
Make me immortal like you.
Dance with me down the centuries.
Here is a willing victim. I beg you...
kidnap me...take me to Castle Dracula...
make me your Queen of the Night?
My window's wide open.
The outside flows in.
On the floor lies a crucifix torn from my neck,
it's broken chain symbolic
of the ultimate self-sacrifice:
the deadliest of ambitions.

Now, finally, he comes.
Sharp fangs pierce my jugular - oh the agony
of such ecstasy!
Living and undead blood cells mingle in my veins
and I feel my Soul darken.
My dying lips eagerly seek his
in blood.
I am changed.

And so it ends as it began:
I am ravenous...


Saturday 25 October 2014


Blood on our highways.
London pavements exploding.
Another terrorist bombing.
Destruction for destruction's sake.

Another racist inciting hatred.
A hostage brutally beheaded.
Another suicide from the thirteenth floor.
The complacent belief that He is myth
is the greatest error of all.

Our Groves are eerily deserted since
we invited Him inside.
Now His is the only voice we hear -
possession, it seems, is rife.
Do we assume these atrocities ours alone?
Then it's time to open our eyes.

For we're nothing more than dispensable pawns
in His chess game with the Beings of Light,
and for millennia He's been advancing through us,
bringing darkness and eternal night.

False priests are on his payroll -
their sermons lead straight to Him.
They're convinced they're buying a stairway to Heaven
through the sacrifice of innocent Souls.

Dear Merlyn,
We need you more than ever now,
or we're surely going to burn!

Now the time is right to re-ignite
the Divine Spark within
and burn away these corrosive shackles
that bind us to mortal sin.

So we concentrate hard on the Pentacle
inverted upon the wall,
and with willpower alone we loose the nails
until one-by-one they fall.

Now this sacred icon is uprighting itself -
Oh wow...isn't that real cool?
And Clas Myrddin's Guardian is rising again
to free us from Satan's rule.

Friday 17 October 2014


A massive tidal wave devastated Portsmouth.
From an attic window the torrent we watched
in sheer terror as it swamped street after street,
destroying all in it's path.

We cringed as the city was plunged into darkness,
bright lights extinguished in their watery grave,
and wondered would ever again we see
the high street, pier, or Spinnaker Tower.

There were no sirens, no emergency services,
no helicopters airborne - the last hope of salvation.
Neither were there screams of drowning victims,
just an eerie silence as Poseidon surfed in.

His trident held aloft in the dark sky in wrath,
He took His revenge in the sea's fury:
sank all the trawlers that had ravaged His kingdom,
then smashed Nelson's Victory to smithereens.

Friday 10 October 2014


The Grandmother I never met was red-haired
and fiery. They say she was feminine and sexy,
yet could swear like a trooper when sufficiently roused.
It is rumoured she was a Witch
because her outhouses were filled with bunches
of drying medicinal herbs, and she often conversed
with the 'dead' (I suppose that's where I get it from!).
Her house was set into a Surrey hillside,
with a wilderness of a garden that must have been paradise
to the wildlife she called her familiars.
I believe she played up the 'Witch' thing
to discourage trespassers - she was, after all,
an increasingly private person in her twilight years.
She played whist with her brothers - and always beat them,
and drank stout from the bottle, and ran
a laundry for the idle rich who considered
such everyday chores beneath them.
During the Great War she held weekly seances
for those who had lost someone - her vocation,
she claimed, was to bring comfort wherever she could.
She knitted socks and blankets for the Tommies
at the Front, and cursed the "Mass-murdering World Leaders."
Tripe and onions (yuk) and jam roly-poly
were her favourite foods, and she always smelled
of vanilla and lavender water.
She was strict with her four children -
over strict compared to today's standards - she never
spared Grandfather's belt for the slightest misdemeanour.
Well, with a husband in France and the ever-present
possibility that he may never return,
I suppose she considered it her responsibility
to instill self-discipline and respect into her brood
in order to prevent them from roaming the streets like savages
as so many others did.
But still they idolised her - especially the youngest,
my Father.
I know I would have too.
Oh if only she hadn't passed away before I was born.
She was such a brave and spirited woman,
one I could have learnt so much from.
And I am incredibly proud in the knowledge
that her genes live on in me...

Friday 3 October 2014


Often, our love is like a battleground
and when the warring reaches it's peak
and we are mutually wounded, it's like a deep sleep
and when we awaken it burns like fire;
but the flames never quite reach the heart
so although it beats faster there is no
Soul-connection. It's like a light bulb
powered by insufficient current: a dim half-glow...

And yet, my Love, we need each other
in lieu of something more profound.
It's Nature's perpetual lie.
And the lie is being on auto-pilot:
flying high on hormones,
telling ourselves we're OK,
while denying the existence of a gaping hollow
that even pregnancy cannot fill.

Thursday 25 September 2014


Window shopping in Farnham.
Walking down the high street
on a warm autumn day
in lace vest and mini skirt.
A woman in purdah blocks my path.
"Hi," I smile at her.
But her eyes - all I can see of her -
are filled with scorn, hatred even,
as if I am something sub human:
an abomination that should be
stoned - or better still, doused in petrol
and burned alive.

Hostile black eyes continue
to pierce me from head to toe,
projecting the desire to erase
this demon, this canker
from the face of an Earth
exclusively Allah's.
When she finally speaks
in broken English, her words
are spat at me:
"You disgusting!
Where you from?"
"Here," I reply. "This is my country."

Friday 19 September 2014


A village school in rural Yorkshire:
a classroom in September 1961.
Chalk dust on the wooden floor beneath a blackboard.
Copper-gold sycamore leaves
falling past high - set window panes like giant
discoloured snowflakes...and the sounds
of morning assembly echoing around the empty room:
young voices singing hymns and chanting prayers.

A bell rings.
In silence, the children file in behind their teacher.
Then boring constants. All those
questions to be answered, that try as she might,
Jane simply cannot grasp:
the word for door in French;
the formula for sodium chloride in chemistry;
the date of the Roman invasion of Britain in history...
oh such bland dullness!

Bored eyes wandering
to that high window and the wind-tossed
leaves beyond. A young heart dearly wishing
to catch one as it passes, like a bus,
and ride away to freedom.
All those questions she really wants the answers to:
Who am I?
How did I get here?
Why am I here?
Why do I feel so different?
What is love - what does it look like?
The mental image of something warm and golden,
glowing brightly, protective and indestructible
that links everything in perfect harmony rises up
before her inner eye.
But no one knows for sure.
The only certainty is the smell of new paint
and milk warming on the radiators;
the deafening voices of other children, overexcited
at the prospect of another day's lessons...
so why does she feel as if she is serving
a never-ending prison sentence?

Peculiarities of home: Alsatian hairs everywhere,
and biscuit crumbs trapped between carpet edge
and skirting board that must have been
lucky escapees from mother's vacuum cleaner.
The smells of beef stew cooking and warm
leather sofa and chairs.
After dinner, family still at the table, sharing anecdotes:
attempted bullying at 'big' school - but her brother's
confident, firm resistance winning the day:
a valuable lesson for her, no doubt.
all this chit chat - who really cares?
Yet this is their family story.
Doesn't it bind them together?
Perhaps this togetherness is an aspect of love.
So, how come there is still such a powerful sense of isolation
deep inside her?

Her bedroom: her sanctuary.
Pebbles and delicate bird skulls
collected from Balnakiel beach,
all carefully wrapped in tissue paper
and kept in a cardboard shoe box.
A photograph of the grandparents she never knew,
smiling for the lens (anticipating
the arrival of their future granddaughter perhaps?).
They are trapped forever in their time
of austerity, of the Great War...whereas
she lives now, when the massive guns are silent
and each evening the quiet village fades:
church steeple and grey slate roofs slipping
gently into the deepening shadows of nightfall, oaks
and weeping willows merging into dusk.
Hours spent just gazing from bedroom window,
watching this fascinating transformation.

By morning there is a different world outside,
the colours much richer now in the low-lying morning sun.
Dew rises from garden fences like smoke
in this beautiful golden landscape, and the hedges
are adorned with water-diamonds and rainbow birds.
A sudden realisation that she has lived forever:
there was nothing before her...
so why, oh why does she have to go to school?

That miserable daily hike to school: a
procession of laughing children.
Painfully shy and introverted, she does not fit in.
The drone of a car engine passing by.
Awareness narrows to a single point
that follows the sound, and her body is desperate to follow.
A footpath beside the parish church:
small feet running for freedom,
crossing the bridge over the stream,
now traversing the wooded hollow of Beck's Hole -
such a delightful place, like heaven
in comparison to the confinement of school.

Soon, the station comes into view.
Sitting on the hill, she watches the trains below
billowing steam into the open windows
of the platform cafe.
Life appears so laid back down there.
Oh to be an adult and have the choice
of how to spend her days!
There is such peace and tranquillity here -
a stark difference to the world she daily inhabits.
Clouds seem to kiss the earth, like Gods, in a pure love
no longer just golden, but now also white, green and brown
with flashes of azure blue.
Oh the bliss of discovering that love and life
are a multi-coloured interconnectedness - so beautiful
like this.

And it keeps getting bigger, this feeling inside her,
with the realisation that everything
as far as the eye can see and beyond, is her -
just as she is it.
She had always believed herself lost,
but now Truth has finally found her.
A knowing way beyond the scope
of those dusty dry books lies here
beneath her in this leaf mould.
She instinctively plunges a hand
deep into it's damp earthiness...
again...and again...
and she keeps coming up with silvery threads
of a slime that dissolves back into Nature's cycle
as soon as it is exposed to the air.
It appears to be composed of the
same material as the faint tracery of pale blue
she can see on the inside of her wrists.
A sudden impulse prompts her to dig deeper and deeper.
Then she stops to closely examine the rich brown mass.
The entire Universe is there in that one small handful...
and she is in there somewhere too...
or perhaps a higher version of herself, one who is connected
to all those who have lived before
and all those who have yet to be born.
She is a single molecule of pure Spirit
who came here to breathe Love and Light
into the darkness of matter
through these delicate fern-like fronds
of the Creator's DNA.

Jane has no more questions now...
only infinite answers.

Saturday 13 September 2014


Flying in towards Heathrow,
passing over our street.

From high up here in Hampshire airspace,
the distant landscape below

is carved by hedgerows and motorways
into a patchwork of fields

with miniature homesteads dotted
here and there, as if created

by Vincent's finest brush and pallet
on one of his less manic days.

Most of these are invisible by road.
Even the small towns, like Petersfield

and Liss, look so different from here -
more sprawling, less contained.

And I know you're down there somewhere.
Checking my watch, I realise

you'll be on your way to work by now.
So I strain my eyes for a glimpse

of your BMW speeding along the A3
among all those other tiny dots

snaking their way to London
to begin another day in the office

with it's deadline stresses that hourly shorten life.
And I wish you were here with me instead,

and we were young again and just married.
I could fly then, you know, without the need

for this huge silver bird to transport me to paradise.
It lived in my heart then,

when we held hands and gazed
into each others eyes...unlike today,

when my sole purpose for coming home
is to sign our final divorce papers.

Friday 5 September 2014


Two dimensional, through to fourth
I slipped.
Reality...or awakened dreaming?
Spiralling faster than time
through fictional territories discovered
within the printed word.
His name animated
by merging with the deductive brain
of Inspector Morse.

Well, I found him beneath
Oxford's dreaming spires.
One would have considered me
too old to ride on fairy tales.
Yet here I was: an obscure note
of Stravinsky that possessed his mind.
And Dexter thought he'd imagined it all...
my symphony hummed through John Thaw's lips
and the glint in his eye that betrayed a second Soul.

I will be away until next hope you all have a truly great week!
Will "see" you soon. xxx

Wednesday 27 August 2014


To be honest
perhaps she does need love in her life,
in spite of all the brash denial.
She stands gazing wistfully out across the sea
as if willing it's liquid depths
to fill an empty heart
with something it has never known,
that only lovers can know.
Men are enigmas,
distorted mirrors that intrigue
with eyes full of the promise
of ecstasy's explosion -
whilst here is she on the verge of madness
from living so solitary a life
of pent-up frustration...

Or maybe she wasn't destined to love at all,
not that kind, anyway.
Yet there is an acute awareness
of something awakening deep inside her:
it's in the way the gulls
sing of secret pleasures;
the way they caress the air
with sensual wings;
in their erotic dance with the ocean waves;
how they playfully tease the earth;
and the way they flirt with the sun
so carnally...

And, suddenly,
she knows he is out there somewhere,
and that he is on a collision course with with her life.
It is inevitable.

Friday 22 August 2014


Such perfection is bizarre
when there is no life within

those artificial boundaries
of plate glass and pretty lace.

Endless Moons cannot age her,
nor bless her with fertility.

And yet she has an aura -
a spell within her smile

that snares the eye and mind:
you have to pause and look...

and how easily you're swayed
by this rigor mortis babe

into picturing yourself
standing there in her place,

transformed by over-priced attire
into a Goddess, flawless as she.

Harsh midday Sun
highlights a sculptural face

that betrays not the slightest hint
of wrinkle nor expression line.

Oh to step beyond the glass
into this glamorous world

of the make-believe beauty
dressed for a summer ball...

who can never play with a mobile phone;
enjoy an Indian takeaway;

go swimming on a Saturday;
or know how it feels to love.

An unearthly stillness envelopes you then,
as you notice her soulless eyes

and the dust that's begun to gather
on immobile corpse-like limbs.

Now wearing shimmering satin
has suddenly lost it's appeal,

for it brings to mind a burial shroud,
colourless, like a ghost.

Just sufficient battery to post this...will get back to you all on Monday!
Have a great weekend. :)

Thursday 14 August 2014


I ceased wearing white long ago.
But that day in Oulu, your birthday,
I wished I'd kept my wedding dress.
It would have blended perfectly into the snow,
unlike my deep red hat and coat.

Then, unobserved, I could have openly watched
you and she: your shared passion, such intimacy
as we never had - not even in the beginning.
With us, something fundamental was missing.
We were lopsided, awkward, a three-legged polar bear.

You embraced her there on the railway platform,
but all I could see were tatters
of precious satin slashed, bleeding white,
spanning the tracks to where my heart also bled profusely
into the snow behind the station house.

As the two of you boarded the train and I watched it leave,
your final words resurfaced to haunt me: "I'm sorry."
The ice cut deeper than it did back then,
when I considered black lace a cure-all.
Oh that last tumble in a metre of snow...

Then before I knew it, you were gone.
Not even those letters I found made sense.
I was in denial - it was all a bad joke.
"You are my husband," I screamed into the void you left behind.
But my words were swallowed by the endless white.

I will be around until Saturday, then I will be away for a week or so in a place without electricity.
I will miss you all...:(
So until my return...have a fabulous week xxx

Saturday 9 August 2014


In shape and size, colouring and feature,
identical we grew.
So everyone, including our teacher,
never quite knew who was who.
Even our mother couldn't tell
the two of us apart:
"Are you coming shopping, Annabel?"
she'd ask my counterpart.

And then one day I hatched a plan
to sneak a day off school
by pretending to be Marianne
on her trip to the swimming pool.
Well, predictably she was aggrieved
and reported what I'd done,
but no-one was sure who could be believed
and so it seemed I'd won.

But my victory proved to be rather Pyrrhic,
for Marianne by vengeful design
claimed that each and every lyric
of my love song was hers, not mine.
Then after she'd sung it (while posing as me)
to my boyfriend on Valentine's Day,
I simply couldn't make him see
that I was his true fiancee.

So two years later on my wedding day
it was Marianne he wed,
while I racked my brain to find a way
to be with him instead.
For it was so unfair what she'd done to me -
had stolen my future away
by having everyone believe that she was me.
Oh my life was in such disarray.

I begged and pleaded, grovelled and implored,
but she refused to budge an inch
and so for years and years we warred
but no agreement could we clinch.
And to make matters worse my ex believed
his "sister-in-law" unhinged to be -
a notion by Marianne preconceived.
So like the plague he avoided me.

Well eventually I had to concede defeat
and build another life.
Oh how I regretted being a cheat -
hadn't dreamed it would cause such strife.
And now I'm compelled to live a lie
for the rest of my days on Earth
until it is my time to die
with no chance the truth to unearth.

So if ever you hear that often told tale
that twins are closer than close,
well that is no more than a fairy tale -
a fantasy most grandiose.
A case in point is Marianne and I:
we've been rivals to the core
ever since we were both knee-high
and will remain so for evermore!

Saturday 2 August 2014


I plucked this photograph from the general memorabilia
of that age of mass trauma and shared history.
You in your Captain's uniform. Sombre, visibly apprehensive.
Billie, please don't enlist. From here, I see your future!
Your patriotism. That cropped hair, so immaculate in contrast to the later you I met in hell.
Nowadays, I keep your unsuspecting eyes in a special box,
as if to hide from them the devastating horrors to come.

Point of intersection: my bedroom. There, you collided with my brain,
releasing suppressed memories of a past life in which I was a young second lieutenant
you rescued from the Somme's carnage (minus my right arm).
In the casualty clearing station, you wiped the blood from my eyes
with such tenderness that I fell into an all-absorbing forbidden love
that turned my world upside down. But you were strictly heterosexual,
so I never dared reveal my feelings, just buried them deep inside.

Against impossible odds, we both survived that monstrous artillery. But you were broken.
After I left for Blighty, I never set eyes on you again - not in that life anyway.
Neither did I love again.
Your image possessed my heart and mind
so exclusively that I expired years later a lonely recluse.
But such longing does not die with carnal flesh.
I found no peace: not in the Light above, nor in the grave below.

Then Karma kicked in: I was re-born in female form.
And you came back, because those deep-seated taboos had vanished with my testosterone.
As I read your disembodied mind, I recognised what it was
I had seen in your eyes that day in war-torn France
but failed to understand at the time. A pure Love
that transcends gender and physical separation.
We are two halves of a single Spirit.

Today, I am your body.
You are my mind...

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
we will remember them.

Friday 25 July 2014


On the eve of her execution...
                        The Tower of London.

                        The 12th Day of February,
                        the Year of our Lord 1542

My Dearest Husband,
                             There is still time for you to show a little mercy. Think, my Love, of all we have been to each other these past three years. Please, I implore you to reconsider, before there is no going back.
My fate is wholly in your hands.
If, on the morrow I am to depart this world, then your decision will reside in your conscience for the remainder of your days.
Henry, I AM INNOCENT of these despicable charges against me.
I have NEVER, EVER been unfaithful to you – not once – and have certainly not had intimate relations with my own brother, as I now stand so unjustly accused. How could you even begin to believe such ugly rumours as these mine enemies have concocted against me?
You know me, Henry, better than anyone.
You must believe in your heart of hearts that you are and always have been my only love. Archbishop Cranmer is a gullible man if he has been taken in by these vile lies. If he really cannot see that I have fallen victim to jealousy and spite, then he must be a weak and piteous man who is unfit for such a position of power as he presently holds.
Please stop and consider for a moment:
I am 39 years your junior – of course there are those who may be envious, but surely that does not compel you to believe their slander, and even worse, take their side against your wife?

Oh Henry, how such vivid memories this evening rise up to torment me!
I have never before confessed to you how, on the morning of our wedding day whilst my ladies-in-waiting were dressing me, I could think of nothing but lying in your bed later that night and feeling those Royal Hands roaming all over my eager young body. I am certain they must have interpreted my tell-tale blushes and read my mind, for I noticed the knowing smiles they exchanged.

So, My Love, how have we come to this?
I have witnessed the desire in those beloved brown eyes gradually turn to disgust – and certainly due to no act of high treason on my part whatsoever.
Oh Henry, I can barely believe how callous you have become.
How could you ignore my screams of despair when I broke free from the Yeomen of the Guard as they arrested me, and ran to your chapel where you were at your devotions?
How I banged on that door in utter torment –
I know you could not have failed to hear my desperate plea – and yet you allowed my captors to drag me away, still screaming, and incarcerate me here in this God-forsaken place.

But I still have not lost hope. My faith in you as my Husband and King is all I have left now.
Please Dear Henry, I beseech you – please do not abandon me here to die.
I have only seen nineteen summers.
If you no longer want me, then why not simply divorce me?
I am reduced to begging you now.
Please, please my Love, can you not find it in your heart to at least spare my life?
If, by some miracle, you can, then I hereby give you my word that you shall never set eyes upon me again and so will be free to remarry whomsoever you choose.

Whatever decision you come to,

Goodbye my Dear Heart, my Noble King,
And God Bless You.

Your ever loving wife,


Thursday 17 July 2014


The Moon is growing full again.
See her swollen belly,
heavy with the foetus within?

I remember when she was stick-thin,
invisible almost,
a virginal crescent

of glowing gold
that inflamed the Sun God,
then stole his fire.

Observing the eclipse in awe,
a God and Goddess' coupling
that touches us all:

In the blackout
I feel your hands
arousing in me a hunger.

On this rain-drenched beach
I take it all:
your pulsing energy

and reaching deeper,
discover an awakening Soul
as desperate as mine for immortality...

But Her time has passed now.
She is growing slim again.
Oh such bitter disappointment -

I am not the chosen one
to bear a miniature Sun.
There is only blood...

Friday 11 July 2014


I was intrigued by the way she ordered it,
as if it were liquid gold,
or melted platinum,
or the essence of past lovers:
a private erotic pleasure.
It was like she belonged
to a bygone era
when women were elegant
and expected to be wooed,
and a mere hint of perfume
or glimpse of an ankle
could drive a man insane.

She sipped from her glass
like an aristocrat
from some grand stately home.
But her domain was darkened streets
and drunken men spilling out
after closing time.
The gin and tonic
just about made it palatable -
that Soul-destroying cost
of being a working class woman
cursed with expensive tastes.

Friday 4 July 2014


Inspired by an episode of "Inspector Morse"

There were two Suns. I slipped between.
Now trees in the water without me.
I am lingering between two beautiful Worlds,
still waiting for someone to claim me.

The noose about my neck is gone,
gone back with the hands that tied it.
In it's place is an ethereal daisy chain
woven of air and magic.

Instead is an ethereal daisy chain
where once your lips caressed me.
Oh how could those hands that so worshipped my body
have become the ones to slay me?

What of your glib endearments now
that still endlessly taunt me unbidden?
And where is your reflection in the water now
above where my body lies hidden?

This canal was our special trysting place,
hand-in-hand we'd stroll by the water.
So how could my simple smile for a stranger
have justified such rage and slaughter?

For a century I've haunted this tow-path now:
a reflection of remains unfound.
For everyone believes the lie that I left you,
and  you've long since gone to ground.

I am taking a week off to recharge my batteries.
As I know my chosen destination is an extremely poor connection zone, I hope you will all forgive me if I am unable to visit your wonderful blogs next week...I will miss them so much...:(
But I will "see" you again soon...

Thursday 26 June 2014


Mighty Oaks dwarf a secluded Greenwood glade,
their shadows dancing in the gentle midsummer breeze
like things alive, swaying back and forth
as if to pan-pipes long since ceased to play.

Five days searching Sherwood's hidden places:
the clinging ivy, the rustling ferns, the toadstools,
the ancient tree trunks hollowed by centuries expired.
Not a stone is left unturned.

By Thursday fanaticism reaches it's zenith.
With but one day left, desperation creeps in -
if mushroom magic is the only way, then so be it...

It seems the leaves and bushes begin to morph
into something tantalising, but as yet indistinct.

Sun strobes dazzle. A peculiar hush fills the air,
as expectant eyes squint into the light.
My stomach tightens: I've just seen him
rise up from a clump of briers!

Edging forward with hammering heart,
I watch him draw his bow...
then slowly turn to bronze.

A group of gabbling tourists invade his space.
Their cameras flash, catapulting primal folk hero

into latter-day souvenir...and I, too, pass through bronze,
riding in on the lightening while time is rent

to an age where he's still flesh and blood...
and I am never, never ever coming home.

Thursday 19 June 2014


It's in the silences between your words,
continually niggles at the back of your mind.

It's between your eyes and what you see,
between your self-image and who you are.

Sometimes you inadvertently stumble upon it
in the Tarot cards or a therapist's notes

on a stranger you've never known,
yet who seems strangely familiar.

You tell yourself you're blissfully happy,
while crying yourself to sleep.

This Land of Lies is where we live now
behind our black-out truth shades,

hearing a different version of events
with each news channel.

A girl is talking non-stop about her achievements:
a catalogue of qualifications, the places she's been.

Her audience is agog with admiration.
But the truth is there in her eyes...

they tell a different story, a sad one,
that we've lost the ability to read.

Thursday 12 June 2014


You would always buy me a scotch,
then squirm with embarrassment as I downed it in one.
You knew that my being an Aries female
meant I was never going to be your coveted "Barbie Doll" type.
But you took my heart anyway and owner-branded it
with your tyre tread, and mounted it on the wall
alongside your myriad of Grand Prix trophies.
But this one you crucified alive,
then averted your eyes while it bled to death.

In your highly innovative circles they never expected me to speak,
assuming the region between my ears a vacuum.
Then when their error slapped them in the face, you left me.
To this day, I still grapple with that paradox.
Did you ever really love me as you claimed?
Or was I no more than a photogenic media-magnet,
a mere sacrifice to the Gods of  fame:
a dumb, diamond encrusted stepping-stone
to all you believe you are now?

Friday 6 June 2014


An intimate table for two
in a quiet restaurant.
She sits texting on her iPhone.
All the while, he's watching her.
Neither notice the seven red roses in a vase,
nor the candle flame leaping in the draught
every time someone opens the door.
His iPhone rings.
He answers,
begins a conversation about his work.

It's your anniversary for God's sake!
Whatever happened to romance?

The waiter arrives with their dinner.
"Enjoy your meal," he smiles
and is gone.
They barely acknowledge him,
just begin eating one handed,
text and call uninterrupted.

He is first to finish.
Lays his phone on the table,
but his eyes never leave it -
apart from a split-second glance at his companion
who is still texting,
oblivious to his presence.
So he picks up his knife...
then puts it down again
to finger his phone.
The temptation is too much.
He begins flicking through "contacts",
calls a mate and begins an animated discussion
about last night's football match.

Her texting over, she lays her phone
beside a half-empty plate.
She glances across the table at him,
feels resentful to be left out
of his conversation,
so flicks through her own "contacts"
and calls a friend...

It's your anniversary, for God's sake!
Couldn't you leave those flaming iPhones at home
just for one evening?

Friday 30 May 2014


I disguise myself as bark of tree
and silently lie in wait...
There is no malice in what I do.
It is my nature to lead astray
the unsuspecting hiker, lost
in the forest depths; to play my game
of hide and seek that lures him deep
into thicket and brier, nettle and Fairy Ring;
where visions compelling as empyrean dreams
slowly possess his mind...

I never deceive. The mistake is his
if he desires me as ideal mate,
then follows his delusion with lustful leer
that ravenously devours every womanly curve,
a heavenly face and eyes that draw him
to my Otherworldly domain where the compass spins
and time plays peculiar tricks: where a midday sun
bleeds to death in the western sky
and his lifespan concludes in the blink of an eye.
But oh why do I have to watch him die?

Try to see that I have no choice:
being hybrid of woman and tree,
I've no stomach for Sunday roast - no, not I.
My sustenance is limited to the Souls of men.
Yet it gives me no joy to see my half-cousins
sacrificed to keep me immortal.
So heed my warning when I tell you I'm trouble...
and if ever you wander alone in my Forest
be sure to stay focused on the path ahead
and hurry, hurry home.

Thursday 22 May 2014


Oh what a drag!

Election day is here again.
For who to vote, I'm racking my brain.
While sifting through each canvassing flyer,
I find of their blarney I rapidly tire.
Such extravagant claims each one makes
in an effort to top popularity stakes.
It's strange how they promise the world to us
when they call at our homes and make such a fuss
of each and everyone living there,
and offer to our burdens personally bear.
For our champions they suddenly claim to be -
yes, today they're devoted to you and me,
whereas only yesterday in the street
they would cross the road rather than meet
our gaze in case we should ask them why
last campaign's promises were allowed to die.
But now they expect us to believe
from society's troubles they'll bring reprieve.
Come on guys - we're not stupid you know,
the trick you're playing is oh so low!
We're aware your ambition is personal glory,
whether Labour, Lib. Dem., or even Tory.
Is it any wonder the turnout's so poor,
in spite of your chauffeuring us door-to-door?
Can you really not see we've had enough
of your endless policies that turn out to be duff?
So give us a break and for once tell the truth.
We're sick of false hope - now how about some proof?

Oh what a drag!

Thursday 15 May 2014


They take over my mind. It isn't enough
to simply sit and watch from opening credits
to final scene. I want to absorb them all,
to let them fill the empty spaces in my life,
to race across the moor to Wuthering Heights;
soaked in  heavy rain and cold sweat
as I breathe in the moisture laden air and run
through purple heather with Cathy:
two manic Souls on a shared quest
to find the impossible,
as wild as the hills beneath our feet.
An intoxicated brain longs to bring my body too,
to make it my story
and carve my initials on a thorn tree, beside a date
that even Cathy cannot touch...

It would be simple if this were the only one.
But there are so many - a hundred at least -
each someone else's brainchild, manifested
into old video cassettes that I can handle
and absorb into my being through nerve endings
made hypersensitive by life-long addiction.
Aah...the sensuous smell of those tapes
makes me dizzy with euphoria:
I often wish I could unravel
then re-arrange my molecules into a long
ribbon-like form and wind myself around two spools.

The first time I felt this way
was when I discovered Ryan's Daughter.
Something like an express train slammed into me
and smashed right through those deep seated repressions
that society instills into us in the name of "morals"
in it's attempt to curb our innate natural drives.
Oh I realise it was considered wrong, what they did,
but how it set my pulses racing
to observe them together in that emerald forest.
I became the voyeur no longer able to bear exclusion.
I had to be a part of it, to slip within the experience
and feel my body tingle from the touch of his fingertips...

Then someone called me "Rose"
and I found myself in Major Doryan's arms
and we fucked all afternoon.
Oh such indescribable bliss...

I thought I must be dreaming.
Then I noticed my life story playing out
in moving pictures on my skin.

Thursday 8 May 2014


For Sergio Perez...

He's on another planet, feeling nothing
but the slipstream of the Williams in front of him.
He pulls out to overtake, gives it all he's got:
pedal to the floor, he's unstoppable today.
His nostrils flare with exhilaration.
He was born for this.
See how the spray from his tyres
gripping rain-drenched track
plumes into a rainbow arc,
while his eyes narrow in concentrated determination.

He sails by as if in a powerboat,
boring fearlessly through the tightest of gaps...
again...and again,
leaves the rest standing:
from eighteenth on the starting grid
to third in the final lap.
See his Force India's red tail light flashing
as he takes the chequered flag.

How his loyal fans roar in admiration
as he takes third place trophy on the podium.
But I guess he'll never know
of this pair of adoring eyes
at home, watching on a TV screen.
Nor of a silent heart-felt wish
to step up there,
to hug him
and kiss him on the cheek...

Thursday 1 May 2014


A May shower. A single drop
absorbing into parched leather sleeve.
Downpour. Tender spring leaves
dancing to it's tune.

Deluge. Running down
the back of your collar.
Heavy drops colliding
with concrete path:
an explosion of tiny droplets
leaping at the sky.
Laburnum flowers shudder
as if to dinosaur footfalls,
while curls in human hair
stretch and unravel.

There is power in heavy rain,
in it's ability to change things:
to evacuate the park, to empty streets
into bus shelters and shop doorways.
A car door slams and a man runs out
under a giant black umbrella.
By a wooden fence a wild orchid
absorbs the rain thirstily,
it's intricately spotted leaves like tongues
swallowing, savouring the moment.

Rumble of thunder.
Two young lovers kissing
under an Oak tree, trembling with emotion.
Windscreens of parked cars
are patterned with yellow tide marks
of wasted pollen, just as
black mascara has reinvented my face,
mimicing the hand of Picasso.

Saturday 26 April 2014


Remember how we raced each other to the summit,
clinging on for dear life
as we navigated the almost vertical bits,
stomachs turning over
when heavy boots lost their footing
and sent loose rocks plummeting
to shatter nearly four thousand feet below?

Inexperienced climbers, our kit was basic.
Who was the most scared? Our nervous jokes
diverted attention from the constant possibility
of judgement error and certain death.
Oh it was definitely me:
in the shadows between those jagged rocks
I perceived hunched demons, presided over
by Death's own Black Angel.
And shivers ran down my spine.

You bravely tackled the Saddle,
while I clung, terror-frozen, to an outcrop;
desperately trying to suck the too thin air
into starving asthmatic lungs.
Suddenly enshrouded in thick cloud,
I lost sight of you.
A strange phosphorescence -
the angle of the Sun, maybe,
or something much more sinister?
My fingers, clinging to cold rock,
turned white as bone.
And the wind hummed a menacing lament.

A sudden chink in the cloud:
Llyn Llydow lay directly below,
a mere half inch in diameter.
a chilling inner voice challenged me:
Just step off the edge
and into this fascinating miniature world.
It's easy!
But logic intervened:
No. Remember how far up you are.
At this height, things only appear to be close.
You'd be killed for sure.

An abrupt vertical movement to my left.
A badly smashed sheep lay whimpering and twitching
in a rapidly spreading pool of blood
on a narrow ledge below.
I felt sick.
The shadow demons shifted
to enclose the unfortunate animal,
as if moving in for the kill.
A selfish euphoria gripped me:
It was clearly their chosen sacrifice,
not us.
We would be safe now!

A narrow shaft of sunlight
swept across the sharp tooth-like
edges of the summit,
sending those terrifying entities
flitting off into the ether
like the last wispy strands
of a retreating storm cloud.
Just then, I saw you
scrambling back to me
across that deadly Saddle
that has claimed so many lives.
Please be careful I mentally beseeched you,
then my gaze was drawn again to that poor sheep.
It now lay silent and still,
but it was a stillness totally devoid of peace.
I strongly sensed a Soul in purgatory,
desperate for a safe refuge:
felt it bolt into my aura,
where it resides in me still...

Thursday 17 April 2014


Echoes of Emily Bronte...

The blank white page appears to issue
a challenge - Emily sits frowning at it as if
caught up in some major inner conflict.

Their lives are so discordant,
these inhabitants of Gondal:
it's illustrious emperor, Julius Brenzaida
and his unfaithful married lover, Augusta Geraldine Almeda.

Although mere figments of a fertile imagination,
they have begun to elude Emily's pencil of late
and to take on a life of their own.
She no longer has power over them, can only observe
then record their epic adventures...
and today she is devastated.
She hadn't foreseen this:
the great Julius is no more.
His assassination has rocked the very foundations
of Gondal's great dynasty.
Augusta's numerous casual lovers are cast aside
as she mourns her one true love.
But it is Emily's heart that is breaking
as Augusta kneels, weeping, at his graveside
on that bleak northern Angora shore...

The page is no longer blank - it is filled
with words scrawled in unfamiliar handwriting.
She has no idea where they came from,
nor who wrote them here.
There is only the slightest recollection
somewhere at the back of her mind
of having temporarily escaped the confines
of Howarth's dreary Parsonage -
oh such a feeling of liberation, of utter bliss...

The clock in the hall chimes four times.
It is time to prepare dinner
for Papa, Aunt Bramwell, and her siblings.
As Emily clears her writing bureau,
she notices that the point of her pencil
is worn down flat to the wood...
yet she hasn't written a single word today.

Friday 11 April 2014


You were my life.
We pledged forever.
Then wet road.
Split second miscalculation
in speed and distance.
A silver thread severed.

Crumpling metal.
Intense pain.
Slipping into limbo.
of losing you.
Desperately trying to hang on,
but I am drifting...

Vague awareness
of swift movement.
Rhythmic sounds.
Shadows in the light.

Energy following thought:
our bedroom.
Ethereal arms reaching out
to hold you
one last time.
Oh why can you
not feel me?
Will you ever know
how much I'm grieving too?

in everything.
I'm messing with your head -
or trying to.
Didn't you just awaken,
mind filled
with images of me
and my voice calling you?
Or was it no more
than the drone of non-stop traffic
passing by outside?
And perhaps you've glimpsed me
shadowing your every move
within the darkened mirror?

Aware of your thoughts:
No...just imagination!
Dismissing my presence,
you move on.

But I'm still here,
watching you without me.
I'm living out our future
in a lonely place
where every moment
feels like eternity.
Oh I long to stay forever by your side,
but the Spirit is driven.
The Light is dragging me home...

Friday 4 April 2014


An afternoon in April:
sunlight patterns the bedroom walls,
finding unlikely kinship
in white reflective furnishings.
Children cycle past outside
racing each other,
their voices bouncing
off the worn grey asphalt
that is our street. leylandi trees
mark the boundary of our garden:
this sanctuary in the midst
of a grim urban landscape, impersonal
and intimidating, peopled with strangers
we assume to be potential enemies.
Hiding within the family tribe
has always been the safest option.
So we sit indoors, safe,
observing the outside world
through our computer screens,
like goldfish peering out through aquarium glass.
We remember the places we have visited,
or have passed through
in silent terror of alien customs
played out in foreign lands.
When we are recalling past lovers,
childhood friends now moved on
or present neighbours,
it doesn't show:
our faces remain rigidly blank.
At dusk, streetlamps light up
all across town.
An escaped pet budgerigar lands
on a branch of our sumach tree
and peers in at us
through the now illuminated window.
And we become the entertainment: absurd jesters
performing meaningless survival rituals
in our xenophobic prison.
But, unlike this small yellow bird,
we will never be free
of our debilitating mental bars.

Thursday 27 March 2014


In memory of Mark McManus...

When snow fell on the banks of the Clyde
you stood, shivering, and watched

the forensics team working hard to determine
the time and cause of death

of the mud-caked victim you'd managed to trace
to the murky depths below.

But you knew all the while it was make believe
to be screened for those who would scoff

at the broad Glaswegian dialect
of the man who brought Taggart to life.

To those "cultured" southerners you were rough and ready -
the archetypal working class Scot:

a heavy drinker and chain smoker, devoid
of the most basic social skills.

And yet you had risen from your Hamilton roots
to achieve more than these ever would:

for twenty years on, we still have Taggart -
that old grouch is a cult hero now...

but no-one noticed a widowed and grief stricken Mark
slowly drinking himself to death,

nor a deceased actor edited out. But your legacy
still defines the spirit of Strathclyde.

Monday 17 March 2014


The landscape merges into off-whiteness.
People and cars
quickly dissolve, vision is lost.

Metamorphosis of the World
into vapour.
Disorientation of the senses.

Sounds muffled, clammy dampness:
morning could be
evening's gathering dusk.

Spiderwebs on evergreen hedges
hung heavy
with fog dew, becoming gateways

to the Underworld,
where I slip between glistening spokes
into never ending twilight...

Thursday 13 March 2014


There's someone still in residence
in my Mother's house
with it's comfy cushions
and daffodils in a vase
and it's wardrobes crammed full
of clothes she has never worn.

Someone who resembles my Father
is often there too.
He shares my recurring dream:
the two of us, walking the dogs
beneath lofty pines and copper beeches.
I stop to tell him how much I love him,
but he's gone.
I am frantic.
Then I see his war medals
lying in the mud,
grey and lifeless,
like his ashes.

I rush back to the house.
The windows are open.
The radio is playing
an old fashioned tune,
and the tempting aroma
of rhubarb crumble
permeates the garden.
They are both here, my parents,
in the rose garden
holding hands.

And their love
is pulsing through me too.
I want to sleep forever,
because I know that if I awaken
I will find the house gone
and in it's place
two stark modern dwellings:
cold and soulless...
and I will again be an orphan.

Friday 7 March 2014

BENJI, circa 1990

Hey girls, let's rave tonight.
The spotlight's hitting Benji
and all that black leather.
Our inhibitions die tonight
in bottomless glasses
of white rum and ecstasy,
and a solid sphere of sound.

Is this your first time?
He'll space you out with his crazy beat
and blatant sexuality.
Oh Benji, we'll tear each other's eyes out
to win that coveted status:
to wear you like a second skin
and wake up on your pillow -
the ultimate claim to fame.

Hey girls, let's dive into his aura,
lose sight of parental boundaries
and just live for this moment
of  backstage hedonism...
but be sure not to dream of Benji
in delicate tints of rose,

cos tomorrow he's moving on...

Saturday 1 March 2014


For Ayrton...with love

Prunus branches curl like protective Angel's wings
around a garden path's end.
Beneath the surrounding hedge, robins and blackbirds
have scratched decaying leaves into rough heaps
in their tireless quest for twigs and grass stalks
to weave into spring nests,
along with any other suitable detritus
bequeathed by the dying winter.
But these fascinating rituals barely register today.
Instead, my attention is focused on a small hand print
set into the aged concrete.
This poignant relic is usually well obscured,
but over zealous pruning on the part of a gardener
has exposed it once more to common sight.
Still, this remote edge of the garden is rarely visited,
it's quietness holding vigil over memory's final stronghold.

It was a powerful yearning that brought me here today,
a compulsion to hold on to what threatens to fade
into gradual forgetfulness, then eventual loss.
That such a day would dawn never entered my head then,
when I lived in perpetual idyllic now.
I foolishly believed my little boy
would remain that small and close to me forever.
But in retrospect, that was no more
than motherhood's wishful dream, because today
all I have left of that naive Utopia
is this simple imprint, it's edges
time-worn and crumbling, like some absurd
artistic representation of a crushing nostalgia
that disguises a much deeper
yet nameless emotion.
How my heart aches to reach out to that child once more
and hug him close to me.
But he no longer exists,
so all I can do is grieve.
Yet for what?

This adult I see daily is someone else,
a stranger who seems oblivious to my existence.
It appears time has played the dirtiest trick:
has severed the bond that cannot be severed,
that of mother and child.
Gone is the fun and laughter we shared,
and in it's place is a cool aloofness.
It is as if I never carried him in my womb,
connected Soul-to-Soul by unconditional love.
Oh how did we come to this:
exchanging only curt civilities with distant mutual respect?
As I run my fingers over these rough stony edges,
I am painfully aware of a gaping hollow deep inside
that will never again be filled.
And the tears begin to well up...

48 hours later:
A tall, athletic young man approaches
from the direction of the race track.
Removing his helmet and gloves,
"Yesss," he yells, raising a fist in the air,
"Fastest lap time again!"
And that beaming smile almost stops my heart.
I think it is the eyes...still the same,
soft and brown - my long lost child's eyes.
But now, as he holds out his arms to hug me,
I notice his hands - really notice:
the slight curve of his right index finger,
the position of the thumb,
and a surge of elation almost chokes me.
This is the same hand that made my precious imprint,
only now grown larger!
Reaching through the parenthesis of wet cement,
I grasp that hand now
and I feel our shared history
flowing through today
and on into the future...

Two Souls on separate life journeys?
We never were.