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!"