Friday 27 February 2015


The Honourable Mrs. Graham, by Thomas Gainsborough.

Mrs. Graham, I often find myself wondering
how you came to be posing beside this stone pillar
with its enigmatic cameo, under the weight
of heavy gathering storm clouds that frown
upon the stately garden below
with its ancient evergreen trees and golden trailing ivy

that reaches for you like a would-be lover.
It seems that someone is forcing you
to choose between that love-struck beau
and the husband I assume you are gazing at: clearly,
for you, no novel choice - for you appear bored,
irritated even. So what secret are you hiding, fair lady:

how many have been driven insane by those dark eyes
and luminous skin so white?
They'll have duelled to the death to win you, I'm sure,
and will have offered you many a country seat
or even a palace or two. Yet there you stand,
stubborn, in your lavish carmine and silver gown:

a grandiose "belle of the ball" in momentary respite
from the tedious fending off of endless suitors...
So, please Thomas, tell me who commissioned you
to paint this society beauty - a proud husband?
Yet I see no wedding ring, so is she widowed? it begins to make sense...

Perhaps it is sadness that I mistook for boredom
in those huge dark eyes, and the husband
I believed you gazed at is no more than a fading memory.
On closer inspection you do seem far away, as if
trapped in a sad dream, with the dark clouds of grief
gathering around you, obliterating all traces of joy.

And the ivy could be reaching out to offer comfort
to a lonely widow. So Thomas Gainsborough
must have been recording your sorrow in that gloomy hour
that comes just before dawn, when everything in the garden
is disguised by graded shades of twilight
and your glorious luminosity is the only bright thing.

So, Honourable Mrs. Graham, is it a happier future you are hoping for
as Thomas paints you in your carmine and silver gown
beneath those gathering storm clouds
in that grand stately garden
beside the stone pillar
that boasts an enigmatic cameo?

Saturday 21 February 2015


whose sickening screech masks the cries
of trees in agony,
it's echoes transcending
the vast suburban landscape.

Their sap
flows like globules of blood,
like amber crystal balls
striving to form pictures
that show us how it feels

when cold steel slices
through living tissue,
is chewed by metal teeth
to expose wood rings
that tell of long lives

cut short without compassion
to make way for yet another highway.
What felony did any of these poor unfortunates commit
that they should be condemned without trial
to such a barbaric mass execution?

Friday 13 February 2015


An old wall stands
lichen covered and overgrown
with couch grass and ivy,

it's antiquity apparent
from the crumbling fragility
of stonework and lintel.

Where it meets the wooden fence
it forms a boundary between eras:
ancient Cowdray House and modern road

to the rear of which lies
inviting parkland dotted with oaks
and unmown grass beneath -

but access to it's cool shade
is denied to general public
by ornate wrought iron railings.

In this tranquil scene she sits
in maroon jeans and black sweater,
this seventeen-year-old on the wall,

gazing shyly into the camera lens.
What is her story? What does her future hold?
Does she really want to know?

Or perhaps she already senses the approaching tempest,
so is clinging to that fleeting carefree stage of her life
with all her heart and Soul.

I am inextricably bonded to this strange little creature.
I long to know what she's thinking...but,
sadly, I can no longer recall.

Saturday 7 February 2015


I wonder when you'll finally realize you've been chosen by Spirit?
Still, now, you appear to be the person I first met,
yet something has undeniably changed.
There is an air of expectancy about you.
I keep feeling my vocation is that of midwife,
that my sole purpose at this stage in my life
is to ease the passage of your re-birth, your transition into my world.
But you are not quite ready yet.
The strain of a protracted labour
is clearly visible in the gauntness of your features
and the dark circles beneath your eyes.

It is admirable how you've managed to cope:
the endless mood swings, the voices in your head -
misdiagnosed as schizophrenia - that make you
appear saintly one minute and then diabolic the next.
Which will you eventually become?
I sometimes fear the latter, when you are in the grip
of one of your self-harming frenzies:
as you bang your head repeatedly on the garden wall in frustration
until both it and the concrete path below
are splattered with blood.
Then you crawl, exhausted, into bed and sleep for days.

I'm often afraid you'll never recover from these assaults,
that your brain may have been gravely damaged
in those carnal vs spiritual battles for supremacy
over your Soul. Yet the Dolorous Blow
you inflict upon yourself seems to expiate
all perceived unworthiness.
You appear suddenly happy, immersing yourself
in everyday chores as if nothing has happened.
At those times, it is as if you've awoken
from a nightmare that you have no recollection of.
You hum an uplifting tune, smile at everyone
and throw lavish parties for the entire street.

But I know how it frightens you...
how what is trying to come through frightens you.
It's just too inconceivable for you to contemplate
and yet you want it with your entire being.
All your past lives have been preparing you for this.
And so the midwife patiently awaits
the dilation of the Veil's cervix,
eyes fixed on your aura, hands scanning chakras, ears
listening intently for those messages
that will soon inevitably come through.

I attempt to assuage your fears
by guiding your brain into deep meditation
until you achieve heightened awareness,
in preparation for the Spirit Guide
who is gradually descending into your sphere...
Now sudden blinding whiteness
floods through the barriers of the physical realm,
significantly raising your vibration.
Even I am thrown off balance,
am totally engulfed in pure Celestial Light.
The Spiritual waters have broken at last.

In this whiteout of merged dimensions -
me transfixed in it's power - I glimpse
your past lives, all of them simultaneously
as if watching a thousand movies at once.
But I am no casual observer. No such luck.
I feel them all...and none of them
have been happy-go-lucky fairy tales.
You have suffered for your calling -
really suffered - the excruciating torment
of the perpetual mourner, have lost
loved ones...over and over and over again.
And all those lost voices have been calling you until,
finally, the pain has become too much.
That last bereavement, in this lifetime,
has hit you hardest of all.
The loss of your first-born child is the ultimate catalyst...

I bring you out of your trance and you remember
it all, the never-ending rawness of it.
A haunting cry rises up from the depths of a Spirit
torn apart by grief. There is an irresistible longing
to override the finality of physical death.
I begin to wonder if it will ever end - it is
like a stylus caught in the groove
of an old scratched vinyl...
then your Spirit Guide slips in through the sound
to reunite you with all those you have lost.
Your muscles visibly relax. The tension drains
from your replaced by an expression of sheer bliss.
In awe, I watch as the Veil's birth canal gradually expands
into a broad Rainbow Path. And I smile.
My work is done for now.
A medium is born.