Friday 29 July 2016


Black is what I most remember
about Khan: blackness and all the wild
goose chases he loved to lead me on. I've never walked
the bleak vastness of the moor since then. Black,
not of moonless skies, but a greyish,
almost mongrel black that belied his illustrious
pedigree and made him appear unexceptional
to the untrained eye that might skim over him without the slightest interest
in the mud-encrusted dreadlocks that swamped
his delicate features, nor in the flashes of deep auburn
that framed those soft brown eyes.

I remember him, the most stubborn, mischievous Afghan Hound that ever lived -
the only dog I ever truly called friend - almost as tall as me,
his long legs outrunning mine,
in fact running rings around me at every turn:
bolting off into the distance, impervious to my frantic calls
and genuine fear that I'd never see him again.
Oh how he delighted in trying my patience! Slipping his collar
was a favourite trick, and throwing himself into the river -
just, I swear, to compound the state of his coat and bring double trouble down upon me.
Truly, he could run like the wind when he wanted,
could easily have outrun any prize-winning racehorse.

So many times I'd cling onto his lead with dogged determination,
only for him to pull me along, face down in the mud,
a wicked glint in his eye. Then he'd slip his collar
and take to the hills like a thing demented, hill sheep
darting off in terror at the sight of that
demonic-like black lightening that streaked through their midst.
He left me feeling so useless: a dog owner, owning
what? Those feet, I believed, weren't even under his control.
They appeared to possess a will of their own, and certainly were my Nemesis.

Then, finally, one of these escapades proved to be his undoing.
A car is much less yielding than an ineffectual mistress.
My heart was shattered by the sickening BANG
that sent him spinning into stillness
in an horrific kaleidoscope
of sodden reddish black.

Saturday 23 July 2016


Orbs emerging from the shadows
in a deserted barn.

How should my senses interpret
their presence? Trick of the light, perhaps?

Diving, spiralling -
surely they own

this very air. I cannot touch
such enigmas: these beings

from another plane who have forsaken
their half-sleep to fly, fly around.

Are they Spirits unclothed?
Bright globes of pure energy, or essences maybe?

Look! One is revealing itself -
facial features, with a goatee beard.

Maybe this is a voyager - even Sir Francis Drake himself,
defying metaphysical law

to return to his beloved home
and negate all known hypotheses:

a sphere of pure consciousness, his white light
fuelled by unfinished business.

Are these non-amnesiac fugitives from the Afterlife?
And why do I behold

this dancing solar system of Souls
who swirl like wind-tossed snow flakes,

hypnotically transfixing me to the spot
here in Buckland Abbey grounds?

The past, momentarily touching the present?
Now they are gone.

Saturday 16 July 2016


This is the lived-for time, activities time.
All windows are thrown open.
I have my sum cream -
three tubes of it -
and a new bikini on standby

waiting in the dark of my wardrobe
to finally be worn
and fade in the sunlight, while my skin
turns red then golden brown.
But, oh, dream on! The wait is so protracted.

This is the season that can never be relied upon.
It is the season that mostly disappoints,
with clouds heaped up like mountains.
heavily, heavily filtered through raindrops

casts a graded grey sheen over the landscape.
Drab asininity. Depressing.
Stuck indoors.
It is the rain that governs all,
but neither purposely nor unintentionally:

only arbitrarily.
This is a period of blind faith, of craving and praying for sun -
a sun so elusive I hardly remember it's beauty,
it's warmth,
it's effect on the earth:

all that blossoming and burgeoning, that is still on hold.
Only hope keeps me going,
and golden memories of rare heatwaves.
It is these I thrive on, rather than present reality.
But the rain batters everything, there is no escape.

Now there is a virtual lake where the lawn should be,
with dissolving worm casts.
The garden's tears are brown.
They spread onto the patio, leaving nowhere to walk

except in wellies
and are systematically drowning all the insects.
The sun is alpha male,
all-powerful, laughing at us from his high throne:
uncontested sovereign of the unseasonal

who delights in thwarting our year-long holiday plans.
Summer is for the foolish -
the foolish who believe in the sun god,
who worship him in the rain,
their bodies numb with cold and brains too dumb to reason.

Can we survive yet another English summer? Will the roses
blossom before rotting on their stems,
or live long enough to see the sun?
If so, what will they smell of - mildew?
Sudden chink in endless cloud. Gorgeous sunset.

Pass my camera. QUICK!!!

Saturday 9 July 2016


Sudden encounter
         equilibrium shattered:
a passing glance
         to libido's dictates.
Deep denial:
of overwhelming urge.

But the image repeats
         speeding heartbeat.
Impulsively seeking you...
         on wind-swept deserted beach,
your nakedness
         steals my breath.
Motionless as the rocks,
         staring at each other
then tentatively touching.

This is forever
         the blatant lie
is in my eyes,
         is the siren parading
as Soul Mate,
         highly romanticized
in quicksilver promises
         beneath moonlit sky.

All night long
         your wild caresses
drown me
         in passion's tumultuous waves.
Pure rapture.
        it is enough to be
part ocean, part you
         in the intensity
of the moment.

A cry escapes
         as if from afar
and nails claw
         the muscles of your back,
branding you in blood.
         You open your mouth
as if to speak
         but I smother you
with guilty kisses -

not wanting to hear
         the heart-felt I love you
that you utter anyway -
         because those words
are beyond
         my comprehension,
their syllables chaotic
         as droplets of sea spray
dispersed by the western wind.


Sunday 3 July 2016


They're hoary and wrinkled as aged tortoises,
delicate and faded as antique lace
that if handled would fall to pieces.
Old ladies sit huddled together in pairs
on benches in the centre of Millennium Park
and pull their shawls closer with unsteady hands
around bony shoulders in vain attempts
to ward off the cool summer breeze.

Knitting needles clack competitively as
memories are embellished and shared with pride:
places they've been, things they've seen, who they've been -
edges of fact and fantasy blurred
by forgetfulness and wishful thinking.
Aah those children, grand and great-grand children -
such paragons of loving family support
(whom they see only once in a decade, with luck).
Well it's not out of choice, it's because they're so busy!

A girl passes by, heavily tattooed,
in mini skirt and stilettos, with myriad piercings.
"Disgraceful!" they mutter with disdain in unison,
with much tutting and vigorous shaking of heads.
Have they really forgotten the years of their youth
and the dashing Airmen of World War II
whom they vied with each other to try to impress:
all painted nails, scarlet lips and gravy browned legs,
while older women labelled them tarts !

At teatime old habits call them home,
and by sunset they've finally made it there.
From cots barred in like hamster cages,
in pink hairnets these old ladies sip cocoa and laugh
at comedians on oversized TVs 'til eleven,
then it's lights-out - a strict rule of the home.
But ageing is merely a state of mind:
sleep isn't for those rebellious few
who sneak out the back for a much craved fag
and a snog with the Colonel, now sixty years retired.