Friday 23 April 2021


I recall walking out there,
the tide high, the English Channel choppy,
it's southerly winds pushing me back
as if denying access to Hurst Castle -
demonstration of Nature's superior power.
Sudden doubt. 
My last memory 
of my red flip flops, traversing the shingle spit.
I was staring at the distant castle, I guess.
An intrepid explorer full of fervour: me, 
but without my agoraphobic handicap.
Just me and the sharp pebbles, a conscious union -
as if my rapidly disintegrating, unsuitable footwear
represented the will of stone consciousness,
was the monument's entry requirement.

My cut and bruised feet
a symbol of pilgrimage,
a wordless but satisfying communication
with the shingle.
Offering my blood, for the thin tongue
of the spit to devour hungrily.
A sacrifice,
it's significance way beyond my comprehension
at the time, but filed in memory's archive
for later interpretation. It was like
primitive man trying to decipher
modern mathematics.

As I finally achieved the Grail of my quest,
it's mystique brought effective analgesia
to mutilated feet...I was utterly enthralled.
It was well worth the pain.
Perhaps it is merely an old structure to most,
too lost in time to make it relevant today.
But to me it was alive, was crowded
with all those who'd dwelt within it's walls
down the centuries - and, of course,
it's most famous prisoner:
the Cavalier figurehead, Charles I.
Oh how dashing a character,
in white lace and frills - I
watched, spellbound, as he crossed
the courtyard as far as the barred gate
and then vanished into thin air.
Was I spooked?
Far from it.
All I could think of was the excruciating shame
of being in the presence of Royalty
at the very moment my flip flops, much beloved,
finally fell apart! 😉

Saturday 17 April 2021



There is a country cottage,
surrounded by tall pine trees,

that has a small front room
where I came into this world

with a strangled cry -
my first lungful of air. It was

painful, they said, that birth
so reluctantly endured

by as unmaternal a mother
as they come. But

my small white face,
so wrinkly and dimpled,

forged an instant bond
with a doting father

who'd been longing so for a daughter.
What I remember most

is the blinding light
from the window, so white

and prophetic of a lifetime
to come desperately seeking

the light in everything,
the Spirit within:

Mum, Dad and the midwife initially,
but without means to explain it -

well, not in words anyway. Outside
summer lasted for millennia, with clusters

of laburnum blooms. I vividly recall
the heady fragrance and it's sun yellow

mesmerising hue - and the fact
that it was too high to touch

led to ferocious tantrums and
my refusal to be photographed beneath it.


I fell in love yesterday,
and was astounded by the transformation.

I appeared radiant, a light
in my eyes gazed back 

from my image
in the bedroom mirror

and a secret smile
danced about my lips.


He and I touched hearts, and
through the metaphor - a connected

feeling deep inside - 
I fell pregnant with the sun:

all this light I give to you!
In the silence beyond words

I held his presence -

unknown to him, unknowable
in fact, because

there were just too many light years
stretching the infinity between us.

Sunday 11 April 2021


A poem for today...


The rain's been worse than ever this winter,
the river spewing out onto the floodplain
and into too many front doors. It feels uneasy,
like living with an unexploded time bomb,

too precarious. The canal's banks
are lined with barges, whose owners 
are somewhere else. Even the tow path,
usually packed with joggers, cyclists

and dog walkers, lies silent and deserted.
It's quite eerie here in the drizzly mist. There is
a sense of dereliction. And I wish, like
the summer kayakers, to be elsewhere too.


An excess of knocks has left me paranoid -
although some men, it seems,
are drawn to that quirkiness in me,

at least for the short term. Loss
precipitates a descent into desperation - that state
which leads only to the next blunder

involving over-dependency. Emotional intelligence
gives way to fanatically searching 
in the most inappropriate places

for a kind of idyllic love
that could never exist in reality -
until that burning need

inside me drives yet another
substitute away. Mere resemblance
will never be enough. I see that now.


I cherish memories of that last summer beside the canal.
Cool shade, beneath trees reflected
in the still water below: another, reversed world.
It seemed our happiness would never end. 
Such joy to be canoing there with you.

We existed in pure bliss. All day the sun
beat down and butterflies fluttered
around us. Rowing requires effort in the heat,
you have to be prepared to sweat.
Now, the canal is too poignant. A memorial to us.


In the dead of night, his arms
never soothe the hurt. The moon

enchants, but only the sun
sustains life. Now, the mornings

are a vanished lover. Cold emptiness,
a Dear Jane note on a pillow. Tears

are a dripping tap. I crave
some permanence, but I know

nothing except the pain: the flood
and it's brutal destruction.


I'll think of you when summer returns
and the floods have dried up. I'll be
canoeing on the canal again, only
this time alone. Stopping off

as we always used to, at the pub,
I'll sip white wine and listen
to your favourite song. It'll hurt,
God knows, it will. When you died,

I tried to replace you, to fill again
the void you left. You were, are, my sunlight;
my self-esteem. Without you
I am less than nothing...

But they're all telling me
that I have to go on living, that I
am worth something in my own right.
Oh I know they mean well, but

how can I possibly move on
with such a gaping, weeping hole
where my heart used to be?