Friday 30 July 2021


 For Michael Byrne...

I imagined I'd tracked you down
to one of those hellish concentration camps
in Hitler's nineteen-forties Germany. There,
in Nazi uniform, you stood observing
the mass genocide, your expression almost ecstatic.

Ice blue eyes, clear as the spring sky,
would perhaps meet mine. What then?
Would my blonde hair and pale complexion
save me from the inconceivable horror
inflicted upon my non Aryan contemporaries?

I'd assumed you'd be as brutal and inhumane
in real life too and therefore intensely disliked you.
So convincing you were up there on the screen
that I'd accepted as authentic a persona
well rehearsed - but then something else

in your eyes sent shivers of an altogether
different kind down my spine.
I'd inadvertently caught you unawares
before you'd had time to slip
into your chameleonic public image.

And the discovery was intoxicating:
a clean slate with your face on -
a smile so unexpectedly warm
that it took my breath away,
initiating an inexplicable infatuation.

Tell me, does it really matter
that I'm unknown to you, because
isn't absence claimed to be the heart's inspiration?
Observing your every role
has been the perfect antidote

to the isolation of life in lockdown, 
vastly expanding my restricted world.
In the sleepless hours, I think of you
and search the darkness
for your face...😉

Thursday 15 July 2021


Trekking over Dartmoor
through air heavy, moisture laden;
passing stone farms, long abandoned, ruinous;
bleak hills, heather clad and darkening
within gathering mist that blurs

the boundary between reality and fiction;
our faces strangely luminous, like
those of ghosts - but somehow not.
Such transfiguring disturbs and hastens
the duo of adventurers onward

toward the great mystery, oft sought,
elusive and otherworldly - yet
simultaneously perceived
on hill top, on river bank;
recognisable only by the howling

other than that of dog or fox:
a blood-curdling, long drawn out cry
that spikes terror through the Soul.
Ominous panting nearby.
We break into a run. Padding footfalls follow.

Mist so dense now. Stumbling into rock,
now prickly gorse that plucks
at our clothing. Blood red eyes within
gigantic black dog shape
looms up out of the gloom.

Desperately trying to out run it,
pulses racing, fear all-consuming.
Hope fading, as it's relentless pursuit
drives us onto narrow path
between treacherous bog pools.

Gutteral howl closer now and we run
even faster, lungs almost bursting.
The path turning dark, liquifying
into black ink, flowing from Sir Arthur's pen
as it skims across the page,

defining our fate...
Mentally beseeching him to deliver us
from the frightful curse 
of his dark imagination.
Only he can lift it.

Baskerville Hall appears before us.
But nearing means distancing
from all we've sought so long.
Pages flutter in sudden breeze. 
The book closes.

Sunlight pierces the gloom.

Friday 9 July 2021


From my rented postage stamp with no garden
to call my own except my window box,
I observe the dreary perspective
of colossal concrete tenement -
grey roof tiles, scuffed dun-coloured doors -
and perceive my first symbol of independence
as if between mirrors, forming an extensive
column of shabby replicas
anonymously occupied.

                                              But professors 
own their stately bricks and mortar, 
and the land upon which it stands. 
Such substance makes
my visual observation a peasant's eyeful
that inferiority defines as cruelly taunting - a
pointless squandering of youthful years -
and all for what? 
A futile attempt to ape possessor
                                              of ancestral silver spoon.