Monday, 26 January 2015

Dens of words

Back into the same places,
in the finger spaces of pages
and the cool, dark dens of words;
thick bronze, pale green verdigris
on dented urns of memory,
scented silence poured haphazard.

I signed up early for the A-Z Challenge 2015, originally created by Arlee Bird of Tossing It Out. This will be my second time doing it, and hopefully I'll be able to put what I've learnt last year into practice. I'm going to plan my posts, but not necessarily schedule them too far ahead.  A bit of mess and panic makes the poetry sharper, I find.  And there, I have already given away that my theme will be poetry related, haven't I?  

Want to join in? Sign up over here.

Saturday, 17 January 2015


My child sits mulling her homework, and career,
asks me offhand, “father, what’s your profession?
What should I be when I’m done studying here?”
“Whatever you like, but keep your conscience clear,
and do it well, whatever must be done.”

Still she insists, “you must give me some idea?”
- I’ve long anticipated her question -
and rattles off, “dentist, fireman, overseer?”
“I make stuff with my hands.” “So, an engineer?
Isn’t that what you call such a person?

“What do you make, father, houses, bridges, piers,
or is it tiny cogs and wheels and capstans?
And do you do it well? and is your conscience clear?”
My startled tongue still keeps up a veneer,
“A weapon-maker is more of a craftsman.”

Monday, 12 January 2015

The Interview

The woman’s unsmiling, no shades, and someone
has insisted on subtle make-up, nude
lipstick, discreet eyes, keep it underdone;
the events anyway far from this horizon.
Too much emotion equals ineptitude.

The questions are brisk, a probe into sepsis,
but her answers betray little feeling.
Only her mouth purses and unpurses,
forms the words with obvious difficulties,
“no, he was never into that sort of thing.”

Huge failure that a youth couldn’t be rescued
from what he thought he rightly did
epic fail but government or parenthood?
and blame rarely drapes the way it should.
She only says, “he wasn’t that kind of kid.”

Wednesday, 7 January 2015


The first verse comes in time, falls into place
as a pebble into a pool; smooth the surface
once the ripples are gone, no-one gets to know
the magic of panic, adrenalin glow
emitted in psychedelic shrieks.
They come by, some notice the silky-sleek
grey waters with an old gold sunset thread;
some notice only the slow-motion tread
of tentacles in the deep, most skip the whole.
Because the pool isn’t what they stole
out for; not even the crooner cares for the poolside song;
the pebbles too shift, move around, move along.
The final destinations always lie past
the skirts of waters and verse in the dust.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

It's not always peacock-feathered

This thing had no feathers, nor carried a tune,
just a low growing scrub I saw, by a dune;

no bird had ever sung in that desolate spot,
no cloud had marred that sky with its untidy blot;

yet it grew, stood its ground without any fuss
in a quiet version of hope, unselfconscious.

An immense vastness, a certain light offers
tiny, easily missed, wild-austere metaphors.

It is not always peacock-feathered and resplendent.
It doesn’t sing always, it can remain silent. 

And that rounds off my rather turbulent year on a note of quiet hope, I know it will start singing sometime.  Thank you for being here and seeing this year through with me. A very happy new year MMXV to you and yours. Stay happy and blessed, wishing you lots of poetry and birdsongs of hope. See you next year. 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Love's not a Christmas thing

I’ll love you with the dance in my bones
and the pigeon calls in my veins
with the soil of my flesh and its stones,
the bungled belly laugh in my brains.

I’ll love you when the dances get dim
when the anklets draw hooks and blood
when pirouette is brimstone and grim
the last thrash of fish on the mud.

I’ll love you when the tinsel’s trash
when the tree’s just needles on the floor
all festive is only one flash,
and the dark is the maw of the door.

I’ll love you still when the music thins
under the amber songs of dawnskins.

Merry festivals to you, whichever you are celebrating, and the very best for the coming year.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Stocking stuffer

The props were made of black and bleak
not a single caravan came by
but I turned both the eye and cheek
and found some loopy plump cacti
thorny pretty and far from meek

growing thick in a crick of rocks
and that too felt as beautiful
as stuffed stockings of windsocks
waving off the stereopull
of incensed roads and office blocks.