Friday, 12 April 2019


The Brownshill Dolmen allegedly has the largest cap stone in Europe. It is very impressive, especially when you are standing in the centre space.
I was in Ireland last week and on the way back to Dublin airport I stopped to visit the site.
I have been pondering the heat death of the universe since I was a teenager reading New Worlds. I blame Michael Moorcock!
This is a the long way round to explaining the title of this post.

Quartz Inaccuracy

the house at Kilrossanty
is a space of stopped clocks
two or three to each room

in the kitchen
a second hand spasms
like a dead frog’s leg
wired to a failing battery

entropy writ large

I also wrote this little piece.

the wineglass I was just about to use I realise cups the sticky residue of its last drink
how long has it waited in the darkness of the cupboard for this moment?

It arose from actually finding a dirty wineglass in the cupboard of the house we were renting. 
I was listening to a lot of Sufjan Stevens while I was away so here is a beautiful song. 
Until next time.

Friday, 5 April 2019


As usual the photographs bear no connection to the poem.
This time a revised poem. You can read the earlier draft here.

he walks down the street
going to the supermarket
in his hands
bag and shopping list
but in his head
- an asteroid is towed towards Metaluna
the magnetic field glows, bright red and
he’s looking Eli Wallach in the eye
We deal in lead mister
while the boat burns
as the black bird disappears
then she’s just taken that photograph
the one of the last supper
with the camera her mother gave her
and the feathers fall
almost drifting out of the silvered screen
he’s watching her face
something has changed
the impatient world interrupts
and now he must choose a cabbage
as the onions clamour for his attention

Essentially the punctuation has been removed but is is the better for that.
This second poem has had the layout changed from the first draft
Thanks to the Secret Poets for their insightful feedback.
A couple of superfluous words have been removed  and one line rewritten.

Poem for Sheila

brittle as bone china
ever more fragile
she tells me what she sees
it is not my reality

I am glad she is talking
attempt to see her reality
I’ve known her half my lifetime
so I can follow the clues

gently we talk
until head bowed
she slips into sleep
the magazine falls from her hand

We had a discussion about whether the word brittle was suitable because it could be interpreted as implying hardness, which is the last word I would use to describe Sheila. It has stayed in the poem. Our thoughts are still with Ryley Walker. Get better soon.

 Until next time.

Friday, 29 March 2019


Two recent found poems this post. Actually they are not strictly found poems as I have elaborated on the original sentences. The first strictly speaking has a found title. My friend Rex uttered the words as I explained why we had gone to Bakersfield in California. I had been under the impression that there was a collection of Georgia O'Keeffe paintings there. There wasn't. The author of the guidebook had been lazy when researching Bakersfield, it was a touring exhibition. We had a similar experience in Spain one year. We had to wait in 44 degrees C temperature to again be informed that what we had come to see had been a touring exhibition four years before.

Weird Exhibitions That Don’t Exist

I have searched for them
either side of the Atlantic,
steered by guidebook
to an out of the way community centre
somewhere in Bakersfield
and crossed the border
from Portugal to Spain,
hunting for touring exhibitions
travel writers claimed were permanent collections.

They are tales of family holidays
and sometimes when we are together,
we laugh about the bar we sat in,
playing cards, drinking water,
waiting for the 5pm opening
that Iberian August.

I am not sure the poem is anything like complete.
This second one came from the same evening and Rex talking about his student days in Brighton. I added the second half.

we’d come in drunk
and play our music loud
the guy downstairs
he was totally cool about it
cause he’d get in drunk
and play his music too loud
and we’d wake up in bed
and smile
cause it was liberating

in the afternoon
cause no one got up early
after nights like that
we might meet on the stairs
and smile and nod
and that’s what life was like back then

This poem is about there. It is only a quick piece but it captures a certain moment in life.
I literally wrote the first part down as he was talking. Some times I think being a poet is all about seizing the opportunity and running with it.

Sadly Ryley Walker has had to cancelled his April European tour due to health issues. I'd like to wish him a speedy recovery and just say our prayers are with him. Get well soon Ryley.

Until next time.

Friday, 22 March 2019


I must be thirsty, all the titles refer to tea lately.
A revised poem again this post.
You can read the original here.

House Clearance

The enormity of it all just stops you
dead in your tracks,
one long life lived
and here you are in the hallway
wondering where to start,
wishing it were simply a woollen jumper
with one loose thread you could unpick.
Of course, it’s not that easy
so you walk through the rooms,
upstairs then down,
make a cup of tea
sit at the kitchen table
drink it black,
because the milk has gone off.

The last three lines have been altered to allow the poem to breathe.
Thanks to Paul Mortimer.
I'm working on a poem at the moment but I'm not ready to show it to anyone. Watch this space.
I've just discovered an hour long set by Arthur Lee and Love at 2003 Glastonbury Festival [or Pilton, as those of us who have lived in Somerset refer to it].
Here's the whole show.
Until next time.

Friday, 15 March 2019


A revised poem courtesy of Paul Mortimer. Some of you may be aware that Paul is a very fine poet and was a member of Juncture 25. Since the ending of the Juncture 25 me and Paul have continued to meet and offer each other constructive feedback. 
Paul suggested that the last two lines of this poem were opened up to allow them to speak more clearly. You can read the previous draft here.

House Clearance

The enormity of it all just stops you
dead in your tracks,
one long life lived
and here you are in the hallway
wondering where to start,
wishing it were simply a woollen jumper
with one loose thread you could unpick.
Of course, it’s not that easy
so you walk through the rooms,
upstairs then down,
make a cup of tea
sit at the kitchen table
drink it black,
because the milk has gone off.

I think it works better.
I have no idea where the poem came from. Sometimes they write themselves. I always think it's best to get the poem down on paper without thinking/reflecting on what is coming out. Once you have got it on the page then you can start to work out exactly what you want to do with it.
Last weekend I was in Deal, Kent and while I was shifting through record boxes I came across a copy of the Chambers Brothers Time Has Come Today. Fantastic music. Needless to say I snapped it up.
Here's a live version. Let's wig-out man.

Until next time.

Friday, 8 March 2019


Another revised poem today, once more thanks to the Secret Poets.
This is the third revision, you can read the earlier drafts here and here.

At The Leechwell

Did we believe less?
Was your faith the greater?
You, who turn away,
make the sign of the cross
at the sound of the bell
as we walk to the well,
burdened as we are
by the double curse
of disease and The Fall.

Cold water,
cold morning.
No cure,
no change,
no blessing from above.

We turn back towards the leper house,
moving slowly through the spaces
that our lives once occupied.

The layout is the most obvious change, that and the substitution of leper house for lazar. The Secrets were of the opinion that it made the poem more immediate. There was also discussion around the double negative of disease and The Fall. Those of a more grammatical bent will appreciate that the Fall and disease are not a double negative. Again it made the poem more accessible and for that I give thanks.
Here is Anna Ternheim with an orchestra.
Until next time.

Friday, 1 March 2019


So much for my claim last post that I was going to put the poem away in a drawer for some months. Instead I took it to a meeting of the Secret Poets and received some first rate constructive feedback. Thank you Secrets.
I'd actually just finished reading a book about collaboration, called Help! by Thomas Brothers, which argues that Duke Ellington and The Beatles were the outstanding composers and performers they were because they knew how to collaborate with others. It's an interesting and positive argument. I know I derive a great deal from sharing and discussing with other poets.
Living by the Water

His last great splendid had sailed,
he walked the changing shore,
watched the waves,
kidded himself that a life
lived beside the water kept it real.
Eventually it sank in.

His last great splendid had sailed
and here he was,
quenched in brine and red biddy,
discovering he was the wrong side of a sea
too deep to wade, too far to leap.
The sun had set, the night was cold.

So what's different? 
The layout is changed and two lines have been removed. You can compare the previous version here. In the third line in the second stanza I have removed the word illusions as it was thought to be superfluous.
I think as a poem it's about there.
Here are the Fab Four with Penny Lane. Oh for the days of psychedelia! I was eleven in 1967, just discovering music and I thought it would be like this for ever.
Until next time.