Friday, 18 January 2019


For a week or so the line: cold water, cold morning, has been knocking around my head. A friend, Alison Wilson, sent me some photographs of The Leechwell, in Totnes and suggested there could be a poem in it. 
All last week all I had was that line. The rest evolved from reading that from the 1500's it was claimed that the well could cure leprosy. At that time if you contracted leprosy you were said to have died, your partner was officially a widow and could remarry. You were consigned to a leper house or lazar. 
Once I had established the scene the poem fell into place over the usual multiple rewrites.

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 negative
of disease and The Fall.
Cold water,
cold morning.
No cure,
no change,
no blessing from above.
So we turn back towards the lazar house,
moving slowly through the spaces
that used to be our lives.
I wondered how the disease would affect your faith. Would it cause you to doubt? Also the fact that your life had been taken from you, or you have been removed from your life.
Strange how some poems present you with a perspective, a life experience that seems to come from somewhere else.
Thank you Alison.

Another friend, Rex, sent me a link to this song. It's Neil Young and REM playing Ambulance Blues. Fantastic.

Thanks Rex.
Until next time.

Saturday, 12 January 2019


I've been working on this poem for sometime and I fear it could be overworked. This can happen. I wrote it last year and put it away. As I often say: distance grants perspective.
However, here it is.

The Year of Travelling Backwards

Afterwards he called it his year of travelling backwards,
because someone, sometime, told him
sitting with your back to the engine robs the body of its Chi.
That vital energy seeps out.

It wasn't actually a year but nine months of directionlessness,
of being able only to understand events once they had happened.
Unable to make sense of where he was,
until he was somewhere different.

The latest economic slump had dictated
that he reapply for his own job,
which of course, he did not get.

So he was shunted round the organisation,
slotted into every interview,
in front of panels of resentful faces,
who did not want him either.

These scenes were interspersed
with hospital silences, his father,
trapped between starched white sheets,
slowly leaving his life.

Than before he knew he was:
at the church,
burying his father.

From some things you don't bounce back,
perhaps as you age the spring goes,
and once you've seen it all before
fake enthusiasm is never an option.

He had been in a carriage facing backwards,
then he was off the train.

He left the station.
I am not going to say much about it. I still think I am too close. I started from the line: The year of travelling backwards, and it evolved from that.
Here's someone I am sure of - Ryley Walker. He is live with his wondrous band, 38 minutes of sublime music.
Until next time.

Friday, 4 January 2019


A poem about tea to begin with, actually it's a poem of thanks.

the first sip of tea this day
I give thanks
for the time I have to savour
green liquor in a white bowl

no haste

well rested

thank you Lord

This poem began with the line:

classify the day
by the taste of the morning tea

but I realised that if I had the time to ruminate in this way I should simply give thanks.
Next a love poem.

another love poem

that hotel you booked for me
was on a loser from the start
the reception cluttered as it was
by grown men in black and white football strip
who should have known better
who should have out grown that sort of thing by their age
but then look at me
pulled by my heart across europe towards you

I haven't really got anything to say about this poem. It is what it is.
I leave you with a poor quality video of an amazing singer/songwriter. Here is Laura Nyro.
Until next time.