Friday, 30 September 2022

THE LAST WITNESS

I occasionally wake with the makings of a poem in my head. I think I have said this before. I always get up and write down the ideas, it is important never to ignore the Muse, for they may not call again if you do. 

This poem arrived recently.

you’ve been in my dreams again

I can’t blame the times or the season

for this spate of visitations

half remembered conversations

you are always thirty

now I am old enough to be your father

and I fill the role of memory keeper

the last witness to what we had

There is nothing I want to say about it. Instead here is a little poem based on a memory. My mother would put the poker into the fire if she lost something and let the man from Wigan locate the missing object.

whenever my mother mislaid something

she would put the poker into the fire

and let the man from Wigan find it

I don’t remember anything that was lost

or whether it was found

just the poker in the coals glowing cherry red

I've been looking on the internet for more details about this particular superstition/charm but have been unable to find anything? Anyone any ideas?

Here's the wondrous Annabelle Chvostek with a new video. You can order her cds here.

Until next time.  

Friday, 23 September 2022

EXPERIMENTS WITH BOREDOM

I don't listen to much classical music, just Bach and Shostakovitch's string quartets. I cannot really make sense of the classical orchestra, it just doesn't float my boat. Jazz on the other hand I adore. Horses for courses I suppose. This post's poem arrived while I was listening to a classical cd I had not played for years.

alone

in a new house

every other weekend

I experimented with boredom


I listened to those cds

you said would improve me

but I never got that music

it was a country I could starve in


twenty odd years later

I listen to one

discover I still cannot enter

I do not care


I hear meaningless notes

evaporate in the empty air

I think it works. It is a sonnet, though a pretty free one. Watch this space. 

Here's the wonderful Duke Ellington Orchestra. The featured soloist is Johnny Hodges- what a sound!


Until next time.

Friday, 16 September 2022

A DIFFERENT MAGIC

On Saturday night we wild camped at Budliegh Salterton and were lucky enough to be able to watch the full moon rise over a calm sea. The next morning I began to write this poem.

in the morning I returned to the place where the night before I had watched through the magnifying lens of the nourishing atmosphere the full moon rise

I looked for a vestigial trace of the pink disc that had

fired the darkness

gilded the sea

elicited within me something I could feel but not name

now the sun was inspecting the beach imbuing it with a different magic

no matter 

half a world away the moon was reflecting enchantment on to another’s upturned face

I am not convinced that the layout is right or if there is too much tell and not enough show. However I wanted to share both the poem and photographs I'd taken. So much for putting it in a drawer for three months as I advocate to others!

Here's the official video of Pollyanna's latest single. 

Until next time.

Friday, 9 September 2022

LOVE AT FIRST NOTE

Anything can be the starting point for a poem. Recently I was driving along listening to a Hank Mobley  cd, it was hot so I had the windows open and because of the turbulence of the moving air I could not hear the bass solo. This led to the thought that the wind had stolen the bass solo, which in turn led to this poem.

love story


it was love at first note

the wind and the bass solo eloped

straight out of the window of my car


[I was crossing the bridge

but this is their story not mine]


gently held in the breeze

seven miles out bopping on the sea

the notes rearrange as they please

delighting the dolphins with their atonality

That's how it works. One thing sparks off another and if you are lucky, if you are receptive and if you can manage to express the idea then the poem grows on the page. Usually cause and effect are not so easily demonstrated. In this case I spent several days mulling the idea over in my head before writing it down. Once on the page the real work begins.

Ryley Walker was his usual amazing self last Friday. However I feel I have to end with Hank.

Until next time.

Friday, 2 September 2022

WALKED TO THE EDGE OF HER WORLD

I am going through a fallow period at the moment, not writing very much. It happens at times. This blog has been running for over eleven years and during that time I have written 664 posts. I would estimate there have been at least that many poems posted. 

This poem came out of nowhere but on reflection I think it was inspired by a book I first read in the middle 70s, The Dark Twin by Marion Campbell. I must have read it at least three times over the years and it has only been republished once. If you are fortunate to see a copy buy it.

Incidentally in the story a man travels half way round the world looking for the well at the world's end and for him that well was where the story takes place, in Scotland. The story is set in prehistory when the Earth Mother religion is being usurped by a patriarchal, controlling religion. It is well worth seeking out a copy.

she walked to the edge of her world

it took as long as you’d expected

and was as difficult as it sounds

at the world’s end

she found her holy well


truth be told

the people who drew their

water everyday from it

looked at it in a different light

but kept their own counsel


grant each of us the eyes we need in this life

After all that the poem is rather brief, but I like the sentiment. It has been through many drafts as is often the way with writing that looks plain.

Pollyanna has released a new single. Here is the video.

Until next time. 

Friday, 26 August 2022

MY OUTLANDISH CONFESSION

Another revised poem this post. I was not happy with the previous version, you can read that here. I discussed it with the Secret Poets and they helped clarify my misgivings.

The classic murder mystery continues to disappoint


My book is read once again

I must walk through the head of the reader

and overhear to their thoughts


The author may deploy

sleight of hand

far fetched coincidences

then withhold vital information

until the final chapter


We are gathered in the library

yes it smacks of desperation I know

shamed as I am by my exposure

my outlandish confession

the other characters look away


And you dear reader sigh

think how trite the ending is


But hold on one moment

is any better constructed

I think it has a clearer narrative now and I have removed the last line. Time for it to go away again for another couple of months.

Here's Anna Ternheim and Johnossi.


Until next time.

Friday, 19 August 2022

SUMMER PROJECT

I usually title my posts from a line in the poem but last week I used a line from this revised poem by mistake. First time I have ever done that in 11 years. Apologies.

This poem is a rewrite, with thanks as usual to the Secret Poets for their invaluable input. You can read the original here.

summer project


we broke all the glass

in all the windows


no one stopped us

it took time


but the sounds were so addictive

the crack and cascade of glass


eyeless in autumn

a cold wind hummed in the gaps


the snow went wherever it would

Essentially the ending has changed, the Secrets felt that it was not clear. Hopefully the poem is much improved. I would be interested in your opinion.

This past week I have been immersing myself in the exciting world of The Mountain Goats, this is a song entitled Cotton. The last verse is sadly beautiful.


Until next time.