Tuesday 31 March 2015


I  am delighted to have The English Sisters  write a guest post. They specialise in stress management and their book Stress Free in Three Minutes is well worth reading. It offers tips that we all can benefit from. Enough from me.


Words fascinate us, they always have.
Some words appear to be more fascinating than others.
Osmosis is one of those words that brings about great delight in us.

If you look up osmosis in the dictionary you will see that it has two meanings. The first; a process by which molecules of a solvent tend to pass through a semipermeable membrane into a more concentrated one and the second meaning; the process of unconscious effortless assimilation of ideas knowledge etc. It is the latter that really excites us.

You see, we all learn so much through the flow of osmotic action otherwise known as unconscious assimilation.

This is how we learnt how to speak our mother tongue and how we learnt helpful patterns of behavior and it’s also how we learnt those patterns of behavior that are not so helpful to us. The one's that cause us daily stress.

If you were fortunate enough to grow up in a tranquil and serene environment, where both your parents knew how to manage their stress levels, then through the process of osmosis you too will most probably have assimilated wonderful ways of reacting and coping with stress and stressful situations.

If this was not the case, then the exciting news is that you can learn how to be stress-free in as little as three minutes.

In order for you to do this you have to take a deep breath and access the relaxation response within you, which is the exact opposite to the stress-response where worry and anxiety reside.

It may sound difficult to you, if you are feeling stressed right now, however we assure you, you will find it’s as easy as faking a big wide yawn.

Take a moment to fake a big wide yawn now. Allow the muscles around your eyes to relax and enjoy the feeling of your body being soaked up in warm sunlight or whatever you prefer.

It could be your favorite color expanding throughout every cell in your body, a warm bath, or doing wonderfully at your favorite sport; you decide.

You see, your unconscious mind has the ability to allow you to relax and access well-being through the process of osmosis.

You can begin to observe how a flower dances in the wind or how a leaf falls to the ground silently from the nearest tree.

You may begin to notice peaceful moments throughout your day making you mindful of your thoughts and allowing you to melt thoughts that stress you, away.

Bring into your mind a sense of loving peace that comes with knowing that you are a creative being and that you can access peace of mind at any time. It’s simple, simply fake a big yawn and as you do, recall all your favorite thoughts.

Allow these thoughts to cascade into your mind and as you go through them one by one, you may begin to smile. It’s that same smile that you learnt through the process of osmosis a long time ago, when you smiled for the first time…

Keep that smile in your mind at all times and watch how those around you thrive.

If you want to know more then you can read their blog here.

Friday 27 March 2015


Recently I was asked why I never enter poetry competitions. I hadn't got an answer, after some thought I replied that this blog acts as a conduit for my work. It is an effective means of reaching people and that, after all, is what its about. So thank you for reading this.

A poem about creation. It is dedicated to the great Oscar Sparrow, a poet of note, of great skill and beauty, that sadly we do not hear enough from at the moment. You can read his blog here.

for Oscar Sparrow

Like us, they speak their words on paper,
it is possible they take longer in the choosing
than these you now read.
Each is carefully selected for sound,
shape, and something only the author is aware of.
Naturally their verse will passport them to the centre.
We are on the outside, beyond the margins,
breathing life into metaphors,
fashioning word necklaces
to decorate our World Tree.
Next a vignette that is half true.

So here I am, sat in this nearly empty pub,
and he's talking about Friday night discos.
How he would come here hoping to bed a foreign student,
to be her brief exotic, erotic interlude.
We've both seen better days, he confides,
but back then this place had class.

I think every poem is composed of the real and the imagined. We draw on life and from inside and fashion these word necklaces.

Here's Oscar reading.
Post Script:
On Tuesday I am pleased to be publishing a guest post by The English Sisters the authors of a series of best selling books that deal with stress management.

Friday 20 March 2015


This post's poem formed in the hinterland between consciousness and sleep. It is interesting how many poets will tell you they have dreamed a poem. My first attempt at poetry, when I was twelve, came as I awoke. It wasn't very good, but it gave me the identity I still wear.

Today's poem mentions the choice we all have when an idea occurs, to simply ignore the message, that urge to write and go on with our lives. But we do not. Brian Patten said, when I interviewed him for this blog, that the muse will stop calling to you if you don't use the gift you are offered. He is a wise man. 
Another Poem For Christine

Last night I dreamt you had found your way home,
despite the intervening twenty years,
and the fact that I have moved more than once.
Of course it was a dream,
and the corridors conspired and turned in to walls
and kept us apart, though I walked miles until,
I awoke with this poem in my head.
At that point there was a choice,
stay in bed or write it down.
I chose, in the cold grey dawn,
to sit in this comfortable room
and write you another poem.

There are a number of other poems sprinkled over this blog about my late first wife. 
This next poem is about another regular, my father. He was naturally left handed, but in the culture he grew up in this was not acceptable. Throughout his life he would avoid having to write anything down and when he did he wrote in square block capitals. I have no real idea about precisely how negatively his education affected him.

there is a power in the left hand, hard wired as it is into the right hemisphere of dream and possibility, the nuns who “taught” my father knew this fact and so they beat him out of left handedness, citing the example of Judas Iscariot, a left hander who allegedly caused some bother back when, I know their trammelled minds could not take diversity, so they clung to a one dimensional faith, and beat the boy, who as a man was always embarrassed to put pen to paper
The photographs continue to have no correlation with the text, this fine specimen was on the wall of a bar in Manchester. 
Juncture 25 are reading in Tiverton on the 17th April. The last two readings sold out, so get your tickets quickly, here's the details:

The new Public Services Broadcasting lp The Race for Space is out and I have to say it rubberbanded me back to those space race glory days of my childhood. Here's Gagarin.
I have to end with an interview with the man himself back in the black and white days of 1961.

Friday 13 March 2015


 This post's poem is an addition to a series I appear to have been writing about films and America in the 1950's. To be truthful I am not sure where the series if going but here's the latest:
Filming in a parallel dimension

Call him Ishmael, it'll do.
That one next to him
will end his days playing Admiral Nelson,
on an atomic submarine.
For now, he's signed on with Gregory Pecker
to hunt a mechanical whale across a large tank of water.
Not much skill needed there then.
The techs are all drunks or hop heads, and Greg?
Check out the stove pipe hat, false beard
and the same voice he always uses.

The techs vote to leave him pinned
to the rubber side of the pretend creature,
all through the lunch hour.
He will shout himself hoarse.
They call it method acting by committee.

None of them have read the book,
too long,
too old,
couldn't be bothered.
No matter, few of the audience will have either.

I am alluding to Moby Dick, filmed by John Huston in 1956 and a tv show Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. The rest I made up. I quite like the idea of the film's star being stuck to the side of the pretend whale and left there. 

I leave you with the legendary Allen Toussaint live in 2011.

Friday 6 March 2015


I was told recently that poems about birds are out of fashion, before this it was the word shard. I am not sure who decides such things, certainly they do not matter.
Here is a poem that mentions herons. It is far from finished, but I think it works in its own way.
Four herons pick over the bones,
clack and caw to reach a decision.
The city is their backdrop.
Sunlight gilds the water.
The herons have set themselves a task,
to sieve the river from end to end.
They argue. This one complains:
I am no pelican, gimlet of eye
With a shovel bill and appetite to match.
Another talks technique,
the proper motion for investigation,
the beak must rise and fall, rise and fall.
A third interrupts attempts to compare the action
to a sewing machine’s needle tip,
glimpsed once through a window,
but language fails, then there is argument.
Crepuscule stains the surface blood…

This is how to sift a river:
start at the mouth, as if French kissing,
note how the current probes back.
As you move up stream
silt may stain, smooth pebble chip tooth.
Gold may gather on your tongue.
Whatever they say,
whatever is promised,
this is a misfortune.
Once the gold has been possessed,
the water strip searched
it’s bed disturbed and left unmade,
there will be nothing.

You cannot now tell the herons apart,
they are a jumble of feather and bone.
The city has been put to the sword.
Oh yes, someone is the richer,
but not you, not yours.
We few that remain,
plum the dirty stream for anything.

I'd be interested in your opinions. I know what I think the poem is about but you may have different ideas.
I leave you with a song from 1980. I used to have the single.