Friday 4 March 2016


For many years now I have been attempting to get a half decent photograph of the magpies that rule the quad of the university where I work. On Monday I managed to take the photograph you see above.
For the next three days everywhere I looked where magpies. Hence this poem.

On Marjons highest point, a magpie
feels the need to reassert her power,
as I've just stolen her photograph.
She ensures she still owns the place,
and watches me cross the quad.

There will be a reckoning.
This next poem is part reportage. My sister and mother-in-law did indeed destroy lots of their photographs and these were of mountain views and vistas seen from hotel windows and balconies. After I wrote the poem I realised it spoke of the two different types of holidays they enjoyed, package holidays abroad versus walking holidays in Wales.

My sister rips up photographs,
views from hotel balconies.
No one will want these she tells me.
Two carrier bags brim with torn paper,
proof of her immaculate logic.
Clearing this house will take long enough.
I'm saving you a job.

My mother-in-law on the phone,
I call to see how widowhood suits today.
She has been culling the past too.
Boxes of mountain views are
consigned to the wood burning stove,
as brief, bright chemical flames.
Who will want all this scenery?
I have no answer.
I'm not sure the either poem is quite there yet.
I've been listening to Anna Ternhiem a great deal this past seven days. Here are a couple of videos.


  1. Wonderful,Brief bright Chemical Flames is a great title and I love Anna Ternheim. The Somebody Outside album is terrific.

    1. Thanks Suzie.
      Anna T. is amazing. I like Somebody Outside too. Her new lp is well worth a listen.