Saturday 30 December 2017


A revised poem this post. thanks to Paul Mortimer for his observations on how the poem should look on the page. You can read the first draft here.


At first I thought you slept,
lost in the self-profiling bed,
amid the necessary machinery
that crowds your room these days.
Can't say how I knew,
something kinetic had gone,
slipped away in that last sigh,
the one I missed, stuck in traffic.

We wait for the duty nurse to sign you off.

Mourning begins,
as if everyday we had not wished you
to be at peace.
And now you are gone,
leaving the four of us
with our individual beliefs of what comes after.
I don't want to talk about the origins of this poem.
I do however want to thank all of you for visiting this blog since it began in May 2011. 
I looked at the stats the other day and was delighted to discover that over 500,000 people have visited the site since then.
Thank you all.
I leave you this week with Laura Marling singing Wild Fire.
Until next time.

Saturday 23 December 2017


 A poem from my imagination this post. I was writing without reflecting. The aim being to fill two sides of paper with a stream of consciousness. The poem arose from this exercise.

Fast car, full stop,
rubber on the road.
Too late hands shake
as adrenalin kicks in,
and you are left with thoughts
of what might have been.

Elsewhere it happened.
There you are dealing with the consequences.
Further along the other way
there was no emergency stop,
no man in a red care telling you
to get your eyes tested and more besides.

You sense all of this,
just as fleetingly it is gone.
Slowly the chemicals in your bloodstream disperse.
If every poem is a unique work then this particular poem mines a familiar seam for me. I have been fascinated by the concept of a multiverse since I read about it in science fiction back in the 1960s.
I have been listening to Kathryn Williams this week. Her last record Greatest Hits, Songs From The Novel. Some friends had sent me a copy of Crown Electric and that had prompted me to buy the new lp when I was in Totnes recently.
Here she is with Laura Barnett taking about their collaboration.
Here she is singing Heart Shaped Stone.
Until next time.

Saturday 16 December 2017


Today's poem arose out of a couple of lines in a Mountain Goats song:

Like someone who's found a small town to escape to
Keeps one eye on his abandoned, former self.

The song is Spent Gladiator 2.
I was thinking what it must be like to be that person. I immediately thought witness protection and it grew from that.

he walks around his car
eyes search for small changes
find none
he drives the dawn streets
to black coffee in a white mug
comforting warmth in chilled hands

this is the only habit he salvaged
from the car crash of his first life
when faced with that choice
he traded loyalty for freedom
and ponders the decision
every waking day and into each night
This is a work in progress. I was imagining you would have to change your habits completely to reduce the possibility of detection. I wondered if you would either be haunted by the deal you had to make or never think of it.
It seems appropriate to leave you with The Mountain Goats.
Until next time.

Friday 8 December 2017


Strangely the "thousands of pounds", by which my MP claims her constituents are better off under the draconian austerity of the Conservative government, has to arrive at my house...
Keen readers will know of my love for Catalunya and the Iberian Peninsula in general. Here are some other Barcelona inspired poems
Today's poem [title-less yet again] mentions The Cafe Zurich, a well known meeting spot and place to watch the world go by.

I'm in the Café Zurich, under the famous clock,
through the windows Barcelona is a festival of brollies
beneath in the February sleet.
The constant rush hour of Plaça de Catalunya
is hardly dented by the fleeting winter weather.

In liminal spaces, the unacknowledged
sell cheap umbrellas to people racing time.
When I was last here in June
the trade was in fake handbags and sunglasses,
laid on a cloth that could be bundled up
if the Guarda Civil walked by.
Each season has its own crop.

You arrive, we kiss, and step outside,
just two stories among many.
As I am writing about Catalunya I have to comment on the high handed manner in which Madrid has dealt with the Catalans. I fear that if Catalunya gained independence they would be in the same limbo as the UK is over Brexit. But come on Madrid! You can't just lock up the whole of the elected government!
Here is Ana Brun from her new LP of covers.
Until next time.

Friday 1 December 2017


Two posts ago I wrote about the death throws of Neoliberalism. It would seem that my MP does not agree. Last week she stated in Parliament that the people of her constituency [that's me and mine] are "thousands of pounds" better off under the Conservatives. My own experience and that of my friends does not confirm this statement. Perhaps we are living in a mirror world, where everything happens the other way.
I do not usually reprint a poem but I am making an exception to celebrate the "thousands of pounds" by which I am better off.


Afterwards I can track the switch,
exactly where one thing became another,
when suddenly compromised, I seemed to collude.
I picture myself on her website, my smile an endorsement,
a trophy of seized photo op.
She wears her ambition as if it were acceptable.

As I take umbrage, she says:
You don’t know anything about me.

This is both right and wrong.
I know the flag she drapes across her shoulders.
It is as blue as privilege and disdain.  

Apparently she has since claimed that she was highlighting how specific Budget policies are helping working people. 
Can't say they have affected me or mine yet...
Here is the poem I wanted to showcase this post.
It came out of nowhere and I've been revising it for some time now.

he is a big man
and fills the opened door
feel the air
moved by his mass

the argumentative lens of the camera
slung around his neck
points from his chest

slow footed across the public space
he spills on to the sofa

unless his hands holds objects
he raises the camera
begins to look at the world through the tiny screen

a comforting distance

the stutter of the shutter
bounces round the room
Last night I saw Boo Hewerdine in Totnes. As usual he was superb. I am leaving you with Patience of Angels.
Until next time, unless of course I manage to discover the "thousands of pounds" by which I am apparently better off...