Friday 31 December 2021


I began this poem was on the shortest day. The time, I like to believe, that held a significance for our Neolithic Ancestors, the reason they raised stone circles and the other enigmatic structures. I have no proof of this, it just feels right to me. I am drawn to celebrate the shortest day as the beginning of the new solar cycle. But  enough of my beliefs.


even as you seek

the memory

has gone

so you stare at the ceiling

in the darkness

the shortest day calls to you


you will sight that dream fragment

as you turn the steering wheel

too preoccupied

to give it attention

so it flees

is content to taunt your sleep another night

The poem records events as they happened. A tantalising echo on waking and another glimpse as I drove to the beach hut to watch the sunrise. I wrote the first draft after breakfast, literally jotting down a word sketch. The sparseness appealed.

Thanks to bandcamp for this video. I was taken by its beauty, how the music and image combine to offer a different vision. Thanks to Jeff Parker. His album is excellent.

Until next time.

Friday 24 December 2021



Here's a surreal little poem that presented itself as an idea but had to be coaxed into becoming a poem. Many thanks to the Secrets for their perceptive comments and assistance. 

Running on Empty



the page

his words

ran out

and the poem

not even captured

just sentences

in need of scaffolding

he checked his dictionary


blank pages

awaiting a refill

he did not bother the thesaurus

it tutted at him

in that annoying didactic way

he could call out the page side recovery service

but the wait would be an hour or more

besides last time they told him

you need a whole new vocabulary mate

and look at them metaphors

worn away to thin things they are!

perhaps if he made a cup of tea

it might rally the other letters

I liked the idea of words running out like a car runs out of petrol. The idea of a page side recovery service followed on from the breakdown idea. I had difficulty finding an ending. I also liked the idea of the thesaurus being too proud to help. In reality the thesaurus was my life saver.

I think the poem is complete. It shall be put to one side for a while as usual.

Here are The Mountain Goats. Their new live recordings are amazing, you can listen to them here.

Until next time.

Tuesday 21 December 2021

MEADFOOT 21.12.21


Since moving to Torquay four years ago I have not seen the sunrise on the shortest day, this has been partially due to bad weather. Traditionally I would drive to Avebury to celebrate the New Year, but these days it is too far. 

Having a beach hut on Meadfoot Beach is the next best thing. We went down and watched the sun hide behind the clouds. It was high tide and there was quite a swell.

Here's to a better year ahead. Peace, love and unity to you all.

Friday 17 December 2021



Here's a poem about a memory. I did glimpse on the horizon the sea framed between two hills. Actually the last time I was there the weather was too wet to get a photograph!

every morning

term time, early 80s

I looked to the sea

on the horizon

framed by hills

an unequal triangle

grey and distant

so very different

from the Mersey

that I had lived by

after thirty years

of life lived in the lowlands

I again live by the sea

and once in a while

I’ll drive for an hour

and reacquaint myself

with the lopsided symmetry

of that isosceles view

The poem is pretty straight forward and I think it is complete.

It is one of those ones that require to be written down and nothing more. Here is The Lovin' Spoonful, the drummer forgets what song they are supposed to open with!

Until next time.

Friday 10 December 2021


 I have said on more than one occasion that political poems do not stand the test of time. People's memories are too short, events fade, new outrages occur. Here is a poem I have been working on for some time. Thanks must go to the Secrets for their assistance in finally bringing it to the page.

post midnight


I am the unsleeping opposite of wakeful

jaundiced under the petrol station sodium lights

the empty newspaper bins wait

it’s too early for the news

but I know what they will say-

thirty one bodies fished out of the Channel

It concerns the tragic deaths of 31 people attempting to reach this country who drowned in the Channel. We need to sort out a process for accepting refugees and migrants that removes people smugglers and their miserable trade from the equation. My heart goes out to the families of all those who have died. It is a tragedy that the British government is such a heartless propaganda machine which puts placating its new voters above human life.

Now a poem on a lighter subject. An event at the university where I work. 

Just Another Day at Marjons

and we have been tasked with the making of a video

a parody of a parody filmed on a phone in the rain

the wind will steal away your words only to replace them

with the sound of the sea in a shell held to your ear 

I think it explains itself. It did have this second stanza but I think it is unnecessary.

we go inside

shoot scenes in the public rooms

no one stares

stuff like this happen all the time

Here's Lana Del Ray with Chemtrails over the Country Club. 

Until next time.

Friday 3 December 2021



Here is a poem that slowly formed around the idea that memories could be removed from a building when it is refurbished. The poem slowly formed over a week or so. 


before the house sale was agreed

buyers demanded the ghosts be removed

so contractors were appointed, a date set

an amount shaved off the price

and the workers arrived to divest the property

loading reluctant spectres into sealed skips

then driving them away to wherever unwanted memories languish

that ambushing taste on the tongue

a face half glimpsed in the crowd

the 4am telephone that rings and rings and rings

The last line of a poem can, when you have read it, make you reconsider the whole poem. This is what I wanted to achieve with this poem. I wanted to recall the feeling of the landline ringing in the night. It happened to me on occasion when I lived moved house. The landline telephone was similar to a delivery company and I would get calls in the night.

Here's Sault with Bitter Streets.

Until next time.

Friday 26 November 2021



A poem inspired by a firework rocket. This Bonfire Night I set off a packet of rockets at the end of our small display and that set me to thinking...

Escape Velocity

if gunpowder rockets never fell back to earth

just rose upwards consuming stick and cylinder

kissing the vacuum

to return their borrowed carbon to the stars

the dead in space on the other hand

who number more than you think

would look on in envy

tethered as they must always be

to the planet that birthed them

in various degrees of patience

they await release from

the first kiss of the red giant sun

that unmakes everything 

I am led to believe that in about ten billion years the sun will transform into a red giant and expand to engulf the earth. This will be the end of the planet. Not sure where the idea of the dead in space came from, probably an old Tom Rapp song. Thanks to the Secrets for assistance in the completion.

Annabelle Chvostek is touring, briefly, the UK in February, though sadly she is not playing the southwest. If you are able to catch any of the dates please do, she is always worth seeing live.

I leave you with a slightly out of sync video of Colin Blunstone singing a Danny Lane song. One Year the album this song was on Has just been re-released.

Until next time.

Friday 19 November 2021



I do try to avoid politics in my posts and, to an extent, in my poetry, as I believe political poems have a very short shelf life. However, the recent execrable activities of the  greedy, second raters who make up this countries present government has led me to write a political poem.

once more I echo my father...


jobs for the boys

feathering their own nests

putting our money in their pockets

he had a lot of words for it

but then he’d had longer to observe it

God knows what he’d have made

of today’s crop of no hopers

brass necked

blatant begging bowls

the hard faced refusal to resign

no matter how compromised

I have to agree with him

we deserve better

Let us hope, that soon, such poltroons are replaced by competent individuals who place the welfare of the country above the opportunity to have two jobs and do neither well.  

For balance here is a silly poem which is also based on reality. Yes, I did make a vegetable lasagna when visiting Singapore many years ago.

Pasta making in Singapore

The oven is taking its time,

still cooler than this kitchen.

At this temperature the milk could curdle

I’m turning it into Hollandaise before it does

and with wine bottle rolling pin

generating pasta of a robust thickness.

Tropical night, humid heat,

moist neck, damp face, wet hair,

sweat drips off my nose,

finally the lasagna enters the oven.

I wrote the poem some time ago but that I still am unsure it is completed.

Recently I have been listening to Manel a lot. I leave you with La Jungla.

Until next time.

Friday 12 November 2021



These are the last of the poems I started on my poetry retreat. It was a remarkably prolific weekend. This first one is very brief and is based on a true story.

as a child the only time I ever talked to God was on a Wednesday afternoon

I always, politely, requested that it rain so I would not have to do games

sometimes God heard me

I hated games at school. I am a very unsporty person. This next poem is from the workshop I led. It was one of those times when, although I had ideas, I could not marry them up into a coherent whole. I did rescue this.

he’ll give her five

he owes her that

or at any rate thinks he does

the hands of his watch

refuse to move

no matter how often he stares

his showerproof coat

ever so quietly

gives up the ghost

he walks eventually

Not sure that it really is a poem. It is pretty slight and it tells rather than shows, but I wanted to share it.

Speaking of not liking sport, this song was a revelation to me, I realised I was not alone, that there are others who do not like it.

Until next time.

Monday 8 November 2021



Over the past couple of months I've been discussing poetry with my friend Brooke Sharkey and planning a series of workshops for people who would like to write but who have not yet started to.

We want to explore, over four sessions, what it means to live a poetic life, even in difficult times, how to bring poetry into our very way of being and moving through the world, alongside learning some of the core foundations, contemplations and technicalities of writing actual poetry. In this course you will observer and better understand your own internal process via meditations, prompts, visualisations and contemplations aimed to specifically guide you to your own creative inner resources. On top of the four sessions, we want to offer a 1:1 coaching/tutorial session.

By the end of the series of sessions you will have created three poems inspired by the prompts and activities undertaken in the workshops. You will have an understanding of what works for you creatively, and you will have access to meditations and embodiment practices to support your creative flow and aid you on your continuing journey.

We hope this opportunity will appeal to anyone who loves words, those looking to find or refine their poetic voice, and those who wish to learn by trying and exploring with others. Whether you are a poet or a person who would like to dabble, here is a kind, safe space to explore, learn and share.

We are offering four live and interactive sessions with Brooke Sharkey and myself plus a Free 1:1 session (either with Brooke or myself).

Price £200 (with discount for low income or students, please contact Brooke directly for more information.


Friday 5 November 2021



Here is another poem that was written on the poetry retreat I recently attended.

It had a difficult genesis as it required me to repeat lines in a specific order. My dyscalulia played havoc with that!

it was written in the small print

nobody told her any different

they glossed over the details

and she never thought to question

nobody told her any different

she just signed her rights away

and she never thought to question

and they got away with murder

she just signed away her rights

and there never was no comeback

and they got away with murder

hid behind their fancy words

she just signed away her rights

and there never was no comeback

hid behind their fancy words

it was written in the small print

I have no idea where the poem came from. I took a line from another poem as my starting point and promptly ended up altering it beyond recognition. In this present draft it is now the second line. What I like about the poem is the narrator's sense of outrage. Thanks to Liz for setting the challenge.

Only one poem this post. Since my creative outpouring on the retreat I have been revising more than writing. 

Here's Pollyanna with a song about chasing mammoths. 

Until Next time.

Friday 29 October 2021



Another couple of poems that I began on my poetry retreat. The first arose from an exercise that required me to describe my earliest memory. Camp Coffee, which is mentioned in the poem, was an instant coffee and chicory mixture that was popular in my childhood. 

earliest memory

when me and my mum

came out of Berry’s corner shop

that overcast autumn morning

my three year old hand in her calloused palm

she said to me

as we walked along Wallace Street

let’s go home and have a nice hot drink

in my head I could see

the Camp Coffee steaming

in my little white cup

milky, mud brown, sweet as the hive

It is what it is really. I think I have managed to do the memory justice.

This second poem is another inspired by my visit to Charles Causely's  house/museum. In one bedroom a perspex case was fastened to the wall and it contained a number of items that I suppose had belonged to the poet. The collection seemed to lend itself to being a poem.


china bull

stained glass star

amber eyed angora

adorned matchbox cover

library card

signature fading fast

time stopped alarm clock

forever 12:05


and you can almost hear

the silver peeling off the mirror

I suppose my initial impression was sadness that his signature on his library card was fading. One day soon it will vanish and that seems a shame.

I leave you with a new video from Annabelle Chvostek.

Until next time.

Friday 22 October 2021



As part of my poetry retreat last weekend I was fortunate enough to spend Saturday morning looking round Charles Causeley's house, which is now a museum and pretty much preserved as it was at the time when he died. 

Charles Causeley spent most of his life in Launceston, Cornwall. He was a school teacher at the same school he had been a pupil. He was quite simply an excellent poet. 

Though I was conscious when I was looking round that I was in his personal space I did write this poem.

Rummaging Through Charles Causeley’s Record Collection

nothing grabs me

too classical by far

save for a solitary

Oscar Peterson plays Cole Porter

I could grove to that

but the atom powered Dansette

monophonic record player is missing its needle

and I feel too much the tomb robber

I never have been able to resist looking through someone's music collection, but I'm not sure what that says about me. By the way Dansette was an old record player from the 1950/60s. 

on exploring Charles Causeley’s house

we might be buyers with money to burn

this could be a viewing

house all shipshape

bristol fashion

I am in the footsteps of a poet I don’t know

a most modest master

so I search for clues

open drawers look in wardrobes

but you cannot wear another’s words

purloin their inspiration

it doesn’t work like that

I think tomb robber is about right for how I felt. I was conscious of the fact that I was looking for inspiration in the very place where most of his ideas coalesced. It was unique experience and thanks to Annie for organising the weekend. 

I have to end with Natalie Merchant's version of Nursery Rhyme of Innocence and Experience, a poem by Charles Causeley.

Until next time. 

Friday 15 October 2021



I have been looking at some old poems, lines I wrote over ten years ago and thinking that had I wrote them today they would have been laid out differently. This is a poem I have always liked.

I keep watch

sometimes I am invisible

pass through the crowd unseen

walked into

not noticed


in another life I would have tailed you

noted down your conversation

those you stopped to talk with

reported you for some meaningless infraction

here you bump into me

I am happy not to be seen

out of phase

you do not follow me

I keep watch

You can read the original version here. All I have done is let the poem breathe and removed the rather staid punctuation.

Similarly with this one.

Stripping Woodchip

Even with an industrial strength steamer

the paper will blister and bubble

before flensing under scraper blade.

It will take longer to remove than to fit.

Heavy paste

no worries if the paper stretched

it will cover many things.

In this case institutional green walls

the shade of urinals and forgotten wards.

It seems the whole house was this colour.

Did it comfort the painter

knowing every room was identical?

Was the woodchip a stop gap?

Or an illustration of limited thinking?

There are no pencilled signatures under the coarse paper

no record of identity or belonging.

The job expands and takes forever.

I've changed the odd word. A flensing tool is what was used to peel the fat off dead whales [I know it's disgusting but the image works]. You can read the original here.

I am on a poetry retreat this weekend with the Secret Poets, hopefully I shall have some new poems for you next week. I leave you with Loch Lomond who are recording a new album as I write.

Until next time.