Friday 29 July 2022


I  have been revising some poems I first sketched out on holiday. I find travelling excellent stimulus for writing, but there is always the long task of shaping your ideas once you have them on paper.  This first poem explores this.

tricky customers


at night perhaps

a poem can slip through your fingers


back to wherever it came from

all you are left with

is a page of used ink

This second offering was written in a restaurant in Catalunya. I am a habitual reader of t-shirts, my own usually have an album cover printed on the front. 

the back of the man at the next table’s t-shirt declaims

we will rise against society

in bold black lettering

but not until he has finished his meal and paid the bill

Karl Popper was right, change needs to happen in a piecemeal manner if it is to be effective. Perhaps the wearer of the shirt secretly agreed?

Here's some Salif Kieta. At the moment I am playing either African music or Spirit and as last post it was Spirit here's some amazing music from Mali.

Until next time.

Friday 22 July 2022


Tropical Pressure was great fun, and my workshop was well attended and I'd like to thank the people who worked so hard. I'd also like to thank Antonia for inviting me back. On the Thursday night I dreamed a poem and managed, miraculously to recall it the next morning. I do occasionally wake in the night with the makings of a poem in my head and I usually get up and write them down. This time though I managed to hold on to the words until the next day.

scraps of time

occasionally he finds discarded scraps of time

retrieves them from their hiding places

rotting wainscoting he is replacing

gently he flattens the newsprint

takes in the date

the prices in the adverts

reads the television page

then smiles at the distance he's come

It is based on a friend of mine who used to be a carpenter and when he was removing some skirting he did find an old newspaper that had been used as packing. It is definitely a work in progress.

Here is some Spirit to keep you going. 

Until next time.

Friday 15 July 2022


I am at Tropical Pressure this weekend. I am running a workshop and reading. It is an honour and a delight to be asked back. It is such a lovely festival, a highlight of the summer for me. Perhaps I will see you there?

Another poem from my rail trip across France to Catalunya. We travelled through the centre of the heatwave. It was the only time the trains we rode had difficulties. The signals failed due to the heat. On both occasions we were headed for Bordeaux and arrived there late at night. 

travelling in times of unusual weather

he had expected more delays

but the trains ran through the heatwave

slowed only by a series of failed signals

the passengers were handed

plastic bottles of warm water

until the supply ran out

the heat in the final station

stole the sweat from the skin

this is how the world burns

I like the reportage style of the poem. It is a story plainly and simply told. We humans seem to have an infinite capacity for ignoring danger signs. Our politics seem designed to keep us focusing on tomorrow rather than the bigger picture. Oh, as usual the photographs have nothing in common with the post. They are all of Canet de Mar

I'm particularly looking forward to seeing Suntou Susso this weekend as I missed him recently at Dartington. More on Tropical Pressure Next post.

Until next time.

Friday 8 July 2022


I have just returned from travelling in France and Spain. I decided to take the train rather than risk cancelled flights. This country is on its uppers. The government is a joke bereft of integrity and vision.But at least the mendacious buffoon masquerading as the Crime Minister is being forced to stand down.  

A word of explanation to those of you lucky enough to have escaped Music & Movement classes. Back in the early 1960s children in Primary School had classes designed to enable the children to express themselves through dance. The only session I remember clearly is the time we had to imagine we were items of clothing hanging on the washing line as the wind began to build in intensity.

music & movement

the primary school me

had no idea of how to be

clothes on a washing line

blown by the cruel wind

so not for the first time

I copied everyone else

this mid 60s me finally

understands how it feels

to be washing on that line

buffeted as we are

by each new knee jerk policy change

I am not sure the last line works. I wrote it while I travelled across France reading in The Guardian the latest excess of the worst Crime Minister we have had in a long time.

I leave you with The Beat [English Beat if you are American] playing Stand Down Margaret, a song about the last infamous Tory Crime Minister. The ones in between being a sorry bunch of second raters.

Until next time.

Friday 1 July 2022


I am away in Catalunya at the moment and have written a number of posts in advance. I find that easier to do than to attempt to keep up while on holiday. This post's poem is a revision. You can read the original here.

Escape Velocity

gunpowder rockets never fell back to earth

just rise upwards consuming stick and cylinder

kissing the vacuum

they return their borrowed carbon to the stars

the dead in space on the other hand

who number more than you think

look on in envy tethered as they are

to the planet that birthed them

in various degrees of patience

they await release from

the first kiss of the red giant sun

Is it more definite for making the first stanza a statement? I was unsure as in the last version it seemed an awful long time before the conceit was explained. What do you think?

Let's hope the weather is being kind to me. Here's Anne Peebles with a classic song. If you look closely you can see a Womble in the audience!

Until next time.