Friday 25 November 2022


On Friday last I spent the day with the Secret Poets. What joy! Thank you Secrets for such a splendid and productive day. This is a poem revised with their help. You can read the previous version here.

Crossing The Teign With The Window Down

it was love at first note

the wind and the bass solo eloped

straight out of my car

[I was crossing the bridge at the time

but this is their story not mine]

seven miles out bopping on the sea

the notes rearrange as they please

delighting the dolphins with their atonality

It's always interesting listening to what other people make of your work. There was some confusion as to the identity of those eloping. I hope this version makes it clearer. Here is another revision. You can read the earlier draft here.

the well at the world’s end

she had walked to the edge of her world

it took as long as you’d expect

and was as difficult as it sounds

at the world’s edge

she found her holy well

truth be told

the people who drew their water

from it everyday

saw it in a different way

but kept their own counsel

grant each of us the eyes we need in this life

Again the changes hopefully improve clarity. Plus the layout is tidier. Thank you Secrets.

Here's some reggae. I was listening to Merger's one and only album yesterday. Wondrous stuff. Here's them live on the BBC.

And this is the full LP.

Until next time.

Friday 18 November 2022


An interesting week. The tory clowns have come up with a forecast of a £60 billion black hole in the national finances. It's their latest wheeze to make the poor pay more than the rich. JK Galbraith once said that "economic forecasting is there to make astrology look good."  But this has not stopped them from delivering one punitive budget after another. They have screwed up the economy and deprived public services of money for the last twelve years, it is a disgrace. Honestly, they must think we are stupid, hell, we probably are Brexit happened. 

I've been working my way through a copy of The Goat Island Workbook [thanks Sharon]. It was produced in 1996 for a theatre company as a springboard for developing performances. I am using each exercise as a writing prompt. This poem is in response to an Impossible Task: Tie a knot in a rope of water.

How to Tie a Knot in a Rope of Water

there is a second

when the mop bucket's contents

after being slung into the air

seems to just hang ignorant of gravity

in that moment you could mould the water

into any fantastic shape you pleased

if only you were quick enough

were it not for the belly flop

slap! on the crazy paving

did you know that every time this happens

the molecules sigh

dreaming of when they are clouds

and this sort of thing is effortless

You may have noticed that my poetry often deals with water, as a topic, a metaphor, or a location. I suspect it is because I live by the sea these days. 

There was also an invitation to: lick a church steeple, which, thanks to my dyslexia I read as like a church steeple. I came up with this.

like a steeple in autumn

as the trees begin to shed

or the billowed lanteen sail

of the ship that’s in your head

I think it works as an opening stanza, but at the moment, the rest of the poem eludes me. 

Womack & Womack have been in my head all week. Here's an ace old tune.

And this is 65 minutes of them live.

Until next time.

Friday 11 November 2022


The world is getting hotter and we just sit and talk about it, if we don't actively ignore the facts and carry on as if nothing is happening. We are living in a bad 1960s science fiction story. I have no answers just anxiety and a feeling of helplessness. I do what I can but it does not feel enough...

A poem about those thoughts circling in the night.

flat on my back

in the marrow of the night

the day replays with malice

with each breath

a catechism of failure

creeps closer

I refuse to accept any of it

slowly sleep rescues me

I wrote it as an exercise. I had the second line and decided to see where it would take me. Sometimes you can end up in unexpected places. As in the bleak poem. 

On a lighter note. Here's another tune by Mariana Dalot. I have been enjoying her album. 

Until next time.

Friday 4 November 2022


I have a good beginning for a poem but the end is vexatious. It almost feels like I've tacked it on from another poem. Some poem's are slow to reveal themselves. 

a starveling thesaurus

mugged me on dream street

stole my vocabulary


I mimed the night away

in the dawn’s cold light

my whispered words

pebbles in my mouth

I've been playing around with it for the last two weeks. I think it is time for it to go away for a while. This next one attempts to capture those brief moments of insight.

just like that

he finally got it

perceived the interconnections

rolling down the predawn road

he finally got it

near enough words

poured from his mouth

they’d have to do for now

stopped at the lights

he repeats them

merging with the traffic

he speaks every one

so he finally arrives

writes down his litany

the mouth worn words

offer no point of entry

if he had it

it has gone

Actually it is pretty much as it happened. I was driving to Plymouth and for a split second everything fitted together- then as quickly, it was gone.

I am missing meeting with the Secret Poets. I feel I need their perspective on some of my recent work. Watch this space.

Here's Paul Simon with The Obvious Child. I had forgotten what a good song this was. Although lyrically it is not quite as sharp as the Hearts & Bones album.

Until next time.