Friday 30 December 2022


Recently I have been using the Goat Island book of creative exercises to spark the muse. I have mentioned it before, I was given a copy by a friend, who swears by it as a means of unlocking creativity. It is certainly sending me in different directions to my normal process.


feet off the floor

the spine curves

centre of gravity alters

and here you are

rocking in the breeze

zero ballast

your shirt your sail

tack into the wind

above the pavement

there is now no rule book

all will become clear

I like the idea of being weightless and floating down the road like a sailing ship. There is a dream like feel to the concept. This second poem is about a print I have had for many years.


she had stood in the bathroom

early digital camera over her shoulder

the trick if there was one

minimise the lens

maximise her back her neck

that half of the head she never sees

photoshopped in A-Level art class

etched on a plate

printed on art quality paper

and sold to me over twenty years ago

The direction to watch the back of your head could have involved physicality, mirrors or a periscope, but it reminded me of the print. I am always unsure about poems based on art works as without the illustration it is difficult for the poem to stand alone. 

Here's Iron and Wine with Calexico

Until next time.

Friday 23 December 2022


Thanks to the Secret Poets for yet again making sense of a poem for me, much appreciated. This poem appeared a couple of months ago, you can read it here. Dreams are important to me, I think we gain insight as we sleep. Occasionally I awaken with a poem in my head, though this one materialised one morning as I jotted some other ideas down.

I Still Remember

you’ve been in my dreams again

I can’t blame the times or the season

for this spate of visitations

half remembered conversations

you are always thirty

now I am old enough to be your father

and the last witness to what we had

our memory keeper

I am not going to go into details. I'm just going to leave it here.

Sadly this week Terry Hall died at the young age of 63. He was part of my youth and I have always followed his career with interest. He will be missed.

Until next time.

Thursday 22 December 2022


Since we moved to Torquay nearly five years ago the weather on the shortest day has been cloudy or wet. This year was different and we were able to great the Solstice and celebrate the coming new year.

Sadly it is too far to drive to Avebury to celebrate with the other pantheists, from Taunton it was a good two hours but it would be over three now. So we celebrated at our beach hut. 

May the coming year bring you happiness and peace.

Saturday 17 December 2022


Apologies for the tardy arrival of this week's post. I have not been well. Today another exercise from the Goat Island Book of creativity exercises. The prompt was:


I had a plan

once the sapling took root

I gave my hats away

though that winter was cold

my bare head and thin trunk

shivered in the cutting wind

increasingly doorways become problematic

bow or stoop?

as the branches spread

narrow entrances were impossible

so I have to shout through the window

when I want bread from the baker

I drive with the sunroof open

increased petrol use wind in my branches

I eat for two in autumn

in preparation

my thoughts sluggish this second winter

as the tree on my head slumbers

I'd been thinking the prompt over for a couple of days before I wrote anything down. What struck me was how much space you would require and how difficult entrances and exits would be. The end arrived easily. It is a workshop poem, though a video would be fun...

I leave you with an exciting new group from Catalonya Lola & the Rhinos. This is their latest video My Rules.

Until next time.

Friday 9 December 2022


Another poem that wears its origin on its sleeve. I was in a car driving down the M5 looking at a spider's web. The rest of it took sometime to shape.

you drive down the M5

we talk

the sun sets behind us

across the wing mirror

a web flexes

vibrates in the turbulence

I think of my own anchor points

how little it would take

to send me tumbling in the slipstream

Someone said of Burning Music, my first collection, that it was all rather accessible, as if this was a bad thing, no cryptic verse to worry over long into the night. At the time I was upset by this, thinking the act of producing a book was akin to climbing Mount Everest. Now I wear my accessibility as a badge of pride. 

I wrote this after watching a man cross the road. It is what it is.

he is his own master

the crosses the road

disdainful of the traffic lights

his odd splayed gait

carries him safely to the other side

what need has he for lights that inform

when to step forward    when to wait

he knows best

Here is a song from 1970, The Move, in all their glory.

Until next time.  

Friday 2 December 2022


The weather has been unseasonably warm recently which has allowed us to have Sunday brunch at the beach hut. Usually it's too cold by the middle of November. This post's poem is reportage. I watched a man scatter ashes on to the sea.

the tide is just on the turn

not that he could tell

but it needs it going out

all the way down the worn salt steps

holds the handrail

he fears he might fall

stands on the thin rib of the shore

sea smoothed gravel

footfalls counterpoint the sea

the urn is light but heavy

weight upon his shoulders

unscrews the lid

grey ash onto white water

tips three times

on three outgoing waves

shakes the canister

grey motes on the air

retraces his footprints

I wanted the poem to be spare, economical in its description and with no back story. The focus on the action not the thought.

Here's Toumani and Sidiki Djabati. Such wonderful music.

Until next time.