Friday 28 April 2023


Poems arrive by many routes, an image, a word, an idea that you catch and shape or in the case of this post's poem, a single line: the trouble with time travellers. It was an arresting statement, what are the difficulties of talking to people from the future? Apart that is from the practical ones like how do you do it? Putting that to one side I thought about how they would probably want information, for you to confirm a theory, for your words to grant them academic status. 

Local Truth

an innocent question

so loaded

that you have to answer

so honest

the looks they exchange as you talk

your truth

I told you so all over their face

what I hate about time travellers

is the words they use to each other

its incredible they lasted this long

you can see why they died out can’t you

I also wanted to infer that the person speaking might be talking about power imbalances in general. How do you think I have managed it? One to take to the Secret Poets if ever there was. Watch this space.

I've been listening to a lot of Iron and Wine recently. He is such a good songwriter. I have been especially taken with this song.

Until next time.

Friday 21 April 2023


Travel can definitely get my creativity flowing, the novelty of new places, the space to observe and the simple fact that I am lucky enough to be footloose and free. I have a very privileged life, and for that I give thanks.

This is a poem I wrote as the Palm Sunday procession slowly passed my hotel room window in the early hours of Monday morning.


half asleep in your hotel room

on a street of darkened windows

loud voices converse

as if it wasn’t well after midnight

then you hear the drums slow beat

speak a language your blood almost knows

every now and then horns spike the night

unexpectedly you find yourself an observer

in a doppler effect experiment

as you note the red shift

all the way to the cathedral

The title, I hope, sets the scene. Voices in the night, the sound of drums, brass slowly passing the window and changing in pitch. I tried to marry the doppler effect with the red shift visible in space, the furthest stars exhibiting the same doppler effect. I am not sure it works, I am too near to the conceit at the moment. Time will tell.

Natalie Merchant has a new album out. I await my copy and leave you with a new song.

Until next time.

Monday 17 April 2023


 I recently stopped my Twitter account and, like many others, moved to Mastodon, and the first poet I encountered there was Yahia Lababidi. What a delight! What a calm voice of reason. What an excellent poet. I am going to let Yahia speak for himself. Enjoy!

Tell us about the new collection

I have two collections that I’m proud of, Irish twins, conceived around 9 months apart.

Desert Songs is my love letter to the deserts of Egypt, featuring transporting images by Moroccan photographer, Zakaria Wakrim, as well as Learning to Pray, a collection of my spiritual meditations.

Also, an even more recent passion project that I hope will interest your readers: I’ve partnered on a subscription service with a clever programmer and lover of wisdom literature, Sam Henry, to deliver daily contemplative quotes from my books. You can learn more and sign up, here.

What next?

In the upcoming months, Quarantine Notes (Fomite Press, 2023) This is a collection of a few hundred of my new aphorisms composed during our global pandemic. Political, cultural and spiritual meditations that got me through the strange lifetime that was the last three years.

Music, poetry or film? Which speaks the most to you?

It’s a close call between music and poetry (much as I appreciate films & enjoy reviewing them: Yahia Lababidi | World Literature Today) There’s no denying the wordless power of music, how it can cut straight to the heart and transport us. But, for better or worse, I’m a word guy; besides, poetry has built in music and reels of film in it, too!

What do you want your poetry to do?/what do you want to evoke in the reader/listener?

Many things. Entertain, educate, return us to ourselves, remind of deeper realities and what is indestructible. Poetry can do this by slowing us down to a stillness, getting us to inhabit the moment, and meditate on essences. Ultimately, poetry as praise and prayer.

What’s the typical career path of a poet?

I’m nearly 50 (in six months) and still trying to figure that out! If you/readers have any tips, please, reach out. Here’s my resume: Yahia Lababidi | LinkedIn

How has the poetry business/scene changed over your life time?

Off the top of my head, I think of social media, which seems like licensed eavesdropping. On one hand, it can steal from our precious inwardness and force us, at times, to share fruit that is unripe or interact in ways that might do violence to our nature. The irony of a private person in a public profession. The flip side of this, of course, is the ability to reach a wider audience, hear from your readers (almost, instantaneously, like telepathy!) as well as reach publishers / outlets in ways that were inconceivable when I started 3 decades ago.

If you could become a character in fiction, or film who would you be and why?

As a very young man, I admired superheroes (like Spiderman). Becoming a teenager, this adulation shifted to pop stars and shortly, after, poets and philosophers. Now, it’s mostly mystics and visionaries that I hold in high regard. Not sure this answers your question, but there you have it 😊

Given the state of society at this point in time what is the role of the poet?

To amplify the Light, so as to counter the prevalent cynicism, despair and nihilism.

How has your work changed over time?

I began as someone who, foolishly, worshipped at the altar of the mind (recovering Existentialist). Now, I bow before the life of the Spirit and its countless mysteries…

How far does real life creep into your work?

What is ‘real life’? The ephemeral world of politics? The nonsense that passes for reality tv? I don’t know. I believe in the vital role of the artist as witness, conscience and activist. But, I also know that one cannot sound off on everything, all the time — poorly-digested ‘real life’ as you call it, makes for bad art.

Name something you love and why?

Beauty. I believe that aesthetics and ethics are connected. If we abide by the laws of Beauty — in thought, word and deed — we stand to lead a life that it good and true.

What would be your dream project?

I would like to write a children’s book and am exploring this possibility, using new technologies like ChatGPT! (If you can’t beat them, join them 😊)

How do you navigate the poetry world?

Gingerly. I’m still very much trapped in the past and wary of taking in too much of what is current, without taste or discernment. That said, I recognize I cannot afford to, entirely, turn my back on what’s happening Now and am pleasantly surprised from time to time.

You can listen to my readings of some poems that matter to me, on Soundcloud.

If you were not a poet what would you be?

Possibly, not alive.

Have you ever doubted your talent?


Thank you

Friday 14 April 2023


I've been away in Spain for a week and it was richly rewarding from a poetry perspective. This post a poem I wrote in the airport prior to flying. A word of explanation first, The Daily Mail, for those who may not know is a right wing publication.


he’s wearing mostly pink socks

under blue walking sandals

chocolate brown trousers [half mast]

and a canary yellow windcheater

yet he still feels embarrassed enough

to fold The Daily Mail in half

sports page showing

and hide it in his case

This is a light little poem. It is based on the actions of someone I observed, my eye first being caught by their jacket. More poems next post when I've had a chance of shaping and revising them. 

Here's Lluis Llach live.

Until next time.

Friday 7 April 2023


This post's poem is an example of those ideas that just arrive and you have no idea of what prompted them. This one began with an image of telephone poles and the conceit that ears could see through a lie. Where ever it came from I thank it for arriving.


her ears saw through his lies

despite all the miles between

this paraphernalia of communication

afforded no camouflage

the uncounted telephone poles

strung with copper wire

dotted with ceramic insulation

made no difference

even as he spoke his fiction

it failed to impress

she had his number from the start

she sighed and he knew this was the end

I am not sure the middle stanza is necessary as it highlights the distance and technology that enables the two to talk and possibly this has already been inferred in the first stanza. I leave you to be the judge. I shall continue to give thanks for gifts from the Muse.

Here's The Mountain Goats.

Until next time.