Friday 30 June 2023


What an interesting couple of weeks and me away, unable to celebrate the resignation of the Prince of Lies [formally the crimeminister- you know the one, he partied all through lockdown and then lied to Parliament about it]. He walked away before he could be censured and then tried to spin it like the orange one, kangaroo court in deed! More like spoilt child. If this is what a public school education gives you, I'd ask for my money back. Let's hope the tory party self destructs with all this in fighting.

I was in the north east watching the Solstice. I left the day before the Prince of Lies had his tantrum. The sunrise was glorious though the sunset was rather cloudy. Whilst up there I was watching the swallows and thinking that when I lived in Taunton the number of migrant birds reduced each year which led to this poem. 633 Squadron and The Dambusters were two Second World War films. 

swallows at Lindisfarne

it must be like watching a rerun

of an old war time film

633 Squadron or The Dambusters

that part when they’ve done the daring do

and they limp back to base

except the ones that don’t make it

to take stock you need to stand still

to see exactly what we are losing by increment

As you can see my aim was to underline the crisis in the bird population with the return of aircraft from a mission. This second poem is about my camping chair at the beach hut.

I gave my chair a haircut

that old green camping one

it’s been in need of a trim for years

the nylon unthreaded like Jenny Greenteeth

all those synthetic fibres floating in the breeze

until now

Yes I did give it a haircut. Jenny Greenteeth I always thought was an old phrase to describe duckweed but when I looked it up it is far more interesting. She is a river-hag, my apologies Ms Greenteeth, I meant you no disrespect.

Here's The Mountain Goats.

Until next time. 

Friday 23 June 2023


I had some friends round for a meal recently and we were talking about train trips and one of the people mentioned a journey they had taken on a night train in Sweden. After they spoke I commented that it would make a good poem...

Night Train to the North

it was not that far

through the cold streets

we find the platform

board the train

four of us

in a compartment for six

thankful for the room

grateful of the privacy

we pull down the beds

the motion lulls

soon you all fall comfortably

into rhythmic dream breaths

but one of the carriage wheels

complains at every bend

I hear the bearings scream

and choose to sit

look out the window

the snow reflects the stars

take in each field and village

as we roll on through the dark

in this country the people

leave a solitary lamp

burning in their windows

sometimes we need a sentinel

to anchor our dreaming souls

I shall be yours this night

counting the lights until you reach waking

I really liked the story and I hope I have done it justice. I wrote the poem after they left but I've been working on it now for a while. Thanks to the Secret Poets for their observations. I hope you enjoyed the Solstice, but more on that next time.

I know I put up a Natalie Merchant song last post but her new album is excellent.

Until next time.

Friday 16 June 2023


I was delayed in an airport recently and I got to talking to some people who were also waiting for their flight. Once on the plane I wrote this.

it’s a chance meeting in a delayed airport lounge

they talk about Lisbon it fills the empty minutes

afterwards he thinks that his younger self would not recognise what he has become

should they happen to meet one another in circumstances

perhaps this is what growing old is like

a head full of memories

and the ability to strike up a conversation

in a place where people wait

It's not an amazing poem but I feel it does capture my emotions at the time. Here's a rewrite. Thanks as usual to the Secret Poets for their invaluable input.

Instructions for Actors

when words fail us

we can call line

and the appropriate dialogue will be supplied

all we have to do is repeat what we hear

this drama that is our lives may continue until

the next person fluffs their speech

the director tells us to take ten

we look at each other and wonder what to say

You know, my poetry is the richer for collaboration. Having people to share and bounce ideas off is such a privilege. I think the poem has benefited from their perspectives. Here's the previous version

Natalie Merchant is touring the UK in the autumn, I for one can't wait.

Until next time.

Friday 9 June 2023


When actors are in rehearsal they will often have a person whose role is to supply the correct line when the actor forgets or fluffs the script. I was recently asked to be the prompt in a production and this poem arrived as a result.

today’s unique selling point is that when words fail us

we can call line

and the appropriate dialogue will be supplied

all we have to do is repeat what we hear

and this drama that is our lives may continue until

the next person fluffs their speech

the director tells us to take ten

we look at each other and wonder what to say

What I like about it is the idea that we can simply go through life being fed lines and that we do not have to think. Yes, I know, life cannot be that simple [or empty]. We have to do the real work for ourselves.

Astrid Gilberto died this week. I was a long time fan, having grown up listening to Bossa Nova in the early 60s. I leave you with her timeless music. She will be missed.

Until next time.

Friday 2 June 2023


Here are a couple of little poems inspired by my cats. Sadly both of them are no more but their memory lives on.

cat out the attic window

walking the ridge tiles

he always was a clumsy bugger

and I can imagine him slipping off

so I stand stock still until

he is back inside

been there done that

where’s the food

and we who simply watch

are left to deal with our own stuff

This really happened. One day the cat strolled out of the attic window and onto the roof, needless to say I was more distressed than he was. This second poem is about the joy of having a cat sitting on your lap.

the calmness of cats

sat on your lap




vibrations to heal your soul

 I was given a new album by Manel recently and so I leave you with a song.

Until next time.