Friday 29 September 2023


History has a habit of repeating itself. That which is of worth goes unrecognised and is side lined, while the banal is given centre stage. I have seen this a number of times over the years and that is what this poem is all about.

here we are again- redundancies all round

here comes the new one

desperate to make their mark

and fix what is not broken

quality is neither here or there

to people like these

intent on their vision

so something unique will go

and the the vacuum filled

with the second rate

and we all are the poorer

as all the beauty drains away

I agree it's a little too shouty, too much tell, not enough show. All I can say in my defence is that it comes from the heart.

I too close to this next poem to see it clearly, though I think it's some of the way there.

listen, I’m not maudlin

I don’t think of you that much

not since you ghosted me

but I thought I saw you today

by where your office used to be

when the sun was in my eyes

it was only when they spoke

I realised I was mistaken

and it was some other clown

in last year’s suit

attempting to be themselves

which was a whole lot more

than you’d ever done

Watch this space. There is the kernel of a poem in there but at the present it isn't clear. It's definitely a case of some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you and some days you both go hungry. Wow! I was looking up the origin of the phrase when I came upon this long thread relating to The Great Lebowski. I love the internet for this sort of thing!

I've been listening to a lot of Iron & Wine recently and here is Walking Far From Home.

Until next time.

Friday 22 September 2023


I think I mentioned last post that I am not writing much at the moment. This is partly because I am focussed on compiling a new collection, one that will have illustrations by Alison Wilson. It should be out by Christmas. Watch this space, details to follow. 

I was looking at a couple of old poems the other day that were written fourteen years ago on a visit to Barcelona and decided to revise them. They are both incidents I saw on the Metro. In the first a woman dropped her wedding ring.


ring around her finger

a circle she fiddles with

turns this way that

slides up and it

falls through frantic air

bounces on the carriage floor

the man in the next seat

smiles, retrieves it

the gold glints

between his finger and thumb

sat opposite I invent reasons

love long gone infidelity

anger or some secret regret?

I ask what it means and

you tell me: Stuff happens

sometimes there is no meaning

then it is our stop

and we exit the Metro

I thought the poem needed to breathe, it was too concentrated. [You can read the published version here.] I always try to pare my work down to the bare essentials but I wondered if I had removed too much. 

This second poem is from the same trip and again I thought it required space. Perhaps the location had influenced my lay out, the cramped tunnels of the Metro?

6. Road Poem

they kiss

he boards the train

does not look back

at her expectant face

an almost sigh

split second space

then she walks

you tell me:

we are observing a failed romance

we walk along the platform

I hope she does not speak English

When I reread the poem what struck me was my embarrassment, I did not want the woman to overhear our conversation, as she seemed weighed down by her own circumstances. Sadly the book these poems are from is out of print.

The immensely talented Pollyanna has just released a video for her song Brighton. Wonderful stuff, especially the line I can feel the privilege of being a stranger, pure poetry!

Until next time.

Friday 15 September 2023


I had a sudden recollection the other day of a reading given by Brian Patten. It could have arisen because my interview with Brian is on the popular posts list. 


its a Friday evening

West Somerset

Brian is saying:

fuck you Stephen Spender

fuck you for what you visited on Stevie Smith

fuck you who remembers you now

that was years ago

and Stephen Spender

is not even a reflection

in our collective rear view mirror

A word about the people mentioned. Stevie Smith is a perennially popular poet who gave the language the phrase not waving but drowning. Stephen Spender was from a privileged background and became  communist before being knighted. If I have to choose a side then I'm with Brian. 

Here's another memory. This one is about those moments of satori when you feel at one with the whole world.

the windows looked like painted flats

so I walked outside to see what was behind them

and fleetingly I was at one with everything

I've not been writing much this past couple of weeks. I go through these periods once in a while and always tell myself you have to take in to give out. I am sure I shall be writing more soon.

Tim Smith has completed his Harp album and it is being released on 1.12.23! I can't wait, those of us who were fans of Midlake had almost given up home that he would make another album. Here's the first single.

Until next time.

Friday 8 September 2023


Sometimes something I see in the street can spark off my imagination. This post's poem is the product of such a chance event. I was in the town centre recently and I happened to walk past a pawn broker's just as a middle aged woman was exiting. I wondered what the circumstances of her visit were and began to construct a poem around the line two rings the lighter, imagining she had been selling her wedding and engagement rings. Such is the morbid turn of my mind.

she left the shop

two rings the lighter

felt surprisingly heavy

amid the rush and press

of the mid-morning shoppers

reflected on how life was supposed to run

contrasted happy ever after

with her own history

that had led to a pawn broker

then moved through the people

each one intent on acting out

their own passion play

I wanted to expand the personal action of the pawning of the rings to include the lives of all the other people happening around her. To draw back from the close up to the crowd shot, so to speak. The phrase passion play just arrived and sealed the shape of the poem.

Pollyanna has been busy at work on a new set of songs and videos. At present she's making a video for her song Brighton Beach, the rushes look excellent. Here's Your Smile is Cold.

Until next time.

Friday 1 September 2023



I've been reading 1966 by Jon Savage and I think the section on burning The Beatles records sparked this post's poem. I've never understood the desire to burn books, I think it's a waste and some how makes the banned books stronger, more desirable. It's as if the people doing the burning are frightened or limited in their means of expression. 


was everything you’d expect it to be.

Self-righteous men, always men,

directing the children, laden

with armfuls of the banned, damned books.

Casting them into the inferno

with a wide eyed giddy intensity,

ecstatic in this act of vandalism

we are burning books!

and the air is full of charred letters.

Stray words set free

from carefully constructed sentences.

The ink knows as it sizzles,

that every book is a temporary alliance

of print and wood pulp and glue.

If the men had been more patient

eventually it would have returned to dust

Does it work? I think so [otherwise I wouldn't be showing it], I wanted to show the different lengths of time that things last. The burning of books is a form of group insanity. I shall put the poem away for a couple of months, which usually exposes flaws. Watch this space.

Here are The Beatles.

Until next time.