Friday 27 October 2023


I am writing this post eight days in advance, though I'll just be back from France when it is published. I've nothing new to show but I have been looking at old poems, partly with a view to reprinting a selection of them. I've been asked a number of times recently about the availability of my books and all I have been able to say is that I have a new collection out in January. Next year will also see the publication of a greatest hits selection. Now a revised poem, you can read the original here


I can still see that steaming water

murky with suspended goodness

carefully my mother divided it

between me and my brother

The unique aroma

the comforting warmth

the long finish

Drink it all up

it will keep you well

I thought the first two lines could go as they were frame, more tell than show. I think it breathes easier now. This second one is also from Burning Music, my first collection. You can read the original here.


Even with an industrial strength steamer

the paper will bubble and blister

before stretching under scraper blade

It will take longer to remove than to fit

Heavy paste

no worries if the paper stretched

it will cover many things

In this case institutional green walls

the shade of urinals and forgotten wards

it seems the whole house was this colour

Did it comfort the painter

knowing every room was identical?

Was the woodchip a stop gap

or an illustration of limited thinking?

No pencilled signatures are revealed

no records of identity or belonging

the job expands and takes forever

Again I've changed the spacing and the punctuation. I was far more formal in those days. I don't know why I've chosen these two poems. They were favourites to read and they seem to have withstood the passage of time.

Talking of old favourites, here's The Nits, or just Nits, I'm never sure when they adopted/dropped the The. Anyway this is The Train.

Until next time.

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