Friday 29 December 2023


Seasons greetings to you and yours. I have been ill and so missed my weekly post. Here's a memory from forty plus years ago. It has taken a while to get it on the page.


for this birthday she rented him a VHS video recorder

we all marvelled at the squat black rectangle

she had to set it up because he was rubbish at that sort of thing

it was timed to record Casablanca while we went to the pub

then began to watch this film we’d all seen many times before

feeling free agents now adrift form the tv schedule

but it stopped as they sang La Marseillaise abruptly a screen of white noise

because we’d turned it on before the end of the transmission

I moved to Plymouth so didn’t see them for a year

and when I did they were no longer a couple

she’d met a man had was having a baby

he was drinking with a serious I had never seen before

she told me their life together

could have been summed up by that afternoon

optimistic starts that abruptly stopped

It was nearly a prose poem but I thought the long lines could carry the story. It is mostly true. It revolved around abrupt endings. How things never turn out as you think they will. I think it needs to go away for a while now and when it returns I shall see all the errors.

I've been taken by Naissam Jalal's new album Healing Rituals. It is a work of beauty.

Until next time.

Friday 15 December 2023


I wonder why I return to some poems and not others. Today, a couple of examples of poems that haven't quite worked, revised drafts. This first poem can be read here and here

The Classic Murder Mystery Continues To Disappoint

my book is read once again

I must walk through the head of the reader

and overhear their thoughts

the author may deploy

sleight of hand

far fetched coincidences

then withhold vital information

until the final chapter

so we gather in the library

I know it’s so old hat

positively groans with theatricality

yet here we are again

and once more I am shamed

my weaknesses uncovered

the other characters look away

make their own sordid confessions

while you dear reader sigh

think how trite the ending is

but is your life really any better constructed?

The ending has changed once again and I've tried to tighten up the middle. I think it needs to be put away for some time to allow the flaws to show.

This second poem I just came across and thought that I could make more succinct. You can read the previous version here.

the world needs violins more than ever

bow and bone to dance over the strings

positive vibrations to inspire us all on

change is possible start today

Have I succeeded? I leave that to you to decide.

Here's Sachal Vasandani with No More Tears

Until next time. 

Friday 8 December 2023


Here's a poem that I calculate to be nearly a quarter of a century old. It has its origins in a real event, inspired by an evening spent watching the Leonids, one November. You can read the last draft here.

Waiting For Shooting Stars

all the downstairs lights are on

luminous beams that cover the garden

cause its contours to hide

in pools of thick darkness

you stand at the window

gaze outwards

but all you observe is your own reflection

I wonder if you have ever seen anything else

so in the dips and hollows

I try to find a place


to look at the sky

but the clouds reflect the town

crowd out the few stars

glow the dirty pink of squandered energy

then the clouds thin

and meteors flash

exhausted rock ignites

on contact with unrelenting atmosphere

burns bright then is gone

the night becomes colder


I turn for the house

It was, in my early days of reading, a poem I liked to give voice too. However, I looked at it the other day and thought that the compressed layout let down the essence of the poem. To be honest, I am not sure if I have made this version too obvious, too telling. That I think is up to the reader to decide. 

As the winter seems to be setting in, there was even sleet the other day here in balmy Torquay, here's Eliza Carthy with The Snow It Melts The Soonest

Until next time.  

Friday 1 December 2023


I find the whole tory rhetoric offensive and wish they would have the guts to call an election before they can damage the fabric of this country anymore than they all ready have. I think these thoughts were the prompt for this poem that I've just revised. What exactly is wrong with people moving from one country to another? I don't get it? If they were half decent and honourable they would go, but they cling on to their delusions and fail to aid the majority. Enough!

my grandfather walked out of Eden

just as the trouble kicked off

and they were all cast out of paradise

by that angel with the flaming sword

grandfather said it looked the business

impressive in a peevish kind of way

the trouble with that sort of history

he told us was the tendency to focus on

those with their names in the book

and not the likes of him

offspring of Lilith the first wife

the one who is never spoken of

nor of all the others lost to time now

who were quietly getting on with their lives

while this angry god psychodrama

was acted out around them

my grandfather walked out of Eden

the world is large as he discovered

with enough room for everyone

So what has changed since the last post? Essentially I've tied it up and hopefully made it easier to understand. I think at times my dyslexia means I see differently and I hope this version is more understandable. Now for a little psychedelic poem.

just like that the champagne went flat

we were in the presence of a bigger mystery

that would carry us to a place of metaphor

and would swallow a whole twelve hours

we had been here before and would visit again

as I watched the bubbles fled from the pale liquid

sometimes that’s exactly what you must do

trust in the seconds to reap the unexpected

This poem is what it is, a simple tale of an experience, and yes, the champagne did go flat.

The news is not all bad, this morning I received through the post the new Tim Smith album. Yes, after ten years, the wait is over Harp is with us. Go and do yourself a favour and buy it today. Sadly there are no new videos so here is the wondrous Annabelle Chvostek.

Until next time.