Friday 26 January 2024


I was in Wolverhampton last weekend and I visited the Art Gallery. It was excellent. If you get the chance to look at the art you won't be disapionted. It houses the largest collection of Pop Art outside of London, and the Ed Isaacs exhibition was worth the journey in itself. I had an idea for a poem while I walked about the streets, though I do not know where it came from. An anchoress was a woman who was confined within a cell in a church in medieval times. Once consecrated they remained in their cell until death. it was not unusual for them to dig their own grave and be interned within the church.  

the anchoress dreams

sap green spring leaf

her time again would be

like a dandelion seed

to sail over all man made enclosures

but the bell’s toll wakes her

in the half light

on the floor of the cell

the trench that is her grave

looks like black velvet amid the grey

the sun will take its time

to rise above the barred window

she gets on her knees to pray

on the cold stone

to a god she has never really known

I am not sure the final stanza works. I spent most of my time attempting to imagine what it must feel like to be confined to one room for the rest of your life, never to feel the sun's rays or the rain on your skin. I still can't quite get my head around it.

Here's Gretchen Parlato & Lionel Loueke. Their album Lean In is superb. 

Until next time.

Friday 19 January 2024


My creative fallow period continues. These things happen. I tell myself you have to take in before you can give out, experience before description or synthesis of events.  I was looking for a poem for this week's post and I was reminded of a memory from childhood of going to the barbers. It prompted this.


the choice of haircuts

in that small northern town

was either short back and sides

or if common and prone to violence

a crew-cut

neither held grace

nor needed skill to reproduce

it was just assembly line hack work

on the last day of the school holidays

in and out of the barbers in ten minutes flat

my reluctant footsteps took me there

and embarrassment reddened

my newly exposed neck and ears

as I trudged back home

wondering where the summer had fled

A minor poem at best, with echoes of a much earlier work. Back in the early 60s there were only two haircuts, it was something else The Beatles changed. Think yourself lucky if you did not have to live in such strictures. Here's a very old jotting.

in this new city

I hunt for poems

on the faces

of the people

walking purposefully

watching the traffic

crossing roads

carrying shopping bags

or sipping coffee

on this terrace

that overlooks the square

I like to sit in sunny squares and watch the big parade of life flow by around me. It is good writing practice to try and capture the scene. Here's to warmer days.

Here's a video by the sublime Lizzy Nunnery & Vidar Norhiem. You can get their latest album here, it's excellent.

Until next time. 

Friday 12 January 2024


Yesterday I met with the Secret Poets for the first time in a while. As usual they were able to help me improve my work. I cannot stress the value of finding a supportive writing group. I am very lucky, we have been together for many years now and their aid is inestimable. Look, for example, how their suggestions have improved this poem. You can see the last version here

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 is the 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

there is enough room for everyone

You may think that there are only minor changes, a word here, a word there, or the odd line break. Such details improve the poem immensely. Anyway I think this poem has reached its final form. Thanks Secrets.

Here's a new song from Anna Ternheim. 

Until next time.

Friday 5 January 2024


Greetings for the start of the calendar year. I am preoccupied at the moment with compiling a new collection. More on that in the near future. Here is a revised poem. You can read the original here.


bright orange


stretched between two trees

this ordinary haulage strap

simply is

and oh how it attracts

you feel you must walk the length

of this renegade sine wave

it oscillates


like life

you can only learn as you go

only realising your mistake

at the end as you fall

I just happened to be looking at it the other day and I thought it could be better. It has changed quite radically. It was inspired by a low line at a festival and how everyone that passed by it felt the need to attempt to walk its length. 

this week monday

arrived on tuesday

outstayed wednesday

tripped up thursday

flattened friday

put the mockers on the weekend

and then it was monday again

The above piece of nonsense just popped into my head the other day so I thought I would share it.

Here's Sufjan Stevens from his new album.

Until next time.