Sunday, 2 August 2015


I am tired of talk
                 of monsters and words
                                             that taste of rusted chains                                                                            
and snare
               this beautiful,
                                extraordinary world
                                                       with a noose of syllables and syntax

And of those who redefine
                                 my hope in words
                                                         that I cannot recognise or understand...

What strange creatures we are:

We find ourselves flung among darkness and stars
Adrift and alone on a spinning globe
in an Eden we think we've lost.
Is it not surprising that our dreams are of fire and light?

And we people our worlds with such gods and demons
That we scarce can tell them apart
                                          or know which to worship
                                                                         and which to fear

So we find patterns among our footprints
and music in wind-blown trees
and we begin to see significance in the lines of each palm
and read our future in the shadow of our past

And we mark our lives with cups of tea
or things more insubstantial and find small
words to reach across the empty space that separates us
So that, for one small moment, the night erupts with the
spun-gold light of our small suns.

'The gate at the end of the vicarage snicket was blocked by cows again this morning.'
'I won't be surprised if a spot of rain will be coming our way.'
'The clock is running a little fast today.'
'I'll see you tomorrow then, God willing...
                                                             ... God willing'

Our globe still spins its path through all that silent darkness.

Come, show me your god
                                         and I will show you
                                                                   your deepest fears.

Monday, 29 June 2015


The summer heat has come, dustily settling across the fields and with it, the weighty, drowsiness that hums and buzzes in the head. The noontime hedges are as still as the night-time ones and the trees click and stretch beneath the sun. But the lethargy is short lived; the summer is still young, it hasn't yet shaken off the new-yeast of spring. The elder that the park-keeper laboured to cut back last month, explodes with green, lacy life, rearing in delight; defiantly laughing at the clean straight edges loved by sheers and humankind.

Two days ago, in the rain, I came across a dead rook - a juvenile, black beaked, full size. It lay upon the grass; perfectly formed, its eyes closed, as if sleeping. The crack willows by the pond were its dripping pall. The jackdaws and rooks were silent. Its blackness seeped into the sodden ground in the way that night creeps across the field, grass blade by grass blade. Penny sniffed around its iridescent body. I felt an irrational sorrow swim round my veins. Will its presence here on earth be missed and its death be mourned? Will its family watch out for its return and feel the stab of its absence? Crows, we are told, can recognise humans who have caused them harm for a year or more after the initial offence. Fields where danger has been perceived are avoided and news of it spread around the entire colony which is then handed down generation by generation. For how long will this young rook be grieved?

But today there is no body. There is no evidence of it at all on that grassy patch. The ground is bone dry as if even the trace of water falling from the lifeless feathers must be eradicated. Still grows the sweet smelling elder. For some, the world is not large enough to contain all this joy and sadness.  

Saturday, 20 June 2015

And THE Cuckoo..

One of those mornings when the air is pearled with silver beads that lift and float with every movement; too full of light to fall to earth.   A sky of hammered pewter brushes the fresh-cut grass and swaddles the trees.   A myriad snails pebble the field; Fibonacci whirls like fossilised Catherine Wheels.   Jackdaws sing scat to the thrush's song; the avant-garde augmenting the lyric.    When the rain comes it is serpent soft, hissing through leaves of spearmint-green.   The dog-rose is in flower and the cuckoo has yet to change its tune.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Student Number 1002### (Apotheosis)

There is a strand of hair that has worried
her all day. It was there when she
brushed it that morning, in the bathroom
mirror dripping with condensation, smelling
of bath-oil, tooth-paste, and damp walls.

She could see it in the rear-view mirror
of the car her nan leant her money to buy.
It's in every smeared reflection, even her
dulled shadow that follows her along the corridors
 that reek of bleach and urine. But no one else sees it.

All they see is the rain streaking the panes
and the nurse that is not really a nurse -
who calls gran 'me duck' - and the small hole
in the back of her tights where her shoe
has rubbed her heel red and sore.

The birds sing to the traffic and
the shuffling feet at the bus stop below,
and the relatives, sit beside the undrunk
beaker of cold tea, as awkward as adolescence,
and do not see that strand of hair, or the warmth
of her smile or how she quietly closes the door as she leaves.

And no one knows that on an afternoon like
this, of grey light and a hollow wind, that
for one moment, in a lecture theatre, she
shone with such brilliance that thoughts
crackled in the air and her words flamed
and flared around her head like comets
blazing in the night.

And, for a while, it was as if all the world
was black and she bathed those around
in the liquid, burning light of her questions
and the fire of her thoughts. And the lecturer
stood quietly, barefooted on hallowed
ground, entranced by the wonder
of such pure fire.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

WOLF wind

Under a sky, bruised and bloodied by the sun and cloud,
     there is a wolf wind that lurks and prowls through the wood;
     cruel... sly... and wicked.

The sheep don't seem to notice it, full of new-life - not yet born.
     Nor the bishop hare, as still as star light, eyeing me
     with the eyes of a prophet, from the long grassed verge
     that rolls its way to Oxhill.

Fractured puddles, spread like splintered flint shards
     the dust-hard track-ways that ring to the heel of a boot
     while down at the corner of Peacock Lane the wolf wind
     crouches, ready to pounce...

There's a grey light that blows from Nineveh, ocean cold
     and heavy; and trees, black stencilled, hag-haired and
     made arthritic by the seasons' turn, clutch and claw at the
     wild and restless sky.

Down by Banbury Road the rooks cling piratical
     to the bucking schooner of their branches,
     their sea legs steady, tending the new-life of their own
     and winging the fangs of the sly wolf wind.