Wednesday, 20 March 2013


Hanging on to ‘Toad Hall’,
Trying to keep it heated,
Ignoring the damp patch on the wall,
Hoping one’s not being cheated,
Burying one’s head in the sand,
Holding fast to that which is grand,
Knowing one’s standards are slipping,
Closing one’s ears to the gutters, which are dripping,
Living in one or two rooms,
Breathing in coal smoke and fumes,
Hoping one isn’t deluded,
Or so others haven't concluded,
Keeping appearances up,
Turning a blind eye to the half empty cup,
Knowing deep down the struggle is worth it,
You have your reason; others may not un-earth it,
And always robbing Peter, to pay Paul:
But hanging on to Toad Hall.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Walking and Thinking About Storks

Stalks collected for building nests,
Constructed by cranes which are storks;
Walks connected by taking forks
Disrupted by pains which are requests
To go more slowly which are tests;
Talks given by clacking beaks,
Explaining thoughts about bequests;
Hawks chasing tiny streaks,
Which are mice or weasels in string vests;
Words about birds which are absurd
But nonetheless,
Pass the time: or so I've heard.

Saturday, 2 March 2013


Cat in the window, like a birthday card,
Bewitched by the birds and their sudden movement,
Sitting and purring and thinking quite hard,
And watching the rainbows on the curtain,
Caused by the light rays through the decanter,
And lustres from the oil lamp,
Thinking and purring and trying to be certain,
Thinking and purring and trying to decide,
The urgent dilemma of the moment:
Whether to pounce on the shifting sunlight,
Or whether he really should de-camp,
To take the morning air outside,
Absorbing the heat like a solar panel,
Hoping perhaps for a chance encounter,
With a soft, caressing human hand.
When all in a flash, his tongue, like a flannel,
Whips out and suddenly comes to land,
On a place on his back where he feels an itch is,
And in this moment he knows what is right.
He knows if he is to find great riches,
He must venture forth to the bird-table place,
Swiftly, silently, leaving no imprint.
And there with his skill and elegant grace,
He must leap and strike and snap and kill.
For he knows with his excellent instinct,
He knows it and suddenly grows bolder,
That to act and to act with intention,
And to do so without intervention,
Of conscience, or guilt or self loathing,
And without looking over his shoulder,
(And without the appropriate clothing!)
To achieve things by sheer strength of will,
Is better by far than just watching,
Watching and sitting still.

Fog in the Vale of York

A misery of teenage proportions,
Deceptive and causing strange distortions,
Showing the trees but hiding the railings,
Shifting the focus onto ones failings,
Wrapping the promise of spring in a shroud,
Making the internal voice curse out loud,
Growing in density, never lifting,
Coldly, gloomily swirling and drifting,
An almost too obvious metaphor,
Attention seeking and hard to ignore,
Mist made emptiness like La Folia,
Meteorological melancholia.

Friday, 1 March 2013


At the Aire’s end,
At the close of the day,
The sky, a rather boring grey,
Melds with the waters at the bend,
Where the Ouse, pale and wide,
Still and listless at ebb tide,
Accepts the waters from Leeds and Keighley,
Almost half heartedly, swirling them briefly,
And the wind turbines stand unresponsive,
With a correspondent despondency,
Brought about by their failure to whirl,
And the smoke and steam from Drax,
So often brilliant white,
Is an absence of billowing curl,
A barely perceptible haze, 
And the dripping trees in greens and blacks,
Add to the dull scene, absorbing the light,
And I stand here trying to erase
The thought : ‘I am part of this desolation,
Subsumed, at one with the gloom,’
Until the sun from behind the power station,
Suddenly highlights the cooling towers,
And in that moment all is changed,
And we are ourselves again,
Me, the rivers, the sky, the warp-land plain,
The cold wind and the icy showers.