Saturday, 30 November 2013

Blazing Fire

Blazing fire
Makes sleepy noises,
Something like a dry sheet flapping,
As the logs and sticks are snapping,
And the orange flames are licking
Up the chimney's black wool throat,
Throwing out its heat and sapping,
All one's will to stay awake,
Soporific warmth and hissing
Sap in ash wood spitting,
Sending me to dreamland sitting
By its side, head nodding,
Dozing off to sleep while writing,
Trying to describe it, fighting
Its effect; a spontaneous reaction,
Trying to reflect the sense of exultation,
At one's own creation
And something of the great attraction,
Of a contained conflagration.
Blazing fire
Makes sleepy noises,
Something like the water lapping,
Bits of gassy coal are cracking,
And the orange flames are licking,
Round the dry well seasoned timber,
Falling like a metaphor
For how I'm drifting into slumber.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


A mist above the water swirls  around;
The air is still, the sky dull grey; the sound
Is tiny, lapping ripples, lullabies,
The water's surface taught and mill pond calm;
Then suddenly from  silence an alarm
A cry of shock, or terror or surprise,
As there from out the muddy bank arise
A pair of giant kelpies galvanised,
Reflecting back the colour of the sky,
At this, the eerie breaking of the day,
And lesser, earthly creatures shrink away,
Before the sight of each majestic beast,
The one who lifts her head and loudly cries,
The other who looks down, demure and sweet,
They vanish in the mist, but in the east,
A pair of nymphs, into the dawn, retreat.

BBC News - The Kelpies horse sculpture completed

Friday, 22 November 2013

November Sunset Over Drax

A cloud from Drax is grey now,
Where moments ago it was white,
The sky is streaked with peach glow
Where moments ago it was light,
And a glorious beryl blue,
Contrasting the leaves of the beech tree
In tones of an amber hue,
The last in this late autumn,
Which now look  dull and few.
And as I watch, the cloud
Turns a tint which has no rhyme,
Accuracy can't help now,
We are running out of time,
As the colours start to fade,
Lilac into lavender, back to pigeon grey,
And finally a shade of slate
As the last light leaves the day.

Thursday, 21 November 2013


I'm not programmed I'm a woman,
Can't we find some other word,
No one planned each perfect human,
No one could, it's quite absurd.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Selfie in the O E D

My O.C.D has made it,
Into the O.E.D,
My constant silly habit,
Of photographing me
Is recognised,
As truly, it should be,
And now it is official,
And everyone can see,
That it's the real reason
We love technology.
So here's to the selfie,
Symptomatic of our age
The surface of a pool
Reflecting back the face
Contained in pockets,
So we can,
Without disgrace,
Admire the beauty
Of ourselves
At any time or place.

Saturday, 16 November 2013


I know that in your thick and cold stone walls,
Exists some abstract part of me,
And one day when I am no longer here,
I shall return to you again, as in my dreams,
When I glide the old familiar corridors,
And see with unbelieving eyes,
And wish to rearrange,
The furniture and books of others,
Whose taste is strange.
And that flying thing I do in sleep
As I gaze down upon you from the beams,
Whose shapes and patterns
I knew intimately once,
Will be a real sensation as the means
By which my spirit moves around.
And I shall marvel at the warmth you now contain,
Which rises up to meet me in the hall,
Not from the open fire
Where, as a child, I sat an inch or two away,
But from radiators,
Where I will stay,
Hovering above, so in the shimmering
Heat my spirit might be seen,
Or experienced as sudden shivering
In someone else's spine.
And I shall float about the solar
Or inhabit the dark oak,
Like death watch beetle,
And meld myself
With the transomed, sandstone mullions,
Soaking in the southern sunlight,
As I sift it through my soul,
Knowing, once again, that you are mine.

Friday, 15 November 2013

On the Joy of Argument.

You should not feel that argument is wrong,
But welcome it with open arms.
For what is better than to act
With impulse on your instinct and to pitch
Your mind against your fellows'?  So go
From here into this world and start a row

With anyone. Demonstrate to them how they could grow,
If only their own thinking were not wrong.
Show them how, not all that long ago,
You thought like them, but loud alarms
Kept sounding in your mind, and their shrill pitch
Drove you to see the error of your ways. Act

As if upon a mission to persuade.  Question every 'fact'
And champion the cause of change.  Row
Against the tide, certainty the pitch
That keeps the vessel of your argument afloat. It's wrong
To keep storms raging all the day, let them go
When you have said all you can say.  For this disarms

And opens up opponents' minds for change, pre-warms
The oven of their heads, to ideas you've put forth.  Have tact
And if, later, they quote your words, which, not so long ago
They had dismissed, relax, for this is how we grow.
Concentrate on finding other ways in which they're wrong,
And challenge them on these, for what is better than to pitch

Your wits against one you know can change.  Tell them black as pitch
Is white as snow; see how far this argument can go. Take up arms
And thrust and tilt at windmills, making out they're wrong.
Demonstrate there's little that is fact.
Ideas which most others hold as good, will not go
Easily away, so javelin like,  you must throw

Your complex thoughts which undermine.  Show no sorrow,
For rugs are meant for pulling from under feet, to pitch
Those standing on them where they choose not to go.
And there is little one can say that really harms
For very long, but the impact
Of the fall might smart awhile, as your fellows must adjust to being wrong.

Pitch a battle, question fact,
take up arms, don't let go,
Start tomorrow, everyone else is wrong.

Listening and Dozing

The sonata for cello and piano by Frank Bridge,
Resounding out in stereo from the car,
And I am back at Swinsty,
On the edge of sleep,
While down below,
Beneath the floor,
Black bearded Basil Howitt wields his bow,
My father seated at his Erard grand,
Adds so much more than mere accompaniment,
And my mother, weary from this testing day,
Is reading by the fire, a Barbara Pym,
I see the drained out colour,
And the way the pale light flickers with the flames,
The thin black line that is the threshold of the door,
And feel a happy sadness;
I can/not go there anymore.

Monday, 4 November 2013

At The Humanist Funeral Of A Choir Member

The light about the place was beautiful;
This autumn being late the leaves were there,
Still clinging, glowing red, as, dutiful
To their position, marking spaces, where
The dust of others was, beneath them, spread
They made a metaphor for memory.
They brought your coffin in, and as we said,
Because you sang, it seemed derisory;
Your huge form and your deep bass voice,
Contained within that dreadful enclosed space.
And those who loved you best, as was your choice,
Made eulogy sans reference to God's grace,
And marked your passing without giving song
But grief expressed in words alone seemed wrong.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Waiting for the Children

The sky and tarmac meet at silver birch,
Punctuated here and there with prunus,
And greedy cedar painted by a child
In shades of Christmas further dulls the scene,
The orange-ing khaki and the ochre-ing green
Creates a long and rambling Alexandrine
But colours this meeting slightly less darkly,
Reducing the negativeness,
By relieving the grey and the endless rain.
But trees enclose, confine, contain,
So nevertheless seem mean;
The great capacity for dreariness,
Within a Wombwell carpark, once a mine,
Shouldn't be underestimated,
Even when the weather's fine.

University Surfing Club Guidance for Organ Scholars

Well there are no medals
For knowing the board doesn't have pedals,
There are no manuals and you should try and avoid stops,
Pistons, let's not go there, especially in wet suits,
There are no trumpets, no flutes,
16 ft is not a suitable wave for a beginner,
You can play the organ after dinner,
But don't go surfing until you feel thinner.
But the swell,
That is something you have in common,
Though you can't exactly control it with your feet,
You have to try, so,
Remember it doesn't come in a box.
You might, on the swell, feel a little tremulant, at first,
But what's the worst
That could happen? You could drown,
But don't bother with your vox humana
You might just as well not,
you won't be heard over the roar
Of the sea,
(Much louder than tutti)
So just pipe down
Acoustics aren't important.  But of course the great attraction
Is  - it's all about action,
Coupling, surely the point of all student activity
Though an organist might find her fellow surfers proclivity
To speak of nothing else rather dull, and they make a lot of noise,
Wind of course is necessary to both,
And 'caught inside' means trapped by a wave,
Nothing to do with hanky panky in the organ loft with choir boys,
Or in the nave.

Saturday, 2 November 2013


Haven't you heard,
I told you to clear off,
Earlier this morning,
Using a rude word,
You're the third
Insect today,
I've told to go away
It's quite absurd
The way
I waste my breath,
Threatening death,
Well, you've had your warning,
A ladybird in the hand
Is worth two in the bush
Only more of a crush.


Why flutter by
My bed,
Why not instead,
Your wings
And say goodbye
And then I
Won't utter
Curses like a nutter,
Wishing you were dead,
As I squash you with the shutter.


Bang your head
Against the sky
As I lie
And try
To sleep?
Stop, I pray,
Else I'll magnify
A light ray,
And watch you fry,

Friday, 1 November 2013

If Music be the Food of Love

My love, I shall change my pitch to thine,
An octave higher, so our sounds combine,
As in the air our bodies intertwine,
In aerobatic ecstacy divine,
And such sweet music shall we make
As in the wind we deftly procreate,
That human minds shall hear it and mistake
Our song for one they hate,
But little will I care, when you are mine,
Because we shall achieve the triple pleasure
Of making love and music at our leisure,
While simultaneously seeking out such treasure
As human blood is, taken in large measure,
So come my love; let us both whine,

BBC News - Can the buzz of mosquitoes be art?