Tuesday, 25 March 2014


The funny, happy woman who yesterday
inhabited this space, known as me,
has disappeared, cleared off, gone away
and left behind this tired wreck; the sea
of chemicals which has its high spring tides,
washes clean my eccentricity,
leaves me boring, dull on the inside.
And misery is muse.  Creativity
does not depend on happiness, but still,
humour makes a pleasant change; monotony
of mood does not help insight and the will
to see things clearly under a monopoly
of cloud is hampered. And yet "Be gone dull care",
you're only hormones, not despair!

Monday, 24 March 2014

Just a Load of Sweaty Kids

I'm like sitting in the armchair by the fire,
when my daughter strolled in, I'm like "Hiya!"
She'd been singing at Huddersfield Town Hall
I'm like " Celia, how was the other choir?"
I'm like " Were they as good as SCJC?"
But she just stood there looking vague and I could see
that she just didn't care at all,
I'm like, "Celia, how was the other choir?"
She's like Veronica Lake meets Garbo
channeling cool with a kind of retro
and then she turns to me
and she's like
"They were just a load of sweaty kids,
just a load of sweaty kids,"
I'm like "Celia!"
I'm like "in this context what does sweaty mean?"
hoping it wasn't something vaguely obscene,
she's like "Its like, kids that try hard,
just a load of sweaty kids,"
I'm like, "Did they sing in tune?
Did they have charisma?"
She's like, "No, and they had really bad posture"
I'm like, "What did  they sing, was it owt good?"
She's like "No, I thought I told you,
I thought you understood:
they were just a load of sweaty kids.

Friday, 21 March 2014

A Heap of Clothes

A messy tangle of weak tea tights,
like washed up seaweed on the shore;
belonging to she who doesn't care,
who doesn't give a damn anymore.
And other sorts of underwear,
in various stages of decay,
lying, tattered on the table top.
Tired jumpers, not put away
enfold in limp and twisted arms
skirts and blouses, bluey-grey,
a heap of garments whose strange charms,
once caught my heart and made me pay,
a price for an imagined day,
when I would wear them happily.
Their creases now, and scrumpledness,
their too big, too small uselessness,
pay homage to my vanity,
pay homage to my laziness,
and to the fantasy whose endlessness
in the shape of some new dress,
is sadly, really nothing less
than the will to carry on.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Strange Black Dog

This morning in the north west wind
which bent the bright green winter wheat
a strange black dog came running, fast.
as fast, as manic as the gale, which blew the grass,
all edged with brown,
and blew the dog, so small and neat,
across the field and up the bank,
one ear turned back and skin side out.
His fur was wet with sweat and dew, his feet,
so dainty, seemed too small.
His bright, sharp eyes were black and keen
pursuing something quite unseen,
chasing an idea, a scent.
His running seemed quite twice the speed,
of any dog I'd seen before.
When all at once he heard a call
and turned around and fleet as fox
retraced his steps across the mud,
until he was a speck once more,
a tiny, crazy thing so small,
and then he was invisible.
And as I gazed, entranced and stood
beside the willows in the wood,
I wondered was he physical,
or had I seen a metaphor.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Venn Diagram (intersectionality)

To represent humanity-
our common needs, our human dignity,
one might think it logical
to make a single circle,
encapsulating what we know to be self evident,
our need for food and love and liberty,
for shelter, warmth and tolerance,
to live without the interference
of those who'd do us harm.

I find this is sufficient,
since each of us is different,
to take these simple statements
and represent them clearly.

But just as an experiment
I took the counter argument
and started out to represent
ideas about identity.

I did not like the spiders web, the spirograph,
the tangled mess of specificity,
that tried to show complexity,
but reduced our great humanity
to segments, sociological.

For one thing it's impossible
to intersect all combinations,
which means one gives priority
to those fashion deems are relevant,
ignores the commonality
of all human experience,
ignores what is unique:
our individuality.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Julgans Nigra Circa 15th Century Hatfield Estate, Felled in storm 2014.

How small the compass of the matted roots,
protruding now above the ground, nest like.
How gnarled the limbs which horizontal lie,
reaching out along the grass beneath the sky
which, from the moment of emergence
from its squirrel-buried shell, fragile shoots
have gained their strength, increased, converting
sunlight into starch and growing lignified;
slowly turning seedling into walnut whip
and adding annually to shape and size,
so, after centuries, its stature
we regard as representative
of all that totaled, all that signified
ancient wisdom, knowledge - that which man holds good.
Some arms reach upwards still, seeking the sun;
three open orifices Bosch-like show,
somehow obscene, among the twisted branches,
crying out in prayer or pain, "I am undone".
We weep to see it thus reduced, a metaphor
for human age and death, but this facility
to always make connection to ourselves
is vanity and simplification.
Our trunks and limbs are here to serve our minds,
and though we must accept that death,
is fate, inevitability,
that flesh at last is frail
and all that is undignified,
though even brains must fail,
in life we are not fixed or rooted,
limited by things corporeal,
every human being can be free,
we are our spirits; man, not tree.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

17th Century Prosthetic Eyeball

Two hemispheres joined at the equator,
an odd and rather gruesome yo-yo,
made perhaps of marble or of soap stone,
designed to nestle in an empty socket.
Creamy yellow, hard and smooth, its maker
must have tried to match its partner, to show
his skill, though the sclera looks like bone
adjacent to the iris.
Leaf-like is this thing of beauty,
the eye itself,
of blue-grey-green the iris made of glass,
the surface is convincing in its richness,
and belies its nature, cold un-living.
It served its purpose well, it did its duty,
looking at the world but never seeing,
so much bounced off, did not pass through it,
it did not judge, nor was it unforgiving.
An encapsulation of a mind and soul,
blind and yet one reads its fixed expression,
implanted there by him who thought to make it,
moved by kindness, sympathy, compassion.

Seeing History: The rise of spectacles in early modern Britain