Saturday, 28 June 2014


Her hair is burgundy it's true,
But that is not enough, alone,
To spell the c word, nor the blue
And green of her exposed tattoo.
It's something bred within the bone,
A coarseness in the countenance,
Which speaks, before the voice
To prove, refinement cannot be a choice.

It's something in the maintenance
Of her relentless narkiness,
That tells of no embarrassment
At how she is perceived.

She seems within her element
In shouty, mardy, argument,
Her hide like a rhinoceros
Both physical and metaphor.
And there's a kind of hopelessness
That hangs about her family.
And yet the youngest of her brood
Seems different in her happy mood,
As if she is a throwback, who
Conjured from some other place
Has all the cheerfulness and grace
Of any happy little child, a winning smile,
A carefree, nature and a face
Which tells us that her quietness,
Would soften any heart. But for the while
I sit and watch, it seems to have not that effect,
But rather works against her.

I think that in her mother's view
There's evidence of alien genes,
They must be from the father's side,
Because they make her mother mean,
With extra special emphasis.
I leave the scene,
And wonder if this helpless child
Will grow into another lout,
Or keep essential gentleness,
And prove that nature overcomes
The hard harshness of common mums.

Friday, 27 June 2014


The calm and peaceful placidness is back,
Tranquility replaces the attack
Of panic and anxiety. And yet I 'd rather
Have my whirring mind, than this docility.
This bovine state seems heavy and too dull,
There's no spontaneous creativity,
I'm better when I'm mad, my mind's more full,
Imagination keeps me happy. Serenity 's
A school lunch semolina,
Served without a hint of strawberry jam,
I'd rather do without it: being Serena
Isn't really being who I am.

Starting to Doze Off in the Car While Waiting for the Children in Scunny.

Drum and bass and ice cream van
And sun on chrome and red brick wall,
And local voices and the span
Of cobalt blue above it all.
Two quavers then a Scottish snap,
Partly tune and partly noise,
And gossiping and glinting light
And endless thumping then a gap,
Of silence and the sudden flight
Of swallows in their gracefulness
And a tiny squall of rain.
And barking dogs and shouting boys,
And then the ice cream's back again,
And all becomes a little blurred,
And sound and sight merge into one
My eyes grow heavy but a word
Quite close to me, about the sun
Is just enough to bring me back
To wakefulness from dropped off black

Friday, 20 June 2014

Crane Fly

The crane fly sits beside the bog,
I wish he wouldn't do it,
He doesn't have a cud you see,
And so he cannot chew it.
And yet he seems to ruminate, and meditate.
"And yoga?"
He's really good at it
And likes to sit and prove it.
For though the
Daddy Long Legs is a rather silly creature,
He has a spiritual side,
His one redeeming feature.
And yet one wishes he'd desist,
For there's nothing less like Nietzsche
Than a crane fly by the lavatory
Who aspires to be a preacher,
And cares not for your point of view
Or transcendence beyond structure.
His appetite for mindfulness is nought if not prodigious
But how can life be re affirmed
By something you've just squished?
Because there's nothing left to do,
When bugs become religious.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014


Yes, nebulousness is meant to be bad, I guess,
But I wish to express a certain distress at the mess
That is caused by people who wish to address
Issues by defining them, then enshrining them in law.
What could be less English? Shades of grey
Make up each day in cloudy moodiness. We dress
In such a way as to easily divest ourselves of wooliness,
If we wish to catch a ray, we don't display our flesh
With that intention, we act according to the weather.
Whatever seems appropriate at the time we confess
To be the epitome 
Of what it is that it suits us to be,
Do you see?

Saturday, 14 June 2014


This morning they were merely shadows,
Racing on the curtains, as the day grew bright.
Soundless, black, familiar patterns against light;
Not quite the real thing but just their echoes.
At noon they're screeching out among the sparrows
And the wood pigeons whose great delight
Is randy flapping, clapping, mating, in spite
Of  balancing on fragile saplings. Swallows,
Which are altogether calmer, are, this year,
Noticeable by their absence. Only swifts
Against the shoals of mackerel now appear,
Tiny darts of darkness over drifts
Of fluffy flowers.  Madly they career,
Then vanish where the cloud's in rents and rifts.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Summer Afternoon.

I strimmed the creeping, wild garlic leaves
Down to the ground, dark and damp
In the grey afternoon, before rain,
And the earth and mushed vegetation
Spattered my long leather boots.
And the ancient fern and the Ilex Aurea Rex
Became islands again in a sea of stubble and soil.

And now in the heat of this June afternoon,
This perfect, summer day
The pungency of a French tramp:
Garlic, and the process of decay,
Wafts to me over the lawn,
Mixing with the aromatic coffee
At my side, and the smell of post-dog-walk-body,
Bulging from too young, too small Broderie Anglaise,
Soapy, sweaty, fatty, and the sweet scent
Of elder blossoms, not yet turned catty.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Touch Screen

Little migraine auras litter you,
Rainbow, smudges, glitter you,
As, in the evening light, you catch some ray
Of golden brightness gone astray.
And then the words beneath your rigid glass,
Are secondary to patterns, pink, green, blue,
Which, greasy finger tips have slid
And tapped and swiped, in childish dances.
You don't catch coal dust in between your keys,
And grime, but only little specks and motes.
You shine yourself from underneath,
Pale, butter yellow, when I'm making notes.
But it's in the unexpected brilliance
Which glances on your surface suddenly
That shows the popularity of places.
The zed and ex bear barely any grease,
The smiley face and exclamation mark,
Show hardly a trace of poking, but the space
Bar is quicksilvered in the dark,
A veritable oil slick; so the chances
Of mistyping, adding unexpected gaps, increase.


I wish with all my heart I could endure
That whining, high pitched sound. And yet alas
I feel it's true, I have no real choice
But to do this creature in, and thus ensure
Never again to hear his awful voice.
The bombilations of the hornet in
A flat, against the window pane increase,
And his size grows in proportion to the din.
And then I know that I must make it cease,
With a squirt of something nasty in a tin.
And now I know he'll bombilate no more,
In any key, by any window glass,
And I'm rather pleased, and skewer him,
To display to other members of his class.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

A Scunthorpe Bag Lady

She stoops and scratches at the exposed earth,
her arm between the railings, as she strokes
the crumbling soil with all the carefulness
Of an archeologist, who brushes
and brushes, one layer at a time, searching
for God knows what; some long gone, long dead thing?
Then on she moves, her bulging knapsack,
gives her the appearance of a hunchback.
Her walk is a slight stagger with a list
to port, as her eyes skim the borders
and she tries to perceive the particular
in empty patches in between each drift
of summer flowers in suburban plots.
There seems no purpose in her scrutiny,
she's careless of the tab ends cast aside,
her hunting seems to be for what SHE'S lost
although she is uncertain it's specific.
She's unaware, and seems oblivious,
Ttough callous children laugh and then disperse
to shout and stare and watch her rolling by.
She stoops and scratches at the exposed earth.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Pathetic Fallacy

I have taken aspirin and paracetamol with caffeine,
Washed down with a little brandy in my tea,
And now there are faint stripes of blue
Appearing in the sky between
The banks of cloud in whites and greys.
And the last few
Puddles evaporate from the flags,
and the elder tree
Turns its cream plates to the south to catch some rays.
Modern medicine is marvellous.

Making Spoons

My body pressed against your back,
Making spoons for hot water bottle warmth,
My aching ovaries against your kidneys,
My nose deep in your fur; I seem to lose track
Of the passage of time. A wealth
Of images flood my mind and I start the journey
Back to sleep, breathing in your personal smell,
River water, mud,
Something slightly eggy, and a petrochemical taint
From the flea drops, comforting, though unwell
Scent.  And your heart beats thump your pulsing blood
Against my stomach, and the faint
Egginess becomes more sulphuric,
And you begin your insatiable licking,
First the velvet bedspread, short rhythmic
Strokes, then my hand and forearm, seeking
Saltiness.  And I doze and seem to lack
The will to pull away.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The last Day of May 2014

Last of the sun, last bright ray,
Lights up a corner of mahogany,
About two feet long,
Eight inches wide,
It catches on each slant egg of bead,
Down the wardrobe side,
And shows the chocolate swirls
Among the redder gold,
Flame veneers, in the last flame of light.
It grows darker, ceases to glow
As the sun starts to sink out of sight,
In the west.
Now only the dusty cornice
And a little patch of wall
Are still bright.
The swifts race past the window
Not at all in time to Dvorak on the radio,
And the sky blushes, a slight hint
In the north east,
Of the harsh orange and pink
It is splashing about
Behind the house,
And the cat prowls and yowls
Somewhere downstairs.
The warmth has gone.
The room cools back to blue and grey.



Emerging from the little, early church
At the top of the hill,
From the coolness of stone and peace and still,
Through the ancient door
Into the heat of June:
One sees they are everywhere,
Sometimes one hears the distant roar,
Of these symbols of virginity, white and pure,
Blameless, faultless (?)
And of the Trinity.
Then, for a second, no more,
A cross, as the third arm passes the stem.
Seemingly powerful,
But hopelessly inefficient
At bringing greater light,
Working alone and sometimes in unison,
Not working at all on holy days,
And it seems so many days are holy;
Both strange, absurd and magnificent sight,
Pointing, pointing, pointing 
To the need for better ways,
But ultimately pointless.
And familiarity breeds contempt.
Those of us in daily communion
Have become the faithless,
Lacking the passion 
Of those who believe but do not see.

Through the French Doors

When once the sun is in the south
The light within the house degrades,
And like the mouth
Of some great cave,the room
Beyond the windows, bright,
Rolls back in shades
Of deepest gloom.
But standing in the lack of light
And looking out beyond: the sun
Upon the snowball bush,
The alkanet,and the first blush
On apple trees, appear better than
They would have done
Without the contrast of the tomb,
To emphasise and frame the sight.