hung from a pendulum thread
dental floss thin
cuts the skin
like an overladen shopping bag
swaying to
swaying fro
in your hand the essence of being
a takeaway life
curried strife
songs of swings and roundabouts
playground fights
bullied nights
the muted television in the corner
lights the room
dares to presume
that all is well with the outside world
lottery cash
dolphin splash
but the time bomb is reliably ticking
heart beats
death cheats
an aluminium foil tray of sickliness
piled in corners
sleep disordered
heard every scene and take before
every stanza
every mantra
none now apply within these walls
for silence reigns
where nothing’s gained

on the fringe of realms

flight paths criss-cross on the fringe of realms
the robin lands on a confusion of chicken wire
looks about before darting in to feed his partner
sparrows and blue tits fly straight into their nests
away up the slope a thrush like an arrow nearing
pauses for one moment on the rusted fencing
then dives into the tangle of hedge and briars

in the bottom field a squadron of carrion crows
they glip and glide and gather in poplar trees
cow tails swish to swat away some pesky flies
seagulls merge with floating clouds up on high
the first swallow breezes in from faraway skies
glad to be back home despite the nip in the air
checking out it’s favourite haunts and meadows

there’s a blackbird with a white tail feather
a mob of magpies making a racket in the conifer
one of those that has grown too big for its roots
next winter it will come down with an axe swing
the wood chopper chops as the woodpecker pecks
chop after peck after chop after peck after chop
sound and motion in natural harmony

later I will draw down the night sky on all of this
with a broadcasting hand I will scatter the stars
the pull of a chord will lighten up the full moon
time for tawny owls to ke-wick and hoo-hoo-oooo
time to take my leave and leave without a trace
for I am not of this world despite all you have heard
I come and go in peace on wax paper wings




“Daddy Was an Old Time PREACHER Man”

Been thinking about the word ‘PREACH’ today

How Madonna implored her Papa not to
Would have been a waste of time anyway
She’d already made up her mind

And Stevie Wonder beseeched the PREACHERS
To keep on PREACHIN’ to reach the higher ground

Drake said it six times – I don’t know why
PREACH PREACH PREACH – and that makes six
I guess he wanted to press the point home

And the only one who could ever reach Dusty
You guessed it, was the son of a PREACHER man
Yes he was, ooh yes he was, he was, he was
Yes I think we got the message Dusty

Aren’t we told to practise what we PREACH?
And aren’t we told not to be too PREACHY?

Hellfire PREACHERS do it with damnation
Missionary PREACHERS do it the world over
Evangelists do it disguised as door-to-door salesmen
Beware the black suits and shiny white teeth


It’s all very blah and contradictory
To PREACH, by implication, is to refuse debate?
I PREACH therefore I am right. Right?
Whether it’s from the Lord or from the heart
About global climate change or sport
Politics and ethics, pacifist or militarist

You gotta believe in your chosen message
Whether illogical or not it doesn’t much matter

To PREACH without being PREACHY
Well it’s nigh on impossible surely?

And the role of the poet in all of this?
To try and express what we feel not how to feel
Not as a PREACHER or as a leader
But as a reflection of us all
I believe John Lennon said that

Go tell it on the mountain folks
And don’t forget your kids.

with thanks to:
& The Wilburn Brothers



wild thing

I miss dragging on a cigarette
drinking until my head is wrecked

dancing until my legs are dead
not hearing what the hell you said

inside the music’s cranked up loud
our hearts are pumping to the sound

of disco, punk and reggae beats
the laser lights and strobes compete

with dodgy drugs and taking risks
swigging back cold cans of Schlitz

we’re just clowning not frowning
this morning’s young in a seaside town

now it’s 5 a.m. and we’re on the beach
the moon and stars are out of reach

our hearts and souls are on the wing
it’s time to leave my wild thing


a flippance of flies

a flippance of flies
flew around my face
all fanciful in their
frivolous flight

fuck off! fuck off!
get out of my space
you’re offering me
such a fearful fright

but still they fussed
and still they fiddled
that flippance of flies
that followed me hither

another poem

there’s a patch of sunlight on the hill
it’s not too far away
the white blades on the new windmill
are slicing up my day

every minute they go round and round
morning, noon and night
I stand in hope and wait spellbound
for a future shiny bright

a poem

the sea was romaine lettuce green
the sky a blueberry blue
the clouds were patterned coffee cream
the boats a lemony hue

the day was bleeding beetroot red
the night black liquorice glue
the moon was buttery brioche bread
the dough of mornings new


a little brown sparrow
flew directly toward me
it caught a tiny black fly in flight
and flew off into the big bright sky

did the fly notice the sparrow?
or the sparrow notice me?
or did the big bright sky see
the drama unfold down below?

it was just an insignificant moment
caught between the beat of tiny wings
and later the day turned to night
and an owl came out to feed

Prairie Wishes

I want to live out on the prairie
A little house with a south facing porch
Gentle slope down to a wide expanse
Cool evening breeze to soothe the soul

I want to live out on the front porch
Kill time to the beat of the swing seat
Watch the ruby-throated hummingbirds
Cool kisses from my honey’s sweet lips

I want to live out on the swing seat
Rock to and fro in her warm embrace
Talk of this and that and nothing more
Until the evening sun leaves to rest

I want to live out in her warm embrace
Her voice washing over me in waves
You know that’s all I ever really wanted
But some wishes never will come true

escape routes

staring at the cracks in the ceiling
he went in search of unexplored lands
lost worlds mapped in lines and stains
one-eyed cyclopes in missing plaster caves

there the route to King Solomon’s Mines
Quatermain exhausted he falls to sleep
forty leagues of adventure dreaming
he climbs Kanchenjunga in The Lakes

exploring Slater Bob’s copper mines
‘sing out if you see rocks under water, Roger’
but there are only books lying on the floor
slipped from the hand of a tired boy

now the books are aligned on shelves
classics, fiction, poetry, art, nature, travel
and the man still dreams of unexplored lands
the cracks in the ceiling his escape routes


the black holes he passes through
huh, the mazes that he wanders
a different form of escape sometimes beckons
one that cannot be written in words


‘sing out if you see rocks under water, Roger’
adapted from Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.