Distant memories
They are mouse runs under corrugated sheets
Lifted to expose secrets that would otherwise
Have lain dormant under crumbling skies

Like the patch of downland we called the field
A folded and forgotten handkerchief meadow
Tucked away behind the haunted house
And the dovecote with the waffle walls

We filled its cubby holes with hide and seek treasures
The rust red leaves of autumn’s arms
Blue broken eggshells tossed from spring’s nests
All arranged with feathers found

The light of the passing moons
Cast long shadows on those our dancing days
And months made years made men of boys
Made laughter peel like church hung bells

Now dormant in silent repose
Having placed our pasts in hibernation
We sleepwalked into the adult world
To find our hunger lost


Down Rue Emile Zola to the war memorial
Where the cats lounge in the shade of the names
A couple dozen or so from hereabouts – never made it home

They purr – the cats – not the dead
But don’t get too close
Their claws and fleas protect what memories are left

This small town, built in the round
Church and steeple the highest of the high – naturally
The rest all post-impressionism

And from the water tower on the adjacent hill
A jumble of terracotta tiled rooftops demand the brush
Shutters drawn against outside intrusion

I’m a bit Sunday lost to be honest
Shops all closed, swifts screeching between the gaps
Flying out over olive groves and neat rows of grapevines

The soil, the climate, the topography, the people
It’s what flavours the taste – so they say
In the Cave Cooperative a bottle costs less than you’d think

So we buy a case next day before heading out
A long toll road drive up through the Massif Central
Where angry farmers block the road with tractors and barbecues

Reintroduced wolves are killing their sheep
They stop the traffic; demand the right to shoot on sight
Not us thank god – griffon vultures watch from overhead

Great barn doors spiralling above the Viaduc de Millau
But we move on undetected
Overnight in Vichy, crack open a bottle of the red

Drink a toast to Emile Zola, the cats, the dead
The farmers, wolves, Cézanne, sunflowers, swifts
And not forgetting the terroir that makes it all just what it is

it was an illusion

it was an illusion
the lump in his throat
the tear in her eye
the handshake
the kiss
the wave goodbye

it was an illusion
the tide coming in
the sun setting low
the moon
the stars
the fire below

it was an illusion
the love they shared
the home they made
the memories
the photos
the games they played

it was an illusion
the wind in the trees
the sun on the sea
the birds
the bees
the way she left me

Paper Moth

paper thin
and paper worn
paper weight
and paper torn
paper me
and paper you
paper white
and paper blue
paper caught
and paper blown
paper light
and paper bones
paper days
and paper nights
paper wrong
and paper right
paper this
and paper that
paper moth
inside my hat

The Old Man and the Sea

I visited Ernest Hemingway’s house on Key West last year and bought a fridge magnet as a souvenir. It didn’t make the fridge but has instead attached itself to the shelf bracket next to my writing desk. I have reblogged this post from artist and writer Luke Otley because he has done such a great job with the likeness. The quote on the fridge magnet reads “Good writing is true writing…” The same can be applied to portraiture. If you agree why not pop over and give Luke’s drawing a like. Here’s my fridge magnet and Luke’s Daily Sketch.


And by complete coincidence a friend posted a link to this beautiful paint-on-glass animated version of The Old Man and the Sea on Facebook today. It was made in 1999 by Russian animator Aleksandr Petrov. All these coincidences are making me feel like I am in some sort of weird inspiration loop.


19243672_1302997093131608_1718529070_o.jpg My attempt at Hemingway. Nice to be drawing again after moving into a new place. A3, Charcoal

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Meddle Music

Lying here under a warm sun
Everything seems so far away
Pink Floyd are playing with my ears

“a cloud of eiderdown draws around me softening the sound”

I like to write dreamy word poems
Imagine them painted on your mind
Know that they touched you in a certain way
That maybe only my words could set you free

“and I rise like a bird in the haze and the first rays touch the sky”

But it seems the moments may just have been illusory
The dolphin’s dive just a memory
A silenced splash in a forgotten sea

“Behold a dream, the dream is gone”

The cicadas fill the night with their incessant cries
Each one sounds so lonely and lost
As the full moon slips over the hill one last time

“and the candle dies”



(italicised lyrics taken from the song ‘A Pillow of Winds’ by Pink Floyd
from the 1971 album Meddle)

To the father and the son

Not I
the father that is
Or he
the father that was
Or they
that came before

But him
the future to come
The son
that fashions the son
And on
Like fathers before

(it’s Father’s Day here in the UK. I was searching relevant poems on the internet but finding only soppy greetings card ditties and tragic he’s-dead-and-I-always-hated-him dirges. It got me thinking about the future of the son once the purpose of the father has been fulfilled – rather like obsolete technology. Oh dear, that doesn’t sound so good put like that! Anyways, my own little ditty came out as above.

There always seems a touch of pat-him-on-the-back generosity from teenage boys on Father’s Day. Here, put your feet up Dad, do what you like; read the Sunday paper and have a rest because you deserve it. Gosh, how I feel tired and old and somewhat redundant. As they say, what goes around comes around but hey, don’t write me off just yet young laddie!

Of course, I cooked our meal tonight, I usually do, it’s my job. Reheated samosas from the food fair we visited yesterday, salad and couscous. And a bottle of wine. Like birthdays, I don’t really celebrate these yearly markers but deep down I smile that at least I have made it to another one. Now where’s my slippers?)

In Meditation

Layered hills one beyond another beyond
The rising sun from smokey green to
Pellucid pink wands of paper folded clouds
Hung above a waterfall, framed by pine
“Where nothing in the cry of cicadas
Suggests they are about to die”.

I hear the chime of the meditation bell,
The sweep of rush brushes on gravel lawns
And sliding, the screen wall opens, reveals
Mountains too high to climb in one lifetime;
Ink splashed, an empty space silenced,
Unanswerable, mysterious, islands, islands.

She clips the wings of the bonsai tree,
Feeds red crowned cranes from her palm,
Gifts cherry blossom kisses to the wind.
Gone in a week, flown away to the north
On a gold foil sunset, venerated, veiled;
We link our arms around the cedar tree

But the wave engulfs us, octopi fingerlings
Fan out with great speed in straight lines,
Bullet fast in perfection, twisting the aesthetic,
The seas, skies and conscious far horizons,
Entering the shrine, contemplating nature,
We are animated and energised by the land.

She takes hold of my hand, flickering
Spirits reshape on a forest path winding
Upwards, summiting the vast view of blue
Bewildered hills, layered one beyond
Another beyond her eyelids and fingertips,
Blinking into a future migrating heartbeat.


(Quote by Matsuo Bashō, 1644 – 1694 Japan.
‘Haboku-Sansui’ ink on paper by Sesshū Tōyō,
1495, Japan)

The Total Paradigm Shift Generation

Hi there, we’re sorry for the inconvenience
But like, we’re trying to CHANGE the world
You know, only the people can FIGHT injustice
We NEED system change not climate change
We are the 99% – TOO BIG TO FAIL

The corrupt FEAR us
The honest SUPPORT us
The heroic JOIN us

For ALL our grievances ARE connected
And you have the right NOT to remain SILENT
DEFEND human needs over corporate GREED

We are YOU

We are the TOTAL PARADIGM SHIFT Generation
With the power of LOVE over the power of MONEY
The 99% that won’t go away
For these streets are OUR streets
And WE are NOT disposable


(original photo c/o Getty Images / Independent)

Punctured Lungs

The lungs of London were punctured today,
A metropolis struggling now for breath, gasping
As the acrid smell of sad news fills its airways
To cast its black spectre of smoke under doors,
Through multicultural neighbourhoods, stunned
Communities reaching out with bottled water,
Blankets, toys, prayers and shocked disbelief.

The muffled alarm bells have been silenced.
Questions lay unanswered in the pools of grief
Flooding empty halls and children’s bedrooms.
Playgrounds emptied, laughter all but cancelled
For the foreseeable future, in respect of the dead.
I can only turn and stare at the clear blue day
A clear blue day that for some would never arrive.

Here the air feels good in my lungs, gratefully
Accepted, far enough away, not having drifted
This far, not on the sombre airwaves connecting
And redistributing their grim suffering from afar.
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe some more.
My lungs are unaffected, my soul much less so.
A cloud passes overhead and cries a single tear.