to be alone on this cloud tonight

to be     alone    on this cloud tonight
white as a bone in a shroud of light

I don’t know how I came to be here
a glow of flames masking my fears

darkening sunsets above and below
threatening the love in overshadow

awaiting my fate I slumber in peace
enveloping weight of covering fleece

the time of angels has come upon me
bells that chime and humble sweetly

the shepherdess watches overseeing
the poetess recites words embracing

to be     alone     on this cloud tonight
white as a bone in a shroud of light

(to read more in this series please click on the Shepherdess tag below)


total release

lying limpid
dissolving into the dust
the sun failing to persuade me
back into life

I can feel the tendrils of her curls
the hot breath from her lips
she leans over my departing spirit
and whispers . . .

. . . here is where you wanted to be
the mountain eerie away from noise
in sight of angels spiralling down
to collect your soul

and all the memories you ever held
will be gathered for eternity
shared amongst the stars
to forever float free . . .

. . . this then
is the finality of my life
the pending obsolescence of flesh
total release

what poetry can be found?

what poetry can be found
in the eyes of an abused child
or the mutilated body
of a bomb blast victim?

what poetry can be found
in a drug addict’s veins
or the scars and bruises
on a beaten woman’s skin?

what poetry can be found
on the empty plates of the poor
or in the dried up rivers
where water once flowed?

what poetry can be found
in the minds of the mad
or the trafficked soul
of a once proud nation?

what poetry can be found
in the terrorist’s ideology
or the promises of politicians
who lie and deny?

what poetry can be found
on a dying planet
or in the plastic filled guts
of beached whales?

what poetry can be found
in the closed ranks of men
or the narcissistic poets
seeking likes and affirmation?

what poetry can be found
when the pen runs dry
or the heart stops beating
with the essence of love?

oysters and samphire

we shared oysters and samphire
the sun melting through layered clouds
until, drowning with a hiss, it disappeared
and all that was left were empty shells
tossed over shoulders on the midden heap
mingling with fish bones and salty wishes
old spells cast from our ancestor’s hands
the same sun and sea bearing witness
to this trial of life blown across the seasons
winter now thankfully behind us
young lambs gambolled over the dunes
each evening straying just a little bit further
like the lengthening spring days
and your long curly hair in the pine breeze
filaments of the finest electric silk
that stroked my cheek as jellyfish tentacles
might drift about and inadvertently sting
but for me it was all I desired
and desire was in our hearts

(to read more in this series please click on the Shepherdess tag below)

my beautiful girl

my beautiful girl
went gallivanting off
into the storm
her curls in the clouds
twisted in tree branches
her siren song
whistling with the wind
peeling with thunder
lightened with laughter
her bare feet squelching out
the loughs and the seas
she formed the mountains
with her breasts and thighs
no rest or sleep
whilst I wept and worked
her galley slave oiled and lustful
chained to the oar locks
I dragged across the heavens
the stars for her
and fitted them one by one
into the orbits of her eyes
where shining like diamonds
she became forever
my beautiful dream

(to read more in this series please click on the Shepherdess tag below )

holiday’s end

the sun is low-cal this morning
watered down behind milky white clouds
it doesn’t matter anyway
as we are leaving today
heading home to rejoin our regular routines
even the seagulls seem to know it
perhaps it’s changeover day for them too
a new cast and crew given the chance
to fill their bellies at this holiday home door
their screeching echoes chasing us away
it’s all a fantasy anyway
none of this will exist once we’re gone
the narrow streets will straighten into motorways
the quaint pubs will become service stations
ugliness will eat away at the clotted cream idyll
and leave us with only our photographs and memories
fading like the low-cal sun behind milky white seagull eyes
it’s all a fantasy anyway and like life itself
we write the days in poems
the best we can


walking the same landscape our ancestors shaped
under the same sullen skies and windswept clouds
great granite boulders hold the hills in a delicate balance
but what now are visible were once woodland cloaked
oh how this has changed yet in some ways not
the streams and drovers’ tracks run a little deeper, yes
worn and rutted by water, wheels, hooves and feet
the trees are gone, replaced by thick stone walls
and farmhouses with solid chimneys blend themselves neatly in
as if hewn from the rock during some dark night storm
this land has stood witness to many such beatings
as wave after wave of cliff batterings took their toll
the gorse bushes bent double like old men in Sou’westers
but it was underground that men also ventured
picking away at the rich seams of tin
that would kill more than would make wealthy
we traipse across a boggy field to Mên-an-Tol
where thrice through the hole will cure your ills
or so the stories go

The Mên-an-Tol standing stones near Madron in Cornwall with the Ding Dong tin mine in the distance.


Hopeful visits me each morning
He tells me that man is ruled by a tyrant
whose name is Ignorance
and given half a chance
He would seek to overthrow that tyrant
if only I would throw him some scraps of food . . .
I tell him I have no authority to fulfil his wishes
or indeed to fill his feathered belly
and why doesn’t he go fish
like all good fisherbirds do?
Hopeful tells me authority is based on falsehoods
whereas knowledge is authority based on truth
and why shouldn’t I throw him some scraps
as he is poor and I am surely rich
and man should not be ruled by the tyrant called Ignorance
but by knowledge instead . . .
Or by conscience I reply
for if I feed you my scraps
you will forget how to fish
like the fisherman who forgets to wake
and misses the tide . . .
Ah, the ‘time and tide that waits for no man’ saying
spoke Hopeful with reproach
is not your conscience the amount of inner knowledge you possess?
but for me that time is running out
and those tides share little fish . . .
Hopeful tried fixing me with his beady eye
but I was having none of it
I said: one day the tide will turn back in your favour
and what is left will go unsaid . . .
Let’s hope, said Hopeful, not convinced
that when that time does come
it will not be too late . . .
He stretched his neck to the heavens
and like all our morning chats
it ended with a defiant shit
a fearsome screech
and a preening of the wings
but sadly no scraps for lunch

With thanks to Hopeful the Seagull in St. Ives and Victor Hugo.


the waves roll
as if great humpbacks
are passing through unnoticed
below the surface turmoil
within the undercurrents
singing their songs of the deep
blowing holes in our imaginations
we can only guess at what goes on
when their eye meets ours
a lighthouse beacon glinting
warning us of danger
now surging ever closer
with the passage of time
these great leviathans
who roll with the waves
dive to seek respite
from the constantly curious
the flesh and photograph hunters
who follow so relentlessly
to the ends of the world
across rolling waves
that never cease
like the tolling of bells
on ships lost at sea