Once there lived a woman in Japan
Amid tsunami and earthquake land
And in her mind she held the ghosts
Of all the dead the Gods could boast

Among the deities to whom she prayed
With incense sticks and flowers laid
She praised Benzaiten the eloquent
For life’s rich flow and essence spent

One day I happened upon her abode
Where by the hearth a snake reposed
She took the serpent green and brown
And gaping wide did swallow it down

I watched in horror as it slid back out
And asked her what that was all about
She said living amongst this isolation
The snake inside lent some protection

From hunger, disease and loneliness
Bestowed on her from the great goddess
I threw some coins into an earthen bowl
Wished her luck with her troubled soul

When turning to leave my eyes did see
A shapeshifting vision macabre to me
She was all the dead from centuries past
Amassed, outcast, with mouths aghast

Their twisted, bruised and broken limbs
The fruit of Izanami’s capricious whims
I ran from them till I reached the shore
The woman appearing just like before

Upon those washed and golden sands
She offered me her ghost-white hands
“Be brave, be strong, my human child
Your eyes bewitched and long beguiled

I am Benzaiten the benevolent and wise
Who shows her face in diverse disguise
Fear not the fate of your mortal friends
Their lives on which their faith depends

Take this Kintsugi cup and drink instead
The tears from all the centuries’ dead
One hundred thousand years have gone
Since man first walked the birth of dawn”

I bowed and drank bathed in her light
Now saved from life’s traumatic plight
For death it seemed was not my fate
And closed to me were Heaven’s gates

I thanked the woman from old Japan
Amid tsunami and earthquake land
From her great mind I stole the ghosts
Of all the dead the Gods could boast




in turn

dead mouse on the path
your tiny soul dearly departed
but to who knows where?

to a place without predators I hope
where seeds and sunshine are plentiful
and the sound of human voices cannot be heard

there I hope to find you
when my turn comes around

Oh Heavenly Sky

I swear the sunrise
came and went
and came again
as each new line
of jet stream tourists
filled the sky
in silver tubes
hung up so high
with hopes of riches
and promised wishes
to see the sights
to Christmas shop
at Harrods
Oxford Street


Home Schooling

I don’t like the smell of these candles! said Peter.

It’s all I could get hold of, his mother replied.

They smell of sick and dead things!

When is the electricity coming back on?

I don’t know Peter. When it can, I suppose.


Peter and his Mum sat huddled together,

Curled up under blankets on the comfy sofa,  

Watching the TV that would never work.

Not without electricity. The candle flickered,

A reflection in a screen of blankness.


When is Jane coming home? asked Peter.

Your sister has found a new home, mother replied.

Is it up in Heaven? asked Peter.

Yes dear, I’m sure it is. Mother smiled.

Did she take her arms and legs with her?


Outside the street was deserted,

Ominous thunder shook the world.

Peter imagined it wasn’t thunder.

He imagined his Dad up there somewhere,

Like Jane, but in a different way.


No school again tomorrow, said his Mum,

We have to go fetch water, find some food.

I’m hungry! said Peter, and bored!

I know, said his Mum, I know.

This game’s not fun anymore!