north (mother)

we found your bones
in an abandoned skiff
bleached and burnished
wind weathered
but there on your finger
the ruby red ring
and around your ribs
intricately knotted
the matching necklace
identifying you
laying claim in this
wasteland grave boat
connecting us
in no uncertain terms

your sons and daughters
they built a fire
with driftwood and dried kelp
and using the stars for lanterns
sang your name until morning
when light shone
and you were at last
at peace

give peace a chance

we remember our dead
we pay them respect
but the road that we tread
we have to reject

you choose red or white
it’s your chosen voice
you pay your blood money
you makes your own choice

but choose neither one
take a different side
no bombs and no guns
our world pacified

a fight that’s worth winning
borne from circumstance
we’re silently hoping
to give peace a chance


a meaningful existence is only fleetingly glimpsed between the chaos of our everyday lives . . .

I sit down to write
and a fly joins me
higher pitched than a bee
it does what its name suggests
but in random unsettling bursts
that interrupts the flow of my
early morning creativity

I feel the urge to kill it
even though it’s doing no harm
as no fresh meat sits on my desk
waiting for it to wipe its dirty feet
and puke and chew and contaminate
as all good flies must surely do
at the first sign of anything nice

and is my poetry worth more
than the life of a simple fly?
would my swatting hand deny
the validity of my poet’s mind
when espousing my just causes
and berating those who do harm to others
in the name of peace and harmony?

thankfully it drifts away
and my thoughts return in full swing
despite the washing machine
choosing this moment to begin its spin
and build to a crescendo that resembles
the creation of the universe
many millions of years ago . . .

. . . silence . . .
a black hole moment in this day
when the meaning of it all should
come together perhaps in these last few
remaining lines but the fly returns
and I place a bet with some certainty
that within a day or two it will be dead

lying on the window sill
legs akimbo as if caught in the act
of a complicated dance that went wrong
and caused the little fella’s heart to collapse
and there end its life in a futile last ditched attempt
to right itself and continue being
something sentient and reasoning

if that was ever possible . . . ?


look out
and try to find
blue and crimson skies
where birds fly from the corners of my eyes
and a copse of trees on a wilderness road
is a little piece of England in Wyoming
where the shadows breathe life into the rocks
and the wolf within me sniffs the summer air

I am
alone and I am
a traveller and I am here and now
in no other time or dimension or space
there are pieces of broken seashells in my pocket
the sharp edges a reminder of sand between my toes
my burnt shoulders a reminder of childhood
when I walked these shores without a care
doing what children ought to do in silence

I understand
the importance of being alive
although I cannot comprehend the meaning of it
the days are numbered with my personal DNA sequence
another unfathomable equation that directs me
and sends me spinning through these landscapes
like an out of control meteorite on a collision course
that urges me to bend down and pick at the desert gravel
to find the piece that fits snugly in my mind

of course I can
it’s as easy as buying a ticket and jumping on a plane
there’s no glue to bind me like gravity to this planet
I can come and go as I please and take my leave
wave to you from afar or hold you near
my reason is to journey and never arrive
the call of the wild lulls me to sleep
and in your arms I slumber peacefully


“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



Dead Dove Sketch

‘Ello, I wish to complain about this dove of peace
what you ‘ave been selling for over half a century
from this very international alliance boutique.

Oh yes, the, uh, the United Nations Blue…
What’s,uh…What’s wrong with it?

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my good sir.
It’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!

No, no, it’s uh,…it’s resting.
Remarkable bird, the U.N. Blue. Beautiful plumage!

All right then, if it’s restin’, I’ll wake it up! ~
‘Ello, Mister Secretary General!
I’ve got a lovely fresh war for you if you wake up…

There, it moved!

No, it didn’t, that was you hitting the cage!

I never, never did anything…

Exactly! Now look, mate,
I’ve definitely ‘ad enough of this.
That dove of peace is definitely deceased,
and you assured me that its total lack of movement
was due to it bein’ tired and shagged out
following a prolonged debate.

No, no…..No, it’s just stunned!


Yeah! You stunned it, just as it was wakin’ up! 
United Nations Blues stun easily, sir.

No! That’s what I call a dead dove of peace!

Well, I’d better replace it, then.
Sorry squire, I’ve had a look ’round the back of the HQ,
and uh, we’re right out of doves of peace.

I see. I see, I get the picture.

(pause) I got a slug?



with thanks to Monty Python and the artist Yücel Türkoğlu
for the inspiration.

Peace Puzzle

little pieces of peace
flung around the world like confetti
they fall in the most unlikely of places
and sometimes never fall at all
so what can we do to even the fall
to spread the little pieces more evenly
that my friends is the answer to find
the one and only solution

and to paraphrase Robert Louis Stevenson:

The world is so full of wonderful things
So why are we not all as happy as kings?


Love Bus

All aboard the famous love bus
There’s room for you and me
We’ll drive right to the end of time
To see what we can see

The driver is a friend of mine
His name is Mr Blue Jay Way
He’ll take us to the moon and back
So climb on board today



he carried with him a mirror ball
and within each of its tiny squares
a reflection of a different facet of his life appeared

the sun would shine and project on walls and
passing buses to the amusement of passengers
him as a child with blonde sun kissed hair

or the here and now in kaleidoscopic colours
the things he loved to watch and cherish
like birds flying with words on silent wings

with occasional glimpses into the future
silver grey with bent back and walking frame
the hand of a loved one held in his own

but this was no magic prediction machine
no seer of visions or healer of hidden ills
no, this was his heart and soul for all to see

laid bare and released without copyright
in a multitude of moving moments to spin
and sparkle and help set the people free

Lover’s Key

Beyond the covered decking

Quartz white crystal sands

Sparkle in the Gulf sun –

A line of rainbow umbrellas

Shield the beach goers

With their wheeled cooler boxes –

Stand up paddle boarders

And selfie stick young women

Lounge in the shallows –

Cloud builds from the south

Mid 90’s heat dips to bearable

Miniscule flies bite my ankles –

Along the shore Bonita Springs

And in the distance Naples rises

Like a mini Manhattan on the sea –

A cooling breeze blows through

Tourists disgorge from the free bus

A family prepares to leave –

I don’t have to do anything

Maybe read or write or draw

Clean air filters my thoughts –

The seagulls make the most noise

Circling and squawking their calls

Ever watchful for opportunities –


Beyond all of this the pelicans dive

They fill their shopping bag bills

With lunch from the fresh fish counter.