November Poem

20 Nov

The sky ages and greys, thinking back on her

half remembered days of blue and gold beauty.

The damp sodden ground dreams of long distant dryness

while beads of rainfall gleam on its shivering green blanket.

The magpie doesn’t care, hopping white and black,

his plumes like ingredients of the day’s greyness.

On a disused city church

11 Jun

Victorian brick, stained-black red

bell tower looming, an empty head

eyes plucked out by pigeon-rats

that nest now under roofing slats.


Scuttle below: the dusty church mice

squeaking in the heavy holy silence

that hangs in empty church chest cavity

under Gothic ribs, grey stone-wrought canopy.


Back in the tower under thief-sought lead

the heavy bells dangle in the head

they sit there beshitten, never knell

and peer out across the urban hell,


and see there, massing in Sunday best

hoodies, the people, traipsing towards the west

Tesco-wards they throng and tread

in search of their discount weekly bread.


14 Apr

Sparkles under wet footsteps home

glinting guide the trudge back alone.

River of my Youth

6 Apr

Sitting on the damp grass

by the river of my youth,

more a stream

to tell the truth, though as a child

it seemed bigger.


I’ve shrunk it in growing,

but still the gleam

carries magic from afar to far

away. I like how

it’ll never stop flowing

will always be here

when I’m gone; home, city-bound,

or dead, it’ll still be going,

always cool, wet, fish-full

and refreshing.


rolling small and obscure

under mature willows

through unremarkable fields.

Appreciated by dog walkers

and their wet dogs,

cider-quaffing pot-smoking

village idiots will lounge and litter its banks.


Small Huckleberry boys

will always scamper across

its plank bridges – fishing net in hand,

sunhat on head,

hunting the clawed monster crayfish

of the muddy bed.


And the occasional dreamer

quiet and aloof,

will sit, and take peace

from its ceaseless, winding,

sea-searching movement through the fields.




Oneness Poem

19 Dec

The trees:

are beautiful,

green above the sheen of a clear stream

they’re swaying,

soaring zephyr-stirred

on a background of azure purity.

The unmovable: it’s evident,

in the smooth movement of the stream;

rolling, splish splash

in grass banks.

Up above: a glide of vapour;

white cloud benignly

shifts as sun

(God’s sun)

beams down,

his light bathing bathers.

Droplets depart mother river

splashed upwards they

glint before glistening

on skin.

They rinse clean skins of bodies,

that, once apart,

melt one-wards and meld

becoming boundless,

as boundaries disappear

so that together, here,

all are One.

And in this nature

this wildness of blue, brown, green

in the life-filled

brilliance of sparkling water’s sheen

all is one,


The Unmovable

in motion –

One in the Oneness;


This is a rewriting of a poem I wrote a few years ago after a spiritual experience I had after a rave in the Welsh mountains. The rave was a pretty dodgy techno party, frequented by the usual deadbeats and misfits of society that these events attract. Fun nevertheless, and located in a beautiful spot called Forest Coalpit in the Brecon Beacons. We stayed at the party until about 9am, by which time the sun was really scorching, and then drove a mile further up the track to a spot by a beautiful stream where we got out and had a dip. While there I had a very powerful sense of spiritual elation, brought on in part by a book I had been reading about religion and spiritualism (The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley – amazing book). The references to the ‘unmovable’, and ‘one in the oneness’ and ‘nirvana’ come from the theological writings I discovered through this book. Looking back, to suggest I attained nirvana is a bit pretentious – if I came anywhere near it it didn’t last, although I still remember the feeling I had.

This is the second rewriting of this poem, the first is on this blog and entitled ‘After the Party’, and is less high-flown.

The World’s Strongest 87-Year-Old

18 Nov

You were always strong, invincibly

in an elemental sort of way –

I was convinced you were unhurtable – like a hill,

or a weathered oak – all the stronger for being old.

And it’s true; Granny said you never were ill,

never even a cold (until the end of course

but I’ll get to that soon – everyone will.)

At five foot four – five five before, but you shrank –

you were never small,

though we, your grandsons (you called us “my boys”)

towered above you by a foot.


Nothing for yourself, no fuss,

you’d do anything for anyone

and eat anything near enough.

Standing outside Tesco on a freezing winter morning

rattling collection tins for charity,

or driving packs of housebound old biddies in the Lions Club

bus – to get them out the house, give them some company

and lunch.

You did that for years – till eventually you outdated half the stick-wielding



You had all the skills I’ll never learn:

with a garage full of dusty iron tools,

time and again you came and bodged jobs for us,

till eventually dad said to mum: “Whatever you do, don’t tell your dad it’s broken.”

You’d fix anything – or try at least.

You knew washing machines and cars,

Cameras, aquariums,

trees plants grass,

woodwork and electrics,

plumbing and Scalextric.

Hey – aged 80 you even figured out the internet.


A child of 1919  – your youth was strict

no toys but a rabbit’s skin – not even a hoop and stick.

That’s why you collected those model cars,

I realised that late – after you’d gone I think.

And you always had a toy for us,

no miserable ‘I never had that in my youth’ words.

But when naughty brattishness took hold of us we feared

your silent glower  over the lunchtime tabletop all the same.


I remember it all so well.


And I remember the ending too.

Your second war.

And you fought it without complaint,

fought the cancer in the piss- and chemical-smelling hospitals of Essex

Just like you’d fought the Japanese

in the damp fever-filled jungles,

of Burma, sixty years before.

You were solid, stoic, as ever,

never a cry for sympathy. Never.

And battling hard you showed titan strength

As your piss flowed back to yellow,

From red.

And the cancer died.

For a time, anyway.



And then it came back, years later, in your head,

growing in grey matter, under white skull,

pink skin, and grey hair – hair tha had always been thick whether

dark or white,

up to age eighty-six anyway, when the cancer made it begin to shed.

Of course a tumour in the head will change a person –

Somehow, so strangely, you mellowed.

No more glowers; you were softer –

strangely happy – I think more open,

perhaps at the end of a life lived well one feels that way.

You’d read about illegal raves in the local paper:

“Were my boys at that one?”

You’d ask Mum, curiously, uncondemning.

Sometimes you were confused, that’s true,

and it wasn’t easy. Well, you were dying.

But as your body and mind weakened

Your soul never could.


Holding your hand as the nurse bustled, your grip was iron strong,

And I knew you were gripping onto life,

gripping so hard, to stop the falling in your head.

It didn’t take you that night – you held tight to life –

but shortly after.

You left a family, and memories,

heaps of tools, toy cars – a nice half-page obituary

to a community figure –

and I hope a little part

of your deep strength and invincible heart

somewhere woven inside of mine.

Ever-dimming light

13 Nov

The weak-rayed sun drops over the terraced street

I see the cold beams from my basement ,

barred from street level footsteps, passing cars.

And as the pale clear light dwindles,

yellow lamp glow takes over, warms the cold room.

Foot steps tap in the flat above,

The washing machine sloshes and hums.

And I sit, passing Sunday hours.

And humdrum days too

as the clear cold light

of life

ever-dims to darkness.