Tag Archives: Poem

Gang oft agley

7 Feb

The denizens had died weeks earlier

curiosity-killed in the jaws

of traps that snapped vertebrae

like twigs,

they lay with eyes like blackberry grains,

mild revulsion overriding the soft fur’s

invitation to pet.


A mini tragedy, but fair doos:

serves yous right for poaching potatoes

and shitting in the grocery basket,

bag them up and bin them,

us 2 : mice nil.


But opening the drawer was sadder,

the mess of paper, leaves, string,

shredded cotton in patched-blanket squares;,

like a primary school art project,

in pathos.


A nest bereaved of its owners

the body-warmed, soft work

of quiet, secret, darkness hours.

A simple safe haven,

the best laid plan

of nightime scurriers,

and nibblers of potatoes,


“Poor things. Look, they’ve used all sorts.

It seems a shame, you know;

I’ve had worse housemates.”

Late Summer

2 Sep

I saw a thousand butterflies
White above a field
Clumsily they fluttered by
Tacking against the breeze

I saw a standing pony there
Lonely in that field
Wind ruffling its tail and hair
To and fro with the trees

I saw the berries on the thorn
Red against the green
Humming tractors mowing corn
Signalled the season’s end.

I saw the clouds scud up above
As clouds are wont to do
Underneath them kites and doves
Flew in silhouette.


I just moved back to the village I grew up in, after several years living in metropolises. It is a lot quieter and there’s less energy around, but there is certainly a lot of natural beauty to enjoy. The countryside in north Buckinghamshire isn’t spectacular, and it doesn’t take your breath away, but it has an understated, soft, gentle beauty to it, which I was really feeling on this warm, end of summer evening.

The poem is unfinished – I’m still trying to figure out a reasonable final stanza to tie it together and invoke some feelings.

The Beech Tree

4 Mar

Scar-broken smoothness, bark like whaleskin

steeply high rising, tall trunk casting

shadows, as delicate mauve grey branches

cradle the coalsmoke sky.

Green moss-gilded in parts of the bole

horseshoe fungus, woodpecker’s hole

disturb smooth lines of bark; like buttresses

of a silvan cathedral.

Erotic Love Poem

23 Feb

I am hung

Bow-strung taut for you

Parched with the thirst for you

Come my fountain give me water

And I’ll drink


Deeply, madly, truly

Refresh me,

And I’ll undress you again

And again, all morning

As we break our fast

At last, sated.


But still hungry

For more, come closer, that’s not enough

Still closer, still not enough

Lock your arms on me

You fit perfectly

In my arms, against my chest, hold

Tightly, hold hard, hold me til it hurts

Hold me with your soul

And together we are whole.





Marital Abuse – Heroin Addict Poem

28 Nov

Quick-step shuffle march,

a walk that marks her

from a mile off,

a daylight ghoul goes foraging.


she pounds grey streets for silver coins

– “I just need 50p for the bus!”

to brown and oblivion.

Eyes dead but urgent

she hunts endlessly,

gaunt face scowling at rejection,

yet she isn’t deterred.

She can’t be, her spouse

–  she loves him and hates him –

is waiting back at the flat.

Sharp-tipped, he’s always

needling her, never leaves her alone.

He plays her like a fiddle

plucks her strings

and pulls them, so she dances


like his puppet.

But she’s Hungry for him.


All she needs is his touch

his warm caress

his coming inside of her.

H can make her whole again.

But he’s a cruel partner

– she knows he’ll be the death of her.

I wrote this today, and may still edit it quite a lot. It isn’t very thought-through in terms of rhythm, metre, and possible rhymes, but it has the idea and the imagery.
I’ve always noticed the very urgent, hurried walk of many drug addicts when they are out on the street. Sometimes they do it while begging for money, racing to get the amount needed for a hit. Other times it seems like they are off somewhere, presumably to their dealer, so with even more reason to step quickly. It’s a walk that seems to even outpace that of the typical London commuter, and yet it isn’t exactly the same as the commuter’s. The commuter walks with a distant, withdrawn but hard purpose – long strides and arms pumping. The junkie walks with more of a rapid shuffle, almost looking like they are fighting the urge to jog.

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.

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.




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.