Poetry 2000 – 2018

So many openings


so many openings

through which the world



melts into me

only to flow on

into others, world

into self, self into



like sticks in a stream,

bent by the light, we

pass through a prism


rainbowed and scattered

we are not what we




Nothing is what it is


like mercury,

but dancing,

river-sea surface,

tide-high, reaches

at rocks, catches

at a low wet



mist salves the wounds

of autumned oaks

turning yellow on fading



objects are widowed of shape

and essence, nothing is what

it is without its



empty mist,

up close,

is a plenitude

of drops, an ocean

of reflected




No matter where


no matter where

we look surprises turn

assumptions to ash,

smoke twisting into

all the shapes we can’t



over there, I can only

guess at what the journey



strapped with iris-blades,

meadowsweet sloughing

cream skins in shadows

where oaks lose their fisted



nothing is as we

expect it. Always

our expectations flit

like bats in and

out of what is and

what is not



Poems & stones


in a poem

words are thoughts

or images, or

thoughts & images

are words,


into lines of



yet stones are

a reverberation

of atoms

& a pulse of




Two for Reznikoff


old man sits

alone, his solitude

so absolute even when the train

is full no-one will

sit with him



somewhere in that

blank and black

night there is

an estuary turfed

with rippled


unseen but not

unknown it moves

without reason or


when the dawn comes

it will be gone





What’s he say?

It’s too late

Too late for what?

Three weeks too late

For what?

Time will tell…



On the way to work


on the road to

the station a one-eyed

seagull meets a

man with a large




Gum tree lost


gum tree lost most

of its leaves til

just a few hang

limp and lean

flicked here and

there by hardly

a breeze, furious

when a wind comes



it’s not in

its element here

in Devon Atlantic

northern hemisphere



roots don’t

tether in Devon

clay, don’t belong

here, won’t be

long here, just

a few leaves left

in Devon




Colorado triptych


I see a lone bluebird


on a stump beside

Clear Creek ice-white



I see cows in trucks

on the road towards




hours later stars now shine

on a white frozen lake I may never

see again



Lady sews dreams


lady sews dreams on a winter porch, fingernails still flavoured  with peonies ~ to speak, maybe, or to be quiet, to let the air say what has to be said ~ come in, she whispers, come in, sit down, have a drink ~ no excuses ~ OK, maybe a few ~ into sharp hands, her grey head sings for April & curses each elegant note ~ no joke to remember the dark birds have flown ~ 60 years & only one shooting star, only one ~ beyond pneumonia & tenderness, she sees it again ~ pale kiss of light in dark April ~ as now, she turns to candlelight disquiet, flirting for dreams in frail winter air



Four sheep


four sheep & bent hawthorn

stapled to a windy




high tide

low cloud

brief meeting



among tussocks of sharp grass

crow circles a limping lamb



heron hunched in flight

mountain hunched

in another time



Notes I made long ago


sun and moon light

scattered in furrows,

only red clay remembers

turning blade of plough

while iron soon forgets

casual stone


it is here I hear

green woodpecker sawing

through leaf-drained air

while trees raise their

chlorophyll arms to

God knows where


we are a measure of this moment

here at the ear of twilight,

shadowed furrows heeling

to the dark



In memorium


songthrush hit by car, on its back,

flapping til it dies. Hard as it is,

keep alive the moment of the

kill. Remember the small life and

the flapping wings, and that it

once sang with all its heart



Not sleeping


half moon in rain behind

curtains, hushed breeze and

dark pines. Sleep will

come, but not just now



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