Monday 3 November 2014


England lies as a smudged line
Squashed between sea and sky,
A thin graphite divide, parting
The mirroring grey of water and cloud.
Heritage, pomposity, human angst
Are temporarily erased,
Its 'might' reduced to being
a mean filling in a chunky sandwich.
Trees stud the hills opposite,
The Isle of Wight is defined,
Significant by its proximity
To our bobbing, windless, craft.
The tide drives us forward,
Decisions are held in balance,
Waiting and time suspended,
For the act of commitment,

Thursday 2 October 2014

Oct 1st 2014 Baghdad

The killers are close,
Circling and threatening
Beleaguered Baghdad.
Inside the city
The shadows are defied:
Beside the Tigris
Eager crowds gather
For a dog show,
Simple, everyday, normal.


Tuesday 23 September 2014


The phone is silent now
Untroubled by your needs;
Its serenity mocks us
As your number will not show again.
The turbulent torments of your soul
Have been laid down,
Gathered, we trust,
under God's steel protection.
You'd be astonished Tony,
At the hole you leave;
But discuss carpentry
With God,  don't phone!

            (Tony died on  August 18th 2014)

Views of the Orwell

Thursday 3 July 2014

July 3rd 2014

                               July 3rd 2014                              
The country road unwinds
Along known contours,
Tree shadows stripe the way
While Bragg interviews academics,
Their learned radio voices discuss
‘Mrs Dalloway’, her party, her flowers.
The safety of the book’s past
Moulds a bubble of pastoral peace.

A fox with its kill in its jaws
Breaks from the undergrowth
Streaking in front of the car’s wheels,
A determined killing machine, seeking cover.
The tit for tat Middle Eastern murders
Haunting the morning news, returns,
Escape is not an option,
His nature, our nature, destroys.

The fox kills to survive,
Woolf’s party pooper commits suicide
Unable to live with WW1 memories,
But revenge is a poor motive,
Breathing hatred and self justification;
One murder is never enough,
Violence escalates, negotiation possibilities shrink
       Impotence and death are the only winners.                   

Gannets on Bass Rock

Monday 21 April 2014

Lent Challenge Easter

Wednesday April 16th
Knock and I'll open the door,
When Christ knocks what happens?
Joy could come in.

Maundy Thursday
Washing friends' feet shows
Humble love, betraying that
A deep frailty.

Good Friday
It was the worst sort of death,
Undeserved and cruel.
Beware bigotry.

Easter Saturday
Dawn light strikes the dark,
Stained glass begins to glow
Lent is seeping away.

Easter Day
What is most precious?
Pearls? Gold? No, it is
Love truly given and held.

Thursday 17 April 2014

Lent Challenge Week 6

Wednesday April 9th
Colours of Spring are changing
Leaves unfurl, speckles
Vie with the yellow.

Thursday April 10th
Stone, knapped and placed,
Shaping walls of strength
A jigsaw of skill, like friendship.
Friday April 11th
The mine is closed now
The road to it a cart track,
Its traces now grassed.

Saturday April 12th
Bright, hard wastes of rape,
Softened by the green fields of wheat,
Landscape’s chequerboard.

Sunday April 13th Palm Sunday
A single bluebell
Jesus riding to his death,
Above a lark sings.

Monday April 14th
The dark of the night
Breeds black thoughts, old spectres rise
Like a Mary Rose.

Tuesday April 15th

 Four forts of the sea
Stand in stubby majesty
En guard against invasion.
Rusty, in decline
But between towers and spires
on land, masts at sea
they're trusty bulldogs.

Sunday 13 April 2014

Lent Challenge Week 5

Tuesday April 2nd
Flowers bloom, fade, die,
Pavement art brings joy, then goes,
We must heed the now.

           Thursday April 3rd          
A road called 'Struggle',
Roman armies pounded it
Their ghosts walk with us.
(in the Lake District)

Friday April 4th
Hills tucked up in cloud,
Trees fade into the gloom, then
Sunlight stabs a field.

Saturday/Sunday April 5th &6th


It was a cold posting on
The furthest edge of the Empire.
It lives, like a guilt, in my mind.
I look now at my vineyards,
The turquoise Adriatic, my villa,
Relax with my veteran rewards,
I should be peace,
And yet my spirit keeps returning.

We marched upwards,
From a derelict, deserted shore
Towards the cloud, the high place
Buried in the mountains: Hardknott.
We were a seasoned cohort
Marching second nature,
But the cold, the endless rain
Numbed all desires but to stop.
The camp was lonely,
Perched in the damp, in the shadow
Of the peaks.

Our life lay in stone. Granite.
Cutting, carrying, laying, the road
To make a crossing for our legions
To guard this hideous outpost of Rome.
And yet, we were a body of men
who moved like a drilled chariot team.
We achieved that wretched pass,
Withstood the deluges of infernal rain.
I'm marking time now, sharing military tales
Of a road that will be crumbling now,
Lost to the clouds, the drizzle and the British.

(The legions involved were from the Dalmatia)

Monday April 7th
Wood around graphite,
A pencil is born,
Write of love with it
          Not fear.

Tuesday April 8th
I look down as I climb
Seeing footfall not hills
Lift my eyes and see.

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Lent Challenge week 4

Wednesday March 26th
 The delight of reading is a right.
The banning of books to prisoners
Brings shivers of past bullies;
Physical escape can be subsumed
Into 'word food' freedom,
Ideas of a differently shaped world
Making another landscape.
Stories dissolve bars....for a time
And finds the imagination.
Hitler burnt books
We should have moved on.

Thursday March 27th
 Shape, line , colour
Trip the brain; the shot taken
A moment is trapped.

I read a chapter,
The day turns monochrome
Storm black
Fiction turns real.


Friday March 28th
Alone with yourself
A sole stone on a beach of sand
Reach out for God.

Saturday March 29th
Find the world beneath -
Where there 's magic in dust
More than the mundane.

Sunday March 30th.  Mothers' Day
Bitter Sweet memories
Flow through the daffodils,
Tying love with loss.

Monday March 31st
Small, sour oranges
Grow towards being marmalade,
Orchids simply are.

Tuesday April 1st
 The designer wind
makes patterns with Sahara sand
through Europe: linked worlds.

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Lent Challenge week 3

March 19th Wednesday

There are angels,
Around us now,
God's human agents
Who shine through our lives.

March 20th Thursday

Two oranges sit apart
On a country road.
Placed or random zen?

March 21st Friday   Sports’ Relief.

Unused muscles flexed,
Conquering fear to achieve,
Many help many.

March 22 Saturday

Sticky buds unfurl
Skylarks share joy in song, but
Kites circle their pray.

March 23rd Sunday

Gulls stalk the mudflats
Human voices sing of love,
Slowly the tide rises.

March 24th Monday

Plane Wreckage is found
Bringing closure of hope and
A chasm of loss.

March 25 Tuesday

Traffic jam, rain, gloomy news
Daffodils drip and
A day begins.

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Lent Challenge week 2

Wed  March 12
Woods in fog look good
Trunks recede in shades of grey
Suggesting mystery.
Thursday March 13th
 Space can hold promise
A vacuum of potential
Or a fearful pit.
Friday March 14th
 Prism light shimmers
Scattering rainbow rays;
Truth can splinter too.
Sat March 15th
 Primrose edge the paths
The Angel gives pilgrims rest,
We journey in trust.
Note: the Group of pilgrims who came to known as the Pilgrim Fathers 
travelled together to Southampton where they were to catch the boat 
The Mayflower. They gave the name of The Angel to hostelries which
gave them shelter for the night, the day after they had stayed there..
Many publicans then and subsequently, honoured the 'name' given 
to the inn by the pilgrims.
Sun March 16th
 Three church butterflies,
One, striving to be free, two
Needing to know more.
Mon March 17th
 Askew and broken
The gate's home now to insects
Age brings new purpose.

Tuesday March 18th

A dark corridor lined with dark pictures,
Portraits which look down with bland, pompous,
Or cliché expressions of nothingness.
Art by the yard, relations relegated
To shadows: the place and poor artistry
Condemning them to obscurity.
They mattered once. 
Now, their dismal faces stand for untruth.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Lent Haiku's week one

Lent Haiku's 2014 Week one
I am challenging myself to write a haiku everyday of Lent!

Ash Wednesday March 5th

Marked with an ash cross
Lent and Austerity begin
But daffodils blaze

March 6th

Waterlogged lands smile
The sun shrinks the 'lakes' of wild rain,
'Retreat' has sounded.

Friday March  7th

An airfield quilt show:
The growl of a Spit engine
Bonding with patchwork.

Sat March 8

Green fields of water
A Brimstone seeking nectar
Spring confronts the floods.

Early Tortoiseshell Butterflies

Sun March 9

There is a right way.
But which? Multiple choice confounds us
Ask what would Christ do?

Mon  March 10

The buzz has come back-
Bees about their nose business,
Be still and listen.

Tuesday March 11

Fight a proxy war:
Arm rebels, sit smug yourself,
The coward's way out.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Saturday 11 January 2014

Poppit Sands West Wales

Claggy Bottom, Kimpton

Claggy Bottom
A careless foot breaks the beauty
 of the frosted, icy puddle:
what was smooth, with air bubbles
creating different shades of white,
fractures and cracks into splinters.
The water begins to leach through;
The purity of the untouched, darkens with
cold, uncaring liquid seeping
 towards the sky,  only
To be frozen once again.
Spring is a memory only.
We are locked into frost.               

The shadows are growing 
Zebra striping the fields, 
White Frost, black shadow, trees, 
Looming ever more threateningly 
In the fading light. 
Footprints, not of boots 
But of hares leave echoes 
Of play or escape 
As they criss- cross 
The ploughed, whitened, hillside. 
Dark is closing now 
The frost will harden still more 
closing the landscape for the night.