Saturday 22 July 2017

Dragonflies in the snow?

Finely balanced, like weights on a bar,
July, is poised between the end of hard slog
And the beckoning of freedom, space,
A parcel arrives, round and bulky
Unexpected, intriguing, from 'Will'.
Wondrous goodies tumble out, defying diet,
A few pages of Glastonbury technical directions,
Tucked between, so useful as writing paper:
Secret Santa has delivered his bounty.
"For last Christmas or next?" asks a friend.
Reindeer, sleigh and a bulging bag in July,
Time is pleated like a fan.
The adventure has begun.

Wednesday 12 July 2017

Levissi (Kayakoy)

In 1923 the new country of Turkey had been created. Greeks living there were expelled as they were no longer welcome despite having lived side by side with the Turkish Muslims there  for generations.
The town of Levissi (Greek name) Kayakoy (Turkish name) is now a ghost town following the 'repatriation' of the Greeks. Turks however did not want to live there so the ruins have become a haunting reminder of this forced Diaspora of people.

Last Day
The guitars have strummed all night,
not in lament but defiance. We will enjoy,
though our souls are being torn apart;
we will sing and dance, and not think.
The war had been hard and we'd lost,
lost far more than a war, and tomorrow
we will pay the price. The rhythms
grow faster, silhouettes swirl, people
burning away their hurt and pain with dancing.
Oozo is not enough.
Around us the buildings of our lives 
have been emptied, packed, things chosen
rejected, re chosen, crammed in  but 
we can take only what we can carry.
Our pitiful packs cannot contain us, our community,
our Greek lives in a country now called Turkey.
We are Greeks and tomorrow begins 
our forced march to a land where 
we will be known as Turks.
Our gardens will grow unkempt,
brambles choke and weeds devour them,
but inside ourselves, the flowers and herbs
will smell sweeter and bloom with greater joy
than ever reality could produce.
Now however, Deportation, is our truth.

Monday 17 April 2017

Dorset Coast

Coastal path

Yesterday there was a pilgrimage
From Golden Cap to Lyme: we missed it.
We walked the route anyway, puffing 
Up hills, loving the summits, treading
Carefully down, striding the flat and
Counting flowers- 33 species,
But always watching the silver sea.
God was not forgotten, he was there
In every glance and pause for wonder.

Night was falling fast
The cliffs were looming
Dark, when suddenly
One section glowed warm
Orange: the lost sun's
Dying rays brought glory.
For a few moments
It transcended all.

St Gabriel's Chapel

An outline of what was, once, remains:
Four stubby walls, open to the sky
A Gothic doorway, with cows beyond.
There's little for the imagination: 
A small church whose congregation 
Are long unremembered. Only faith
Finds God here now, but old prayers
- and new- keep the space holy.


The sea is petulant tonight:
Crashing and bashing the beach
Trying to claw back attention
From 'eyes down' fossil hunters.
Their attention is not on tides
But transfixed on the lump of rock
Which might produce treasure. The chip,
Chip of hammer on stone rivals
The waves, counterpointing its smacks
And slow withdrawal over shale.
Their thrust is to find, hold and have
Proof of millions of years old, life.
The sea is irrelevant to them.

'Don't climb: unsafe cliffs'.
Two prats ignore signs, get stuck,
The life boat is called.

Friday 7 April 2017

Week 6

Syria 2010 near Idlib

Idlib Syria

We take breathing air, fresh air, for granted.
We live, talk, sing, blow up balloons
Without regard for this life force,
Until it's lost, polluted, replaced.

What corrupt mind chose to release
Poisoned gas into the Idlib air?
From sleep the innocent inhale,
choke, gasp for breath which isn't there.

Post the First World War, it was banned
No one should die that way: yet it's picked -
The weapon to kill, cause agony
And bring death to one’s own people.

What end has it served? Yet one more
Horror in a muddled civil war:
choking death to people who once
gave us shelter in time of need.

(We were trapped in Syria in 2010 when the ash cloud from an Icelandic
Volcano grounded all planes.)

Monday 3 April 2017

Lent week 5

The vibrant burnt umber orange
Of the Skipper's photo was gone,
'De-saturation' had taken place:
The greys of the result were dull.
Hopes lost, disappointment, let down
Are colourless too; vivid ideas
Become trampled, muddy and
To 're-saturate' in need of will.
Will power can grow flabby.

March 29th
Brexit starts today;
The trigger letter given:
Trade rebirth begins?

Revelling in the warmth of the day
A holly blue plays the air waves,
Never landing but just dancing
Tantalisingly in and out of sight.
Hours later, Madame Butterfly
With her kimono 'wings' and grace
Sings her love for a man whose flown.
She is trapped in her love anguish
Pinned down by misery til death
Let's her go: like the holly blue
She finds joy in liberation.

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Lent week 4

Outside our window a robin 
Sings, then it's time to forage: 
Diligently, relentlessly, he 
Seeks, finds, carries back to his bush
By the door, his flower bed treasures,
Old grass, dead stems, mini twigs
All in service to his nest.
Purpose drives him ever on wards
His song is of satisfaction.

                                                     Where next?
The sign post where I'm standing
Is rubbed out, weathered by years.
Its fingers point to ' road-closed',
A brand new highway and two paths,
Muddy, unclear with few prospects.
Which way to proceed?
I may be here a while
Waiting for God's hand
To point the right way.
In time to come perhaps I will
Look back and to this pilgrim marker, 
And know the choice was right.

Thursday March 23rd
Impulse or planned?
Madman or terrorist?
Seeking death and glory
Or muddled, twisted and sick?
Death stained Westminster yesterday,
Like Brussels, Nice, Paris, Madrid.
We hear about it, watch dumb
With horror and wonder what contorted
Narrative played in his head.
Was he free thinking or programmed
By puppet masters who have not 
Yet learned that humanity and 
Compassion  are stronger than hate?

Gardens are yellow in March:
Crocus first, starry celandine
Follow until the superstars, Daffodils, 
In their glorious assemblies, 
Raise their trumpets and holla
'Look at us'. Dandelions, lower
Down continue to multiply!
Meanwhile, hiding on the gentle
Primrose with its soft tones blending
A Brimstone feeds; the true
Herald of Spring has arrived.

Monday 20 March 2017

Lent week 3

Their inscrutable gaze

Pierces us with prehistoric questions.

Trace the coils of an ammonite
From its outward swirl to centre
flourish; the gradual steps are like
trying to make a decision. The 
dips are the maze and murk until
a ridge is reached. Phew, firmer ground.
Moving closer to the core the
process goes on til suddenly
Certainty blazes into being.
The turning has stilled, and
exhausted, the mind has found rest.

Lent Week 3

Stretching over hills,

Trees march in formation 
Dripping olive riches.

I must write to...
I must arrange...
I must tidy up,
Wash up, revise, sort
Garden, now the sun is bright.
This work ethic is unbalanced:
Why is sitting and 'being' so difficult?
I must add to my list, 'Be Still'.

Saturday 18 March 2017


Tightly contained in a chrysalis 
Miraculous changes take place,
Transforming a tubby caterpillar
Into a delicate butterfly.
But suppose the procedure
Was reversed, changed back,
Beauty pushed back into mess?
We are in such times
Truth has failed to hold
Morality is being submerged,
Sinking in the quick sands
Of today's 'Post Truth'.
The beast has been born.

Monday 13 March 2017

Lent Week 2

Steps make good seats to
text, read or dream; only
the casual passer by 
might stop and note the
glorious clash of Time:
An ancient Moorish doorway
Becomes a frame for the
Modern mundane time of peace.

Live Feed from the National Theatre

The theatre's a buzz;
We are watching them,
The audience thrill in waiting,
In the cinema, we're quieter
Still excited, as the lights dim.
All rustle to stillness
Ready to share the magic:
Borrowing emotions 
as if they were ours,
Theatre and cinema in unison.
Enthralled they laugh, we don't,
Worse, they watch, we don't
As transmission brakes. A
Blank screen breaks the spell,
We sigh, the film resumes shortly,
We strive to re- find enchantment. 

March 10th

Petals in the mud,
Owls seen in headlights,
Ideas breaking through muddle.

March 11th
Be a living stone
Bring life where there is deadness
Help the starved to eat.