Thursday, 31 March 2016

Back Of The Envelope

Anger is allowed to dwell in those half awake moments
When the skin still creeps and where our thoughts
Try to find a settlement despite
The usual queues at the traffic lights
The usual queues at the roundabouts where cars weep along
Their exhaust gasses discarding the heavy metals

Not that I want to jump on the environmental bandwagon
What with my Danish bacon, my Suffolk eggs; my
This is Lincolnshire Breakfast, which has been gathered
From across northern, eastern, western & southern traders seas
The meal though makes the day more approachable
It is time to cross the river, time to pay my dues at the toll bar

We all need to spend more in these troublesome times
Oil the wheels of commerce, kickstart the wayward markets
Be they yellow or red or black or blue; buy the candelabra
Buy the stocks and shares, buy the fitted kitchen, buy the bathroom suite
Keep our boys in business, keep the menders on the mend
Bring along the sunshine, roll back the dew and the mist

Step up a gear, take a more positive drift; skip over sandcastles
Throw sea frets high and skywards, lay back for the photograph
Turn up the minimalist sounds of Jean Sibelius on the misty morning
Radio, this is the lark rise, this is more than the lark ascending
Let your best side show itself off, let the warm sunlight do its damnedest
Cast off your shadows, into those voids and vacuums of yesteryear

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Wednesday, 30 March 2016

No Place

Be wary my lonesome lad, those days of solitude creep indivisibly into lost pasts. Even here in the country park, where all that sounds is gunshot and birdsong. Even here the bird watcher, the gamekeeper, the poacher, they are all alone

Earlier today I had occasion to revisit a place where I once spent a week in solitary refinement; seven days in the library; sometime in the late 80’s. Not a jot could I recollect, not a book or a passage, unlike the other summer schools; with midnight parties, walks around the lakes, the bonfires of profanity and the actuaries lark

The engine purrs, the four wheeled enclosure pulls me away, will there be a memory of this lunchtime passed, under the cover of the grey skies and the rainbows

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Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Stillness from Turbulent Waters

There is no doubt within
There is no sign of darkness
Blue skies sing out loud
Thankful for the lark

Eighteen years come May
I walked the moorland water
Sky above my minded shroud
Lost in some evasion

Settlement carries many guises
Trees in bud, rain to sun
Companionship to love
Love, thankful for surprises

There is no doubt within
There are signs of lightness
Clear skies with silver clouds
Thankful for the key

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Monday, 28 March 2016


Roll into the right hander, not a soul in the rear view mirror
Only wires and crows in the foreground, field and sky in the distance

It needs to be edgy; no sunflowers or bowls of roses
Switchback on the dirt-track, cheroots chew out of the smoke stack
Attacked by the knife pack who look you straight between the eyes
Don’t you give a damn; the whole damned can of worms is what we want
Leave him in the hedgerow, with the roadkill and the garbage
He never should have been there, stoned right out his mind
Hang on; we’re not after trouble; no one should have spoke of death

Lay back into the left hander, not a soul in the rear view
Only music and strong cigarettes, & the screams of passers by

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Sunday, 27 March 2016

Strung Along

I am not, how would you say it, a Lute man
I care not a jot for things Elizabethan
A day at court is a chase more so of boredom
Minstrels and Jesters are to me antiquity

Yet I read that the man Shakespeare
Thought lute music capable of taking
One to a kind of ecstasy; a somewhat
Refreshing Happy Monday’s cover

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Saturday, 26 March 2016


The square sheep-pen
Made with straight slats of wood
The regular shape, a symbol for good

Into which no one fits comfortably
From where my pencil sets off uncomfortably
To see the turns around the bends

Up and down the Wolds
Freedom spurns the message sent
& still the curvature unfolds

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Friday, 25 March 2016


It was your friend who told me, on Christmas Eve

We played football with your brothers, the two of you watched on
I chose you, you chose me, that’s how it often happens
Leadership became us, leaders of the pack
Excitement overcame us, no time to look on back

Look on back, as I do now; are you in a breakfast diner?
Maybe a motel room, on the plastic stack
Excitement overcame us, didn’t it?
Play it again, play that Fleetwood Mac, play that Chicken Shack

Look on back, as I do now, on the truth of procreation
The hearts that break on back
The order in attraction stacked; leadership easily became us, didn’t it?
Say it again; torn clothes, primeval attack; torn clothes, primeval attack

Each day you caught the bus to the catholic schools: Saint Augustine
Saint Gregory, Saint Bartholomew; each day, distraught, off at a tangent
I went, to extravagantly mime the Lords Prayer, in my grammar school
Soon to be comprehensive, where disorder was my fool

We were the tops, the bright spots that had not yet lost their voice
Yet neither had we found our apprehension; no contest then
To be in contention at the youth club discothèque
I was the DJ you were the dancer; no chance or so I thought

Until your second glance brought a smile
I smile again today, today, as I am now
On the road, the long straight road, the free flow of the early morning
As the actor reads, of his five years past from the view of Tintern Abbey

Today, as I am now, are you also? Take time to look on back
That we should have known the joy, played with that tune called love
It was your friend that told me “She really likes you, do you like her”
“Will you go out with her?”

You broke my heart
Broken so much I had to break another

Did you seek forgiveness?
Would my dear, that I could say today
Yes I forgive you

Do I seek forgiveness?
Would it be clearer if I said
Yes, can you forgive me

My broken heart spoke
Woken by the onset of the summer
Woken by the love of another

Did you think again, or were you pressed beyond redemption
Do I think to think again or am I past my previous past pretensions

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Thursday, 24 March 2016

Off The Hook

To find the most meagre of excuses, an exhibit of the unsettled
If only I could have found the bunch of keys
The gardening would have been set to, fettled
This is what absence brings
Left to ones own self, with time to ponder, look
Out of the windows, wonder at the silver lined clouds in a soft blue sky
I had forgotten to water the white orchids
Stems proud but leaves fallen

A present to be kept alive at all costs, so you reminded me
I could have looked harder
Turned the house upside down, as we did in search
Of the theatre tickets; we never found them, though that did not stop us
Easier then, to sit in the silent chair
Sit, in ones own surrounds, wallow
Turn words around in ones head
Think of another task, one more inspiration to follow

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Wednesday, 23 March 2016

This is Darkness Calling

Without those words: Betrayal, deception
Jealousy, anger, bitterness, revenge…
How we tear ourselves apart
Pull at each aching string, tear each sinew

Without the sunrise in the morning
The quiet time in the meadow
The time to think of roses hung above the door
Spring water dancing on our fingertips

This is darkness calling
Stillness of the night, surreptitious overactive minds
Timeless, distanced from reality, jigsaw pieces of unknown absentees
Before the warmth of the duvet, the fall into the calm of imaginary life

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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Blown Along

This is the land of straw in the road
Of early morning agricultural movements
Where frosted verges and tumble down fences
Overlook the horse boxes on their way to the races

This is the land where we make our own smoke clouds
In an otherwise clear blue sky; with no through roads
No easements, no public rights of way there is no lack of
Privacy; no room for openness of communication

Sat down among the brambles, by the overgrown gravestones
Sat high above the cornfields, just before the cutting
Sat inside in the public bar, with an eastern European beer
Sat outside, by the hot tub and the Jacuzzi

It might have been different with a full congregation
Each pew overflowing, each farmer with a chapel,
Each diocese with a sense of order, each bell rung
Each and every Sunday; rung vibrantly, with a sense of purpose

It might have been different without the degradation
Without the gradual decline, without the absence, the closure
The movement into the hands of conservation, without the choice
Or the lack of it, without the desire to find alternative solutions

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Monday, 21 March 2016

Invisible Ball of Wool

I have no more than time, my time
Total; yes that’s true I have my mind,
My mind; that’s hopeful

Sat in the warmth of my own self
My own self, ushered by the peace
Quiet; a quiet wealth

I close my eyes to hear the stars
Faraway; gaze, folded across the
Sky; a clear symbiosis

Blood circulates, I would say free
Free as my heart; I have no more than
Time; my time, total

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Sunday, 20 March 2016

High Peak

There is more than a chance
More than cuboids in translation
You would know, poked with a lance,
The freedom of the merest complication
Walk as you would up through the fields
Your eyes blessed, by sight of straight
Ploughed furrows, and the flight of
The well made, dry stone walls

Remember the farmers dance
Silage, as the backdrop sensation
No more in it than a sideways glance
The intricacies of interwoven duplication
Walk as you would to the high ground
Your soul refreshed, by the light on
The sheaves of corn, the light of
Well made thoughts for the day

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Saturday, 19 March 2016

Early Summer Stroll

Easy on the eye
A steady walk
Exercise dog
Chance conversations
Time away from wives
Out from under feet
Tomorrow, fishing
Today, catching air

Different from
Coal face
Pit props creaking
Kind of darkness
Under cloudless sky
Under moon and stars
A couple of pints
Home made pie

Good to get out
Leave well alone
You never know
How lucky you are
You never know
How lucky you are
Are you filming?

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Friday, 18 March 2016

Birdsedge at Noon

Do you remember the copse; a small circle of trees around a pond, overlooked by the mill
Windows; drowned by the sound; whistling cocks shuttled ever so quickly, to and fro
Ducks I see now; mothers with their youngsters in tow; bread crumbs at lunchtime
Cast by the office workers; sitting on the benches, with their salad pack delicacies

Do you remember the bluebells on the nature walk; a walk to the big house, in the country park
Excitement encouraged; skipping, listening to softly spoken subtle words, guided slow
Luckily I see kids now; playing with their parents who have become full grown
Soft sun at lunchtime, cast who knows how; fitting on the clouds, beside the rainbow racks

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Thursday, 17 March 2016

No. 35

The cold wind cuts into the frozen shoulder; whinge
Steel tipped heels skate over the frozen pond; squeal
All I wanted was to create a Lowry or a Giacometti sculpture
All I wanted was to make a film with subtitles; pan & zoom

The tickets are taken; dispensed, formed into an orderly queue
Smooth groomed hair sits; uneasy beside tic-tac trainer shoes

All I wanted was to paint a picture; a snapshot of ordinary life; ordinarily
All I wanted was to capture the time; in the hospital waiting room; waiting

The cold wind cuts into the frozen north; we sit here quietly, proud
Steel tipped heels skate over the frozen pond; we remember those days of laughter

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Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Happy Stance

What makes me happy
Is being happy
I spoke with you tonight
I was happy
I saw your photograph
I was happy
I thought of past and future
I was happy
I am here, now
What makes me happy
Is you being happy

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Tuesday, 15 March 2016

First Foot In

Open the door
The car door
Breathe in the air
The fresh air

Widen the smile
Widen your smile
Beside the stream
Beside the sparkling water

Settle the feet
Settle your feet
Here on moorland, here
On Dartmoor's moorland

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Monday, 14 March 2016

Dutifully Certified

I was asked
I almost declined
I thought better of it
Why not, press on

I stumbled
Was the word wobbly
I ought to get a grip
Forget that to be forgotten

He couldn't do it to order
And neither can I
Not for spectacle, nor coda
Neither for mere passers by

I wasn't sure
Not to begin with
Now I am rocking
Rolling this way and that

Will he, won't he
Should he, shouldn't he
I'm sure he can, I know he can
O, blinking heck, they have

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Sunday, 13 March 2016


I drove
Two and a half hours
To collect you
Your mother drove
About the same

The trees are still
The leaves are still

We stood together
On the beach
Throwing pebbles
Into the sea
As darkness fell

The mist is hanging
Surrounded by the dew

Your mother drove
Two and a half hours
To collect you
I drove
About the same

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Saturday, 12 March 2016

John Lewis CC

I've been here before
Yet I don't recall
The West Country accent
Being quite so strong

Fifteen pound a year
For the allotment
All in beds
Like on tele

You go in there at night?
For a drink an all that
Why didn't you go back
To the same one as last year

Do you want a drop more jam?
Use it up Kelly
You're not going up this year?
Beautiful day innit

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Friday, 11 March 2016

Speedway Tracks And Ramblers

The cows look at me
As if to say: that's unusual

They stare for quite a long time
Before returning to the chewing of the cud
Before returning to the grazing of the grass

For now I am normal
A firm part of the establishment
It is I who now look out
For the irregular, for the newcomers

I move up the road a piece
Find a new place to park my car

Between the old gate posts
There is a broken gate
Untidily repaired;  supported

By a sheet of corrugated tin
And a strip of reinforcement mesh
As used to give ready mixed concrete
Strength and guidance

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Thursday, 10 March 2016

Up Top

I pass eight cars from Hamburg
Or Munich, or Berlin
That's my little joke, yes
I know my jokes are wearing thin

I dreamt of being made redundant
Though I know those hopes are slim
I am at once, the one last incumbent
I wear it, with the thinnest of grins

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Wednesday, 9 March 2016


It feels like a good space
I felt that all along
I built it mostly at my own pace
Some things went surprisingly right
Some things went mysteriously wrong

A soft spot for love of creativity
So pictures on the walls
A search for pureness of divinity
A good place
To face up, and gently bathe the soul

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Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Redundant :: No Such Luck

I got to the site, somewhere near Birmingham, reasonably early, but the gateman said my colleague Phil was already looking at the job with the engineer; I went and found them, Phil had some drawings, and said he was almost done, he pointed to a couple of areas and said we could talk about them later.

I wondered whether to go straight home from the site visit, or to go back to the office, unusually I chose the second option. Back in the office, which was laid out like my school chemistry classroom, I was looking for my boss Kevin, but he wasn't about.

I really don't understand this job, it seems to be all large, above ground ductwork, and civil engineering, not a jot of interest for a fine-tuned electrical engineer like myself.

I was told that there was a meeting in the yard, and that I ought to go. I really didn't want to go, not my type of thing, but reluctantly I went along.

It was like a prison exercise yard; all along the back wall, beneath the fence, stood men with signs; like road signposts, but made out of blackboard material; they had messages scrawled on them, in chalk.

Steve said I should go and see one of the organisers, and get myself a board, because it was about redundancy. I went and joined a short queue, my name was number 3 on the list; they gave me a noticeboard and wrote a date on it, which was the 3rd of August, yes that's right, today's date.

I went back and stood by my music friend Steve, he said wasn't I the lucky one, to be made redundant so soon.

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Monday, 7 March 2016

Classrooms And Bus Stops

I was late, or rather I had turned up for a bus that wasn't due. It was a busy square, in a small Cotswold town, I was supposed to be going to college in Gloucester. I had caught the earlier bus yesterday, and just assumed they would be every hour, they aren't, not another until teatime.

I was supposed to hand in my presentation: An Answer to Six Questions. I had twice revised my PowerPoint slides and was feeling pretty good about my answers. I had got some classy artistic images to accompany the neat text.

Then a colleague told me that we were supposed to be answering the questions as seven year old children, not seasoned executives. I panicked, all that work wasted by setting off in the wrong direction, by not clearly reading and understanding the instructions, by not being attentive, nor listening clearly to the teachers guidance.

I did see my answers at the time, my well framed answers, yet now I can neither recollect the answers, or the questions.

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Sunday, 6 March 2016

Coach Trip

Where it comes from might be all we need to know
By 'it' I mean the flash, the instant, the split first-second of a thought or a memory, the mental processes equivalent of a reflex reaction, the Duende

I had in mind to try and recall the first time that I slept away from my home, that I thought would be a good way for the trail to begin

That idea came from reading Judith Viorst's book Necessary Losses; this would be my own venture to find out, what I would have to give up, if I wanted to grow

Anyway the memory processes took me to Torquay, to Babbacombe to be precise; my first holiday away with friends, the first time I had seen blue sea, the first time I had seen a pop group live (The Kinks), the first time I had travelled through the night; also it may well have been my first bedroom away from home, but unfortunately I can't recall that detail

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Saturday, 5 March 2016


I was sat on the floor
We didn't have too many chairs
I was listening toVan Morrison's
Instrumental song Scandinavia

The children were laughing
At my attempts to write lyrics
I wasn't too good with words
Even less useful with beat and rhythm

I am sat at my desk
The office is full of workstations
I am listening to the air conditioning
And the abject absence of camaraderie

The bosses are all crying
At our failed attempts to make profits
I was never too good with the money
Even less capable with the deceit

I will walk out on the salt marshes
I know there to be a bench on the path
I will listen to the breeze and the birdsong
As they capture the precise present moments

The tourists choose to be joyful and mindful
Interested with my attempts at description
I was never too good with the knowledge
Yet I am ever more trustful, of the feelings

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Friday, 4 March 2016


It wasn't a daydream, it wasn't a night dream, it happened in that halfway space; time between the waking and the sleeping, before rising to face the day ahead.

I had met a young, vibrant, energetic, joyful and attractive reporter, at an international industrial 'expo' exhibition in Milan.

We had snacked together, we had laughed together, we had talked of nothing at all, and now she wanted to interview me, for an article in her lifestyle magazine.

I wanted her to say that Christopher was a new age engineer, that he goes to Manjushri Buddhist Temple to meditate, that he writes poetry and wears Victor & Rolf Spice Bomb Extreme eau de cologne, that he wears John Frieda serum to keep his permed auburn hair soft to touch, that he drives a Lexus Convertible when not out on the plains riding his Harley Davidson.

We arranged to meet at lunchtime. I was walking through the crowds when I felt the need for a nature break; the temporary facilities had full length glass windows, and were located by a path where all the womenfolk walked by; I wasn't phased, yet neither a show-off, I discretely released my fluids.

Back in the throng the young reporter had put on her swish silk coat, she was going around in circles looking out for me, when she at last saw me she ran across and hugged me; "Where can we go" she said. I suggested the large lecture hall auditorium, she said no that was too public, could we go somewhere quieter, to one of the small intimate rooms, up by the organisers offices.

We bought a coke and a sandwich, then strode off together most happy.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

From Newhaven To Buxton

Delicate pink flowers in the verges
A thin slip of blue sky, beneath the black clouds
Which hover over the long and flat far distant horizon
I drive by; where are you now

Flourishing purple thistle chokes the fine grasses
A strong West to East breeze blows
Across the taller species
I drive by; why did we go separate ways

Real Jersey Milk at the Caravan Club campsite
Early morning railway freight wagons queue
At the entrance to Hope Quarry
I drive by; when will I forgive myself

Mist shrouds the valley of the near distant town
Striped circus tents, and gypsy caravans, beside the festival field
Black plastic covered, rolled up bales, on the lime-green grass
I drive by; would it have mattered

If I had stopped to breathe, if I had taken you a photograph

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Wednesday, 2 March 2016


The verges and the hedgerows are laden with the damp of night. The sky is silver grey, cloudy, overcast, with the light of a dull morning.

The dew, on the grass of the mansion house lawn, suggests the steadiness of life. The road is lined both sides by an avenue of trees.

In just a few weeks time I will be taking prayers, with the brothers on blended knees.

It is the heartache of the hurt, might I boldly say the painful reign of the cold lost love. I don't wish to dish the dirt, for it is solid gold love stories which I wish to be told.

We make each other smile, we go the extra mile, we dress ourselves in style, as down life's random paths we file.

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Tuesday, 1 March 2016


He sits in India
I sit in Alfreton
He looks at temples
I look at computers

He is contemplative
I am somewhat disruptive
He is a painter
I play at being a poet

He does not let
Anyone see him work
I rather like
To show off to others

He is careful, thoughtful
With responses to questions
I am in more of a rush
To say anything at all

He is sometimes evasive
You might even say elusive
I am transparent, though
Mostly a shade ambiguous

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