Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Now, In Now Time

The book of dreams laid on the bed
In front of the sea-view window
The bed had a plain, pale blue cover
The outlook was of a calm, pale blue sea

It could have been by Edward Hopper
But it was by Jim Holland
It could have been by Vilhelm Hammershoi
But it was by Jim Holland

I might have seen it on another day
But I saw it on a Sunday morning
I might have laid there some other time
But I lay there, on a Sunday morning

Afterwards, I took a flight back to England
I left Rod McKuen’s poems behind with you
Alone; they were of love, lost love, and loss
But belonged to an altogether future time

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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Place Of Solitary Occupation

Ninety minutes of playtime
That no writers turned up
No one here
To distract me
Other than myself

And o boy what a distraction
Thousands of memories
Zillions of thoughts
A few spontaneous movements
Before I brought out the camera
And the iPhone video recorder

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Monday, 16 July 2018

In Place Of Occupation

One more cup of coffee
One more to bring intensity to thought
To strengthen, to enrich, to magnify
To beautify, to endorse, to probe

One more shout out to the future
One more to bring indemnity to the scope
To elongate, to extrapolate, to mimic
To lose the cynic, to endorse, to probe

I photograph the stillness of the room
I record the calmness of the room

One more moment of now thus captured
One more time of being here in the present
To witness, to experience, to elucidate
To realise, to endorse, to probe

One more cup of coffee
One more final piece of action
To highlight, to dim, to radiate
To be within, to endorse, to probe

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Sunday, 15 July 2018

Occupational Health

If I was a stamp collector
I would find one for this morning
All blue skies and frosted grass
All peace and tranquillity
All mindful time for the writing

If I was a sculptor
I would take out the plaster of Paris
All brilliant white and tactile
All solid mass and inner soul
All mindful time, for chiselling and filing

A stamp collector, a sculptor?
No, I am not any of these
Though of course I dabbled
What with friends at play, and on schooldays
Isn’t it just what we did

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Saturday, 14 July 2018

The Choice

Books change peoples destinies
What did I see
What did I notice
What did I feel
What did I say or do
What didn’t I say or do

Those five small prints by Joe Tilson
What did he see
What did he notice
What did he feel
What did he say or do
What didn’t he say or do

Those ten small shelves of books
Might I choose one at random
That you might retire to a quiet place
There to read it
How does Hesse’s Siddhartha sound
Yes, let’s go with that; or no, maybe not

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Friday, 13 July 2018

The Paper House

Within a month of your gift we had parted

Thirteen years on
Can I measure the loss
Can I measure the grief
Can I explain away the obsession

The feet and the inches of loss
Never again to be close enough to touch
The kilometres and the miles of loss
Never again to bridge the inevitable distance

The pounds and the ounces of grief
Always to be in fear of the tears
The kilograms and the tonnes of grief
Never again to weigh in with a lover’s words

The one thing on top of another of obsession
Maybe, yes always, one last sprig of hope
The last time before the next time of obsession
With otherness, yes, worthy to carry the doubt

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Thursday, 12 July 2018

Discuss; If You Must

How does one make sense
Of a watercolour painting
Or a contemplative pastel sketch

I look across the room
At my own work
From thirty years ago

I could say to you
That there is lightness
That there is love

Yet, if I move in closer
I would talk of frustration
I would talk of dismay

But, and I smile as I write this
I must speak today of satisfaction
I should talk well, of my minor achievements

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Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Questions Of Ownership

Who but I
Yes, a good question
Or who but you
Yes, equally so

To sidestep
To foxtrot
To line dance
To hide away

Who but I
And where but here
O yes
Keep those questions coming

To intensify
To mystify
To be courageous
In the absence of love

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Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Denial Of Ownership

Is there always impatience lurking
Always another occupation to go to
Is their always a form of recrimination
Always some other blame to lay

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Monday, 9 July 2018

Self Ownership

This is what I hoped for
This is what I wished for
Outside of meditation
This is what I craved for
Or at least one of the things

I hoped this room would bring peace
I wished this room would bring joy
Outside of meditation
I craved for this room in which to crave
To be at least one, of those many things

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Sunday, 8 July 2018

Shared Ownership

If you came here
Or if someone else came here
To this room I have created
Would you, or they, look at the photographs
Would you, or they, read the books
Would you, or they, listen to the music
Would you, or they, sit around this table

If I offered you coffee
Or if I offered someone else coffee
In this room I have created
Would you, or they, make polite conversation
Would you, or they, shed their light, lightly
Would you, or they, smile, smile infectiously
Would you, or they, talk of our love, lovingly

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Saturday, 7 July 2018


I ought to be honest
Own up
To what I know about beauty

I ought to be clear
Own up, to myself
About where I discovered beauty

I ought to be sure
Find a certainty
Of feelings and time

I ought to be confident
Find a realisation
Of moments in time

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Friday, 6 July 2018


Alone, yet not alone
For feelings flood in
The body sizzles
The mind whistles on by

Alone, how good does it feel
The sizzling, the whistling
The whole of the ether
Turned out on its head

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Thursday, 5 July 2018

Be I

I look into the old man's eyes
Will I become him
Will he become me
Will I reach the point of the point of wisdom

In the morning light
With the suns rays
Entering through the window
Will I one day be free to contemplate

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Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Recovery Methodologies

In place of tears
Why not become the joker
In place of endless fears
Why not welcome in the passing clown

In place of freedom
Why not become the trapped
In place of lost kingdoms
Why not cast off the downbeat frown

In place of hope
Why not become with despair
In place of how to cope
Why not simply, surely, stand them down

In place of failure
Why not become belligerent
In place of derailed allure
Why not pose, as the talk of the town

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Tuesday, 3 July 2018

One Life; Of All Of Those You Stole

O Penistone, o Penistone
You crushed me
And I never ever loved you
O grammar school, o grammar school
You broke me
And I never ever saw you coming

Your black and red striped tie
Your grey and black peaked cap
Your blazer and long grey trousers
Your uniform approach to individual life
No you did not seek out to encourage me
You didn’t even let me wear
My ice-blue jeans, and brothel creepers

O Penistone, o Penistone
You lost me
And I never ever loved you
O grammar school, o grammar school
You taunted me
And I never ever found you

Your parquet floor French classroom
Your physics lab with Bunsen burner
Your geography lessons all about the Tundra
Your buildings served as licence to demolish
You never did curtail that deputy headmaster
The bully, the evil one, the wretched bastard
He caned me, he slippered me, he lost me

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Monday, 2 July 2018

I Lost The Way

All those times
I criticised the intellectuals
Yet continued to buy their books
And quoted from them incessantly

You see the real deal is
That I don’t cut it
As an intellectual
Nor as a renaissance man

And I could blame it all
On late childhood bedwetting
Or extended puberty
Or difficulty losing my virginity

But the truth of it is I know
That one year did it for me
Yes, that one year
And then one other

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Sunday, 1 July 2018

A Gradual Movement

A new video*, not yet started
A germ of an idea
From our Bude vacation

We already have the photographs
A few poems
And maybe other writings

Kate has agreed to narrate
Aiming this time
For clarity to lead the dream

The process began
With thoughts of going to Finland
A slow film through the snow

To a cottage on its own island
Three hours drive
From Helsinki Airport

Of course that might still happen
But for now something more immediate
Without the need to trouble Sibelius

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Watch the video on youtube by clicking here

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Broadcast Buddhist

I listen to Krista’s questions
I listen to Stephen’s answers
I watch the light gather itself
I watch the stillness of the mist
I recognise all of this as part
Of life’s rich conversation

Yes, the discussion evolves
The light evolves, the mist evolves
I welcome the light
I welcome the mist
I recognise they also evolve
Within me, by me, for me

Stephen talks of Alain de Botton’s
Idea of an atheist cathedral
He goes with it, I go with it
Do we not all need spaces
Where we might connect
Where we might together read poetry

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Friday, 29 June 2018

Inexplicable Lightness Of Being

Bird, you came to that branch yesterday
In those calm times
Before the Siberian winds ventured forth

How far is your journey
Why would you choose to be here in winter
Does someone nearby feed you

And why that tree
Which is itself without shelter
Why not find one offering a degree of respite

Bird, where have you gone to
In this turbulent time
This is all the weather that the East has to offer

How far is your return
Why would you even have been here
Does someone nearby care for you

And why that tree
Which is in another’s garden
Why not find one of your own

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Thursday, 28 June 2018

Quiet Snow

I am but free
That is the standing me
I am but made of soul

I am but free
That is the sitting me
I am but made of all

And in this way
The thoughtful me
Finds another line

And in this way
The careful me
Follows a simple sign

I watch the water droplets
Suspended on the twig
I thus watch the life

I watch the twig
Unsettled by the breeze
I thus sense the strife

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Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Quiet Snow; Ocean Laughter

As the snow falls
A quiet also falls
Before the coldness
Before the oldness creeps in

As the bird flies
The branch wavers
Meanwhile the rooftop
Meanwhile the rooftop awaits

If it was
If it was Siberia
Why would we not
Why would we not stay indoors

If I was
If I was here alone
Yes, really here
Really here being

I would hear the wave-sounds
I would also hear the birdsong
Before I heard the Ocean
Before I heard the laughter

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Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Portrait, Top To Bottom

Blue sky
Grey clouds
At forty-five degrees
A pitched roof
Front face on
It is the Pack Horse
A Public House
Whose name appears
In large gold letters
It has Georgian windows
Two sets, two levels
Each with eight frames
Of long uncleaned glass
And a decked out verandah
With wooden handrail
Benches, tables, chairs
A place for outdoor drinking
And socialising
Though not in today’s snow
There is a tall gate
Into the aforesaid tavern
Which may be approached
By a cobbled street
Past the Public Library
All of this can be seen
Stood on the pavement
In front of the Post Office

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Monday, 25 June 2018

A 635

Snow today
But only a few
Wispy blustery affairs
Yet sufficient

To remind me
Of that day
On the road over the Pennines
From Greenfield to Holmfirth

Ostensibly the road was closed
But being young, foolish
And filled with bravado
I passed the road closed sign

If I can get up the hill
Then it’s flat, or downhill
The rest of the way

And if I can’t get up the hill
I will turn around
Then it will be downhill
As I come back

Surely you see my logic

On the so called easy bit
That is the flat bit
The road was
Only a car widths wide

With twelve feet tall
Drifts of snow
To either side
No room here then

For turn around manoeuvres
To go forwards
Or to reverse
They were the only options

Pure white snow
Clean white snow
Virgin white snow
Yes, virgin territory

For the brave one
Slowly becoming terrified
By the abandoned
Snow virgins

Time moves on
Time moves on slowly
With only a single colour
To keep one company

With a singular concentration
To focus upon
Keep going, keep going, keep going
Keep those wide wheels turning

On no account pause, or stop
But watch the temperature gauge
Keep an eye on the fuel level
And the tyre pressure

No way today
To call in the AA
Today is before
The mobile phone was invented

Yet this is the solitude
Which you dreamt of
This is you
You alone with nature

Yes, this is the silence
The silence you dreamt of
This is you
You alone with the snow

Absolutely, this is the heaven
The heaven you dreamt of
This is you
You alone with the light

But is this the end
The end you never did dream of
Is this you
You; fading, or emerging

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Sunday, 24 June 2018

Hang On, Turn Back, Opened Up

The first lines came automatically, from the deeper subconscious, almost a stream of consciousness thing; it was with me the instant of waking, yet not within the poetry notebook until a few days later. Then written as an epigraph, in two lines. Only when typed up and edited did it become the first four line stanza; something about my losing the nerve to be too pretentious.

And in becoming a stanza the vagueness of the double meaning enters the fray; am I talking to the you who is really me, or is the you a past or present lover, or is the you further away, a deity, or its non-religious equivalent. Am I truly trying to mislead, or hoodwink, or beguile; is to be ambiguous my way always; whether by design, or by default.

In the second stanza I bring into play a couple of words from Ray Bradbury’s book The Zen of Writing. He says to look for zest and gusto; these are both words which I have previously used in my own writing. That I am enthusiastic to share these words says something about how important both zest and gusto were at the time. One of my old bosses said that the thing he loved most about me was my enthusiasm, my can do attitude, my great belief that more could be achieved than we might imagine. I took that as a huge compliment; that’s me, zest and gusto.

The third stanza gives a clue as to how long sometimes the poem is in the soup steadily cooking. I talk of meditation and doubt; that is because in our previous meditation sangha I had come across doubt as I meditated. As a non-religious man I had questioned my own faith in myself, as opposed to my being in need of an external faith or force.

The fourth stanza takes me back to memory, several years worth of memory in fact, but culminating in a very recent memory. On our last vacation we stayed in a swish, contemporary, energy-saving villa, almost on the beach, at Widemouth Bay near Bude. Everyday we were able to walk on the beach, beside the wild February Atlantic surf; the hours and hours which we spent taking photographs and writing are now condensed into these four short lines, indeed only the last two lines are specific to that time.

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Saturday, 23 June 2018


Down the hill
With head, and video camera
Poking out of the sunroof
Trying somehow to capture
The pastoral

Then to watch the professor
Who obviously hadn’t attended
The seminar on social skills
Whose nervousness almost stole away
His immense breadth of literary knowledge

Who else
Will walk out of a summer’s morning
Who else, through his writing
Will capture your imaginations
Years and years after the events

Then to hear of the artist
Who gathered in, then exploded nature
Who embraced and exposed technology
Such that he gifted action, and I saw the light
Again, and again, and again, and again

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Friday, 22 June 2018


Nineteen, or Seventeen, what’s it matter
If the target to achieve is seven, or eight

In this way your morning awakes you
In this way reality catches your solar plexus

Amazing really, that it’s taken sixteen years
Think of all what you did in your first sixteen

Which is where your memoir faltered
Thirty years before news of this illness broke

As it did in that telephone call
To a Yorkshireman visiting Yorkshire

Of course by now you know I’m skirting
You too can feel the words meandering

That is how it must be, I have to conceal
For concealing is my learned behaviour

But, as you can see, I sort of want to reveal
I want to, but no I cannot, what is the point

What is the use of giving you news
Which actually is only of any concern to me

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Thursday, 21 June 2018

Bays Set Out For People Watching

What to do, where to go
How to let the day develop
How to help affairs shape up

Watch the waitress take the orders
Watch the waitress pour the coffee
Watch the waiter serve the breakfast

Look at the glum-looking chap
At the next table, not a smile
So far, not one hint of happiness

Who knows what his worries are
Who knows the troubles in his life
Who knows the debts he has incurred

Maybe he looks on me in the same way
What a miserable sod he might think
He could even dismiss me, as a waster

Though I don’t feel at all uneasy
I don’t feel at all out of place here
I don’t, until I see, and hear, his laughter

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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Olden Days Are Not Forgotten...

One day out of seven
Not a bad ratio
But of course that all depends
What you talk of
What side of the equation you are on

In this instance it was running out of words
Not knowing
The next thing to write
Not knowing
The next thing to think

And most certainly, in those moments
I did not think back
To that last one in seven chance
Such then as were my opportunities limited
Such then my escape into silence
Ever more profound, ever less pronounced

Then to read, thanks to Maria Popova
Of the damming of the word depression
An onslaught on its lack of anything useful
Better then to return to the previous term
Melancholy, and how that word now so so
Rightly masquerades, if sung in a mohair suit

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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

In A Room, With A Memory

Listen, listen to the quiet
Bathe, bathe in the collective calm
Even the tip-tap tapping
Of the keyboard is helpful

Yes, yes, yes, no it is not repetition
A whole swathe of letters
Are brought into play
As I imagine climbing over the five-bar gate

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Monday, 18 June 2018

Parked, On An Incline, By A Field

Between the grey, and the maroon
Sit the rolling Lincolnshire Wolds
On this mist filled February afternoon

Between the hedgerows, and the trees
The tarmac highway takes over
Towards a welcoming, melancholic tune

There goes the last of the coffee
And no longer any cigarettes
To go with that Cornish vacation fudge toffee

There go the coasting four by fours
Also the rampant, excitable speeding youths
All intently exploring; what this here life is for

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Sunday, 17 June 2018

With Sight, And Sound

The music was called Reiki
Now John Christie
Talks of a patch of light

Earlier, yet only a few minutes earlier
I saw the orb of the sun
Half obscured by the afternoon mist

John talks of darkness
Darkness known as memory
Perhaps he is thinking of my dream

My repetitious dream
Repetitions, which unfortunately
I don’t now remember

Yet John seems to remember
All manner of people
Even those who talk of spiritual collaboration

The photographs, for you might not see them
Are of trees, and hedgerows
And fields, with crops and lakes

The artist’s date in this way
Comes to fruition
That is to say, it turns full circle

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Saturday, 16 June 2018

Beyond Vision

It is an escape
Yet not a final passing
It is a small step of love
To be nearer to the light

Also closer to the dark nights
Of past passions and compassions
When those small steps of love
Opened up, for you, the light

And here, and now
With your ears ringing
With your pencil at hand
You can turn, turn as you wish

Also lift, lift yourself
To future elaborations
Where these small steps of love
Will walk with you, into the light

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Friday, 15 June 2018

Hanging On, Turning Back

I have no desire
To lose my line of love for you
Yet I know that you no longer
Desire that line of love for me

I have other schemes and schemata
I even read of writing with zest and gusto
But how does one do that
Without past knowings coming in to play

Will the meditations
Make me question doubt
Will my common words
Help me forge a path more almighty

More almighty
Than I might achieve simply by walking
On these deserted winter beaches
Beside these magnificent wild rolling waves

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Thursday, 14 June 2018

Review Of A Previous Poem

Then how are the selections of moments made
O yes, yes that is such a good question
How to identify a unique event
Which had the strength of a Cuban cigar
Or the vigour, of a good old gin and tonic

There are of course no hard and fast rules
With chance such a major player
Yet not all must be left to happenstance
For surely, yes surely, some rigour is required
A route map to accompany the flaneur’s path

For myself, and who else might I speak for
For myself it is about an emotional intensity
Which I feel again, in the here and the now
Unforgettable moments, of there and then
If I feel it, I hold it; I hope that you do so too

There are of course some foolish things
Daydreams of the more than irresponsible
Projections of that never-ever promised land
Of lust filled love, and love filled lust
With reality, neither invited, nor expected

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Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Tides Turn, And The Rest

Sunlight, on white cotton
Sunlight, on blue denim
Sunlight, on fine auburn hair

Walks, on the side of the quays
Walks, on the edge of the cliffs
Walks, right there beside the seas

All of a life, condensed
Into such a short time
All of a time, condensed
Into such a short life

Raindrops, at the late-night bus stop
Raindrops, on the cafe window panes
Raindrops, on the moorland heather

Thoughts, there in the moment
Thoughts, there in the past
Thoughts, there alive to the future

All of a time, condensed
Into such a short life
All of a life, condensed
Into such a short time

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