Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Dark Dawn

A car goes down the drive
It is six in the morning
Is my elderly neighbour well
Has his grandson found a new job
Is the world everywhere
Slowly awakening, preparing
For a new dawn
A fresh light over the horizon

There is a stillness, a calm
Carried by the darkness
It is as if a secret is being shared
As you might have done
In the junior school playground
With your new best friend
You might even have whispered

No point now then to go back to bed
You have an early doctors appointment

In an hour or so; when the water is warm
You can take a bath
Have a few minutes of blissful release
As you submerge yourself
Physically, and metaphorically

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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Tether (End Of)

I am no good with pain
I do not bear it well
I am not fond of suffering
I am absolutely no saint

My current dilemma
Is that the longer I sleep
The more painful my shoulder
When I wake

It’s like a good night out
The better the evening
The more joyfully inebriated
The fiercer the hangover

Or with matters of love
The deeper one throws oneself in
The harsher the heartache
Upon dissolution, upon closure

I know I should be grateful
I am grateful, for the good times
Yet, in the black of this night
I do not take to pain too easily

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Monday, 26 February 2018

Facsimiles II

Choose your music carefully
Or randomly

One is for explorations, triggers
To something new for appreciation
The other is for contemplations, backdrops
To soak into, to dwell among

Ok, so you’ve gone with Arvo Pärt
Da Pacem (Estonian Philharmonic 2006)
So sit still, at least for fifteen minutes
Let the choral voices wash over you

Yes, you may tell me
Of the pink/red/rust coloured leaves
Flickering in the breeze
Beneath November’s blue blue sky

Or you may close your eyes
Recall the deep sleep
Which you were woken from
By a soft touch to your brow

You might even visualise
Monochrome, or mute blue
Or vast aubergine sunsets
Alive with visceral orange

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Sunday, 25 February 2018

Facsimiles I

How to replicate
How to create
Stillness, silence

Find one window
Note all, yes everything
Which you see there

Come, and go
At various
Times of day
In all kinds
Of weather

Let your mood be
As it is
As it wishes
As it finds itself

Zoom in
Zoom out
Describe the leaves
Of leaves
As being what you see

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Saturday, 24 February 2018


Black; A touching you didn’t know existed (John Berger)

Of course John, black and sex
How could you not think of them together
Why, didn’t we all get married in black suits
And go to raucous society do’s in black ties
Don’t modern girls crave a little black dress

And just how far is it John
From parading our wanton sexuality
(In whatever black robes we can muster)
To where black suggests something stronger
About desire, passion, negligence, indulgence

Is that why she screamed at you John
Had the black taken you a little too far

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Friday, 23 February 2018


Black / Darkness (John Christie)

The desire to be elsewhere is with us all John
It is lurking, ready to pounce, at anytime
Not just in the darkness

But of course, in the dark of night
Especially those moments on the cusp of sleep
When we can be caught at our most fragile

A time we can hold tight to the ball of fear
Which cries out for us to be elsewhere
Yet, at our most vulnerable, we fall asleep

And sleep is continually thanking us
For being a safe haven, for being here
Not in that nonsense place called elsewhere

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Thursday, 22 February 2018


The Blues: I am yours, you are mine (John Berger)

You surprise me John
So soon after saying you won’t use colour
You talk of the blue of blueberries being sexy

Now I must tell you, that Genevieve and myself
Stood naked in a stream, eating blueberries
And so I concur with you conclusion

That the blue of blueberries is indeed sexy
And also blue as a prize, for on that day John
After paddling, we shared the bigger prize

I don’t know the piece by Schubert
But I do agree, that Parker, of all the jazzmen
Had the colour blue engraved upon his soul

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Wednesday, 21 February 2018


Yves Klein Blue (John Christie)

Your book gave me Klein, also, thankfully
It gave me Matisse, and Yuri Gagarin

Won’t each layer of colour
On a flat surface
Change both itself
And the colour beneath it

In the same way that geologists
Take core samples of rocks
Could we not have a sideways look
At the many layers of blue

And does not each layer
Allow the artist
Another hour of contemplation
To bring his blue to the surface

Then John, to light that plane
Which will now neither be
Flat nor true, yet we are able to imagine
A whole lifetime in that one colour

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Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Star Filled Skies

The Red Whose Father Is The Knife (John Berger)

At first reading I thought you were on speed
Or that you had taken one too many
Of your painkilling drugs

But then I let your words slow me down
I discovered a new wavelength
I saw, and felt, your continuum

From white, to red, to black
Exactly as it is in life John
From birth, to being, to death

Best of all though, you took me back
Back to my childhood bedroom, where
Model aeroplanes hung from the starry ceiling

My father used to sit on my bed to tell me
The names of all of the colours in the world
He was the first to give me Cadmium Red

He spoke of red being an emotional colour
Indeed the highest of the high emotions
Coming along, at the beginning, and end of life

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Monday, 19 February 2018

Scunthorpe Cemetery

Cadmium Red (John Christie)

A funeral is a good place to find colour
It stands out, ever so strong
Among the blacks, and the greys
And the nothingness of passing

Also John, as you were in a crematorium
You might imagine the fierce red flames
The painting of Vesuvius erupting could come to mind
You know, by that Earl of Derby chap

Is it carnations that don’t have any scent
I think a strong note is a good guide to colour

I have asked my paint shop man
To make me up a tin of Cadmium Red
I thought it might bring some life
To the alcoves in the study

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Sunday, 18 February 2018

A Different Introduction

What a good day, the first Friday
In November 2017
The first blank page, in a new blue book

And so what to write about; well, next week
I go to Buckfast Abbey, in Devon
For a four day retreat

I will write while I am there
Profusely I hope
I will write in this book

But the poems
They may be published elsewhere
Under the auspices of Abbey Poems

I am having keyhole surgery
On my frozen shoulder
On the first Saturday of 2018

No doubt the build-up
The event, and the aftermath
Will generate some words

But will they be poetic
Last night, in our writing group
We responded to artists letters

Specifically those between John Christie
And John Berger, from their album
I Give You This Cadmium Red

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Saturday, 17 February 2018

BBB Poem 98

There is missing and there is missing
There is longing and there is longing
There is loss and there is loss
There is bright light in abundance
And there is hope
Yes, always there is hope

There is doubt
Doubt and the depth of deep delusion
There is also a music
A music though which for some does not sing
There is all of this, in one singular lifetime
But I ask you to believe me
There is hope, there is always hope

There is the sacred
And there is the purple tint profane
There is the blinding truth
And then there is the other game
There is the obtuse, and the downright barmy
But there is hope
And hope lives on, lives on in our name

There is hard work
And there are easier pickings
Some days they may seem to be the same
The toil of honest labour
Or the rolling of the winning dice
For there is hope
And hope is so so happy that you came

There is breath
And there is contemplative breathing
There is meditation
Instead of going to the football
There is a nearness
And a further distance still to fall
But there is hope
Hope which asks that we make the call

There is skin
And there is fabric
And there is skin
There are the living
And the heavenly ethereal bodies
There are shrouded myths
And the legends of the soul
There is hope
Hope which asks that we make the call

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Friday, 16 February 2018

BBB Poem 97

Does it matter
Where the inspiration comes from
Just so long as the inspiration turns up

Richard Rohr in his book Immortal Diamond
Says that The contemplative mind should be religion’s unique gift to society.
It greases the wheels of spiritual evolution.

I would rather
That he had not tried to claim this gift
Solely on behalf of religion
For it is my belief that mankind alone has gifted that beauty, which is the contemplative mind

And from where that contemplation comes
And to where the contemplation takes me
Is a response entirely down to my own life:
To my highs and lows
My hopes and expectations
To the life I have lived, and which am still living
To my night-time dreams
And to my daily disappointments

I am almost overloaded with the words
And the images from the social media Tumblr
Yet I feel good, I feel upbeat, and positive
For having trawled the familiar, and the new
I am pleased
To have had a conversation with my soul
With my friends
Out there in the contemplative ether

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Thursday, 15 February 2018

BBB Poem 96

Is there some purpose
That you always post
Photographs of you
On your own
Always it seems alone
Not with another

Is there some reason
That I only ever see
Your photographs
With you alone, never
In a loving embrace
With someone other

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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

BBB Poem 95

The Clematis Flowers
In late October
After the savage pruning
In the summer

It is as if a soldier
Injured in battle
Had, once recovered
Returned to the front

Now he, and the Clematis
May smile upon the world
To give hope to the rest
That the fight is worthy

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Tuesday, 13 February 2018

BBB Poem 94

Sunday doesn’t seem a good day anymore
To delve into the peace and the tranquility
Of there being a deeper purpose to life

Instead it appears to have become a day
For movement, for explorations, for visitors
To arrive from Italy, and France, and Spain

Here to pay their religious respects, of sorts
But also to take numinous photographs
And to explain, to those in earshot

The history, the history of the building that is
Not their history, nor my history, such as it is
No, that life history is left for others to discover

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Monday, 12 February 2018

BBB Poem 93

I am sat on Joy Ibsen’s chair
I don’t know if she had much joy in her life
Or if her demeanour lived up to her name
But I guess
As hers is the only name on the chair
She was not lucky
In how might we say, bodily love
Maybe she saved herself
For the good of the lord

Of course I may be mistaken
There may have been more than one suitor
Too many names
To be carved into the elegant chair
Of course it may have been elegance
Elegance above all else
That joy wished to portray
That she wished to be known for
And for many, perhaps
Elegance is next to godliness

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Sunday, 11 February 2018

BBB Poem 92

How good do you look
Such that your boyfriend
(I guess he is your boyfriend)
Wants to stop
And take a photograph
Of your shadow
On the cathedral floor

He shows you the shot
And after a few words
You throw your arms around him
And kiss him fully on the lips
Yes, I am pretty sure
He is your boyfriend
At least now I hope so

Ok I know it is not spiritual
Although I do believe love played a part
And I know that is short on religion
Even with the audacious use of the c word

Now it is the thirty-somethings kissing
With their loving teenage children
Trying also to get in on the act
Meanwhile the Breton man
Fondles the stone

And the pushchair
Is pushed, and spun, and twirled
The tall man looks up
At the way taller ceiling
And explains to all who are in earshot
The purpose of the arches

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Saturday, 10 February 2018

BBB Poem 91

Several months
Almost a year
Of debilitating pain
Which, however optimistic
One may be superficially
The doubt still remains
The question remains
Will I be cured
Will I be made better

Such that the sleep
Will itself be longer
Than the two hour snatches
Such that the sitting
And the stride about walking
Will be without recourse
To a massage of the shoulder
Or without the need
To nudge a little to the right

I notice the margin is sloping
Yet this is no love poem
No story of abject loss, or lust
For that matter neither a tome
To express the slain of heartbreak
Or the overdue longing of the unrequited
No, not so, however much
I might write of the frozen shoulder
You will always nag away at me

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