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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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Shelter, And Then Some

A room of one's own
Or was it
A room with a view

Actually my first room of one’s own
Had nothing of a view
Indeed the Venetian blinds ensured that

Yet, o yes yet, a place of love
A place of creativity
A place, yes a place of one's own

I might tell you
Of Lyle Lovett on the stereo
Of Rothko prints on the wall

I may tell you
Of hours and hours
Of peaceful pastel sketching

I will tell you
I am there right now
In that space, of nigh on thirty years ago

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Monday, 11 June 2018


And now the February sunlight
Falls on the fabricated flagstones
And climbs up the dried clematis

A small patch of grass flickers
In what you presume to be
A fairly, chill to the core, breeze

Soon there will be a birthday
Just as, not so so long ago
It was for you, yes your birthday

Thus there will be more words exchanged
From one side of the world
To the other side of the sunlight

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Sunday, 10 June 2018

AM Reveille

Awake, and writing, before sunrise
Asking your own questions
Providing your own answers
Deliberating on your circumstances
Imagining your own future

The sky did change its hue
The orb began to glow
A goodness was felt all around
Even among the trickier words

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Saturday, 9 June 2018

Mind,That’s All

That thing about the mind
Did I write it down
You know
About the mind being able to look at itself
Both in the past moments
As well as in the present moments
And also sometimes, with an eye to the future

What I really appreciated
Was that the mind could question itself
I even half-believed
That the mind could work out
Where the thoughts came from
You know
By focussing on the present moment
And the immediately preceding moment
And then the one just before that

In such a way that a trail might emerge
Why you thought that thought about Bude
You know, about walking on the beach in Bude
Of course, looking from a further distance
Bude has many reminders to remember
Many occasions of joy, also of that other thing
Which, whatever name the mind gives it
Is always something of a half-way house

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Friday, 8 June 2018

Stuck,That’s All

Where might the words begin
When they don’t begin
Where might the pause and comma go
When the line itself does not have a throw

Where do millions of hidden memories perch
How am I able to instigate a search
What causes the good times to surface
Or doubts to endlessly pour out their purchase

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Thursday, 7 June 2018


Did I find a lightness
Did I gift it to you
Did we share the dust motes
In the stream of sun

As for Chepstow racecourse
And those Wild Strawberries
Helen, will I ever feel that
Or have you taken the essence with you

And Simon, yes you Lifted An Arm
Inside and outside the playground
Will I ever reach that
Or have those days passed me by

Derek, to return to my own door
After a time away
Feels no less of love
Than your Love After Love

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Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Fake Time

Time appears to have slowed down
On this bright winter’s morning
Already I have achieved so much
Yet, just then
Whilst watching the microwave
Seventeen seconds disappeared
As if in one instant

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Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Purposeful, Purpose Filled

It is 6:30 AM
I have been thinking of first lines for hours
I even considered
Retreading some of the old first lines

I made a pot of Birchall tea
Which brewed as I prepared the bacon
Yet what else escaped my gaze
As I lit the wood burner

I recall I once watched a television programme
About an artist; his flat, and his studio
Were in what has become a fashionable
Part of London; with coffee bars & public bars

He etches, with acids; several layers
He is working on a piece called The Outliers
Which are a set of rocks, at the very end
Of this island of ours, he has been there

In the early morning darkness
We watch the artist, who, with some certainty
Lights a fire, prepares his porridge, makes
Coffee on the stove, and smokes a cigarette

I am reminded of the Yorkshire poet
David Whyte, and his friend's rich experience
Whilst preparing for, and walking on the
El camino de Santiago de Compostela

He tells the story with a certainty
Yet he himself has not yet walked that path
But has written a poetry book called Pilgrims
Perhaps sat at his desk, on his landing at home

We are what we are
We do what we do
We go where we go
It is good that these things are connected

It is also good
That there are disconnections
Room for the imagination to step in
Space for the land of make-believe

To take hold
Time for the half-dreams
On the cusps of waking
On the paths of walking

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Monday, 4 June 2018


The song of the sea
Is the song of the train
Is the song of the aeroplane
Is the song of the roadway wagons rolling

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Sunday, 3 June 2018

First Two Lines, Gifted As Always

If we took off for the summer
If we took off for a song
If we sort of did a runner
Would you my love, would you come along

If we found the half-light
On the West Atlantic trail
Would you be with me in the morning
As the winds of time set sail

Right now I see the grasses
At the dawning of the night
As the clouds move dusk thus passes
And the lens catches the last of the light

Through the small picture window
The pace of life is steadfastly honed
Each new scene is a movement
Colours so so freely loaned

If we took off for the summer
Would you happily come along
If we sort of did that runner
Would you shout out for a song

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Saturday, 2 June 2018

Mark, Me, And Double Trouble

Sunlight sidesteps the dune grasses
To find a pathway to the house
Sandstorms fascinate the working classes
Whilst in the Highlands they shoot grouse

But down here in Cornwall
With the Atlantic for a friend
It is the blue sky and the stone wall
Which populate the pictures we send

Of places that tend to the peaceful
As well as might their muse
In her hope to shed, or to end the tearful
With the use of which and whatever ruse

Wave sounds tear apart the eardrums
Television intrudes on the peace
Now broken, the string for the opening strum
With which we set out, to find Summerleaze

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Friday, 1 June 2018

Shaping Up

To do things right
Isn’t my natural way
To do things well
Isn’t where my concentrations lay

Rather to hop-along
Just about to make do
To take short cuts
Not ever to follow through

Yet still equal to most
I think you’ll find
We all have weakness
However feint the signs

In such a strong line
One’s bound to bow
A little
As one wonders how

The good and the great
Built their lives
Set apart
Such that goodness thrives

As if of the beating heart
One could truly desire
As if in the torrent
Lies the prospect of fire

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