Friday, 22 March 2019

Forty Two

One more stone on water
One more leaf down the rill
Slow passage as you fought her
Floss, off the scent on the windowsill

One flat film of still cold water
One lazy cloud in the sky
A singular path as you caught her
Gossamer flight into rye

One barbed wire, then one other
Another field beyond the field
One long journey as you brought her
The dragonfly who you thought would yield

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Thursday, 21 March 2019

Forty One

Breathe in
Feel the cool air
Feel the warm air
Breathe in, sit
Feel the cool air, feel the warm air

Breathe out
Feel the warm air
Feel the cool air
Breathe out, sit
Feel the warm air, feel the cool air

Breathe in
Feel the cool air
Feel the warm air

Breathe out
Feel the warm air
Feel the cool air

Breathe in, sit
Feel the cool air, feel the warm air
Breathe out, sit
Feel the warm air, feel the cool air

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Wednesday, 20 March 2019


Because we can shape the land
We do shape the land
Because we can hear the helicopter
We do hear the helicopter
Because we can lose the top off of the pencil
We do lose the top off of the pencil

Because we can we do
Because I can I do
Because, can, do

Because I see the shimmer on the sea
I smile, I look again, I look again
Because I see the haze on the distant hill
I smile, I look again, I look again
Because I see the birds as they warble
I smile, I look again, I look again

Actually now I listen
I listen, I hear the birds
I listen, I hear the tractor
I listen, I hear the breeze
I listen, I hear the pencil on the paper

Actually now I write
I write, I watch the shadow
I write, I find a rhythm
I write, for no one in particular
I write, to say, that I too am not discarded

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Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Thirty Nine

Across Stromness harbour
Reading the Month of May
From George Mackay Brown’s
Calendar of Love

Watching the collection of seabirds
Move hither and thither
Splash, paddle - back and forth
Wash, preen - all around

At one with the seagulls
At one with the squawking
Most of all, best of all
At one with the sunshine, with the settled sea

Listen, listen closely
Listen to the voice
Reciting a poem to the ocean
Practiced, to quell the impending storm

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Monday, 18 March 2019

Thirty Eight

Out in the sun
Out in the post-modern midday air
Watch the coaches arrive
Watch the coaches depart

The parcel delivery man
Delivers the parcel
In the very same way
That all delivery men do

Yet, perhaps not in quite such a hurry
No, not wearing such a grimace
Nor demonstrating time’s pressure
In quite exactly the same way

Out in the sun
Out in the post-modern midday air
Watch the world pass by
Watch the time take time a little longer

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Sunday, 17 March 2019

Thirty Seven

In the pilot’s house
At the pilot’s window
Clear waters
Long stretches of sea

Dust on the windowsills
Stuffed birds
Small tall ships
In antique glass cases

Ripples on the surface
Bask in the sunlight
A calmness today
Also on another day

Yet only two nights ago
A raging sea
A violent sea
Yet still nowhere near

The sea which topped the cliffs
The sea which bared the ground
The sea which rediscovered
A life which had been passed over

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Saturday, 16 March 2019

Thirty Six

The sea devours four houses*

A cliff-top gale to you and me
A wee-breeze for the locals
A somewhat sideways view
Along the coastline to Hoy

Fearful for oneself
Fearful also for others
For the sea devours those with troubles
The cliffs provide launching pads for escape

Defeat in that suicidal moment
Unable to change ones mind
No longer to hear the songs of angels
No longer to cast eyes on universes beauty

Fearful, of what thoughts the rose might raise
Fearful, of pasts once thought well buried
For the mind devours those with troubles
The soul provides launching pads for escape

* George Mackay Brown - Scara Brae

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Friday, 15 March 2019

Thirty Five

Ask the old one to make a clay lamp*

Hard clay; crushed, milled to dust
Calcified, into even finer dust
Conveyed, or blown on its way
Mixed, mixed with water
Extruded, over a dye
Sliced, sliced into pipes
Each one a man's height in length
Rolled continuously as they dried
Stood tall, kiln fired
Unloaded by man
Tarred and sleeved by man
Stacked on pallets by man
Lifted by fork-lift truck
Transported by articulated lorry
Unloaded once more by men
Laid into trenches by men
Clay for a future generation
Clay for internet communication cables

* George Mackay Brown - Skara Brae

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Thursday, 14 March 2019

Thirty Four

Three posts
For the washing lines
Three posts, three washing lines
Three directions
For the washing to blow
Three orientations
For the sun to shine

Four pivots
For the feet to stand on
Four points, four connections to the ground
For certainty to be established
For feet and body to be supported
Four combinations
For the balance to be confirmed

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Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Thirty Three

I want to talk about spines
and vertebrae
Because I am learning about
spines and vertebrae

I want to talk about clouds
and skies, and hills
Because I am looking at
clouds, and skies, and hills

I want to arch round
to the spine
Because I am learning how to
arch round to the spine

I want to drift, as clouds drift
over hills, across skies
Because, as I drift, the clouds and skies
drift with me, drift for me

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Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Thirty Two

I must remember that horizon
I ought to turn my head
The full one-hundred-and-eighty degrees

We walk around the pond
We sit on the bench to talk
I return to my room, to proofread

The horizon, from this new viewpoint
Is not so strong, a darker sea
Muffles the colours concentrations

A fainter line; a cloud line
With that uncertainty of purpose
Certainly not the edge of the world

I must remember this line of hills
Where the land and skyline turn
As the water of life flows from loch to sea

We walked along minor roads
Then ventured out onto cart tracks
Drawn by the pull of the shoreline

Our house was on the hill
Though which house, on which hill
Would we ever wish to return to

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Monday, 11 March 2019

Thirty One

Yesterday was rain
Rain from who knows where
For the day before was beautiful
This day too it is beautiful also

I have a desire to learn
Who knows who gave me such a gift
I have no choice but to listen
No way but to try to understand

Always then the sun does it for me
Helps me to feel good
Helps me to feel warm
Helps me to halfway remember

That time suspended on the ocean
Those weightless moments, minutes
Those naked mornings, salt on skin
Skin thinking relentlessly of skin

That time, when one footprint was
Followed by one more footprint
Pressed, pressed with some certainty
Into the soft submissive sands

That time, after the loss
When, fully clothed you dived
You dived into the clear blue sea
Then emerged; with a wide, wide smile

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Sunday, 10 March 2019


Share with all nations
How good could it be to be
Declare; yes you do have patience
How else could you see to see

Silhouettes on the skyline
Church bathed in a sea-fret mists
Sunsets acting as a lifeline
Schedules about to turn into lists

One stone cuts into another
One wall welcoming the next
One who roamed with a brother
Barbed wire lies (twisted) straight ahead

One arch on the cliff line
One bird in the sky
One field at dandelion time
Telegraph poles (upright) straight ahead

The painting is of a kettle in Russia
A view through an open window
A capture of the blue of Prussia
With the canal (or street) straight ahead

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Saturday, 9 March 2019

Twenty Nine

Listen to the falling rain
Look across the fields
To the loch
Feel the weight of the mist
Know the world is good

See the blackbird with the worm
Smell the food being prepared
Hear the one more thought still asking
Speak to no one but the self
Know the time is good

Solid dwellings, with a vision
A centre for the voice
A place for voices to practice
A firm self, a confident self
Know the self to be good

All the world is a world away
All this rain is only rain
Yesterday such blue, blue skies
Tomorrow; either way, tomorrow
The weather will also be good

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Friday, 8 March 2019

Twenty Eight

On the Royal Yacht Britannia
Champagne, tea, with milk-shake
In a vintage bottle

Every day is somebody’s birthday
However long you choose to wait
However soon you say congratulations

Strolling deck to deck
Looking in on a life, lived
So so very differently

Last used for a pre-wedding
Reception, last registered
In the Cayman Islands

A youth chews gum
Listening to the audio instructions
As the last of the tour disembarks

Once more on terra-firma
Once more on dry land
On our way to the gift shop

A bus to Princes Street
A short stroll to All-Bar-One
For our reunion with such a fine place

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Thursday, 7 March 2019

Twenty Seven

So much of a Friday morning
So much of a mango ice drink
Yes, this is so so much of a sense of life
A time to do no more than watch
How easily one foot
Steps in front of the other
How easily one word fell
Before the very next one
Thoughts of light aeroplanes
Blue skies, calm seas, wild oceans
Thoughts of love on love
Of peace laid on calm
No longer troubled
By the River Ouse
Or its tributaries
No longer the man of doubt
Sat here, with the certainty
That today it is Friday
A day that will only get better
Yes, better; then way better still

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Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Twenty Six

Might I write of you
As I write
Of spring entering summer

Might I write of you
As I observe
The words of Pablo Neruda

Might I think of that place
Beside the apple blossom
Where we might lay together

Might I think of that hut
Which, with a lover’s touch
Could easily be constructed

For no practical reason
But to sit in, to write in
To make love daily

Might the timbers
Give us their sap
Might we thus grow

For no other reason
Than to be nearer to each other
Nearer to love

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Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Twenty Five

Sunlight, slight breeze
Green leaves
Evergreen green leaves

A carpet to lay on
A wall, a door, a window
A book of silence

In transit
My body mass index
My reflexologist massaged feet
My, still-aching, frozen shoulder

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Monday, 4 March 2019

Twenty Four

The blandness
Of the strawberries, of the blueberries
Of the Icelandic style yoghurt
Only the toothache
Brought about any excitement

Yet before this
Fifteen minutes in the hot tub
Then to perspire profusely
Having been taken
Into a warm place

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Sunday, 3 March 2019

Twenty Three

Day 1
The first fish of the day
On the line
In the net
Hook carefully removed
Photograph taken
(Of fish held by eldest son)
Fish returned to the water
Ripples on the lake

Day 2
The first fish of the day
On the line
In the net
Hook carefully removed
Photograph taken
(Of fish held by eldest son)
Fish returned to the water
Ripples on the lake

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Saturday, 2 March 2019

Twenty Two

He walks on the skyline
He walks on the sea to sand line
He walks on the field line
He walks, he walks

He talks of the past time
He talks of the here and now time
He talks of the future time
He talks and he talks

I have little choice
In the fragility of the silence
If someone comes along
Then someone comes along

If they choose to speak loudly
Then they choose to speak loudly
Yet I myself
I can go about my day quietly

I can sit, I can meditate
Or soak in my morning bath
Or, as right now
I can pen a few lines, simply for myself

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Friday, 1 March 2019

Twenty One

I am in the main meditation room
I open the window shutters a little
To let in the morning light

Outside I hear laughter
I have heard a deal of laughter
Or should I call it nervous energy

For I see a lot of young people
Young girls in particular
From France, or maybe further away

What are they running from
Where are they running to
I say running

Because it is
What they
So so very often do

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Thursday, 28 February 2019


I am in the main meditation room
I open the window shutters a little
To let in the morning light

I wonder at the artistry
Where did the artists come from
To paint the walls, to paint the ceilings

Was there always a golden age
Is there always a golden age
Is it the age in which we live

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Wednesday, 27 February 2019


I am in the main meditation room
I open the window shutters a little
To let in the morning light

The corridor, outside the door
Is a favourite place it seems
For conversationalists to congregate

I passed them by, on my way in
I said I will not let them disturb me now
But of course, they did

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Tuesday, 26 February 2019


This is the glory of the Bow room
Bathed in sublime morning sunlight
Cascading, through Georgian windows
Reflecting, from the chrome on my pencil

Yet no sooner said than gone
Replaced by cloud-covered grey light
As if in readiness, or preparation
For the first guided meditation of the day

A body-scan meditation
With a quietly spoken teacher
Who said thanks for the beautiful morning
Who asked all to think well of themselves

I struggled a little bit
With the intake of white smoke
With the expulsion of black smoke
Though I was ok with breathing

I am ok with breathing
I breathe in
I breathe out
With eyes closed, or with eyes open

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Monday, 25 February 2019


Sat at the six-thirty table
Eating muesli with rye
Thinking of where to go next
Dreaming of bye and bye

Sat at the six-thirty table
Instant coffee by my side
Thinking of where to go next
Dreaming of bye and bye

Eyes look out into the distance
On their own bareback ride
Searching for some for instance
Some way to gather their pride

Eyes look out into the distance
Wondering of wind, of tide
Searching for some for instance
Some way to gather their pride

Hesitant steps are taken
Unsure in their self of making
Asking then where to go now
On their way to be forsaken

Hesitant steps are taken
Less certain now in the making
Asking then where to go now
On their way to be forsaken

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Sunday, 24 February 2019


Thus we savour
Thus we reflect
Thus we communicate
Thus we say thanks

All around the world
We wish each other well
All around the world
We ask each other how we are

To be totally honest
I really am no different
To be even more honest
I truly have no desire to be

I am up for love
I am open for love
Yes, I am most thankful
For those who love me

For those who carry love
In their hearts, in their souls
In their bodies, in their minds
In their very essences of being

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Saturday, 23 February 2019


A room
A bed
A light
A paper flower

A chair
A cushion
A carpet
A painting on the wall

A towel
A heater
A mirror
A set of deep drawers

A door
A lock
A hook
A bedside table

A mint chocolate, with compliments

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Friday, 22 February 2019


In this world of smoke and mirrors
In this mind of self-deceit
Let me receive my comeuppance
Lend me tuppence for the cheek

In this room of light, of shadow
In this mind of grateful conceit
Let me suffer for compassion
Send my rations to the street

In this remnant of a calmness
In this mind of the minuscule feat
Let me transform by forgiveness
Blend the richness with the neat

In this collective of unconscious
In this mind of future distant beat
Let me anchor with my mantra
Mend the tantric, astride the leaf

In this struggle of no ending
In this mind of pre-cast concrete
Let me disturb me from my seat
Fend off to meet the however weak

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Thursday, 21 February 2019


The Bow room is quiet
With only one door
To keep an eye on
With four windows
To escape through

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Wednesday, 20 February 2019


Breakfast was Muesli
Or Toast
Positively no bacon

Tea, or dinner if you prefer
Was Macaroni Cheese
Or Wheat-Free Vegetable Risotto

If you ever did wonder
Why I don’t want to reside here
There you have it; breakfast, dinner or tea

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Tuesday, 19 February 2019


The sound of the vacuum cleaner
Masks the sound of the footsteps

The sound of the footsteps
Masks the sound of the voice

The sound of the voice
Masks the sound of the busy mind

The sound of the busy mind
Masks the sound of silence

The sound of silence
Masks my own lack of awareness

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Monday, 18 February 2019


During prayers
I thought of my grandmother Elsie
I thought of my mother Eva

I thought of how
They might well have been Buddhists
If not for the Methodists of their time

Yes, they would be happy to help
They would be so so good house-mothers
Supportive, kind, offering love with guidance

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Sunday, 17 February 2019


A lady enters the room
To make preparations for prayers
To be chanted in about half an hours time
I am invited to stay, I will stay for some

Although I might have to take a side seat
Not to be centre stage you understand
For I have neither the knowledge nor the voice
To create a pleasant experience for others

As I meditated I felt:
First a twinge in my shoulder
Then a twitch in my calf
Then a dull ache in my lower back

Let no one accuse me of being unaware
My awareness is firmly held
Yet it is arguably well assisted
By the silence behind closed eyes

A silence undone by footsteps
A silence undone by voices
A silence I once so treasured
Unaware of the harm it caused

A silence undone by vacuum cleaners
A silence undone by a busy mind
A silence beyond my awareness
Oh silence, what trouble you’ve caused

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Saturday, 16 February 2019


I am in the second meditation room
I think they call it the protector
Which I take to mean
That it keeps evil spirits from the main room

The flowers are silk
Which is a disappointment
Though the water is real
As are the offerings of Bergamot and Coffee

Actually, the protector is there
To ensure that I am not prevented
From reaching my spiritual realisations
Why, how I thank you for that

I take a few minutes out
For a breathing meditation
I breathe in, I breathe out
Exactly as the instruction card says

But I also think to myself
Of what photographs I could have taken
To accompany the words
To justify the words

The ploughed field
The partridge, or pheasant
The tree line on top of the hill
The orange-tint, on the distant tree

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Friday, 15 February 2019


I take a drive out to Millington
I assume it is on the Yorkshire Wolds
A pheasant struts across the road
From stubble field to ploughed field
He puffs out his chest
Shakes his feathers
Vainglorious, that is
Until the shooting season
He scuttles away
As the muck-shift lorry races by
Then settles, to turn his green head
This way, then that
The day began so bright
Indeed I think I said so
In my morning words
But now the raindrops fall
The wind picks up
Ruffles the many coloured feathers
It is time to move on
The orange-tinted distant tree
Has lost its sunlit sparkle
As a country boy
I ought to know its name
But I don’t, no, I don’t
This was a short excursion
A place to find no place at all
But a chance for the iPad
To recharge its battery
Such that later on
I might type up these spurious notes
Of the day's proceedings
Pheasant, partridge, or otherwise

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Thursday, 14 February 2019


The stairway place is now free
I sit right up to the Georgian window
A young woman wheels a wheelbarrow
Across the field, past the trees
It is not so silent as Bow
Doors bang, doors crash
I can hear conversations
But van Gogh’s blossom is still here

A young oriental woman
Climbs the stairs energetically
She smiles, says: Hi, hello
Before moving on to the door
This is the main thoroughfare
Between upstairs and downstairs
The wallpaper is rather grand
Exotic birds, with feathered tails

Outside in the field
There are masses of molehills
Each peppered by pigeons
Another woman wheels her barrow
Though this time she moves
In the opposite direction
Before stopping, in the middle
Maybe for a Karma break
I tell you this as a momentary record
Fifteen minutes of a life
Quite possibly never to be revisited
With, or without the wheelbarrow

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Wednesday, 13 February 2019


The real writing, the screaming, then began
The writing did begin again
Yet first to tell of a significant oversight

The black dog took me at my word
I left my job, I sought other pleasures
I left my wife, my two beautiful children

For twelve months I lived in Devon
For twelve more months of heaven
I lived on the Channel Island of Jersey

I want to tell you this because this is where
The poetry of poetry came into existence
It is from where it still on occasion hails from

Fuelled by high-octane selfish obsession
Energised by compulsive desires; my needs
Confirmed in those peak-experience moments

The poems are endless, even now
Years after our time together crumbled
Crumbled, burned; in a harshly distasteful way

I could not reach her
I cannot reach her
I should not reach her
Yet once I had breached her

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