childhood (Remove filter)

shrimping net city

There’s nothing so pretty

As shrimping net city

Where rock pools are tempting

And hermit crabs charm

In gingham and sandals

With sand between our toes

A spade and a bucket

Held in freckled arms.


The grannies are wiry -

Running down to the ripples

A chorus of children

To left and to right.

As the gulls wheel and deal

On their pasty patrol


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the blocks of childhood

solid, set square in red brick,

yet from the start porous, lined

by a cancerous quick

so soon perished

barely noticed we chalk one up

then tally them daily

our stars of awe and wonder

in diligent swathes

until the toehold twists

and the road falls away

when the choked black

fear stacked Sunday Psalms

choose today


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A doll is for play

To be treausred every day

A friend come what may

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With peacocks at kew


It seems too unlikely.

Little girl, pink frock, barefoot

wandering through a glade

following a peacock.


There’s no-one with her.

Just this sapphire creature

at her side.


Putting down our sandwich lunch

worried, we approach.

“Where is your mummy?”

The peacock disappears.


“Over there” she gestures


Tells us he...

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bus boy


The boy on the bus has eyes like fishes

not dead cod eyes but

perfectly elliptical

fish shaped



His father is old, his mother

wears sensible shoes.


An only child

alarmed by noise, counting solar panels

obsessed by bus timetables.

“What’s that?” to everything

clutching at mother when a branch

clatters on the roof


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There’s no room in my tent for you

Only space enough for me

My feet poke out quite brave

The rest of me hidden away.

Bees buzz, grass tickles my toes

That’s all of the world I need

If my tent had a big iron lock

I’d lock it to keep you out.


I’ve got crayons and a big book

And sandwiches in a tin

And I don’t have to let you talk

And I don’t...

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Ten Minutes

I am the oldest of four girls,

And four girls can be a crowd.

Time alone with Mother was the stuff of wishes.

One  morning I awoke early and realized:

My sisters are still asleep!

There was a faint rattle of cutlery.

And Mummy is down in the kitchen by herself!

I slithered out of bed and crept down the stairs

Masterfully negotiating the squeaks

Hardly believi...

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