Tags from last 12 months

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Our Patch


A few dozen trees and the whole world.
True, birds fly into the mist
who knows how they fare. 
Here an earthy scent holds us like a sea 
and suffuses every thought.
Where the oak drills into the earth
generations of creatures have shredded wood
and dewed moss cushions every stone.
This complete world is a velveteen toy.
Oh no, all is not good. One is a poisoner
where another's a fri...

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Through The Arched Window

It's the battle of Britain all over again.
Arched windows in the eaves
provide my view as from chalk cliffs.
Outside of myself they take me:
the return of the housemartins-
soaring and swooping and astonishing
the weary spirit. Moving
aside, immediate concerns press
like a heap of papers realised 
suddenly in the hand.
But leave a portion of the soul 
looking upwards, faithful in its vi...

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He Confessed


As if he was an alien
observing human beings
so as to pretend he was one of them
he lived his life doing things
not because he wanted to
but because he thought
that's what people did

As if modern conveniences
were an unwonted imposition
and the ambitious dreamer
had no choice but to acquiesce
to the blind bargain offered up 
it increasingly seemed
by a contagious smiling devil


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Perfectly Plain

It's another perfectly plain day here
   nothing has gone up in flames yet   
        birds might be murmurating overhead
           the roof hasn't fallen in yet
This warehouse liberally sprayed with isms
   political correctness fucked off
        barn doors wide open call foul weather in
           and hot air spiked with dust takes off
A radio forces five or six tunes
   in time measu...

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The Bottom Line


"She's under thirty."
It started as a joke against myself.
Not giving youngsters credit,
being a resentful or miserable old bastard.
It's become useful shorthand.

I've known people who always win
people with a lot to say
people with no fear.
All a thousand miles behind me now.
Under thirty.

I've learnt of the aristocracy 
of modern times, the divinities.
Their music in every e...

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Carry Him Gently

for Mandy

Carry him gently up to bed
the spirit of the day
succumbed at last to exhaustion.
The fire in his eyes now resting
no games left us to play
mayhem still coloured in crayon.

Taking the trouble to show me
night shining bright as day
the grace to lift shadows your gift.
While grief makes its awful demands
and dreams then cannot stay
but take to your ocean to drift.

Just w...

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Bottom Of The Pile


A poem found written in my own hand
from one of my forgotten lives- 
I've had a few-
drives a coach and horses through my hovel.
It appears I should have given more-
look at me with nothing! How could I
disagree? In this life 
the poems keep coming, who knows from where? 
Losing them would be a swim out to drown, 
accepting them with an even hand
burns the nerves but must 
provide ...

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Soft petals-  shrill trumpets-
woven through barbed-wire fences.
Known to fade; fall; but reform
in novel elegances.

Please, there are no words of wisdom
just words, help yourself.
Pass them through the in-turned mind,
doom them to a dusty shelf.


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The day's drudgery should be done by now
still he shambles. Dimmed Wandering skies
match hard concrete ground as on he shambles.
His feet are aching but his head aches more:
he could just as well be that disintegrating
plastic bag buffetted along, his torturous journey
has no point. The love of his life has left
their love-nest. She just needs some space.
He has heard that phrase before an...

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Words In A Vacuum


There is a silly old fool, he writes poems.
His themes are various, his output, vast.
Half of his effort is junk- he is
an artist after all- but even the good word 
is diligently ignored. All of it
sinks to a dark seabed
nibbled there by species unknown.
The silence really is deafening.
If anyone finds the power of speech
the only question will be
"What is this shit?"
The silly old...

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Humble Travellers


A stony raised path splits the lake in two.
Enough to mark the place rewarding.
Children, old couples, fishermen:
to be sure, they worry- do they merit these wages?
In this way the mood of joy is tempered
and this much better they all are for it.
Walking, engaging with goose and fox;
from recalling a wider world exists
to deep pursuit after almost silent
yet well-versed divulgence of...

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For Want Of Immortality


To bear in mind the common wrongs,
carry the burden as a test
of the meaning of 'eternal',
the prospects of the great projects
and purpose of the mannered life.

It was to bear in mind the common wrongs
Jesus Christ spoke of the poor always
being with us, full knowing the poor
are all of us and all we are. 

When the poor see the shining van spill out
busy men, drilling and testin...

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For The Happy Couple

Now strawberries and cream define a marriage
bromide and cyanide undermine a marriage

Let one image stand in reflective hours
white swans, long necks entwined in marriage

But do not forget for one minute, wild hog
and fierce bat are misaligned in marriage

What more is a waterfall but a backdrop
while tales of romance unwind through a marriage

And a knife, a fork, a bottle and a cor...

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Villanelle For An Acorn


It's not what you should do, it's what you can
creating more than giving and taking
my love saved my heart from her tired divan

All the world in an unmoved caravan
making room for love the undertaking
It's not what you should do, it's what you can

So far had I wandered a lone woodsman
as evening fell I heard a sweet singing
my love saved my heart from her tired divan

I had no r...

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Wishful Thinking


Ratty, scuttling across the lane,
from cover to cover, wishes again
he were huge. Too big for this narrow vein,
huge as a house. He could swallow whole
whatever he chose. The world
would be his waste-pile. Eagles in flight
his light snack. One thought would not stick:
if he were huge, also in proportion
would be his problems, enemies 
and comrades too. Sick!


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Orpheus And Eurydice


Into gloom, and uncertain footing,
place of dead-ends and torturous descent;
into this airless, soulless surrounding
goes one to meet his love, and sing again.

These dim-lit cold-grey rocks always lead down
but this hopeful wills his lover ascend,
or rather the lover spurs him upward
for man and muse each so comprehend.

(You should know that when the lovers emerge
into the blindi...

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Playing On The Seashore


A small boy lost in finding good pebbles
for the game of the moment, which was this:
send a stone on a high parabola
over the waves then quickly follow up 
skimming a flat stone aimed to coincide
with the flying projectile at splash-down.
Some stones were too good to give up this way.
One perfectly spherical stone hypnotised the boy.
The perfectly curved orb followe...

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In A Cathedral!


Did you ever you see so many 
regimental banners gathered together
as all those you can't miss 
roosting in the breathing space of a cathedral?
All types of military flags
hang from carven ribs like festive bunting.
Crossing uneven stone centuries
all times of crisis
overhead explosions of colour
camoflage ornate arches
sculpted to inspire.
I believe if Jesus Christ were alive 

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This Borrowed Time


Now it seems I am to live forever
all those dead come to me in dreams.
Insistently they put it to me
that I am not living at all.

Only they can risk everything
after losing time and time again.
Only they will race up a mountain
having learnt only how to fall.

I awake and review my agenda
insinuations still echoing loud.
It's only after long meditation
I learn to hear another vo...

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come over the stream


the grass is greener
the stars shine brighter
on the side of liberty

the grass is greener
the air is freer
on the side of equality

"the plain is plainer 
come over the stream"
"the deep is deeper
come over the stream"

the grass is greener
the dance is dancer
on the side of liberty

the grass is greener
the corn is corner
on the side of equality

"the plain is plainer 

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The Grandmaster Comments


Light. dark. 
A king stripped of comrades.
Opposing forces restricting movement
to two squares. Light, Dark.
Your moves are forced. When it is your turn
you must be thinking...
God only knows.
Meanwhile, see a hostile pawn navigate.
Destined to become a queen, destined
to deliver checkmate.

This is a poem
so there must be some kind of metaphor
kicking about.

As a chessplayer ...

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Apocalypse Now


No more than an ant hill
under observation

Kids can shoe the mountain aside
for fun

Beasts fiercer still
claw the pile in earnest

Where the waters rise
the floods will sweep through

And after, drought
routinely turns the ground to stone

Observe the ants on any day
staunchly take up the challenge

From rampant plague to feet of snow
never a dull day for the workers


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The First Word Is The Deepest


Caveman had occasion to drag cavewoman home by the hair.
Being discomfitted by coconut 
cavewoman threw said coconut at back of caveman's head.
Many times before they reached home
coconut, "ow", back of head, "ow".

No wonder then when they reached the cave
neither was full of the joys of spring.
But their exasperation gave rise to 
the proudest of human achievements: speech.


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Daughter Of Eons

You're seen beneath broadleaves
as light rain passes over

Disaster upon disaster
safely behind you

When the rainbow shows
you're happy to move on

You're caught listening sometimes
sorrowful sighs on the wind

Driving home today
how many to run out of road?

Your eyes shock those now asleep wide awake
and those all too awake at last shall dream

You speak of a clock 
smashed t...

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Looking Out To Sea

For no particular reason we'll stop
look over the water hand in hand
we'll be just the age we are now
and all time together springtime

Reliving moments of expansive love
languid sun-dazed children recall our own
smiles like great banners of joy
poetry caught up in the simplest words

Butter-coloured dunes, trailing grass crests,
billowing sky one translucent pashmina,
undulating sea a...

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A Certain Strength


You dig your heels in.
You'd drag all the world onto your side
your enemy also.
So little movement for the effort
in the tug o' war.

Say the others are thin as paper
weak as ghosts. Enlist your children 
unto the fight. We're not establishing truth here
but winning counts for something
in the tug o' war.

You try to back out of it-
that's getting more into it!
There's pretty gi...

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Convalescent Life


He'd always turn away at the last moment,
this made him better than the barbarians.
Now a dream unfolds as it will
and he must at last witness an execution.

This convalescant life, he'd laugh, is a spider's web
set up in a hopeless location.
But now it opens all the windows
for thoughts over stale situation.


One man on his knees is keenly curious to the end
another, prec...

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Putting It Right


The daughter-in-law is called in
-the old woman's blanket must be moved 
an inch to the left-
ah but, things can never be put right
and knowing that, she'll try
as if a winning ticket is to be found
under this or that pile of papers.
Before returning to the laundry
she'll assay the tea ceremony
(the perfect recipe, that infernal chimera,
 sits just out of reach)
oh, and it'll never...

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My Half Of The Sonnet  No.3

'Brotherly Love'

He said I was a philosopher
said it was not possible 
to communicate with me
he didn't say but thought
I was a little rash through surrealism
made cold with him- with anyone-
by all too easy an acceptance
of our hideous buffeting by fate.

I thought of myself as exactly the same as him
as anyone- but at a great distance
and communication must be conceded
difficult w...

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for Daniel Whitworth 1993-2014


When I see him I have to smile.
Heavy music becomes light as a feather.
Money from my pocket 
flies towards him like ecstatic dogs.
Frostbites chill out.

World champion he is
of endless fascinating things.
Today we dig to Australia.
Tomorrow swim to the new world.

All of life readily shows
family traits and values,
and we make a cast-iron case

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Buzzing Of The Saw


The topmost leaf of the tree
I'd Imagine in the wonder of youth
a ladybird settled there
realize from her vantage
I must appear the insect
while in my tired myopic age I find
 my exasperated view obscure
the summit of Everest mist-veiled

as I write they come to fell the tree
now shall I learn something of the heights
something but not everything
considering the toppled giant

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The Poet's Promise


Night sky- just a superhero's cape
dragged through puddles when
it is missing the stars.
And I know you
have taken comfort and inspiration
from fixed stars and wanderers
while joining the dots
brought me no arcane revelation.
But I think we can agree
the poem is a bed-time story for adults.
Nothing gained by studying it
you have to dream on it.
The poem won't bring starlight
to d...

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a wave passed along the centipede's legs


was married one day
before a jealous rival
killed her husband.
And so it was
her fate to enter the flames
of her husbands pyre.

Her sisters prepared her 
as they might for a birth,
urging her to redouble her strength.
The implacable sun rose
and with a show of gaiety
they walked her to the place.

Foreign explorers pulled her from the flames
just in time and at the cost o...

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Surprise Outcomes Best


If a TV were to be switched on, showing anything,
how quickly I would fall into its evil clutches.

It may be true; we may have to imagine;
there is no TV here, no string of messages
on a mobile phone, no neighbours 
sharing their music.

I wouldn't normally put myself forward but
I feel whatever we do here
 we should meet like this again and often.

Not knowing the future
(as op...

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Half-Day Holiday


Huge drops galloping from memory

drench a thin springtime suit. Again.

O brown Earth, green Earth!

No, no, you will never change.

Blue sky; black sky; sing your old lullay

again. Again.

For epic adventures among beetles

cast to the ready storm a composed mien.

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Vehicle For Time-Travel, Egg-Shell Vulnerable


The adults, by brute force, had an engine

in pieces. They must reverse the process

to move on.


The boy had found a manhole cover,

colourless and unreflective,

cast-iron and screwed down.


The embossed surface

incorporating random letters

caught in a labyrinthine pattern.


The system of runnels, cleared of dusty mud

by a finger, perfect for guiding


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Anyone might imagine a person
who DIDN'T have a troubled past.
Camouflaged lunatics
search every dark corner for one.
Dour shopkeepers lay out
their carpets and table for one.
Men say a woman, women say a man
the old say the young, the young the old.
All agree they'll meet a Martian sooner.


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Maybe Krishna


I know you have killed many enemies 
all those that lodged in your heart
should more storm your high fortress
I know you will burn it to the ground

So like simple night has blinded them
hateful arrows now miss their mark
and as if buried in pure white snow
evil taunts now force no echo 

I praise your meandering steps
outwitting your serpentine heritage
and I praise the necessary...

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The Dumb Spirit


     Eye to eye with circling shearwaters
the dumb spirit scans the sea.
As I think I divine a voice
the feeling dissipates like filigree 
foam on the breaking wave.

     And while sharing truths as perceived
the dumb spirit does not record.
There can be no archive and no
epic drama witnessed abroad
illuminates one unmet 'why?'

     And it's for my patience to crumble
where the...

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Mark Whitworth 1958-2021


Who grows young again through time?
See, through bitter ice become drip-clear  
melting from a forget-me-not that waits there.
Sustained as a long-held blue note
through out-of-sight jazz testimony.

I have in mind one
to rival Steve McQueen in "The Great Escape"
-gunning his motorbike up a grassy hillside.
One most fluent in music, our most expressive lan...

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Comparing Dreams       


Daybreak came round again.
She had a foot massage booked at a plush spa
but veered away admiring irises and unknown blooms.
His sister attacked his dad in hospital
pulling out tubes.
She returned to a childhood home
so improbably different now!
His 'phone wouldn't function right
distraught Romeo couldn't contact Juliet.

A few kisses sort it all out.

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All Of Us


All of us who invent the harder way
we too hear hear the door close quietly.
On the brothers who go to see the world-
how do they find it? Oh...no
 more is heard.

All of us left speaking just for ourselves 
hear our words echo from enclosing walls
emblazoned with scenes culled from that world
hung long ago and long unregarded.

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For The Face Beset With Grimaces


Five here, six there -families of geese
about their morning swim-
in all their senses
more aware than the human
(as always, the passer-by)
who reckons they are their own song
and when they raise their voices,
the mortal, featherless biped
-all manner of things being well-
finds an unfamiliar smile graces the face
ordinarily beset so with grimaces.

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And then

in our bedroom

the entire population of the world

crowded in

not only judging our love

but they had us there

exposed as spiritless puppets.

The momentary dark cloud passed swiftly.

Again we were brought alive

each by the other

in the joy of devotion.

Entering a dream or waking from it

the two are one in our Eden

and timeless days recoup the...

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Earth's Plea


     With all the gravity it can muster
the Earth is pleading, now quietly, now loud,
     Such cries as anyone could overhear,

     A vital truth is true forever,
you need only listen once
to join with me in all my further cries.

     Insubstantial beauty, crystalline snowflake
the truth is your distance pains me,
I must hold you as a mother does.
     O pl...

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You People


I think of writing for you people
however far removed.

As you harness nuclear fusion 
for an abundance of clean energy,
all that came before- call primitive.

And maintain the Earth's population
at an optimum level. An issue
never before properly addressed.

These two achievements are the wings
to allow a sensible view for the first time,
carried free of age old labyrinths.


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     It will not mistake pride for gravitas
when it takes a cloth to the looking glass
but will find one's relation to heaven
simply focusing on what is hidden.

     Because privacy loves...no one need know
one hears the violin court the oboe.
No poem ever brought, or ever will,
mosses from that valley to this stark hill.

     Revealing in whispers -like to madness-
how one disti...

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The Episode Apart


It is time to write in praise of the episode apart.
Picking blackberries lost in nothing but 
blackberry bushes.
Let nothing force a wedge into the episode I praise, 
the fragment complete in itself.
Time and place unknown,
one back from hellish war
covets the empty sky.
Ten feet from shore, once upon a time,
fore and aft the waves rose up,
and the depression I was in was all there ...

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The land perceives 
forest and field.

Imagines a border, 
a slowly waving ribbon,
defining time over decades.

Understands the back and forth 
of each creature to suit it's needs.

Field to forest,
forest to field. 

Thoughts wander as owls orbit 
and salmon navigate, 
what is to stop them?

An unquiet land might speak
through forest, through field.


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We Wake Up Together


A morning gong scatters the stars-
dreams retreating to the edges.
Now begin in the middle of things.

Two spirits fell to Earth entwined,
the one and only image of Eden.
And guarantee of fruitful days.

Two lions, powerful heads
lolling against one another,
eyes open/closed.

And doves-  
beaks hold out branches
as promise for a safe home.

How renaissance draperies follow fo...

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