The Summer Tree




The Summer Tree.


You missed your niece decorating the Summer Tree
with strings of butterflies and flowers we bought
in Kelsall at the festival.
… then here she encircled small white stones
around dark flat slate and pointing at a
photograph softly asked, “who’s he ?” …

You missed your nephew skipping through
the hall and dripping choc ice onto a shoe
whilst bala...

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Claire on Tuesday.



I’m    playing  mandolin   in  the  corner  of  a smokey  room
and  she  sits  hidden  on  the  floor  playing  flute.
She  plays  Irish melodies. 
Everyone is   smoking,  the  air  curling  with  rhyme  
Everyone is  drinking  including  me,  including  her,
Why  she  hides  on  the  floor  behind  a  chair ,  near  the  door
I  don’t  know.

Everyone is singing , everyone...

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Biography ...



".. and show me another plot of land where

just for a moment I dawdled and losing sight

of you let go your hand ... show me that fooprint.

.. we pass this way but once, you took nothing

with you, and so I , with tears, and regret,  pursue

the same path, the space you left.

There are no words, you carried them with you,

four hundred sunsets, there, we counted them...

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At first I thought we'd meet again..


At first I thought we’d meet again,
aware of some shadow behind
my shoulder.

And then your voice, would explain,
through smoke and dust in a
faltering breath.

“I thought returning to those you love
is a promised debt for our
life’s pain.
Yes, at first I thought we’d meet again.”

Then I waited here, pacing slowly,
and a shadow did move within
the shade.

The voice was b...

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Is it just like that
and then y’gone
a tune some’aware
along the horizon
where I did not catch
y’last words me mate
so easy y’just
turn away fer a’minute
and then gone?

We’ll not meet again bud,
yer too far ahead now
down some path long.
I cannot but wish
yer were still here,
such a vacancy sighs
with so many pretty
girls in the plait’d
yer will not chase.
I told yer wh...

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Each year you will be clothed in
this pink caress and warmed by
shadows passing from granite to bark,

while smoke drifts between the stone
and the stable where a pony shivers
to greet the dawn.

And you in your fragile boat on smoothing
waves will disappear towards a cold horizon
as we lean forward begging your return.

But no word of farewell echoes here, no
final touch, no...

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I never write on things that rhyme
I don’t chase girls before half-past nine
My wallet’s empty the dosh is gone
Like the fastest cake, it’s scone, it's gone,
Y’look at me and wait for a smile
But I’ve nowt to say and life’s a trial.
The fridge is empty; the plug’s pulled out,
I only eat food when I go out.
I never drink until Friday lunch,
I’m with a delicate but scary bunch,

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These marvellous inclined planes
that with such precision take
upon themselves
the rite of beauty which
unknown to anyone fall into
some dark void and
with a whisper just before death
accuse and deny in one word the
meaningless eons which have gone before.

I was quietly observing the distance
between the stars
when with such a slight force
the years closed in on me and
the g...

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Brittle Leaves.


My great great great gran’mother.
Where are you Rosanna?
I thought when you die, you remain
to protect the children. I thought
in every shadow you would stand.
I dreamt Rosanna wore her ring.
She passed it to me saying; “I must go.
The shadow is for you now.” How can
I belong to a gypsy and not understand?
Gran’mother you left too soon.
I’ve become a brittle leaf, Rosanna. I

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We search for symmetry
She searches for symmetry in my
I search for a flaw in her curves.
Some slight error which will attract
There are turquoise lines between
The crimson squares which make
up the irregular pattern on her
crumpled Shetland wool shape.  
My hand sits on the curve of her
Hip, so when her boot slips on the
Jagged moss I take her weight on
My arm and sh...

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There are no dead.


There are no dead like your dead.
Relentlessly impaled on your memory,
her tiny hand, his frozen bicycle,
his uniform in the doorway, halo’d in
morning light saying “I’ll be alright”,
her scarf thrown aside in the sunshine.
There are no dead.

There are no wounds like your wounds.
Bathed as a child in crimson shadows
his unseeing eyes plead for life,
her skirt in the glade, not run...

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.... walkin'


See you walking
On a sunny day
Takes my breath away
And like a child
I am laughing.

See you running
In an open field
with the butterfly
Like some child
You’re laughing
With me.

Now the day is ours to borrow
Never thoughts of a tomorrow
Laughter has the taste of sorrow
You’re here

Drink this wine
The brightness holds us
Feel the wind upon y...

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sunset ... an elegy.


The sun is slow tonight, she moves towards
the horizon with care, an uncertain path
because someone is missing.

The sunset will hesitate again, she moves
unsteadily, knowing the colours will be faint
because someone is missing.

The horizon reflects the sorrow in a lake,
my lake, where drowning she takes away our
hurt, because someone is missing.

We nail our friend to a cross, i...

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Rain, beautiful, cooling
so  pacifying,  relentless.
Crowded  green trees dripping
tears  and  dew-drops,
spattering  in  shiny  puddles
around  bricks,  sticks  and
bits  of  floating  paper.
Amphibians  blink.
The  gnome  carelessly  throws  a  cast
hoping  a  tadpole - for - tea   passes  by.
Red  hat  in  the  downpour  shining.
Bending,  sharp  leaves, dripping,

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( excerpt ) In the rain.


Those books, where’s he taken them, who died? Those were my books.
I know what the other two were. Nobody passed, nobody, the street was
like a funeral procession that had failed to appear, the space reserved
but the burial delayed because the coffin refused to enter the hearse.

Again they tried but it would not move. The road is clear somebody says,
we have to go, but the coffi...

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Today  I  took  the  long  narrow  lane
Which  turns  and  winds  to   Marbury.
Found  the  seat  opposite  the Lamb
Turned  right  ,
A  row  of  houses  ,   where   you   lived
Many  years  ago.

..... and  the  fields  are  raw  ,   bleak  ,
frost  is  cold  against  grey  hedges  clipped  back  for  winter
it  is  very  quiet  ,
horses  wear  coats  ,  grey  sky  ,

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