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For what may have been and for John.


On the isle of giants beneath the wings of eagles, a flycatcher sings in the bough of an apple tree. It sears the damp air with high-pitched bullets that ricochet off the nunnery rocks and out toward the Ross.

Standing midway between its beak and the pebbled beach lilts an ancient wall, in whose lea lies a stone.

Common, unassuming, like a m...

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Bean Abacus

For Nigel, his wife and children



His green, unfocussed eyes drift aimlessly in search of a fixed horizon.

Imperceptibly, lukewarm beige tea eases effortlessly down the parched cascade landscape of his throat.

Slow motion eyelid shutters close then open, close then open, like a malfunctioning shop front at the end of the working da...

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Thief in the night

You slipped in like a thief in the night, undercover of so much darkness,

Unseen, unheard, unknown you brought even more darkness with you.

Long lasting, perpetual darkness was your perfume,

Your gifted lingering presence hung in lounge, ward, and bedroom.


Like a silent pickpocket you slithered through the crowd,

With the deftest of fingered touches, you chose and left your ma...

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What did they see?



Tell me please, what did they see?

Those big boys in big phallic toys,

So far up there, where the lack of air,

Is filled with fumes from their rocket plumes,

What did they see?


They travelled for many miles, to see our earth, o so fragile,

To view the sprawling human race, for ten minutes in outer space.

Did they count the cost – was it worthwhile?

They could...

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Sancerre to Bordeaux

In the distance, a haze-bound bridesmaid comes into view, skipping in zig zag fashion scattering petals here and there, illuminating the path with fragrant, brightly coloured promises of what is to come.

The sprinkled tints, hints and hues flow through Spring sown green and yellow, until the river of fecundity overflows into fields, flesh, and bones.

A rampant, lustrous, lustful, late teenag...

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A moment in time

From above the opaque plastic mask that oozed oxygen into her lungs, two bowl-shaped brown eyes rolled slowly in my direction, and they smiled at me.

From beneath the standard issue, paper-thin, patterned gown that posed as a protector to her dignity, a slender, tired hand was gently raised, and it waved at me.

From across that distance between us, the silent chasm that stretched for miles a...

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Bells and Whistles

Deep in the Dales, a church bell rings in time and rhyme with a clanging breakfast chime.

A bobbing Robin dips and chips, ignoring the tooing and froing cows there lowing.

Creaking kettles announce their being, whistles call in response to a Dove's soft cooing.

Tractors churn and turn, ploughing cloud furrows for silent Swallows to follow.

Gently flap Crow's wings, ...

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Green Grows the Grass

For Afghanistan


Soft is the grass on which the blooming, billowing, morning sunlight lands.

Stage lit and starstruck are its innumerable, dew guilted strands.

A luscious morning feed, on which mountain muscled bulls feast with greed.

Bordered and fenced, territorially stamped that others may heed,

The sign which declares, this field is theirs, enter if you dare.


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One of them

Dawn broke to a cushioned hush as if those last held breaths were cotton wool crushed – and preserved, and saved, and held, like one too many goals.

Somewhere, between the walking of those lasts silent steps and the breaking of dawn, the bunting had been taken down, without a sound.

Windows, no longer draped in a patron saint’s cross, looked forlornly at the grey morning, no brilliant sunshi...

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Dinner Plate

For Fathers’ Day



Through my mind’s eye, the one that cannot, will not cry,

I can still see the fine, life worn, war torn lines in your face.

Each and every crack, a river flowing with untold pain.

Silent slivers and creeks, scarred like wind dried, ice split cheeks,

Inlets flowing not ...

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A day out

Take the quiet little train from quiet Bempton,

It’s a relaxing, calming fifteen-minute ride.

There’s nothing grandiose to greet you at the station,

Where Yorkshire collides with the North Sea tide.

The pavements are so clean they could be German,

Above the salt spray you can smell the sense of pride.

Where the overweight migrate to feast of fat food,

The locals refuse to ...

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Farewell delicious citrus companion,

For three years we shared our breakfast table,

Breaking the night's fast together as one,

And now, you gone, and I, miserable.


Three-fold were your sweet sunshine hued fruit rinds,

Melded too with sugars from cane filled isles.

Our love connection, forged by taste and mind,

Child of copper-bottomed pot, yielding smiles.


On your...

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Being Here

T  H  I  S       M  O  M  E  N  T.

That moment is gone.

And that moment about that moment is gone.

And this moment too will be gone.

Is gone.

And now you enter the race, the race to beat the moment’s elapse,

To sense and be with the moment, to be here.

Your inner voice puts on a tight-fitting bright yellow Velcro sports top and starts to run.

You and it, combined, build...

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Water Babies

Silver tears run races along freshly waxed leaves,

Each translucent drop fashioned and tempered aloft.

Water babies sired by the sun,  

Birthed from the oceans’ wombs,

Still born givers of life.


Thirsty earth quenchers they slake the clay and loam,

Feeding tubers, roots, and seeds.

In legions they reign, caring nothing for the plans of man,

Their combined power is imme...

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Good old tines

Stood to attention by the privet hedge,

Upright and strong, stately patient and calm,

The Grenadier Guard of the garden shed,

Silently you await the call to arms.

Attired in shades of greys and ochered steel,

Muted uniform becomes camouflage.

And yet so vibrant in flesh hands you feel,

Happy in your work, well weathered old sage.

When grain sits against palm, your voice is ...

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Pica Pica

Avian Hyena, piebald pirate,

Monochrome trickster, telling lustrous lies.

What evil did you, to deserve such hate?

Even child killers are not so despised.

In finest tuxedo you proudly strut,

Skipping not hopping, stealing not shopping.

Flamboyant tail trails, yours not Covid cut,

Dashing dandy, bursting with swaggering

A quiet assassin, you cannot make,

Your murderous mi...

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Bee Queen

Sweet nectar collecting space invader,

Barred beauty on whom all mankind depends.

Onomatopoeic kazoo player,

Seen zooming and buzzing in my garden.

Manic squadrons perform daily duties,

Nature’s perfect design, man says shouldn’t work.

Baskets and bellies laden with booty,

From your Royal calling, you never shirk.

From daisy to tulip, your bum bumbles,

Adorned in jumpers...

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O, poor snubbed soul, will no one hear your chimes?

Is your cachet so invisible now?

Why does blind ignorance fill blinkered times?

Are you the sacrifice; unholy cow?

Did you not nail our colours to the mast?

And vow yourself to be selfless and true?

How dare they name you tiresome, fake, bombast?

Will faithful believers not hear from you?

Who considers you less by dint of ...

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Daisy chains at sea

A flotilla sits anchored at sea,

A chain-link of unfurled white finger sails.

Bobbing gently on a brine of wax green,

Golden pillowed life rafts with pearlesque rails.

They demand only deserved attention,

Serene these vessels with cargoes of hope.

Beauty in simplicity, do not shun,

The iridescence that keeps them afloat.

Circadian stars with no need of night,

Dazzling ar...

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Tick, tock, tick, tock, delicate hands of time,

Silk shuttlecocks carry fine memories,

Of forever days, carefree ways gone by,

Slipped between clasped fingers like sand-soaked sea.

Cupid’s mercurial ballerinas

He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me.

Blown on the wind, innocent, no danger,

Floating o’er riverbanks, quarries, and trees.

Untarnished moments, polished and pr...

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Faded Icons

Ancient, unchanging, benevolent face,

How mournful behind it your soul must be.

Ahimsa faith lost on a "master race",

Nirvana unreached by humanity

Celebrated image, icon of peace,

Now faded, jaded, like Lindisfarne walls.

We reject dukkha - you promise release,

But higher disciples rejected your call.

Our only faith refuge, unlike the rest,

Religious savour, in robes of...

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The house expands, cracking stiff mortar limbs,

Kettle rumbles against a sulking sky.

Blackbird and Robin harmonise their hymns,

As Sparrow chirps interject keeping time.

A baritone dog barks, when car engine stirs,

Boilers play steaming trumpet fanfare blasts.

Blue Tits, in stuttering staccato chirrs,

Duet with tap dancing squirrel on glass.

Mist drips just fall, the score...

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Twixt Beltane and Litha, harbinger blooms,

Offering blessings, sweet tokens of love,

It’s violet whorls with heady perfumes,

Gifts to honour those crossed and above.

Childhood reminders, the dawn of warms days,

Innocent laughter and damming of brooks.

Revered by mothers, in warning they’d say,

To welcome you inside, invites bad luck.

Your name so English, but foreign by bir...

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May 12th

A patio, a quartet unspoken,

Four black backs turned, inviting collusion.

Their quiet contemplation unbroken,

Exhausted, slumped at the table; all in.

Perhaps they’re mourning the soon coming days,

Or maybe ruined by previous nights?

Preferring their silence, they do not say,

Allied by muteness in crisp morning light.

Perhaps they’re waiting, to offer their s...

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Waiting in Vain

Heavenly blossoms borne on floating stems,

Heady, delightful bouquets like incense.

Empty promises, no garlanded gems,

Unperfumed evenings, fragrance, is not scent.

Tended with such care, those slim tender limbs,

Hold lime leaves in May, where great hope is laid.

Year after year, expectation grows dim,

As kindness given, goes often unpaid.

Majestic, pendulous blooms I await...

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John Bunyan's Shed


What valiant pilgrim would stand at this door,

Fearless of the evil lurking inside?

Fabled beasts of forest, mountain, and moor?

Good men and women have tried, failed, and died.


“There in be dragons” whispers the gnarled tree,

“And ghostly machines, for to dig ditches,

Dust coated vessels, tools of wizardry,

And weapons for knights, used to fight witches”.



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Garlic 18

Should I equate you with a fairground ride?

I find you far more exhilarating!

Discovered living among the dead we hide,

I took you home to enrich my kitchen.

The Hydra’s Ivory stars you display,

Amidst your luscious, silken verdant sprays.

Drenching Italianate woodland bouquet,

Refreshing my soul in the month of May.

Say, if your bulbous brethren be too hot,

Or their har...

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Wordsworth's Shroud

Spring's herald hangs voiceless, faceless, silent.

Now the trumpet beckons a new season,

Its first flush of life so soon sadly spent,

Energies engaged for other reasons.


Dried tobacco ponytails tumble out,

Like clay-coloured flowing rivers in flood,

Elephant hide desiccated by drought,

Parched vessels now carrying no lifeblood.


Former golden glories display no mor...

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Myopsida Palmatum Atropurpureum

In Winter’s cold lifeless light, you appear.

Delicate silent limbed, full of deceit,

Unpainted canvas with oils not yet smeared,

Pearl snowdrops swaying gently above your feet.

Like a temptress in Spring, you taunt and tease,

Playing guessing games of “what will I wear?”

With dried aubergine squid you us deceive,

Unfurled drapes of plummy claret wine tears

Then summ...

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Occasional Furniture

Can you trust an occasional table to still be the same in the morning?

Or will it like a lover slip away at dawn, and transform without warning?

If it took God six days to complete his work, was he made redundant on the eighth?

Or was he put on furlough, and Armageddon Friday is his new starting date?

Are black and white not colours so achromats can see Zebras at the zoo?   

Or is i...

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Always there

April 27th

I began this piece about two week’s ago when the smallest spider I have ever seen appeared on the top of my computer while I was composing another poem. Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt was to take an entry from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows and create a poem from the inspiration. I looked and found Lilo n. a friendship that can lie dormant for years only to pick right back up instantly,...

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Earth Pigs

I woke up this morning and my head instantly decided we were going to write about the fear of public speaking.  I then read our prompt for the day “find a factual article about an animal… (that) repeats the name of the animal a lot. Now, go back through the text and replace the name of the animal with something else – it could be something very abstract, like “sadness” or “my heart,” or something ...

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Bouée de sauvetage pêche

As a writer (I still shy away from the title poet at times) I often find myself in a dilemma, one to which the vagaries of my mind tutor the torment. The unravelling of meaning of poems – is it meant to be a test that makes you feel inadequate at the best of times?

I have often sat and read something and then wondered “what the hell have I just read? It makes no sense at all. Why must poets do ...

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A bowler's lament

1976, that summer’s heat making light work of my shoddy whites.

Sweat beads slip from my crown, wiped from my brow,

They run the bails of my fingers, to where a rubicund sphere sits.

As a boy, it held no mystery, taught me no lessons,

It told no lies, held no surprise, a simple ball to my eyes.

And I, a player in its game, out in the field, making up the numbers.

That cri...

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NaPoWriMo 2021cricketschooldaysimperialismBLM

Spring Fruit

I would love some feedback on format and meaning on this piece I've just completed. Thanks for any contributions you may make. Graham.

There’s no fruit to be picked in springtime,

Winter bleaches the tree bones dry, starved scarecrows against the sky.

There’s no fruit to be picked in springtime,

First the leaves and blossoming flowers, then bees and sweet April showers.

There’s n...

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