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Butterflies Alight

To live a life in a day
the difference is plain
there’s no doing it again.
A flight within the 4th-dimension
no squirming weasel words for you
just a graceful flutter and decline
On a wing and a prayer
No absence of synesthesia there.

A mingling of the finest bouquet
With the deepest regret in a minor chord
The tug at your heart and a tear at your chest
Just flower after flower, n...

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The wonder of the just about mundane 
Nothing, under heaven, remains the same. 
The glint, the glance, the gaze, the smile, 
The unconscious optimism of that green mile.
‘It’ll be OK’, ‘I’ll live to fight another day.’ 
The myriad of wild flowers sway in the breeze 
Born to make a carpet on the valley floor. 
Looking up at the swirling clouds of grey-blue 
A reflection of  the unassumed et...

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Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand."
William Butler Yeats, 

I remember falling  as a child
Being lifted by a faery-wild;
She kissed my cheek and mussed my hair
And then she wasn’t there.

Some blind folk see the faeries clear,
For faeries are always close or near,
Oh, bette...

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Remembering Charlie

So scared tonight, he made me feel as helpless
As I am. He’s looking at me as I write, 
Cataracts on his eyes, panting. No disguise.
The fear he feels at the strangeness of the universe,
The inexplicability of life: the thunder.
But he knows I love him and he takes heart
As I tempt him into a cave under my desk
And Yes! He has finally settled down –
At least a bit – panting still but now n...

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These empty streets


It was always too late for us, my love,
Cold winds blew our dreams away
Before I could even say ‘I love you so’.
Along these empty streets the scattered
Snow in the icy air told me you’re not there.
I took you into my dreams before I even knew
You existed and all the twists of life bounded
Up with you. But who can see the end of life
In this storm of wind and cold and being young?

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Once upon an August midnight 🌙

Moon came to an old Cheshire mere,
This boy cannot stop looking
And looking at pretty Missy Moon.
Thunder growls on this high summer eve
Missy Moon shows off her talents
Her rounded suppleness of form.
She shows all her shades and shadows 
Toing-and-froing the moon swings like a nursery rhyme.
Moonlight flows so that boy is now an old man
sleeping in a hammock made of shades and tears.

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People of a lesser vintage

I live a November life
where I run like a train
deeper and deeper
through the tunnels,
over wind-swept bridges,
through the sedentary, childless
villages of the old from where I am now
in the land of mine enemies
where hostile witnesses abound,
skilled at shaking fists, digging up dirt,
being respectably contemptible.

Such terrible beauty in these lands of the rich:
wizened faces stu...

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Somehow there's blue

I struggle every day to remain well,
It's an obstacle course, of sorts,
Yesterday, I was ko'd, knocked out,
But before the count of 10 I was
Up again, fighting to recover balance, poise, on my toes.
Today I fast
Hoping I will recover, in time
To watch a film, have a meal,
Get up from my bed. Be well.
It's been like this since cancer struck.
Illness has liberated me from any vestiges of arr...

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Poem for an anonymous Moorish Poet on the defeat at Seville November 1248

We have eaten rats during this seige
The Spanish want us to acquiesce to Christian suzerainty.
They never tell us why we should do so
We have our music, poetry, wine, gardens and our beautiful women.

And beauty gives us light, like lamps do to one travelling in the dark.
Makes one wake up, notice a sparkling jewel,
A pearl from the deeps of a distant ocean
A rarity of dreams: a new or...

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But in my opinion it was not an honourable
injury that I sustained when I fell in love
With this slip of a girl. Lightning cannot fathom
Her and neither can I.

Monsieur, if you are armed do not show your weapon
I find love completely unarmed.
Feeling opened the way for my eyes to reach to the core of her
her tears usher in a passage of events that elude me now, and forever.
It was t...

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November brought to mind in late July


Oh! the lack of light, the all-day twilight!
How can a body live through this visual misery?
Even the trees have no leaves.
And the clinging cold!

We wake to the rumbling thunder of  blood,
Pumping hearts, twisted hearts,
this shadow and I squeeze
Into the thick silences of trees.

Now the dark lights
of Christmastide, drift, flux and flicker
in this breeze of time,


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Silence and after

Silence the whispers,

Open your heart,

To the whispers of sisters,

To the silence of art.


To the dog's dogged silence,

As he gobbles his food, 

To the deep black of violence

That's humanity's mood.


We leap into action, with a wing and a prayer,

But fade as we realise the power of the snare.

Trapped, woe-begotten, at coming a cropper,

I gather my senses, t...

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there’s only so much reading you can do

so much listening to storms rumble in

from far horizons

we think this earth is solid under us

but talk to a seismologist

then you’ll quake

we carry this dream of solidity

with us always: in hospital, at the grave-side, while boozing at the wake

everywhere our dream allows us to live

hoping, just hoping

that we’re travelling towa...

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Light waves to Schrödinger’s cat

Light is a wave and a particle
It does not matter
If a particle’s partiality
Parts with the classical concept
Of duality.
A wave can be a particle
And matter, or matter not.

The behaviour of the quantum
Is unpredictable in the extreme
So firing particles through a mountain
Isn’t all that it may seem?

Like position and momentum,
Or like photons and matter,
Waving to a particl...

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Hidden remains

You are so hard to please, so complete a reader, so unlike me. bedclothes are loose it is close, hot, as it was for the poet, Ovid, exiled from Rome to the Black Sea. I will not stay in bed long now, I never do, you know humidity continues to glow through our exiled nights incompatible with, but necessary to, this night, this long, long, night of the 🌙 moon. Foreb...

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When you came to me, through an open window

All the cracked envelopes of my life came into your hands,

There was nothing in them — just invisible love that you can throw away if you choose to.

You chose to throw it straight back at me, I caught it, we had begun.

You gave me a lot of praise with your eyes

For being alive

I, too,  thought you were desiring reciprocati...

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A northern morning, after a defeat


"Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that." Bill Shankley.

The morning rain soaks my clothes, my hair, my skin,

I do not care. For I am  not here: nor there, nor anywhere

I look at the mortar between the crumbling bricks in this old

Wall built by the calloused h...

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passing clouds

Words you don’t remember,

wind rising in the sky,

you, bereft of fortitude,

sparks will fly..


Coals flare into flames; a pettiness

Of heat. Suddenly replete: golden sands,

Crystal brooks, silken lines, silver hooks.


Glimpsing what’s already there,

I begin to mount the stairs.

Who cares?


A friend you trust implicitly,

a lover you just like,

a r...

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Summer thunder

Sky bruised and virulently rumbling                                Oddly composed stresses in the air                              Books remain still as I sweat in my mind exists a wonderful panorama, my senses stray for a long time, we have no more than the bare necessities:
life, intelligence, poetry.


Over the Hills the rumbles are my most ardent pursuers in the intensity of day my hear...

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The bloody poppy



In England’s fields, few poppies grow,
Chemical fertilisers have seen to that
The land is still owned by those same fey aristocrats
Who’ve plundered and marauded for untold centuries.

On the slivers of common land that remain
The common sparrow still bravely sings,
Scarce heard amid the empty political posturings.
No-one listens to the Glorious Dead. Lip service, instead.


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The necromancer's ball - revisited



The devil’s in the detail,
Your cousin’s in the club,
She’s been boozing since yesterday - 
Aye, there’s the rub.

Look in the mirror
Inspect the back of your mind
Microscopically construct another time:
an armed robbery —
you dirty, rotten swine.

sip whiskey, look around, frown.

what could it be?
this city of the bee?
Let’s go have ourselves a look-see.

He lost his mind ...

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..."teaching poor white kids about “white privilege” might be at best inappropriate, and at worst stoke resentment." https://www.ft.com/content/f266e992-d5c3-4d76-b709-90467259a428

A raggedy thin cotton dress
On this little girl playing alone
On this freezing December day
In the year of our Lord, 2017.
Trapped in a major British city.
She’s scorned by her mama,
Left out by her friends.

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Our endless, numbered days

Sackcloth on our backs,
ashes in our mouths,
wailing heard from north and south

Morning maniac music
shakes me awake
those who once brought hope
now mired in hate.

Over the mountains,
black clouds scud
a perverted vivacity
has entered the blood.

Refugees waiting,
knocking at your door,
seeking sanctuary
on a distant shore.

Christendom has fallen
collapsed from within,
deep, deep in the luxury of s...

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Quantum leap

When sadnesses besiege you:
at the dying of the light
when starlight illuminates
the end of night.
will you tingle in the frosted air of sight?

Starlight is mirrored in the water and the eyes
when humankind abandons its disguise.
The spin and whirl of hemlock
help the witch and wicca sway
underneath the greensward
all day

All that was dark
is summoned by the light
of the Sigil of ...

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Global swarming

Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don't they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers. Ray Bradbury


Treasure a desert orchid
Do not classify the sky:
It is the time for bees.
Anybody can name a bee
But can we know it?
Fascists swim in rain or snow
To let us know they glorify the body. 
Pools are deep but silt can do its work.
Transforming a do ...

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A mighty working

She's the shadow of a shadow,

She's the smile upon a face,

She's tantalising, like music,

Released from time and space.


Her image is a mirror,

Of glance and glimpse and gleam,

On St Agnes Eve pursuing

Her remnants of a dream.


I track her down the by-ways

Of yearning and despair

But at the sound of foot-fall

She'll vanish in thin air.


But in the wa...

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Hancock's Half Hour


We're perfectly adept at the odd sneering look,
The smutty double-entendre. the undoing-it-by-the-book.
We're top of the class at holier-than-thou
O! how we truly detest continental highbrow. 

We manage to forget that we reap what we sow,
With a smidgen of lying, we can easily disavow
False imputations that we don't do as we preach
We can clean it all up, with a bucket of bleach.


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These Czech lands, 1936


The abiding Jan Hus

with all those Hussites burnt at the stake,

for believing, 



Fireworks, like blood red poppies,

explode like a nebula of stars;

a tang of smoke clings to our clothes

as the veneer of history swirls into 

mists ….. hordes of Turks, Mongols

Russians and now these bloody Prussians.


Braziers, chestnuts, mufflers, gloved velve...

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Somehow, there's blue


Photo by Uniq Trek on Unsplash

Goodbye, dear Ivette, 
you cannot expect
anything from a poet;
who, you know, must trust
to snow and winter’s howl,
to a wolfish life of hellish strife,
which prepares
us for nothing more
than the resurrection of the dead:
tired, wild, flowers, dread mountains.
I said survival’s the trick of the day,
words that come in the dark
don’t drift away...

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In the dream I am paralysed, silent
Here’s a shadow behind this mountain
I scurry down it into the winter-valley:
Dried up, shrivelled, weather-beaten,
Rock- hidden fossils, time set in stone.

These evolutions of Medusa'd scare the shit out of me
Even if I wasn't afflicted by a peculiar petrified decay.
All she gazed upon
rubbed away.


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Cheap thrills



Time kills the taste for life
Time flings us all off the roller coaster of youth
Dumps us in adult strife, saves our life.
Unburied, six feet down and 5-miles high.
We pass over the mountains of the rising sun
in quantum leaps the sun rises from the sea
sky burns, rain falls, days pass.
In the distance the sun fades
into a ball above the ...

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So, heavenly


Photo by ryan skjervem on Unsplash


Pulsing pale waves of spray
kiss & bless you alway, 
we patrol these walkways, night and day,
rain seeps in through the hole-in-the-fabric
the silent contusion that keeps us apart.

So scared are we,
see, shivering, ceaselessly.
Streetlights shine,
shadows scurry into mind,
on these concrete estates
of the heart.

Screeching seag...

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Remembering Sylvia




FBI files on Sylvia Plath’s father shed new light on poet | Sylvia Plath | The Guardian


O! daughter dear, on this mid-western afternoon,
When I can see all the way to Sacramento, I cry
For you, Ariel-blue, in all your golden-girlhood,
Too lovely for a life of pettiness and strife 
You caught a boat to England, never returned.
No Nazi goblin me, an e...

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A reminiscence concerning a walk on a beach near Kings Lynn in north Norfolk, England on New Year’s Day. It was the middle of the AIDS crisis in the 80s. We’d driven there from London. It just felt that way.


Hanging on, scraping by,
Head above water
I’ll never learn to fly
In this monochrome world
Of winter trees stripped
Like skeletons against the snow-laden
Sky moving in s...

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BLOOMSDAY: 16 June 1904


“`He was courteous but very silent. He was good with children. His eyesight may have been impaired, but he had an ear open to the world.” This is how Alex Leon recalls James Joyce, who, between 1928 and 1939 was an almost daily visitor to his family’s flat on the rue Casimir-Perier in Paris. Joyce came to consult with Alex’s father, Paul Leon…” ‘The Irish Times’, Thu, Oct 29, 1998



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The Incidentals

Reading between the line's
a habit of mind
so look again,
out of the side of your eye,
to spy what I perceive,
and half-create,
Aye! The lonely maiden by the five-bar gate. 

Buried in her looks,
as she studies her books,
a rumble of thunder
reverberates in this clinging air
Aye! she's not there, No! she's not there.

This yew-strewn churchyard,
leaves by the side of her grave,

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Keep the light we’re given
when our store of words is fled
empty as a music box
a box to house the dead;

The bridge between give and take
has crumpled into mouse.
a wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie.
a dream we daren't let out.

Our days are a struggle: to walk
 to dream, to think; when the gates of the new
Jerusalem appear we're blinking on the brink.

Will you follow my heart ...

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A dream of sand

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown Till human voices wake us... and we drown. TS Eliot

Flat sandy beaches of the Viking coast
this, is, our day of atonement.                                             
I laugh at her intense feel for hot air
fat bodies of the non-working class.                                             
A tremor o...

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A permanent loss of happiness


Upon this beach of stones, sand and shells
Come with me! See the image of the rolling sea.
This new found land grounded by the tides,
These wide expanses framed by cliffs of sky
On the windward side the mere placidity of day.
Trilobites embedded, beneath my feet
Quartz and Muscovite glitter in the granite
The wind and the waves have had their time
To form sea views, sculpt’d rocks...

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Two legs good?

Salvador Dali ‘Little Ashes’

Turning statements into questions is annoying?
So, actually, murdering people is, like, wrong, yeah?
I think therefore she might be?
God can prevent evil but chooses not to?
God cannot prevent evil?
God is dead?
The repugnant are desirable?
There are two genders?                         
The two gentlemen of Verona?
Beethoven silences YouTube?
Women adapt to...

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Spring in the snow


With delphinium-blue skies and cheeky
Crocuses splashing purple and dazzling
Daffs nodding agreement, in this mild April
Zephyr of a breeze – then folk do long to go on pilgrimage. 
Our pilgrimages tend to interiority:
We still seek relics of a past that cannot last.
I imagine that if a poet, who I have in mind,
Were given one more day on this  mortal sod
This would be the kind of...

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Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash

Those rich metaphors drawn from the sky and sea
Rich funereal language, baptism and burial and birth,
Blossom and harvest, wise ones, Witan’s children.
From the lips of children we learn that clinging
To life is not enough.

Smoke over Mosul. Mosul’s churches where once
The Jacobite heart of Christian belief was celebrated
Amongst the ruins...

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The unsolved

“The work of the eyes is done. Go now and do the heart-work on the images imprisoned within you.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

Moments of the past do not last
kicked into the long grass
of a warm, early-summer’s day.

Gold petals
for God’s sake!

Stormy-autumn prefigures
flurries of snow
eaten by body heat;
silky snow frosting
tumbling-heaps of red, gold, brown
that crisp-crackl...

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Shadows behind the sun

When sadnesses besiege you:
at the dying of the light,
starlight illuminates
the end of night.
Do you tingle in the frosted air of second sight?

Starlight mirrors the water in the eyes
humankind freed from its long disguise.
The spin and whirl of hemlock
help witch and Wicca sway
underneath the greensward, all day.

All that was dark
summoned by the light
the Sigil of Baphomet shine...

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The Resurrection of the dead



The unbidden tears
Flooding my heart
Human life conducted in the dark.

The hidden fears
This inconsolable grief
Many fear-filled years,
Craving for permanence
For the enduring stillness
Of the Sea of Galilee.

But walk instead with me
To the tomb of Maimonides:
Why do the wicked prosper?
Why do the righteous die?
Answer came there none
Except in the S...

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 Dreams of a black country infect my sleep
 Ragamuffin babes we cannot keep,
 Everything is black, rotted, gone.
 Everyday I dig down to the bone, 
 To the marrow-black foam on a dead man’s lips 
 black thoughts of the black cancers of the soul.

 No home for me beneath these skeletal trees 
 God isa  black star, in a black mood, afar
 The animals mourn the black earth,
 Conemarra, i...

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Running out of time

I know a woman happily demented
She scatters petals as she sleeps,
Sings the songs of the 1940s,
Thinks she is Bo-Peep.

War came to her cake shop
Put her to the test.
Now she casts her mind back there
And lets it rest.

Passes the test of time.
In a concocted rhyme.
Dresses her hair in a yellow head scarf
Says apropos of nothing but the truth:
“The hyacinth will soon be out. I love

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Quiet spring rain

Photo by Rainer Gelhot on Unsplash

The quiet spring rain pours down for all of the merry month of May
No quiet spring rains enter my dream as thunder roars across the sky 
I fly high, springing across the night sky, to be with you on this day-of-days. 
I whisper your name to the roof, to the spire, to the hills, as I climb higher 
Such quietly silent places can keep a secret or two 

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Like roses miss the dew


Photo by David Herron on Unsplash

If all the days of all the years were made of wine and gold
I’d roll them up into the light of intelligence in this one dog’s eyes
I’d tell him unashamedly how
this friendship across species was Buddhist and Beautiful — 
So, rock me like a good old boy, befriend me like the wind,
You’ll be with me when the gates fly open, when angels drift on in.


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St Sophia's - the Church of Holy Wisdom

Again, we set sail for Byzantium
Defaced by the Turks
Who have spent 500 years wiping out
Every trace of our 1500 year occupancy here
In Constantinople...
Our voyage will be a long one
Full of adventure, full of discovery.
Covering much time and space
Yeats set out but never arrived
His spirits flagged:
But St Sophia waits!
Surrounded as it is by minarets
This cathedral for all the Ort...

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