Tags from last 12 months

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Casting stones

"....sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven." 


Every day a day closer to death
I wave that away with a pretended
Insouciance that does not convince
Me! Anyway, away with the dullness
And in with the sheen of a smile
At all the flummoxing frummery 
of the pompous politicians &
Well paid charity workers
Storming through Haiti 
In their 4...

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We take giant steps
When we let ourselves go
Step into love
Step into eternity.
Nano steps will hardly reach
Outside where full blown life
Blows me away from restrictions
Predictions: of those trapped
by circumstance, by failed romance.
Instead of taking a walk
while spring flowers test the temperature.
too many stuck inside, hide away,
Do not live the love-lorn day.

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Homage to Nietzsche

"One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star." Frederick Nietzsche

But now, only the vestiges remain:

So, conduct a forensic examination,
Then scatter the remains:
See, the fragility of the body,
In the furtherance of the truth,
Note the devil’s-in-the-detail
Condemned at the root.

A roof for his daughter,
Over a precipice-by-the-way,
His pec...

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It is not the cruelty of children that angers me
But that my hesitation to commit the word to air
And, aye, maybe, to the ear, the heart, was treated as an affliction
By those with the polished shoes and starched aprons;
Sometimes I was not even there when they mocked me but I knew
What they did and ‘never-a-bother-it-was-to-me’.
But it was. I was brought up to be brave but inside I was brui...

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A people can survive genocide:
Armenian, Irish, Jew, Uyghur, Êzidî, Tutsi, Khmer, 
Traumatised, declined, seemingly defeated,
Yet familiies re-form, victims struggle to survive.
What does this abomination  cost us?
This mechanised murder,
This savage slaughter,
That melts-wears down 
Morality, demography?
We must tread lightly,
Even with snow, slow & heavy
Underfoot here in the Donbas.

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Northern Morning

The morning rain soaks my clothes, my hair, my skin,
I do not care. For I am not there. 
I look at the mortar between the crumbling bricks in this old
Wall built by the calloused hands of these men who’d served
On the Somme. Men who’d been called ‘such dirty scabs’
In 1929 by the striking Salford dockers. They’d hung their heads
But they’d had mouths to feed. They’d taken any work they could...

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Widows & Orphans

Some good societies adopt widows
people in these societies like widows.
here folk point at i-pads, mess with phones,
get their nosebags stuck in apple nostalgia
let's hang the gray heads aound the city
medals on the chest mean nothing anymore
mums put hands on children's hot foreheads,
so many years ago
now we kiss, smile knowing, we'll regret it later:
God is the only one born from me.

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Generation 27

Generation of '27  was an influential group of Spanish poets that arose in Spanish literary circles in opposition to the Fascists. .. Their first formal meeting took place in Seville in 1927 to mark the 300th anniversary of the death of the baroque poet Luis GongoraL The Spanish have long memories. 

Bleeding into lemon-tree-soil
Reminds me of nothing more than the toil, toil, toil
Of life in ...

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When I seek to remember a connection
It is often with those who are dead.
We engage in a deep conversation
One-sided as maybe, he said. I re-create
Trying circumstances from the past,
Which I knew wouldn't last. Oh!
These  intricacies of tense, These
Graspings at a slippery sense,
Which engaged me in my twenties,
Quite eludes me now, Stoned
I think how much easier it is with music,

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Vanishing point


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
The remnants of a dream.

We 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 ways of poets
Such images of ...

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Shadows of a broken vessel

Fresh water suits my watery nature.
I squint at the ripples of redemption,
Watch the ducks glide beside me.

Keeping me on the straight and narrow.

The call of strangers splatters across
The sky and I choke on what I know ,
And cannot even whisper out, or sigh.

Mountains and sky reflected in water.

The ordinary has become extraordinary
Among the golden gleams of sunset
We look...

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Walking solo

Who the hell can see forever?
Wild is the minute, clear is the sky,
A world of smell and sight drifts on by
Portals of discovery abound
All around this newfoundland: 
Flowers, vivid mesembryanthemums
From the Cape of Good Hope.
The all round invisibility of you
Distracts me from the flesh and blood ,
Of all these half-created, part-perceived,
Epiphanies of cloud and sky and sun
Enter th...

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weave the blessed singularities
as I read the book of shadows,
when sadnesses besiege us
in the dying of the light,

when you are terrified, late, late at night.
look  into the blackness,
at the heart of second sight,
see yourself mirrored
in the declensions of sight
in your sleeping child’s eyes

rising in this ghost-air,
tinglings on your skin.
let the fullness of the day

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Blank slate - take the breath clean out of you
when you think the implications through
Tabula Rasa: blank slate, born to be free,
no memory, no desire,
nothing to bend you in any direction,
nothing to send you lower or higher.

No future envisaged
no presience required
no past to regret
nothing for sale
nothing to let

No genetic predisposition
no-one to speak & no-one to li...

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Mater Mea

Fortitudo mea est amor a matre mihi datus,

Coming downstairs slow and steady
crinkled and wrinked with ruffled hair
I hold her dreams close to me –
pausing only at the turning of the stair –

Until I have drunk two strong coffees,
smoked an imaginary cigarette,
said good morning to those I love,
who are now amongst the dead;
recite a quiet antiphon in my muddled head.

Look out o...

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Adamantine Blue

Forget me not blue
blue as an Alaskan blueberry.

Endurance is a flower
a bulb in winter’s depth
a rare-repeated wonder:
a sin we must forget.

In this-world-of-my-creation
in this world-of-make-believe:
cancer, the death of children,
are falling autumn leaves.

I see a road before me
a road I walk in vain
a road through Trawden, Lancashire
a road that’s not the same.

All ro...

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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 must 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 of Nineveh, along the same back paths

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North country


Photo by Illiya Vjestica on Unsplash

The adders of the south are missing here,
but there’s venom a-plenty
the poison of coal, oil and unfettered toil.
This is the land of swarfega! 
The men mess with their cars after work, 
while there’s light; 
cars bought for a fiver a time, at the auction, 
done up, they was.
It’s ten years since the last 
of the prisoners of war came home.

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i.m. Pte Jack Prince (1896-1966)

Thought comes to a full stop
howls  into empty air
to see what’s always there:
contradiction irresolution, confusion.

One early morning, years ago,
in a space of rain & snow
working as a child : the flaxen busty
woman gives me cakes to deliver
to rich households with well-educated
kids who never had to work — 
& still don’t. 

I never expected much — still don’t — in the cold air

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Hearts are thrown at strangers, aren't they?


Splattered on a canvas
or scrawled on a wall.
is just
a husk of form,
without the artless agony
of daily life:
the strangled scream
and the carving knife






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The shadow behind the sun, the echo of her words,
Meanings stuck in transit, the music of the birds,
Brimming lives at stake, my friend, as all hearts ache,
Years pass by like phantoms, the passions of the heart,
Silence breeding silence,  the faeries take their part,
Forget what you remember, give and never take.
Veil the mysteries of time, of place, the ever brimming lake

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A lamentation upon the fall of Constantinople 29th May 1453

None of us will survive,
but we must try again to strive
to seed some fallow earth
with the mysteries of the Byzantines:
with their mirth,
even amidst the agonies of birth, and death,
these accidental revelations,
of our passing on the wing,
listen to  the voice that will always sing
of the fall of Constantinople:
of the mysteries of impermanence
of every passing note
of songs echo...

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Bishyness & Bums

Photo by Evelyn Cosplay on Unsplash

Let the words come
to expose your soul
to banish
all the fears & fake reconciliations
rolled up in boyhood
when the stream pushed me
into an autstic lunge
beyond all known limits
recalling the poet
I might later be
who could read a river
and never cry
over the intransigence
of all those fools
who spout answers
to questions
that no longer c...

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Resist much, obey little

“I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.” Walt Whitman, 'Leaves of Grass'



And I went out of my mind
gloomily & quietly –
I no longer need to change my mind,
or stay in line,
a little beloved dog
amongst the street traffic and cops
It  wouldn't last long though,
experience shows;
hastily fate flirted flared

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Meet me on the edge

Rivers of melted music
fuse into sculpture
around this old oak tree.

The moving air vibrates
sound, shape, sightless shade
spill into my sinner's heart,

That place apart that comes
and flutters on the wind
and is no more..

And so I settle into the coolness of thought,
follow the stream, just as you follow
your heart. 

Run and you'll never
stop running,
mired in light or mired...

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nobody's home

walks in shadow
stumbles in shade
has no reciprocity
feels like a slave
I am not the king
of pain
I'm just a little

I miss colours
I do not know
where I am

diazepam in the bin
booze to give up the ghost
cannot sleep, cannot wake
everything is a muddle
of blackness
a demon let loose
no intention to cope


only I  can stop
the stutter of the clock
now nobody's 

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Thus Spake Zarathustra


Arabic still spoken in Andalusian
Villages after 400 years of the inquisition.
Muslim houses in Bosnian villages
With crosses on display
Despite the threat of apostasy.

“And slay them wherever ye find them.”

Morning fresh as one –
The Buddha knew –
The flowers of the valley
The grasses of the plains
Shine with the unbidden light of heaven
And nothing shall remain


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First Light

The high, Lapis Lazuli skies of flaming June
Are in absentia in damp and cold November;
For the patterns in the grass can not last.
& so we take the winding stairs into the
High tower above this land of forgetfulness
Where once upon a golden dawn good faeries
Danced a circle of rare delight within the sight
Of one John Mulligan who, on the last day of August
1938, according to the...

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Forced March

'Deportation' was just a euphemism for mass murder
of helpless Armenians driven to Deir-ez-Zor
in the Syrian desert astride the epi centre
of the 2023 earthquake. a vast and horrific
open-air concentration camp. After the forced
march, more suffering, the children were forbidden
food and water. The slow insidious slaughter
of all the Armenians was finally accomplished
by the sun. Droug...

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The Unwritten


The times of wonder have gone
the wise women drugged
into submission.
Forensic psychology reveals traces
of long-forgotten faces
which, much like Munch's silent scream,
degenerate into nightmaredream.

Desire, in all its lurid manifestations,
falls into disuse,
& all is as it was before:
a flat, grey concrete floor,
Krema I at Auschwitz
eminently productive
340 corpses burne...

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A winter blossoming

In this mild winter breeze of splintered selves
The trees blend into silhouttes; and I see elves
Whose shadows transform perceptions
Into creations. And all the world of
Getting and spending grinds to a halt,
For one holy day. Death may be near at hand or far
Away, we have no crystal ball. We must put
All our heart and soul into conveying the simplicity of love
To those lying bereft of...

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Lancashire, Winter


Rain clouds the lungs
of the men who tread
these black horizons;

two hundred years
and more
of smog
sank deep, into these
black stone villages.

set like concrete
into these stark
sheep-ridden hills;

and in the pubs, 
the worn down late-afternoon light
shadows the men
who drink in the half light. 


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A shadow behind the sun

Shrivelled, exposed, cold,
warps and wefts waste us away
the body afflicted with decay
O!, I say, the hey-ho way of the live-long-day.

Whatever has lived will wither, languish, and decay.
Time pines away the live-long day
aghast at a quagmire of guilt, regret
spilt water, wine? I forget.

No transubstantiation this,
no drift into immortal bliss:
this work of resistance is
an ince...

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Thunder & After


A crack of thunder over head
A flash 'n' crackle of lightning
The gods say::
Stretch your words across the sky
Illuminate the stark, skeletal
Trees of this northern winter.

Some poor sod's dead
Their rumble roar-not-fled
Still echoing in my head
Echo, reverberate, haunt.

All around my desperate head,
Clouds drop frozen hail
Like stones pelting down
On a world turning wet ...

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My friend's tomb

On your ornate monument,
made from a dry stone wall
covered by so many wild flowers,
the handsome man is buried.
A child of Greece and Rome
Born in the north of England
With a socially aspirant mother.

But the dead close their eyes,
That their nakedness may not be seen,
in this world where sin is not to be accepted.
So, closing his eyes, he poured water.
As the women washed him,
One ...

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Out of the blue

On this beautiful spring day in February
with delphinium-blue skies and cheeky
crocuses splashing purple and dazzling
daffs nodding agreement in this mild April
zephyr of a breeze – then do fongen folk  to go on pilgrimage
And palmers to go seeking out strange strands.,

Our pilgrimages tend towards interiority
& still seek relics of a past that cannot last.
I imagine that if ...

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A state of mind: body's on the line

In every mouthful of food
in every look of love,
in every chiding, every making up:
this sometimes bay of tranquillity,
a harbour to which I return.
from all the storms and squalls of life

This goddess, now,  sails away 
as we traverse the wild seas of experience.
Tibetan Buddhism, Dharmakaya,
the ultimate nature of the fully enlightened mind,

A union of pure appe...

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Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

Pertaining to a death, to a suicide,
Mortem Sibi Consciscere,
The question unasked is:
Why? We can skate over:
How, when, where, who.
But not why. 
Extremum vitae spiritum edere
We all must give up the ghost
Sooner or later, bur rarely
At a date of our own choosing.
So, why bring that date
Forward? Why does the world,
With all tha...

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Cool hand Luke


Luke fled Forida fast
He knew it wouldn't last
Do not submit to the system
Stick it out:
Do not be a prisoner
Of a vengeful state
An actor who milked
A miscellany of roles
Fight for the right to be yourself
Throw your weight around
Take a stand
Against the corrupt criminals
Who bleed the country dry.
You heard it on the grapevine.
Common decencies disregarded
A heady-sickly...

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As blue as robins’ eggs

Memories just diamonds and rust,nothing more.
though time’s chasm opens before my sight,
&  the vertigo returns with the Lapis Lazulii.
I devote time to resurrecting the lived poetry
of the Byzantimes, Persians, Armenians, Assyrians.
Greeks. It is so strange that each civilization
alloted supreme value to the blue of lapis lazuli.
Mined so sparingly in the wilds of Afghanistan.
Lapis l...

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Wild butterfly


Egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly
this natural magic of transformation
can happen to you too. Time makes you
more beautiful. Human metamorphosis
liberates souls. Such a rare achievement
Requires an emptying of the mind,
a deep (and so painful) compassion.
to defeat your expectations;
to free yourself and you will see
the passing beauty of a butterfly..

Butterflies live fo...

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Lithe legs spread
neck stretched
feet splayed
in a swan-song.
Toes strong
fingers pulsing
then snap
a pirouette
we'll never forget.

A spectacular series
of whirls, up on her toes
he circles her
on the ball of his foot:
musical, muscular movements mingle, mix
a shiver of white as she jumps
a catching of the breath as she slumps
Into his arms;

A choreography of bodies

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Love will tear us apart, again

My friend, 
strode up those stairs, so long ago,
& still, his voice pumps out
in all its brittle beauty
on YouTube.

Finally, leaving the depression
& the epilepsy behind,
just leaving us
you left us with the music & the dance
telling us all what love will do
& how, precisely, it will tear us apart.

Some will listen and never know
the man you were.
Me? I cannot abide the way
you h...

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If all the days of all the years were made of wine and gold
They’d be present in the light of intelligence in this one dog’s eyes.
This friendship across species — a Buddhist mantra –
Rocks me like a good old boy, befriends me like the sea.
He’ll be with me when the gates fly open —  and the light pours in.
Now we seek out the depths, the shaman-spirits that will be:
Seen, glimpsing...

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let the words come
to expose your soul
all your fears & reconciliations
rolled up in my boyhood
when the stream pushed me
into my autstic lunge
beyond all limits
recalling the poets
who could read a river
and never cry
over the intransigences
of time
Dr Simon Curtis
my friend with whom
I ventured over the pennines
to Sheffield
where the latest tome
of Tho Hardy's poetry
had been ...

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We walk a steep and slippery way,
Mixing senses in synesthesia’s way,
It seem I am a chorus in a play.

We feel by measures hidden from the eye
Time borrowed, days wasted, times go by:
I walk along a steep and rocky way.


Winter seeps me into sleep, as my soul flies,
the gist of an art unborrowed from time or tide;
I learn by going, where I have to go, inside.

Dark holds imaginatio...

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Watching the waves
pulled by the moon
swallowing a cacaphony of shells 
the remnants  of Crustaceans
a man - a future suicide -
with his jeans rolled up
throws a stick 
- for the black & white collie -
who, herself, will soon be


This is not a translation
of what my eyes have seen
into words
rather, it is my surmise
of the movements,
on a sunny day,
of one man & h...

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Angelus Bell

The tone of the big bell settles in the dust
of this small market town in county meath
and on the stained glass window still
the sun-marked resonance of bell
circles of uninscribed sound
through all the cerebral centuries
chimes and chants for christ the king
chimes of crucifix, pyx and plate
these bells have blessed the insouciant faithful
buttressed, battered, no-man mattered

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If Revisited

Photo by vishnudeep dixit on Pexels.com

If you can see the good in everyone
If you do not condemn the less fortunate
If you can speak the plain unvarnished truth
When all about you are prattling prevarications
If you are patient with those who lack luck
If, when faced with stupid bias you do not duck or dive
Or respond to haters with hatred
Or respond to the wicked with evil.
If you...

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funeral plans


a psychic distillation
in the centre 
of this stinking nation
the poor’s unfocused struggle
for existence
this patient is bound up
in a charlie darwin struggle
in A&E: at 2am, 200 bpm
no sweat, he thinks,
the drugs’ll bring it down
& as the mist lifts
my heart skips a beat
 i see:
the frozen children 
the ‘failing’ families
the unwanted poor 
in the grip of

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