A Fire Screen for Learning

A Fire Screen for Learning


A card table and fire screen combination

a wedding gift to my parents

made entirely by hand

A woven tapestry of an alpine scene

in a wooden frame covered in glass


Every evening I would remove it

from its place in the hearth

re arrange it into a low table

on which my school homework was placed


I sat cross legged within easy rea...

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The Najd

The Najd


A landscape commanded by the sun

whose hands manipulate the will of

their master  to create a swirling wind

Craggy rocks wrinkled by fissures 

of heat and wind over many millennia

An undulating sea of shifting sand

a silence imcomparable

No evidence of life

Browns, ochre, yellow and burnt sienna

Lifless, bereft of birds, no echoes heard

A searing sun ...

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Seldom are words ever spoken 

the eyes give their full expression

I refuse to cower but my soul is intimidated

Whispers, stares and unspoken words

from the platform of the self righteous

It would be better to be crippled or in

some way retarded as they receive

overt compassion and help

To be different is to the ignorant a

challenge whose response is preju...

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The Visitor

The Visitor


The house was silent and still

I was sat reading a book

as my dogs slumbered 

on a nearby couch

The story stimulated my imagination

as I became less aware of

my surroundings

A mighty roar awoke my attention

a rushing sound of fury unleashed

A powerful wind assailed the house

the curtains blew about in a frenzy of panic

as window panes and shutte...

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What Comes Next

What Comes Next


The imponderables fixate us

as we reach out beyond our existence

For some it does not bear thought

Yet it remains a mystery unsolved

We see with clarity of evidence 

our earthly demise

and decay bringing us to nought

Do we possess an indestructable spirit

which continues, but to where

Is there a destination or other dimension

For what purpose w...

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People Watching

People Watching


A venue of opportunity is required

to observe a microcosm of humanity

as it tarries to and fro

Examples of life styles abound

as couch potatoes mingle with

aspiring six packs

Where the elderly express impatience 

with the young

The finest coiffure crowns its 

elegant frame as the indolent

care nothing for their appearance

Where the unimagina...

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Enveloped in Darkness

The night is polluted with light

until I clamber up to the tree line

where darkness is a shroud

covering the silhouettes of the pines

Stillness and silence are all pervasive

solitude becomes my cloak of warmth

Flora and fauna slumber in sacred sleep

An oasis of unadulterated nature

fearless I embrace its sanctity

A welcome drenches my soul

I am so close to my original...

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The rudder broke and disappeared

out at sea the ship drifted aimlessly

The captain faced uncertainty

as the engine faltered also

Disagreement on the bridge

fuel perilously low

Fever breaks out below decks

it is highly contagious

Sails are raised but torn

no whisper of wind apparent

Radio reports pirates are close

The ship carries gold bullion

Water trickles into...

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The Passage of Time

The Passage of Time


History is a great teacher

and needs to be heeded

Nothing is permanent

all is transitory

People come and go

as do civilisations

cultures and ideologies

What is built 

is brought to ruin

What comes to fruitiion

falls into decay

The delights of today

are the detestations

of tomorrow

What is hailed now

is soon trampled on


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The Cerebral Cavern

The Cerebral Cavern


I wish to live in my mind

to observe from afar

to avoid direct contact

or verbal confrontation

I am comfortable within

at peace with who I am

unaffected in pure isolation

With age others become tedious

my patience is at a low ebb

My mind is fertile

full of imagination and creativity

Here in this inner sanctum

I can compose, paint and ...

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We reach a heavy purple velvet curtain

which appears to stand in our way

It beckons us forward into a darkened chamber

Inside it is cold and damp

The walls are festooned with the names of the dead

All Souls

We search for our kith and kin but in vein

The names are innumerable

In the distance the muffled sounds of gunfire

the dull thud of explosions


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Don´t judge a book by its cover

words which are true indeed

But what of people

and their outward appearances


With inexplicable instinct

I am able to determine like or not

Face, expression, eyes and demeanour

before a word is spoken I know


I am seldom wrong or misled

even at a distance with no introduction

my mind is made up

where does ...

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I am old yet young

I feel as if I am thirty

but in reality close to seventy

My friend Maria is eighty one

yet insists she is twenty four

and is determined to remain so

Every year we celebrate her birthday

I wish her a happy twenty fourth



Old with vigour and vitality

concealed within an ageing frame

Ambition and desire supressed


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The Rat Race

The Rat Race


I am spun like a spinning top

my vision blurred almost to blindness

I hear nothing but the whir of the top

I am overcome with a sense of nausea

I beg for it to stop and set me free


In time the revolutions lessen

some vision is restored

Then I am still, unsteady, off balance

as I focus on my surroundings

Anxiety and the need to lie down


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We have reached that portal of sadness

adorned with emblems of grief

Memorials, monuments and the Menin Gate

Few now remember or are connected

to human slaughters fading into the past

Bugles sound to replace gunfire and sirens

Bowed heads in silence to replace steel helmets

The future promises nothing better

as the repetitive cycle of war gathers momentum


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My High Street

My High Street


A disabled seller 

of lottery tickets

Rowdiness from drunks

in a nearby bar

Groups of elderly men

with black coffees and 

endless cigarettes

Obese women strapped

into lycra pants

Graffiti depicting a

crude penis

An overworked

pharmacy with a queue 

of hypochondriacs

Washing drying

on balcony rails

An unceasing flow

of traffi...

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The Young

The Young


To treat a child as an adult

is eminently sensible

the height of being responsible

To speak down to a child 

engenders a demeaning

bereft of sense or meaning

To enable them to grow

the more they need to know

Don´t insult the intellect of the young

they are as yet unsung

Engage them and converse

otherwise they will go in reverse

Take them along ...

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A day at Chester Zoo

happy and carefree

full of interest

A variety of animals

abounded for all

to see and wonder

A large cage

housed many

monkeys who made

a horrendous din

We peered in curiously

as they too were curious

They shrieked

then a little girl

crawled close to

the cage

She was gripped 

by a frenzied monkey

He shook h...

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A Life of Anxiety

A Life of Anxiety


The family fled into the

air raid shelter

leaving my mother behind

in a state of undress

fumbling in the dark

Sirens wailed

anti aircraft guns barked

search lights scanned the sky

the drone of approaching bombers

Eventually she left the house

by the kitchen door

as an incendiary bomb

fell and exploded in front of her

She screamed and...

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