Poetry Blog by Rick

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Rick on A Walk in the Country (Sat, 30 Mar 2019 10:07 am)

Don Matthews on A Walk in the Country (Fri, 29 Mar 2019 10:35 pm)

raypool on Maybe Frannie (Wed, 27 Mar 2019 08:41 pm)

Don Matthews on Maybe Frannie (Wed, 27 Mar 2019 07:05 pm)

Rick on Maybe Frannie (Wed, 27 Mar 2019 12:48 pm)

Dorothy Webb on Maybe Frannie (Wed, 27 Mar 2019 11:33 am)

Rick on Nostalgia (Fri, 15 Mar 2019 10:44 am)

Jason Bayliss on Nostalgia (Thu, 14 Mar 2019 02:46 pm)

Rick on And so with a sigh (Tue, 12 Mar 2019 10:05 am)

Mae Foreman on And so with a sigh (Mon, 11 Mar 2019 11:31 am)

A Walk in the Country

A Walk in the Country

Bramley End, a hamlet

nestling in a valley,

is not found on the map -

there is a ‘Brambly End’ -

maybe it’s a misprint.


I tramped the hard last miles

blistered, bleeding, limping.


Bramley End... Journey’s end;


a tree-trunk wayside rest,

church bells treble-bobbing,

a chapel, a village hall,

a ‘Welcome Stranger’ pub,

a hear...

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Maybe Frannie

Was it Frannie?  Might have been.

A butterfly moment - glances shared.

I was not sure.  Neither she.

A hesitation. One step. Two.


The woman passed,

Frannie passed?

Melted into the station crowd -

if it was her.


Her haloed black Afro

faded grey, pinched to a plait.

Cheek bones more prominent.

Same piercing eyes

behind thick lens’

ageing woman glasses...

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You can’t fool me

I know you’re here,

The hint of patchouli

you wore at our last kiss,

and at our first kiss,

gives the game away.


Are you playing hide ‘n’ seek?


Remember the neighbours

thumping the walls

at our midnight parties playing

Archie Shepp and Albert Ayler,

while we snorted coke

and smoked five-skinners?


Remember nights of kiss and ma...

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And so with a sigh

a gentle breeze may  

cool foreheads with a kiss,

ruffle a child’s hair,

uplift a butterfly,

sow a flower seed,

raise a guttered petal

into dancing sunshine,


and so I sigh.

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Somewhere in Dorset

Time to sit a spell   

on a crumbling

dry-moss milestone.



the road dips and bends

like other roads bend and dip.



milestones and gravestones

and faded-varnish benches,


‘In memory of...’


And then, and then,

bouquet-brightened benches,


‘Bide a wee.’


Gravestones and milestones

and bends and dips.


Time to gath...

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I slept with a girl

Tall and slim and elegant – a beauty

with (naturally) raven flowing hair,

that she stood before a mirror, brushing.

It glistened as, naked, she crossed the room 

and slid beside me on her perfumed bed.

We appraised each other - kissed and fondled.

The headboard beat a tattoo on the wall

in time with our grunting, sweating, wrestling.

She asked for a favourite fantasy,


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Was Wonderful

Was Wonderful


Yes it was.


That savage hollowness

when you stepped back promising,

‘Yes, we’ll do it again.’


My mouth was dry

ashes coated my tongue.


I knew,

you knew,

we knew,

you were feinting

an easy exit

for yourself first

with me

an afterthought.


But you spared my feelings -

a soft deception  

piercing my numbness


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Through a glass darkly

I wiped a spy-hole

of ash

from a skylight window

and wept

as pentecostal fire-balls

peppered pavement mounds

of pet dog excrement

and men - as drunken men -

teetering on the lip of madness

babbled unknown tongues

while drinking deep

of Tiskie twelve percent

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I sat with a girl

I sat with a girl

holding hands


outside our peace

fire raged




and dung


but wrapped in love


I sat

holding hands

with a girl.

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Who spared a glance

at the man of dignity

striding tall down Portobello

through Thursday and Friday

in a dapper blue suit,

shirt and tie,

black shine shoes,


walking cane and trilby?


Standing at the corner of the Grove

savouring smells;

peas and rice

and that ganja

he never smoked back home

in Guinea Bissau.



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Through a Glass,  Pinkly, 

(a glass of Rosé in Robin Hood’s Bay)


This was late June, maybe early July.

I was booked to sing. The cafe was packed.  

A three-legged stool available at

a sea-view verandah table. I made  

space beside a red-haired stranger.  She wore

a red silk dress.  Was this kismet at work?  

Memories flooded me: a torpid stream

of weeks and months of mornings and evenings


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Ma Chouette

It's a sonnet of 8 syllables per line - I added a Petrarchan remix (8/6/8/6) and may this aftie try out a Shakespearean iambic pentameter version -  - it's here - as threatened  :)



There’s a woman I admire. She

carries the wisdom of Athene

with understated artlessness


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By Train

This is proving a tricky blighter to pin down - it involves metempsychosis - I chance encounter I had on the TRANSPENNINE  from Hull (and embellished a little).  Apparently there are rabbis who teach that holocaust souls have been re-incarnated in order to complete their Earthly mission...
I edited it since - on the advice of a friend with acumen - I she wondered if the old guy was insane so I gu...

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Angoisse des Gares

Angoisse Des Gares


The unborn Pierre looked back dismayed

at the fading light from which he pressed.


Ahead a stretching tearing fissure:

Eyes. Masks. Lights and latex fingers.


Forceps at his temples. 

Gripping. Pulling. Grunting.

Pain and voices,


‘C’est un fils.’ 


The umbilicus cut –

another rupture from the one

who gave him a name and


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Equinox at Frank's

Equinox at Frank Seago’s


It’s Christmas Eve 2018,

I’m alone in a frigid kitchen

beanie-hatted to beat the cold

trawling late-night radio options,

swerving drunkards singing carols, 

the crazy shite on phone-in shows -

plus jingles praising senna pods -

when right out of the blue I caught

a snatch of Coltrane’s Equinox.


I’m back in 1966,

a Debden council-h...

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A Concrete Pond

A Concrete Pond


A concrete pond.

A concrete city.

Harsh and pitiless

drowning in rage,

its skirling sirens


skewering ears.

The foetid water’s

spurned by mallards -

no kids dibbing nets

through jagged flotsam.


Kate squeezed my hand

in consolation. 

I squeezed hers. ‘Once

this was a lake. There

used to be willows.’      ...

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Lost in a Durham Landscape 

Lost in a Durham Landscape


I kicked my heels in the living room

while Aoife was in the kitchen

mulling wine


a painting above the mantelpiece

(where a mirror ought to be)

drew my eye


a watchman is walking through a gate

pushing a rusted bike


behind him tumble-down allotments

ahead a row of cottages


it’s late

the sky has darkled

a hazer...

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Ugly Until

A pome about dysmorphia


Ugly Until


I hated my looks in mirrors

reckoned I was pretty ugly

until Dee mentioned, in passing,

she liked me - liked me ‘more than friends.’


‘Love’ was an unknown abstraction,

I never had a hug from Mum:

if I fell off my Hercules,

scraped my elbows or grazed my knees,

Mother never ‘kissed it better.’


No bobble hat Satu...

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Boot Hill

I woke up thinking about mountains and how I'd love to compose a pome about a mountain, a loved one, and me - this is a diversion in a kinda loose sonnetry stylee :)


Boot Hill


Since man ‘conquered’ Chumo-Langma,

prayer flags still flap and temple bells chime praises.


A defile of climbers queues ‘to summit’ and

transmit a video to family and chums,


‘Top of the ...

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A Day Out With Aoife

A Day Out with Aoife


Two ‘Seaside Special’ day returns

to ‘Kiss me Quick’ and candyfloss;


I was looking forward to the

“Pirate Cruise around the bay (no extra).”


A shuddering halt – somewhere

in the middle of nowhere –

unruly livestock blocked the line.


Aoife giggled, ‘Let’s explore.’


We walked an ancient track-way:


the lane, an overgrown...

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Mainstream Student Party

Mainstream Student Partying


a boiling scrum of raucous

tarty boys and tattooed girls

all wearing flesh-revealing

fishnet tights for ‘Carnage Nite’ –


arching the ‘white noise’ clamour

for ‘something we can dance to’

coke-dust nostrils snorted clear

Rizlas cursed coming unglued,


somebody is crying




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Brendan - a Brief Encounter

Brendan - a Brief Encounter


A shock to bump into O’Byrne today,

he’s older than me, smokes sixty a day -

if there was any justice

he should have died years ago

coughing his lungs away.


'held together, probably,

by tar and bloody obstinacy.'


He was in Fruitopia wearing an ethnic hat                    

(with battered remembrance poppy attached)

buying bu...

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To Life (full colour version)

To Life!


I met Solly today,

he wore a ‘not here’ grin,

a battered fedora,

flapping loose in the wind

a threadbare three-piece suit-

no kippah no tzitzit,


He’d lost a lot of weight,

‘Are you feeling alright?’

‘Do I know you?  Will you

spare me a cigarette?

I’ve seen far worse than this.’


‘The meshuggah’s lost it’


His feet were raw, bleeding...

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To Life

To Life


I met Leon today

he wore a vacant grin

a battered fedora

and a greasy three-piece

flapping loose in the breeze


he’s lost a lot of weight

I asked after his health

he shrugged, ‘never better’

adding, ‘do I know you?

gotta spare cigarette?’


blue toes poked through sock holes

‘what’s happened to your shoes?’

a vague point to nowhere


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A Postcard to a Lover Departed

A Postcard to a Lover Departed


I reached for the shelf where stood

like shiftless vagrants

jars of fragrance

(yours was woody sandalwood)

I unstopped the jar

you filled the room

once more



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on Arran with Aoife

on Arran with Aoife


we sat side by side

on a rocky brae

sharing a sea-shell

listening to waves


we parted

in sorrow

the blame was mine

I kept the shell


I need not put it to my ear

in guilty sighing

returned on the breeze

I catch the sea








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poring away

poring away


a tottering table a toddler

a teapot a reaching hand

a fast vast scalding scarring flood


a stick-waving young boy shouting

with tears ‘stop fighting stop swearing’

ignored by screeching mum and dad


eyes tight-shut out of sight

under a kitchen table until discovered

fingers at his throat squeezing


the orphanage window afternoon stroll


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hello goodbye

hello goodbye


I saw her from the window

of my signal-stalled train

stranded beside the bay


she wore

a soft green hat

a bright red scarf



again and again


she threw a stick

for a dog to fetch

from the waves


and in between


a hovering half-dance

collecting pebbles

she put in a satchel

worn around her neck



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Hugging Lauren - WOMAD 1990 (remix)

Solitary - wrapped in the frosted isolation

of a magnolia tricked into blossoming early,

slow-turning to swirling Qawwali ghazals

borne on the breeze from a distant marquee:

Willing herself into another time, another place...

home best of all stroking Beefheart the cat,

Lauren wandered the litter-strewn showground

wistfully wishing the whining children

wanting chocolate thi...

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Hugging Lauren - WOMAD 1989

Hugging Lauren at WOMAD (1989)


Solitary - wrapped in the frosted isolation

of a magnolia tricked into blossoming too soon

slow-turning to swirling Qawaali -

ghazals from a distant marquee -

willing herself into another time, another place -

home best of all stroking Beefheart the cat -

Lauren wandered the litter-strewn showground

wistfully wishing the whining children


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Nothing Left

Occasioned by Thomas Hardy (Thoughts of Phena (1890))

Her délicatessence distilled in a fragrance

Stoppered in a vial for a mourner’s tears

Re-awakens sun-lanced lotus memories: 

The secret temple garden we uncovered

Long neglected in a forest thicket

Delighted over at green-mist daybreak.


Days of endless hours of wine pleasance

Unrolling like horseback Caucasian ...

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Seen in Morocco 1974

Seen in Morocco 1974


A run-down village of adobe walls

painted shabby shades of rose-red pink 

stands forlorn on an Atlas plateau -

this is Morocco.


A long-dead jacaranda

with sun-bleached rigor mortis branches 

reaching like beggars’ beseeching arms

too flimsy for goats to roost on

supporting ravens and

a loose-slung canvas awning

stands in the square.


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About Aoife (remix)

A wispy grey wind

teases my beard.


I sit on a mildewed bench, inscribed,

‘In loving memory of...’ 

but the name’s worn off -

on the snow-dusted granite hillside

rising high over town.


Streetlights prickle my eyes.

Vehicles snail the roadway

nose to tail.


The moon carves a stately

tranquil arc – I try to catch

the song of the spheres.



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Call me Abe

Call me Abe


I am a wanderer

an invisible man

an urban wayfarer

a nomadic wraith.


In search of solitude

my feet pad stealthily

down tarmac pathways

and concrete wilderness.


My private places are  

little known hideaways

lurking behind parades

and shopping complexes

where Wasteaway bin herds

stand unconcerned stoic -

waterhole buffalo.



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The Accidental Tourist

The Accidental Tourist


A long hike in high summer

Crossing half-familiar terrain.

New walking boots.

With every step my blistered feet

Stab exquisite pain.


I am parched.

My canteen is dry.


Distilled sunlight sheeting off the bleached marble

Of the age old abandoned quarry

In whose navel the farmhouse nestles

Hurts my eyes.


I should have bough...

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Another Little Piece of my Heart (revised)

Another Little Piece of my Heart


The night porter yawned

busied his eyes with paperwork

ignoring the girl

I smuggled from the hotel

before first light.


The porter’s seen it all before.


Her cheeks are streaked with smudged mascara

she’s wearing last night’s silver hot pants

matching boob tube

no bra no underwear.


She said, ‘Since you tore them


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Crematory Pensées

Crematory Pensées


On the radio

Mendelssohn Elijah  

‘O Rest in the Lord’

Kathleen Ferrier.


I’m thinking black suit today

the Paul Smith will do nicely.


The diet’s working

I can button the trousers

without too much gut sucking  

have to buy braces

the way it’s going.


Shame about the white shirt

it went in the wash

with something red


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For Debbie

For Debbie


I want to wake again

and reach with tender arm

to find you there beside me.


I want to lie in early half-light

listening to the songs of birds

and your gentle zephyr purring.


I want to stroke your dreaming face

brush your cheek with a lover’s kiss

and taste again your sleep-stale breath.


I want to hide my head in

the pillow bought to h...

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That York

That York


My old friend, Brian, an artist, called,

“Dig out your bus pass, we’re off to York.”

He likes York – the train museum.


I’m neutral.

Brian’s work is painstaking,

he takes months and even years

to finish a painting.


They are worth the waiting -

his skies are amazing.

He collects lead animals,

must climb steps real slow –

his blood...

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Something Beautiful

An intangible beauty lit up our street and moved on.

Friday evening under sodium lamplight
dark enough to shadow my ferreting
of an old dumped door for firewood
and pallets from a builder’s skip.

Singing emerges from somewhere
down the street of tall terrace houses 
warrened into cheek-by-jowl accommodations
for transient drunks and the dispossessed
of nationhood and family
who clust...

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A View from the Bridge

A rare dip into free verse:


A View from the Bridge


Lounging on the back seat of the Humber Flyer,

day-dreaming, watching, and hoping

for inspiration to spring me free of lethargy –

where will it come from?


Maybe a leaper off the bridge

casting their fate into crocodile water -

that would be something worth recording.


A gambler risking all and bound to...

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Other Times They Didn’t

Occasioned by my Wedding Photograph pome - a memory seared into my infant mind around the days my parents parted their ways.


No afternoon nap for us,

not until the twins passed by.

I’m assuming they were twins,

they dressed like one another,

in identical attire.


Taking the air, side by side,

dignified, in bowler-hats,

with silver topped walking canes,

or umbrel...

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A Wartime Wedding

(back story - I never really knew my biological father - have only vaguest of vague memories (none good) - last evening my daughter sent me a pic of a wedding - he is in it  - since my mum cut him (literally) out of all their pictures it is my first real sighting of him. I pondered the pic - slept on it and at 4 am woke and knocked this out - I may edit it over time but for the present I like its ...

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No Visible Scars

[with apologies for the bad language]

Lonely Guy’s eyes blazed

as he skimmed pebbles at the

ebonised tide-eroded

carcass of the pleasure pier

where he used to stroll each evening

with Mum, Dad, and Scooter

their ancient obese pet retriever.


The crowd jollied along to Blaze Away

as ‘The Happy Wanderers’ closed their

nightly ‘Seaside Special’ pierrot show,


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Ross and Cromarty - May 2004 (true story)

While sauntering the Scottish coast

beyond Plockton, past Applecross

though not as far as Ullapool,

I found myself enveloped by

a stillness. Broken by squawking

seabirds and waves beating the shore.


In the wind, snatches of shouting

from a man on a tide-washed rock.

Intrigued by the white-beard, white-haired,

arm-waving intensity as

he engaged wind and waves with...

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Tulaigh Ua Thiomain (November 8 1987)

God helps three kinds of people:

fools, children, and drunkards –

we were two of the three.


We were on a jaunt,

Carolyn and I that is,

in her beat up van

with two ounces of hashish

and headed nowhere special.


Just mooching Ireland,

in and out the Republic,

crossing the border

when munchies or booze ran low,

driving slow and staying cool.



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We set our tent on the hill

in the shade of the fractured

crusader castle.


A valley falls away at our feet.

The canvas door

flaps in the breeze

reminding me of childhood days

wrestling a felucca lateen.

Moths cluster

enticed by lamp light

jostling into

wing-singeing glass.

Shumaila wears a jasmine robe

against the night chill

her goose pimple...

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Sempre Lisboa

I’m waiting for uma mulher

It has been a long day

She’s left it late

She will come

So they say

It's Monday again - it comes frequently. 
A life smart-metered by bingo sponsored
daytime telly. Dry toast. No milk. Black tea.
There’s beans in the fridge – I can eat them cold.
I need to stock up. I’d go to Aldi,
but a flat tire makes that a long wet trek
in sighing rain. So maybe ...

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