Poetry Blog by Rick

chance meeting with a retro muse

it was a year or so since I saw Oonagh


there had been other muses

but she was, still is,

my non plus ultra.


she was the heart of many works with

a dozen names in a dozen guises

I often wondered if she realised

how much she figured in my writing.


I told Oonagh I loved her dearly,


‘I love you too, but brotherly.’


our only date?

a theatre nigh...

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interview ....

interview with a vampire publisher


they’d read stuff I posted online somewhere,

wrote, in pro-forma letters, they were ‘impressed’,

that I had ‘potential’, they were ‘interested in my work’,

and would I like to ‘discuss matters further’ –


would I bollocks!


give them their due, they persevered,

ignored my knee-jerk ‘fuck off’ emails or

non-committal, more cons...

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thoughts of  Saoirse

I have no words

to express the happiness

you brought to me


in quiet moments

in a wooded glade

dappled by sunlight

threading oaky leaves

remembering, remembering,

those pleasant days

we thought could never end


but ended anyway


a cluster of butterflies

stitching the air

pauses its tapestry,

motionless, freezing

an endless instant



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Poetry readings - approach with caution - they can turn deadly

I planned to read some stuff in Scunthorpe


the venue is a good one

and some of the women

have caught the eye

of this grey-head wannabe.


I packed copies of my latest book –

passable, if I say so myself,

better than my ‘prentice efforts,

not great, not good, but getting ‘there’.


I preened before a mirror

in a soigné black fedora,


‘not bad. not bad...

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christmas where a girlfriend worked

my time with Tessa was pretty much up

it was on the cards -
it did not need a tarot reader -
sex had dwindled from a summer
of no holds barred
to an autumn of no chance
of a hold at all.

so, in October when she asked
if I’d be her school Santa –
I figured, despite the evidence,
I must still be ‘well in there’.

‘maybe you’ve misread the runes
it’s a ‘woman thing’ she’s going thr...

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Wholly Holy Holly

early morning, drunk again,

at a café-bar high-window


I watched Holly stumble from the door

of the local ‘ice-dream’ parlour,

sallow skin, sunken dark-rimmed eyes –

jagged cheek bones, unkempt hair,

ragged, staggering – far past caring


this, not the Holly I remember -

not the high-wire ballerina

who waltzed life as carefree,  

as I’d danced too, some years a...

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Newcastle, Ice Cream, Coffee, Culture and Katie

a final version - my comments regarding this pome are in the 'comments' below



kicking my heels in Heaton Street,

sitting in the ‘Shoe Tree’ cafe - 

drinking cappuccino coffee.


at my table, not beautiful,

but oozing character and style

sat a striking woman, reading.


her soya moustache made me smile.



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Miller's Dale (after Adelstrop)


                                                         a day of dreams and hopes

                                                        a day of losing and finding


I overslept. I missed the coach.  

This was one match I had to watch, 

it was long odds that Leyton Orient

would ever grace Maine Road again.

Maybe we’d scrape a miracle win -

I bought a Manchester...

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Five Walls at the Hatton with Kate (significantly revised)

“Yes, I was very ill again, I am becoming

thinner and thinner, but my spirit cannot be crushed.

I work every minute that I’m able to. 

My Merz Barn is better and more consistent

than anything I have done before.”  (Kurt Schwitters, 1947)


Lichtenstein at the Hatton, Newcastle;

I suppose we were meant to be grateful

that the oeuvre of such an eminence

should be displ...

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parting thought

I would not mind that much

if some killer sneaked in

and shot me through the head

while I was fast asleep.


I would kind of welcome

dying by ‘friendly fire’

say an old amigo

taking aim, waxing me


‘pro bono publico’.


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a playtime in the rain (1958)

I remember an oak tree

on the edge of the ravine

with a looped hemp rope dangling

from an overhanging branch

we used to swing on over

the rushing boulder river,

whooping ‘Geronimo’ while

scared to death. hiding our fear

as being called a chicken

was a fate worse than dying.


playing one rainy morning

some big kid jumped the queue

taking control of the rope


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demob happy

the first day after peace breaks out  

with Cairo’s camels, heat, and flies

a rancid stifling memory

I will step down from the ferry,

onto the quayside at Papay*,   

lay my kitbag on the footway

and shedding tears of joy shout praises

into the teeth of the howling gale.



*Papa Westray


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A view from Mainland

We had to return

a final time to catch the

calls of black head gulls

and watch for otters bobbing

in the rain-splash of the loch.


Circling the shallows;

a nuisance of grey-lag geese.

We turned our gaze to

the Ring of Brodgar, Stenness,

and the hills of Hoy beyond.


Harray was calmness...

As clouds scudded from the west

and the wind grew strong

we fol...

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I looked up (final version (for now) )

I looked up


few raise their eyes to look at clouds -

the skies hold intimations of eternal

considerations best left to theologians


town folk meander, mesmerised, eyes down,

skimming ‘essential news’ - others’ bargains,

Snapchat cappuccinos, cats, and kittens.


unlike those truly lost - scratching

‘S O S’ on desolation beaches,

or firing flares amid mounta...

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I looked up

This is very early ramblage - I'll work on it for a few days - may even edit it a hundred times - or delete it   :)

I looked up

if there are clouds they scamper unnoticed
overhead where few bother looking
as the sky opens to eternity
and eternity offers considerations
best left uncontemplated.

city people’s eyes fix on their palms
for hot news of others’ walks about town
or Snapchat...

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broken home

broken home


each night repeats the one before; the Red Lion

then back to a cold and empty home, alone.


a narrow crumpled bed awaits me.


the heap of dirty washing’s turned sour -

I’ll take it to the launderette... tomorrow.


there was a cat - what happened to her?


the kitchen sink holds a greasy stack

of chipped enamel mugs and plates

and pots and ...

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clothes bank blues (revised)

clothes bank blues


early morning at the clothes bank,

filling the scoop, wondering

what will become of my

too-tight Levi 501s - black


and stretch-waist Terylene

‘sta-prest’ office slacks - grey.


will a sub-Saharan African?

cut a dash in them?

or some local street vagrant?


will they be pulped to newsprint?

sold on ebay? beats me.


Bermuda ...

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true story (sort of)

there’s free wifi at the local library.


as I sat reading the online Express,

checking out ‘plenty of fish’ (no messages)

scoping the avenue through

diet club posters on the window,

hoping to glimpse the love of my life

(unrequited) passing by,


(no luck, I must have blinked and missed her)


a local writer, a minor poet

who bore an aura of significance


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Terry Street - revisited (after Douglas Dunn)

they were young – and still are

but walk like old men

leaning on sticks

some struggle on crutches -

loaned from the Infirmary -

they never danced for joy and cannot now

their legs too stiff - their veins too brittle


the world was all before them

pleasant pathways open to them

they chose a dingy by-way

and over time their wandering steps

faltered them to Terry ...

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sleeping with penguins

quiet music from the room

the Penguin Café Orchestra

swinging something classical


through the open window

birds singing


I stand at the door

a soft sheet wraps her waist


against a breast

our new-born son

makes contented baby sounds


her milk trickles his chin


both are sleeping


I climb on the bed

lean my head


and put m...

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summer lovin' (redux)

summer lovin’


for two mad weeks

in Mablethorpe,

in Hélène’s mind,

though not in mine,

we were passing strangers,

holiday romancers,

summer buddies

flirting over beachside

cigarettes and ices.


filets mignon - a la carte

tall white wines

plush upholstered

gold card evenings

melting into night.

one afternoon

we arm-in-armed the promenade


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grand so

grand so


I weighed up the thick manila packet

lying on the ‘Welcome’ mat

and did not bother opening it.


it would be rammed with leaflets,

‘think positive’ booklets

with hope-filled faces of young and old

from every nation,

everyone an over-comer

‘Living with Cancer’


all smiles on the covers,


and directions to ‘Oncology’.


I am tired of lu...

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rhapsodising on the G. W. R



can the magic be recovered?


I picture Geraldine

kneeling tending tubs

of campion, arabis

and celandine.


she is wearing a battered panama

against the evening sun

baking the walls

of the white-rinsed patio

of the cottage

overlooking Carbis Bay

she had set her heart upon.


does she remember

parasol picnics

in meadows of asphodel



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as mob rule swells (haiku stylee)

[as mob rule swells did I hear]


a chant, “drain the swamp,                        

build the wall, lock them up, send               

them back... kill the Jews?”                   


or rather:


shouts of, “drain them back,

send them up, build the swamp, wall

the lock... kill the Jews?”


or did...


I hear, “build the drain,

send a wall, lock the sw...

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summer lovin'

summer lovin’


for two mad weeks

in Mablethorpe,

in Jen’s mind,

though not in mine,

we were nothing more

than passing strangers,

holiday romancers,

summer buddies

to flirt with over ices.


or people watch

sipping tall white wine

as plush upholstered hotel evenings

melted into night.

to spite the weather,

in sunny day beachwear,

we arm-in-a...

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après le déluge

après le déluge


I will love you long

after the lock we affirmed

on Le Pont des Arts

has turned to rust... and the bridge?

a memory swept to sea...


you will have forgotten me.

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crossing Holderness by bus

a long wait ahead

for a replacement bus -

ours had overheated.


I sit on an iron bench

its struts griddle my legs


it’s noon

the sun is high and hot -  

energy-sucking hot -

a tree affords shade.


I stand reading a book -

Tom Paulin poetry -

stepping into his reality.


he writes decent poetry - this is a rarity.


at my feet cigarette ends


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My Pimlico Girl (revised yet again)

                                                I love my Pimlico girl and she loves me.


I saw her beside the Regent’s Canal,

haloed by early morning sunbeams,

a modern day Madonna,

reading La Peste.


I straightened a crooked Gauloise,

and mingled words with smoky

rive-gauche poise,


‘pardon, mais j’adore Camus, ‘Sisyphe’ surtout.’


‘would you imagine S...

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let us make

a mother fondles

with loving eyes

the child she made

it is her delight


in the heavenlies

a decision

to create mankind


the Father fondles

with loving eyes

what he formed

it is beautiful

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the night of open-mic poetry

kicked off in style

with a potent Americano


‘coffee to die for’

caffeine high

I took my seat

as dribs and drabs of earnest tyros and

self-styled bards and word-smiths

soft livers with gold plate pensions

fat bellied self important nobodies

from nowhere

with thick files full of

third rate pensées

bustled in, shaking hands,


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an unknown middle-aged woman

passing my cafe window

unhurried, dressed  modestly,

she is beautiful still,

beautiful, and unaware

that behind the misty glass

she is quietly admired

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enshrined on the bridge

enshrined on the bridge (a mood piece)


tied tight to the railing

a pair of blue bootees

a print of baby’s palm


a cellophane bouquet,

a magic marker plea,    

on a tear splashed goodbye,


‘please, someone, pray for me,

it is all too much to bear,

think well of me... Jilly,’


and in a wine bottle

a candle burned away.








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Isaiah 40

Isaiah 40


when the dust falls silent

and the wind is resting

and the waves reposing

grass folding into sleep

and the heads of flowers

lean their faces toward

the earth in calm abidance

then in awe-full quiet

you may behold your God.

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a covering

a covering


I wake early. take the bus

to some - new to me - old town 

haunting shops for nostalgias;

old movies to watch back home

feeding me with sights and sounds

that help to hush the silent





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Seen in Hull (a tanka)

down Whitefriargate

in shop doorways black bin bags

filled with unwanted

broken glass, cardboard boxes,

kitchen waste and mendicants






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glad you popped by pts 1 and 2

edited versions of these will go into my next book

they are kinda contiguous.


glad you popped by (November 2018)


the shade of Joseph,

a taciturn man,

stood ramrod straight,

tall beside the architrave,

against the kitchen wall.


he never spoke unless spoken to

so coughed discreetly

to gain my attention.


the final whistle blew on the radio,

the ...

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Old Time Religion

old time religion


my Nottingham church

of the Pentecostal persuasion

decreed a season of prayer and fasting

for a miracle healing

to restore the paralysed legs

of one of the elders.


I forwent my tea-break Wagon Wheel

slotted ‘sort out dodgy legs’

into my ‘exclusive’ prayer list

between an Irish Sweepstakes winning ticket,

and a parking space near the entr...

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untitled #3

the inexplicable pulse of joy

on seeing the bridge

crossing the Humber

at journey’s end


the memory of a night

exploring Little Switzerland

with a soon-to-be lover

rippling over one another

on the seaweed peppered shore

where the defunct windmill stands


‘journey’s end?’

or the locus

where my troubles

slipped their moorings?

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untitled #2



while the sorry processional

of flickering drifters strides onstage,

stutters mid-stage, then stumbles off

we live together and love

in the unruffled granite bedded

crystal clear ice-blue rock pool

of my thought world


ah but you walked the nave

hand in hand with another

glinting smiles right and left

and my sorrowful sighs

are drowning in the ...

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untitled #1



you are the haunting of all my thoughts

in every sleeping and waking hour

you stalk my vault of memory.


I ‘saw’ you once and that sufficed

deep spoke unto deep.  a bell was rung

a bell that could not be unrung

and long long after you first blessed my eyes

my dream holds of living beside you...

with you... joined yet separate...




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Donegal Eden (revised)

an island Eden

cut off whenever high tide

covered the causeway.

Caz saw it, loved it, ‘we’ll camp

here, where no one can see us.’


as the tide went out

she drove across the wet strand

and parked in the dunes.

the van got stuck axle-deep

we tried, but couldn’t budge it.


Caz laughed. we cracked a

a bottle of Captain Morgan.

watching the sun set

over Ár...

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a random revison from new book 'chatting with Saoirse'

as winter yields
and April fades to May
the lengthening days
stirred cannabis haze
and Tullamore Dew

tinted memories
of that summer we shared
on Árainn Mhór:  


you lying in the sun
reading the thickest books

we found yellowing

in a Dungloe shop window;
illustrated Life of Brian scripts,
The Last Temptation of Christ,

you liked them both –
and you, an atheist.



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Tulaigh Ua Thiomain (November 8 1987) (revision for next book)

Angels keep watch over children,

madmen, and drunks.


We were two of three – pretty good - all in all.


Wandering Ireland

with Carolyn in her

beat up transit van.

We were hanging far too loose

and headed nowhere special,


smoking five skinners

of Afghan black, drinking Rum

crossing the border

when booze and munchies ran low.

Driving slow and staying...

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A Tower in Silence (revised)

A Tower in Silence


High above Mumbai

on Malabar Hill

stands a mist caressed

silent tower

A shrine of mystery

where carrion birds flock to feast

on reverently readied

cadavers of indigent beggars

and former dignitaries

waiting ravening beak and claw,

to soar high with eagles

or become flesh of vultures’ flesh.

A tower of awful silence

stands over Lo...

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My Pimlico Girl (revised for reprint book)

My Pimlico Girl


I love my Pimlico girl - she loves me, too.


We met beside the Regent’s Canal.

Haloed by early morning sunbeams,

reading La Peste

she looked like a modern day



I straightened a crooked Gauloise,

mingling smoky words with

rive-gauche poise,


‘Pardon, mais j’adore Camus, ‘Sisyphe’ surtout.’


My schoolboy French delighted...

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I slept with a girl (revised for new book)

She stood before the mirror brushing

her curly natural raven-black hair. 

Naked. She looked good enough to eat.


She jiggled giggling across the bedroom,

lifted the covers. Slid beside me.


Kissing places our mothers baulked at

we wrestled, sweated and dirty talked.


The headboard made a dent in the wall.  


She reached a hand towards the drawer

where her...

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Nothing left to chance

Jackie and Jilly took the bus to town

to purchase rolls of labelling.


They peeled them one by one

as cellar to attic

they ticketed

every single thing they had.


This for Jeannie, that for Joe,

lawn mower for Neville,

baptism gown for baby Ivor,

Spode tea set for Glynis,

fire-dogs for Roger,

so on and etcetera.


A long long day

of upstairs and dow...

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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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