Poetry Blog by Rick

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Rick on true story (sort of) (2 hours ago)

raypool on true story (sort of) (18 hours ago)

Rick on true story (sort of) (1 day ago)

Cynthia Buell Thomas on true story (sort of) (1 day ago)

Rick on Terry Street - revisited (after Douglas Dunn) (8 days ago)

keith jeffries on Terry Street - revisited (after Douglas Dunn) (9 days ago)

Rick on sleeping with penguins (Tue, 30 Jul 2019 06:46 pm)

raypool on sleeping with penguins (Tue, 30 Jul 2019 02:02 pm)

Rick on sleeping with penguins (Tue, 30 Jul 2019 12:39 pm)

Graham Sherwood on sleeping with penguins (Tue, 30 Jul 2019 11:49 am)

true story (sort of)

there’s free wifi at the local library.


I sat reading the online Daily 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.


I guess 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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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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