Posted: August 18, 2015 in default

at we are writing about school days. As my old reports testify, they were not the best days of my life!

Behind the door
‘This will not do’
are not memorable years
‘Could do better’
Frustration pulsating on both
sides of the desk.
‘Disappointing set of results’
No strands threading through
to the me
in the now.
Nothing formed
on a classroom potter’s wheel.
‘Quickly loses interest’
All those opinions are locked away
in an attic. Dust gatherers.
Under examination it is clear
we all missed the mark.

To an Unknown Artist

Posted: August 11, 2015 in default

at today we are dipping into history and the world of nameless artists

Light is yours to command.
You will use this energy,
a magician
casting burning into shadows
where it scatters black into fearful places
leaving it to tread lightly across
mercurial paths. Opening furnace doors
you allow molten photons to pour
across canvas
shaping and reshaping into colours
that cling to your eyes.

With brush and sight
you weave patterns
pulled from nebulae
that have been created
by a sorcery above thinking

and mind
and flames
and vision
and die.

You sit spent in dark, head on chest
your name locked in the brush
that hangs limp in your hand.

Sheep Spine

Posted: July 4, 2015 in nature poems

This is for the Flash 55 Challenge @ – a poem of exactly 55 words ..

Life and death,
bleached on to this peaty moonscape.
Here it is elemental.
Moor and sun,
a harsh unforgiving beauty.
Knuckle on knuckle.
Each notch etched clear
in its whiteness.
No wool.
No flesh.
No muscle.
Picked clean.
Simplicity of structure in
the chaos of wilderness.
This is where it all ends.
Bone and earth.

Trick of the Light

Posted: July 1, 2015 in default

To link up with The Platform at this is a poem from my debut collection, Fault Line, just published by Lapwing

You are looking at a lie I wanted to say. Puncturing this dark are
numberless stars that died oh how many million years ago and
yet here they are, diamonds in the river, lights in lovers eyes,
levers freeing a thousand poets’ lines.

Those bold bright dot-to-dot trillion megawatt pinprick beams
of Pleiades, The Plough and Sagittarius always steal the show,
but come with me. To some place so remote where no unnatural
light clouds the night. Maybe the Atacama, no neons there.

Then once your eyes adjust to the true reality of dark, a zillion
stars, a thousand constellations, nebulas, the Milky Way will
dazzle you into silence. So much light travelling from places that
had gone before we were.

A sea-change

Posted: June 28, 2015 in urban poems

Tonight Toads wants us to revisit one of 3 archived challenges from Imaginary Garden. I’ve chosen Kerry’s ‘Wednesday Challenge (Very) Old School’ from 2012 which involved a now popular phrase originally from a Shakespeare play at http://withrealtoads.

from Ariel’s song in The Tempest

Newspapers roared ‘sunbed slaughter’
but it was also the death of
a particular innocence.
Those seaside holidays
with their buckets and spades,
sandcastles, ice creams,
brightly coloured deck chairs,
children darting in and out
of ankle deep water.
The black world of terror
broke through to a level we
thought was cocooned.

It tainted every photo album
all the way back to 1953.
Mum riding a donkey on Rhyl
beach. Everything was
so black and white then.

The Fire Has Gone Out

Posted: June 26, 2015 in urban poems

Today Fireblossom wants us to write a poem of 60 words using some of the 23 ‘ultraconserved words’ that, in simple terms, are at the heart of 700 languages at http://withrealtoads.

The fire is black as night,
even the ashes give
nothing back. Embers
lie dead on cold ground.

We sit in quiet while
the spit and crackle
of bark is still alive
in our minds.

I want to hear anything,
but even mother’s voice
finds no resonance
in this dark silent air.