Posted: January 16, 2017 in nature poems

Today at we are writing a Quadrille. The challenge is to write a poem of exactly 44 words and this time include the word whisper.

Pebbles are the chattering ground
between sea and land until
the tide retreats in whispered
sighs through coarse-grained sand

Stirred up by the moon’s engine room
the tide turns and there’s talk again
Waves speak at breaking point,
bringing stories from the horizon.



Last summer while recovering from pneumonia I spent time relaxing by the sea
and leaving pebble poems for people to find. Here’s a line I’ve reworked into tonight’s poem

Beneath The Surface

Posted: January 15, 2017 in thought stream

This weekend at Toads, Magaly wants us to take a quote from the latest book we’ve read and weave a poem round it. I’ve just finished Nadine Gordimer’s seminal A World of Strangers- see http://withrealtoads.

‘I met myself in the thin ice of the bathroom mirror’ ~ Toby Hood  in A World Of Strangers by Nadine Gordimer

Brittle wind snaps round each
street corner. Chills the next
breath before you take it.
Blade sharp. Touching your
marrow. This cold has spread

a sheet across the river.
Smoothed out every ripple
and anxiety. A calm veneer
cast in the ringing black night.
Beneath the ice lies another

world of glittered stones,
debris streaming by, fronds
reaching out grasping
at the current, water
flowing against the wind.


Clapper Bridge

Posted: January 10, 2017 in nature poems

at Lillian is hosting and is talking bridges! Bridges you cross, bridges you make, bridges that are broken ……anyway here’s my effort penned this morning. Join us and check out how other poets are interpreting this brief.

The giant’s pebble is caught
mid-skim, wedged on dry stone
pillars. And underneath

the East Dart river is a reluctant
slip of amber. It drifts away
through gorses that rake the eyes

with spines and yellow. Tight fists
of bracken wait for spring’s looms
to tease them free, weave them

into summer’s patterns. Larks
swallow sky and air, pour
it back in a stream of song

and you stand on
the clapper bridge
that goes nowhere
from nowhere.
A granite staple
pinning this
cycle in its place.


Clapper bridge at Postbridge on Dartmoor

Photographic Memory

Posted: January 9, 2017 in thought stream

at we are looking at composing Haibun prose based on childhood experiences. Mine is based on the fact that I can remember very, very little of my childhood as referenced in an earlier poem on this blog, Memory Bank, so this is tailored accordingly.

Captured in black, white. Mother. Me. Our Singapore lounge. We’re preserving a past
for the future. Where childhood will be trapped in a dysfunctional memory bank.
Where shot-blasted neurons will misfire, launch into       space   searching for…..

These photo albums display what’s been swallowed by a black hole. Just
radiation smatters around its edges. Traces of all that is lost. My brain
scrolls through the drop down files. And here we are.

In black and white.
Mother. Me. Sticking
my memories into a folder.



Mother and me, 1955

Frozen out

Posted: January 4, 2017 in nature poems


Behind this freezing fog
the landscape has lost
interest in itself

A Flood of Years

Posted: November 20, 2016 in Fault Line, urban poems

This morning I woke up to the sound of our river steam-training through the town. It was the first winter storm and overnight Devon bore the brunt. Here’s a poem from my collection Fault Line I wrote about an earlier flood.


Flood river is wide as a motorway.
Lying in bed I hear it roar through town.
And later from a top floor window I see how serious
Exmoor has been in ridding itself of a thousand
rivulets and streams decanting themselves off hills.

A sheet of mud-brown satin rolls over the weir.
Was it only last week that kids played here
on this moss-covered dam?
Ankle-deep, screaming, shouting.
Now it is a different creature, a snarling beast.

Nothing gets in its way.

Riverbanks are scourged, broken bones
of trees tossed and hurried downstream.
This power draws us to its side,
gaping at the volume and speed
of this highway to the sea.

We are transfixed.
Reading into it
the chaos of our own lives,
watching years stream by.