A collection of poems and other writings...

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Dead Fairies

A late Summer Thursday afternoon
and dreaming
I revisit the  garden of my childhood Spring

two merciless, samurai leylandii 
across the grass

the cherry tree, rope ladder strung from its lower branch
the prunus, spotted with blossom buds and busty bullfinches

closer to the house, a small slope against which we handstood
or rolled down on daisy afternoons

over here 
to the right, the old widowed shed
racked with bikes and plant pots and rakes
shelves of powders
against ants and slugs and fungus

I step behind it
to rediscover the dank hiding place
where golden rod stems snagged socks
where spiders the size of apples waited for sandalled feet
where fence panels, slipped from between posts,
have sidled to the ground and dried to a silver grain

and here next to the bald tennis ball and a decaying shuttlecock
I find the tumbled grave of small bones and dried hair
of shattered gossamer film
I pull small rot-welded corpses of dead fairies one from another
here where magic died 
and wishes 
made yet unbelieved

were finally abandoned

Tuesday, 25 August 2015


T K Maxx

you two
arm in arm
setting off 
up the

I’m heading down
to look at

you two
just out for the joy 
of shopping
swapping opinions
on leopard skin tops
on minions 
on Tshirts
checking out boys’ crotches
all elbows
and giggling

aching neck
sore feet
fifty five
stacking my backpack
with cheap necessities
reduced knickers
up against
economy cheese
and essentials tea

I'd have come
down there with you
but it's
too late
for that.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

A Nice Change - guest spot

This is something of a departure for me...

I have a writing friend,  Pleasant Street aka Rose Red aka Geletilari, from the USA via Twitterland - @AreYouThrilled.  

She writes some very lovely poetry and posts them on her blog here - In My Parlour .  She heard one or two of my readings of my poetry on Soundcloud and asked if I would record a reading of one of hers.  I was of course very flattered and delighted to do it - the Thespian in me still alive and well somewhere in there.

And so here is the text of her poem and a link to me reading it on her Soundcloud account...

A Nice Change 

She had always lived there
Her father's house and garden
Her mother's scent of carnations
And chicken and dumplings in a pot

Once she said to her mother
I have to go soon
A man has offered me a ranch
and a dozen cows on a hilltop

But you are a vegetarian
Yes but he makes me smile
And the cows bring me peace.
I will set up my easel in the meadow

She painted fantastic visions
of oceans she would never see
and skies higher than the atmosphere
full of stars and comets

One day her mother showed up
Suitcase in hand
announcing that peace
would be a nice change of pace

That evening when she came in
Wet painting leaning against the apple
They ate, remarking
Those were the best dumplings ever.

Chris reads   A Nice Change on his soundcloud account

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Podding Peas

I knocked and after several moments she came to the door.  But before she opened it she said in the smallest voice
“Hello, Miss B­­­­,” I said, “It’s me – Chris – I’ve got your shopping.”
No word from inside.  But after another moment I heard the door chain slide and the door cracked open a little.  Then wider and wider.  Then there she was backing quietly away into the room.  Gently smiling her way back into the debris, muttering.
“Can you… would you just…?”
“Shall I put it here?”
She’d left a space among the clutter on a side table by the door.  Just the right size for the box.  It was the same every time – one box-sized space left sacrosanct to save the muddle of having to create one under the pressure of the moment.
I showed her the bill and she turned to find a pen for the cheque.
“How are you today?” I asked, “how have you been doing?”
“Oh, not too bad.”
“That’s good.”
“Not too bad.”
She paused for a moment, her pen poised over the space for the date.
“Oh, what day is it?” she was mildly irritated that she didn’t have it there at the tip of her mind.
“It’s the twentieth,” I said.  “I should know that!  It’s my big girl’s birthday!”
“Oh, how lovely.  Which one?”
“Naomi, the one who’s up in Edinburgh.”
“Oh yes.  Lovely.” 

She carefully wrote the date.  The soft white whiskers on her chin twitched a little as she pushed her lips together.  Then suddenly she said:
“I sometimes think I’m dying,”
“Oh!  No.  Really?”
“Sometimes.  Then I think, oh, I could live another ten minutes.  And I do.  And so I’m still here.”
“Ah, yes, you’re still here.  My wife’s grandmother used to say ‘I’m not well but I’m not lying down.’”
“Oh yes.  I remember my grandmother when she was very old.  She lived with us but she couldn’t get out of bed and I remember her sitting in bed podding peas for my mother.  So she wouldn’t be a burden.”
She paused a moment.
“They were tough back then.  Tough old birds.”
“I have to say I think you’re a pretty tough old bird, yourself, Miss B.”
She gave a small giggle and handed me her cheque.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

August disgust

I thought that you had said
in August we would count
hazy days of dusty sun

and lazy afternoons would sidle
with Pimms and white wine spritzers
into drowsy nights

but here now is the lie
as the wind rattles fence panels
between their posts

and rain beats
on the incessant glass
and the second blanket

thrown off in May
now lies across the bed