Tuesday, 21 December 2010


She no longer recognised who she was becoming
So left her for the shires of yesterday

Sunday, 19 December 2010


fired in the furnace
of memory and motion

woven in the wonder
of heart and hearth

moulded in the mystery
of agony and awe

take me inside
make me anew - renew

Thursday, 16 December 2010

I touched

I touched the arc of your circle
But not you

I touched the black lines of your words
But not their meanings

I touched the sound of your voice
But not every word

I touched a dream of you
But not your body

In touching so little of you
I touched all of me

Sunday, 5 December 2010

No dawn

to have no dawn
no breaking day
no light before the eyes behind the heart
no new start

to have no dawn
no birdsong
no piercing the silent night
no definition to be given

the dark nameless shapes
no names, no signs, no sight
to have no dawn
is to hear only one endless monotone

no song, no dance
hard-pressed and famished
no beloved day, into darkness
one by one, to be driven away

(Isaiah 8 says of mediums - If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn)

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

If it be your will

If it be your will
That the trembling voice doesn’t crack
And silence descend
Then from the thin uncertain sound let a note form
And let the note rise
And fall upon the rooftops of every orphaned
Son and daughter
And let them hear through the ceiling and the walls
Adoption’s song

Thursday, 11 November 2010

And there is ...

And there is the sound from some depth
And there is the motion of the soul
And there is the vision within constriction
And there is the way winding home

And there is the silence within the sound
And there is the still centre of the perfect-worded-moment
And there is a death not yet defeated and a life not yet lived
And there is the motion of the vision expanding

And there is the constriction of the soul
And there is the mercy seat and the pavement of judgement
And there is choice like a concealed weapon
And there is the wielding of love

Friday, 29 October 2010

The body of Jesus taken down

Who came?

Who was it that took down the body of God?

.. So stripped and whipped on high

Son of the Most pierced through …

Who wanted to anoint the fresh wound?

Who was he that gathered courage to face the judge

Whose hands dripped guilt?

With trembling faith overcoming fear the request was made

By him who had first come at night

By him who had not consented to their plan of action

By him who was waiting for the kingdom of light

A prominent member of that killer Council

A good and righteous man bought the linen cloth

And came and took Him down

Covered Him in cleanness

Wrapped such suffering humanity

In his own brand new tomb which he had hewn out of rock

Who was it in the stillness of evening that rolled the stone across

And closed the gaping mouth of death?

Monday, 25 October 2010

the dread of error

stops u dead
upon the track
of truth
run over
by the train
of grace
o my
2 die
within such
a bone-shattering

A nation swells

Some rising tide
Deep inside her darkness
Some receding storm
High above her hills

O covered face

I can little behold
Your blackness
Nor the mystery
Held within
Your poverty

All mine, all mine

In the stillness
In the silence
In the sorrow

Mystery will pierce
Like a spear
The just and the unjust
The living and the dead

O my heart

Turn towards the blackness
Walk into the centre of the stillness
Stand within the silence
Encircle the sorrow

She rises and billows

As I, as I

Upon the solemn winds of change


gentle but reaching down
down into deep

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Saturday, 2 October 2010


Seen beyond the surface
Surfaced after a long time
Timed attack for ultimate damage
Damaged but touched by love
Loved towards night fall
Falling towards You

The inescapable Good
The indescribable Beauty
The indestructible Truth

Friday, 17 September 2010

Evening Vespers

I sat surrounded by stone and the tombs of the poets reminding me to search the ruins for the symbols buried under the rubble in the depth of the spirit.

History underfoot and the tremour of the organ playing the notes of ancient songs with voices rising and candles flickering reminding me of heaven - heartbreak's home.

Surrounded by stone - eyes cast down - prayers rising and falling as the light outside weakens into darkness and so many shadowery figures waiting waiting waiting for a benediction or a sign.

But o it's late - inward motion is stilled and who wants to know or remember or examine the failure of love as the incense swirls and swirls round the tomb of a long dead saint?

Made right? Made light under the glare of the camera - and there was Christ dying within me again, and o where was I? Under the tombs of the poets - half sane half mad;

And afterwards in the twilight outside calling to the moon for a turning of the tide and a revelation of how deep is the darkness - how high are the walls - how low is the tide - and how love waits waits waits ...

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

lose the cosmic christ and you lose everything

In the age we live in cosmic symbolism has been almost forgotten and submerged under a tidal wave of trademarks, political party buttons, advertising and propaganda slogans and all the rest – is necessarily an age of mass psychosis. A world in which a poet can find practically no material in the common substance of everyday life, and in which he is driven crazy in his search for the vital symbols that have been buried alive under a mountain of cultural garbage, can only end up … in self-destruction. And that is why some of the best poets of our time are running wild among the tombs in the moonlit cemeteries of surrealism. Faithful to the instincts of the true poet, they are unable to seek their symbols save in the depths of the spirit where these symbols are found. These depths have become a ruin and a slum. But poetry must, and does, make good use of whatever it finds there: starvation, madness, frustration and death.
Thomas Merton - Bread in the Wilderness

Monday, 23 August 2010

One Three Nine

I searched, I did
I know many things, I do
My thoughts are close to me, so close
Flames searing my innermost parts
Sitting down, arising
The flames of thought burn and burn
The scruntinised path, the bed I lie upon so singed
Intimately aquainted with the worded tongue
I am enclosed
My hand laid upon the plough, it trembles
The knowledge of you high-beamed above me, unattained
Where can I go? Rooted to the spot
Or winged, dawn breaks me down
What remains unshaken? How I am led?
Darkness and light alike, interwined in the innerward part
Woven in mother's womb
Fearfully wonderfully worked
Exposed frame skilfully wrought
O, my unformed substance has formed an outer shell
And I cannot see the days ordained
Nor what is written in your book:
You say, there is a hurtful and an everlasting way
And the heart is to be searched for anxious thoughts most dear
And that on the wings of dawn, the choice is clear

Monday, 9 August 2010

angle of lean

Israel worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

Who is this coming up from the desert leaning on her lover?

Look now, you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces a man's hand and wounds him if he leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him.

Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they lean upon the LORD and say, "Is not the LORD among us? No disaster will come upon us."

Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, "Lord, who is it?"

By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

my staff
my understanding
my lover
my leader
my priest
my prophet
my Jesus
my God

Sunday, 8 August 2010

love enough, enough love

the heart's desire flickers
like an unsure candle in an uncertain breeze

what was it you said about
a smoldering wick? tell me please

how can i keep burning when the day covers my longing
and the nights are so very short?


today your words
alighted in me

on the wing of birdsong
on the sure, sure wind of morning

'my love, the fuel for the fire
is the locus of your desire'


the air of your spirit
the wood of your cross

Saviour, Lord
'enough', you say, 'enough'

Tuesday, 27 July 2010


staring space;
the unmelted heart's
only object
an inner face

Monday, 26 July 2010

hallowed hollowness

hollow vessel
empty unless filled
brimming over unless poured out
[whose hands will clasp?
whose face will turn
eyes caught by the glint
of light refracted upwards
from the glass?]
liquid love ripples
fingers tremble
one sip and
the heart's knowledge
of the head
the head's understanding
of the heart
will be tasted
and slip down into hollowness
this hallowed evening
drink deep
only one hand-span of time is left
completion waits at the door

love of my love

love of my love
in whose gaze I will live
my book of hours to you I give

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Why Do I Dream ...?

A door creaks open almost nightly
And they are all there
The ones I shunned, fled from
Faces titled towards me in expectation
Eyes brimming with questions
They reach out to touch me as I walk through the room
To the outer wall
It is left for me only to turn
But in turning my back will be against the cold, cold stone
'Face them, daughter, face them ...'
In the semi-dark I hear a whisper under the membrane of my skin
'Lift up your eyes, greet them, invite each one in ...'

Monday, 19 July 2010

fragment 1

Take me there now
Now the wind whispers low
Now that the boat waits
Rocking to and fro
Like an empty cradle

Take me there now
Now its calm
The days are long
And the lullaby
has become a song

fragment 2

Sound of the sea

Pull of the tide

Birds calling to each other

Great rocks standing in time

Quietness of an ageing hand

A gentle breeze across my face

fragment 3

star light shoots through my heart

its shards filling my eyes tonight

from now on I will cry tears


Sunday, 18 July 2010

late prayer

Wrestling until the dawning of light
Wounded-ness of that life-defining night
Limping into a new day

Monday, 31 May 2010

the cross, planted; the garden, in darkness

My soul rises and falls
Rises to God and fails to grasp hold
And so falls

I remember the hard things as I pour out my soul within me
Of oneness and aloneness and singularity

In times past I blinked in the sun’s bright light
Then, the sun was high in the sky
Then, the sun illuminated all it touched

What do I say to my soul in despair?
Time is slipping through my fingers so please
Stand upright

I remember the cross, planted
I remember the garden, in darkness

I close my eyes
I begin to whisper
And a wave breaks over me

The Lord says, "It is enough now, enough"

I say, “My falling is circled within your dying.
Why is it so clear to me?
My vision increases, as my strength diminishes …”

Yes, I know there is a foe
For he is robbing me

What do I say to my soul in despair?
Time is slipping through my fingers so please
Stand upright

Sunday, 30 May 2010


For Cyprian Norwid

There was no one
A human void left you voiceless
Save the creeping mystery flowing from your hands
The seeping history pouring from your eyes
Such starling Poetry blinking into daylight ...
Penniless and alone
You were right about only your son’s son
Reading you a right
Vanished in a pauper’s grave
The poet turns
The poet knew
The stones that I would step upon today

The people’s hands are indeed swollen with applause

Friday, 14 May 2010


The landscape
is before us /
time and eternity
flowing from
our hands /
as the sand
slips through
various fingers

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Today of all Days

Today of all days
Gold was discovered in a Cornish tin mine
Embedded in the stone
The sweat and strength of men with drills
Day in, day out for three years
Encased within the earth
No natural light, focused on the task at hand
Instructed to look for tin and copper
But instead struck gold

Today of all days
As we wait for the election dust to settle
The earth yielded her most precious metal

Today of all days
A rare shoot emerged on a Lancashire golf course -
Britain's rarest flower - The Lady's Slipper
The poilce have circled it with crime tape
Pass by every hour on patrol, have set up CCTV
To deter the Flower Thieves - that most evil bunch
Only today I learnt the existence of

When it blooms they will be circling round
To pounce on this most fragile of beauties
And rip her from her earthy home to trade
On the flower black market
But steps have been taken:

PC Duncan Thomas, Lancashire's Wildlife Officer
is reported as saying:
"People travel from all over the country
On what is almost a pilgrimage
To view the plant in bloom
And are often overcome with emotion at the sight."

Today of all days
A day when men decide who they are going to crown king
And play their games of power
The earth yielded one of her rarest of all flowers

Monday, 3 May 2010

carry over

let the music carry the sound
sound will carry the sadness
sadness will carry the memory
memory will carry the movement

cast back
thrust forward

as the river runs on
as the river runs on

Thursday, 29 April 2010

guest of my soul

to carry the night
to slip through the cracks
to wait for my returning
to keep on the light

Wednesday, 28 April 2010


A walk in the park an hour or two before it gets dark

Monday, 26 April 2010

I wait in the garden for my beloved

I wait in the garden for my beloved
Planes pass by overhead
And what has been said cannot be unsaid
No recalling as the blossom falls
No recalling as the blossom falls

The birds call and call
Carried on the gentle breeze
The scent of memories
Fragrant and fragile
Fragile and perfectly still
Everything I do will be for you
Everything I do will be for you

The fountain flows and flows
The birds call and call
Planes pass by overhead
And what has been said cannot be unsaid

Friday, 23 April 2010

what will be emboldened as the blossom falls?

enfolded now
now it's getting late
and the thread is tightened

people hurry home
scurry along the streets
seeking creatures that they are

I am being moved
sometimes slowly, sometimes not
breaking open, closing tight shut

it matters not
it matters not

we come and we go

we go and return
and always see the same
yet not, yet not

what has changed?
what have i become?
what will be emboldened

as the blossom falls?
and it is my destiny to fall
a losening grip ...

of the mystery
that i am

o, the still point
of tragedy
has a silent core

[the wind
the bough]

abide there
my love
encode the silence

you are
no more

My dream of you is a daydream

My dream of you
is a daydream /
It is filled with light /
Intelligence sparks /
Small fires are lit
to keep us warm
when it's dark

Saturday, 17 April 2010

There is a dark cloud 35,000 feet above Europe

There is a dark cloud 35,000 feet above Europe
And an eerie calm
The wind has vanished
The planes aren’t flying
The volcano’s still spewing
Dust and ash into the atmosphere above our heads
[But no one is mourning]
No one is asking for the mysterious mighty breath
To blow the dark cloud west

There is a dark cloud 35,000 feet above Europe
And it's not going away
The build up of pressure from the land of ice
Is now too much – and oh my
[The debt cannot be borne]
An eruption: the northern land is an angry man
Casting his shadow on those with more money in their pockets
Whilst the countless nameless die daily in the south
A mighty interruption ensues …

... A journey though five countries
Eleven hours, light and night
A city break, station and motion
Countless nameless people scrabbling to get back home
Queries, tickets and stuff, and hours and hours of news
Counting the cost and the ripping off
No parliament, no union, no summit
No one who has the power to say, enough is enough!

There is a dark cloud 35,000 feet above Europe
Today in Brussels from the window of a slowly moving train
I saw nearly naked woman after woman posing in shop after shop window
I was on my way to the El Greco exhibition
Where I would consider in the gallery's artificial light his masterpiece
The Disrobing of Christ
Red light, broad daylight, the night is narrow field to be buried alive in
The turning of wheels on the rail way track seemed to beat out the lie
[There is no wrong, it matters not]
As the ticket touts, the bankers, the people traffickers all proudly line up

On my way back I saw them still bending and swaying behind the glass
And oh my [No one is mourning]
The eerie calm deepens
The dust and ash descends
For God’s sake Europeans, let us look up!
And ask for the mysterious breath
To cancel the debt
And blow the dark mighty cloud
As far as the east is from the west

Thursday, 15 April 2010


I walk upon the ancient stone
I bend towards words and peer into to the meaning beneath the one shown
I wait for silence to engulf the day’s end
I remain in the darkness not remembering anything at all
I stand alone
[My love, the birds are flown]
I see figures scurry away to hiding places deep within the city walls
I look upon today’s intentions threading through my actions with no way back
I hear a whispering tonight weaving through the branches of my mind
Weeping will not cease in this life
The dark night is long
Upon my arm now rest
Strive in all things for completeness

Monday, 5 April 2010

The Widow’s Surplus

Bereaved as I was for these many years
Comfort grew as I leaned heavenwards
And now so late in life learning
From the man they called Master
Listening to his words fall like drops of pure water
Onto my parched ears
And trickle down into my heart
I would go and hear him rain or shine
Poor as I was, with no man to lean upon
Except this one
Wherever he went
Rivers of people flowed round him
He was a rock
And I lived in a desert
With a hardened people
But now forgiveness flourished
Green shoots of healing pushed up through
Stony ground
Deliverance was demonstrated time after time
Each step of his imprinting the earth with God’s footprint
I would move out of my widow’s house whenever he was near
I’d travel too, because when I thought all love had died
My widow’s heart had glowed warm again
My widow’s clenched hand wanted to reach out
But what did I have?
What could I offer the owner of all?
The Master had never seen me
Knew not my name
But today when I woke from my widow’s sleep
My thoughts were full of him as I emptied my purse -
A sign of my unending trust
God in me – me in God, I knew not
I cared not for tomorrow’s bread
Because today, today I was full
Today I would go to the treasury
Rub shoulders with the rich
My one cent would drop from my open palm
And I’d think of the Master’s words from the mount
About sparrows and lilies
Bereaved as I was, it would be something no man saw
And I’d smile through my tears
Because in that act I'd be a widow no more

Saturday, 27 March 2010

This is the time for poetry

This is the time for poetry ...

The young man in the café
On the next table to me and my closest poetry friend
Sat penning verse
Line after line in swift movements
Of the hand
I glanced over every now and then
As my friend and I talked pure poetry –
From where it had taken us, until now

And then there was the businessman
Next to me on the bus homeward
He sat swiftly scanning line after line
I strained to see the book’s title
The Wrecking Light

I watched his suited reflection in the front window
Of the double-decker
His hands slowly turning the pages
As if searching for green shoots
To appear between the concrete cracks of his day

I got out three A4 sheets of my most recent poems
Which were folded in my handbag
And read them -
Our shoulders almost touching

I looked it up The Wrecking Light when I got home
And, O my …
Brilliant but unrettingly bleak was the consensus -
A sign of the times

This is the time for poetry …

This is the time to find
The rhyme and the rhythm

This is the time for poetry …

When smallness presses us
Into the darkest of corners
When disappointments plummet
One after the other
Into the hidden pool of our souls

This is the time for poetry …

The seed that slips down the concrete crack
Does not die

This is the time for poetry …

Poetry will find the unattended part of you
And blow the dust away

Saturday, 13 March 2010


A stone falling to the ground
A cloud moving across the sun

The crest of a wave
The sand on the shore

The shade of a tree
Raindrops on grass

A dream in the dark
A light in the morning

The passing of time
The losing of love

A touch of the hand
A beat of the heart

Friday, 22 January 2010

The City Sounded

The city sounded two voices
One filled with the ideal self
Questing and finding and fulfilling
All sorts of highly visible desires

The other talking only to self
The homeless man people choose not to see
Worn and weary he sits by me
Speaking over all sorts of shrouded desires

It is an incomprehensible murmur
Here is the city’s shadow
Its unacknowledged madness
Lurking within the man no one will look in the eye

Can I look backwards to see what he was
Or forwards to what he will become?
The other voice sounds over the top
Of this ever-present soundtrack

So few people hear it but it rises up
In the nightmares of the respectable
In every act of urban violence
In every instance of self-loathing

It is unconscious and so dangerous
Perpetual and so powerful
It confirms the rich in their identity
Covers the insecure in their vulnerablity

The city sounded two voices
I heard both as I sat by the man without a home
I held his gaze only for a few seconds
And was wounded by his insanity

I left him talking to himself
Drinking the coffee he purchased
That made him equal with me
I turn and see him looking through glass

Our eyes searching space
For home or a place to hide?
The city sounded two voices tonight
And as I advance into the neon light

The murmur of his words rest
Upon the swell of an inner tide
But as I walk on they slip down
Disappearing for ever into a soundless deep

Thursday, 14 January 2010

A house made of wood

there it was in the woods
a house made of the same
tree, trunk, bark, branch
cut down, sawn through
sawdust lifted up
and scattered
by the winds of every season
material of the earth taken
to make
a shelter, a resting place
in which to ignite the fire
and burn
in which to let the light in after dark
and learn

Sunday, 10 January 2010

If I were a poet ...

If I were a poet
I would press a word into your hand
As I shook it and asked: How are you?
Smiling, the truth would not be spoken:

Last summer there were many days I shivered in the noonday heat
Spring only blossomed on the very edges of my seeing
Winter froze me quietly
Autunm felled me softly
And the earth's earth buried my heart

But the song, the song went on
Gliding through the night like a ship on dark waters
Leaving golden threads in its wake
Weaving through the days that rolled on and on
Like wave after wave breaking on the silver shore

If I were a poet
I would enter the furnace of forgetfulness
And the maelstrom of memory
In order to remember and record what you would not, could not
I would let the heat of your unuttered words sear me
And the whirlwind of your storms spin me

If I were a poet
I would record your dignity as an eagle's first flight
Your hunger as a burning tree:
The charred branches of your arms reaching out to receive
This year's harvest

If I were a poet
I would write what I heard you cry, shout, speak
Whisper and whimpered before your dying breath
Misted up the window pane
What would I write with my finger?
It would be your name

If I were a poet
If I were wholly the world's possession
If my meanings were as drops of water on your parched lips
If my metaphors carried over a bundle of new life to you
If my meter caused you to fall in step with my Master
I would write and write

On through the dark contemplation
On as the dark fire burned
On as the silver and gold threaded through your soul's darkest night
On until sunrise kissed your eyes with the morning's first light