VERSE 1978-1988

Uncle Cedric. 

Uncle Cedric, in the bath tub
Dreams of monumental forms
Billowing from the steamy water.
Closing his eyes, he sighs,
The water laps
Around his folded fat;
He drifts away to the sun,
His spiral orbit
Round the plug hole.
Uncle Cedric melts into
His dream;
As he disolves, in bubbles,
Gurgles down the drain.
Next day,
When Annie cleans the bath,
He is gone
Amidst the smiling sun.


You are not as strong
As you might have been;
Your timber frail, friable
With damp.

Your panes are thin,
Their rolled complexions
Twist the garden,
Far below,
With their deformity.

If I,
In a moment,
Such as there have been,
Let go in despair;
Through your fragile mirror.
Would not slow me:
Save the clinging soul
From the maniac impulse
Of escape
To oblivion.

Culinery Thrombosis

Inside my teacup
Nothing moves,
Face on the T.V.
Strongly approves.

Day drags on,
The kitchen calls;
Answers dripping
Down the walls.

* * * * 

The lie complete,
The truth defined,
Lunch was weighing
On my mind.

Inside my teacup,
Silent still,
Familiar face
Was looking ill.

* * * *

I eat my greens,
Day follows day,
The future slips,
In the usual way.
Down to the kichen,
Into the soup,
Begin to droop.

* * * *

Cops are breaking
Down the door,
While others come up
Through the floor.


Shackles to restrain,
For reasons no one
Can explain.

* * * *

The teacup cools
And leaves a stain,
Only some hints
Of light remain.

The T.V. chatters
And all my plans
Seem just absurd.

Passing Through

Isn’t it strange
To pass through
And not stop?
To count off
The landmarks,
Smoothed with familiarity,
Without staying
To greet them.

I feel
That I have brushed through
The web of my life,
Of my hearts desire,
Felt a brief pang,
And moved on.
The flickering train
Robs me
Of the moment of meshing,
With platform and river,
The glowing brick streets,
And the cool spire
Of St. Mary’s

I feel her presence;
A tangible closeness,
A hidden busyness,
“Going about her business”
Somewhere behind
Occluded walls,
High windows.

It is strange
To pass through
Without an embrace,
Without a word.

Two Haikus

You run your fingers
Through my nightmare,
Shrivelled leaves
Blow down the empty street.

* * * *

Strange dreams
Leave me thinking shadows,
On sighing shores of memory.

The Jewelled Forest

At this late hour
Shall I recall,
Present to you
Of a moment?
Drops that glisten
On the bare black branches
After rain.
A jewelled forest
In the stone heart
Of the city.

At this dark time
Can you grasp
The other world within
The world of everyday?
I can only point for you:
Incidents, scenes, sounds,
Test, taste, touch;
That betray
The beauty, serenity,
Of such moments.

Winter Street

‘Winter Street’
(The slaves of Reason)
Rosy sun
Was frozen there.
Bitting wind;
The mist hiding
Sillouettes of buildings.

Can such moments be
In this wilderness
Of pain?
I am not equipped
To face the awesome
Of experience
Without tears.

Four Poems

Silent voices on the telephone
Speak to me of things to come.
Hiden faces in the air,
Prophesy the past.
All are ghosts
Of thoughts,
Caught in the wires.
For they have the eyes,
Of the blind,
To see the evidence
Of the mind.

* * * * *

What are the hills,
Hiding in the fog
Of this grey November?
What secrets lie
Beneath their rounded backs?
The hidden ages bulge
In their rotundity;
Invoke the witness of the sky
To their long pain.

Listen to the still, small
Voices of the night.
Look for the moon bird’s
Solitary flight.
My dawn is black
As midnight bells.
My day the vacuous
Drag, of small hours.
Twilight is death.

Night the hunter,
Spill my blood –
Pumping the bright,
Warm, red song
Of the razor’s edge.

* * * * *

Lamp flickers as moth flitters;
I lie,
Soaking, watch
Your frenetic flight;
Russet-sable embroidery wings.
You, a soul,
Haunt my steamy bathroom.
What draws you to the light?
Summoned by the sun,
This false moon deludes you.
Stuffed Toys

What is a woollen rabbit
Lying in the gutter,
Its knitted heart
Broken by rejection?
Love lavished on
An inanimate object,

Yet such toys have meant
To a child’s heart.
Bereft of animation,
They are dead.

Not a Gnu

A week ago last wednesday
I flew to Yucatan,
To inspect a small okapi
That was resting in a barn.

The farmer called me in
To this momentous confrontation
Because I know about okapi
Culin’ry preparation.

It was such a mercurial mammal
Its soft ears blackish blue,
Its long and pinkish drooping nose
Reminded me of you.

Basement Shine

Binbag pavement,
Basement shine,
Tuning up
To another line.
Doors are empty,
Lights all closed.
No one speaking,
No one knows.

Tatoed lady
Speaks in riddles;
Turns the cards,
As the fiddler fiddles.
Singing songs
His words are lies,
Draws his bow
At acheing skies.
In the basement shine.

Time ticks by
Down the telephone wires,
To the monotone chant
Of castrato choirs.

Light is fading
On the rusty grate
Let’s burn another secret
If it’s not too late.
And time still ticks
From the telephone mouth;
As the darkness comes,
So we all head south.

The basement rots
Streets are sickly,
To save ourselves
We’d better act quickly.
In the basement shine.

Arrivals, Excursions and Alarums. 

And all around they will go down,
The angels trusting promises.
As if by some immortal, found
The victims of our policies. 

From which jagged sun we fly
To twisted vales of holly leaves,
The spiney sisters of the sky;
A cloudy, sharp economy. 

People your world my son;
The season strange with remeniscence,
Create a fatal beauty smiling.
Wise Venus, cornered, Mona Lisa
Have you tamed your landscape?
Conquered the world with a silly smile? 

Give me a word for anonymity.
Give me a sign that you care.
All is not lost for that single,
Iron red, speck/soul, lost in the wilderness of modernity. 

Who gave you permission to laugh?
Where is the licence for that smile you are wearing?
Crocodile, do your tears decieve the sun that dries them?
Cold, cold wind in the trees.

Those Barren Leaves 

Summer’s bloom is fading,
I smell it on the wind,
Feel the sylvan sunset
Glowing in my mind. 

Whither do the spirits fly?
Rise into the greying sky.
Shadows on my saddened eye,
Daydreams of the year,

And the leaves begin to tumble
In the elemental calm
For another year is turning
To the gentle autumn dawn.

Loves young dream is failing
Reality is all
No romance in the sunset
Of another golden fall.

Autumn brings the winter
The golden leaves turn brown
And love is not its idyll
When its early hopes fall down.

Winter Trees

The commuters that wait on the bridge like
carrion birds
Grotesque in a cold, crystaline dawn.
Painted with frost,
Greens shaded pale and highlighted.

Down the hill to the station,
At first the sky seemed cracked;
Riven, with a scarlet fissure in the cloud.

And the sun a swirling ball of infernal laughter,
Encapsulated and imprisoned in the sky,
Low behind the knotted trees.
Hanging like a jewel
Over the city
Like some new Hiroshima,
Stood frozen in my haunted winter dreams.


Across the great divide we go
The isotactic ebb and flow.
What? We cannot know or feel;
The situation seems unreal.
The nature of the void is such,
Our conception cannot touch.

Chasm filled with freezing mist,
Waters thunder in the Abyss.
Those walls of glowing, polished basalt;
Drip, drip of moisture falling,
Distant birdlike voices calling, calling calling.
Nightmares of the shattered hours,
Dashed before the topless towers.


The wind in the city,
In the bitter, dry streets.
Hunched figures passing by;
Coughing, they stumble.
And the moon is an icicle.

Fear lies in frozen gutters,
Taking your breath.
Winter has her claws out,
The sudden grip of death.
And the sun is a spear.


a poem concerning Isobel Eberhardt

She was the desert
Ran through her veins
Like the hour glass.

The Endless silence told her
Of the flickering of minds.
She lived;
That was her statement.

* * * *

Mind sweeps the horizon
Of silent sand.
Takes in hazy dimensions
Of a desert land.

Baked dry place;
A human zero.

Can words mean
In a nameless wilderness?
Or will their passing liquid sound
Soak into such neutral ground?

And Quiet Flows the Don
(Sheffield and Sholokhov)

Living on the slopes of the valley,
We saw the brown and yellow hill
Behind the gasworks,
Above the solid city
Towers, and practical people
‘Taking what comes’
With equanimity.

Though power may seek
To dismantle their lives,
Earn them misery
For some insect’s scabby gain,
They survive in their ignorance.

The winds of history,
Blowing up the valley,
Brought the smoke
And carried it away again;
A city dies slowly.
And quiet flows the Don.

The Dead

After it had visited
My windows,
Roaring its presence,
I found the bodies
Where they had fallen
From the dance.

Some had been butchered
Where they lay;
Their ungainly limbs
Hacked off
If they were in the way.

Their numbers shocked me-
So many.

To grow so long,
See so much,
Grip the earth;
That earth now scarred,

With our brief lives,
Will not know
Their children.


To rise in the morning,
In the wake of the sun.
No wonder you’re yawning
For the day’s just begun.

And gulls that are wheeling
High over you’re head,
Will hint that you’re dreaming
At home in you’re bed.

So lift up your pack now,
And hurry along,
You find that you’re whistling
The tune of this song.

And then it’s gone….

Fruit Picking

Quiet afternoon.
A cooling sun is sinking,
As the year ages.
Still afternoon;
I collect berries
And as I twist each small fruit
From its stem, the yellowing leaves
Old afternoon,
Silently the sun explodes.
The earth is soft, damp,
And I feel rooted
Here and now.
With the earth and these prickly bushes,
I am the afternoon,
The muddy track,
The fading sun.


You’ve got to like words
To play these games
With them.


A glance, or image,
Eye contact,
The glistening black pupils flicker


The sun bursts
On to rain drops.


You realise

By the time its scrambled
In scribbles, in spiders webs
Of words, allusions,


Its gone.


It was when they saw the sails
That the one eyed men knew.
They, to whom the world was one,
Breathed the air of innocence.
But when they saw the sails,
They knew.

It was when the sailors landed,
That the one eyed men knew.
They, to whom there was no death,
Lived in perfect silence;
But when they saw the sailors,
They knew.

It was when they saw bright metal,
That the one eyed men knew.
They, whose love was sure,
Ploughed peace into the soil;
But when they saw bright metal,
They knew.

And when they tasted blood,
The one eyed men knew.
They, who held each others hearts,
Had not tasted their life before;
But when they felt bright metal,
They knew.

A Tale

Let me tell you a tale
Let me tell you a tale
Let me tell you a tale that is true.
For there once was a bird
That flew into the sun
And there once was a bird
That flew into the moon.

And there once was a flower
That opened too soon
And was crushed by the snows of the

A Memory

And in the cold days,
When I knew you;
Tinged with sadness,
And autumn rain.
Remember me now,
As I loved you then,
And would hope to see you again.

Diesel Multiple Units.

We ride the D.M.U.s
Each in our
Through Preston
And Manchester,
Which once swam
In the smoke of life.
Now death,
Brambles and bricks,
Where only scrapmen,
Like vultures,
Make a killing. 


Through illusions of time
We digress
To other realms of hopelessness.
In moments strung,
Like human ears,
To catch the whispers
Of dead leaves
In the culvert.

Do I make sense
In my senselessness?
Can you achieve
These spaces between thought,
That haunt me?
Like lies
Refer to what might be
In an otherness
Of minds.

The Sweetest Sound

The sweetest sound I ever heard,
The sound of angels.
Like diamonds in the trees;
Suspended animation,
I show,
In supernatural calm,
The air liquid.
You call me.
I go.

Final Moment-21/1/82

Can you, in the final moment,
Bite into the poison core.
And, in effortless movement, sequent,
Cease to be. Forever.

More, for you will need
A wealth, a flood, a tearfull torrent
Of memories
To carry you off
Without a hitch.

Bear in mind the final moment,
Infinitesimal; the weighing of your life.
Don’t waste a drop
Of precious, precious time
In the desert of eternity.

Point; An Existentialist Ballad

Twas on the day I came to see
That love can never be;
For every time it came along
My hope deserted me.


And what’s the point of life, me boys?
Pray, tell me if you know.
If there’s no rhyme to keep us here
Then we had better go 

Full many times I’ve met a girl
Who stole my heart from me.
But oft my reason holds me back
From what can never be.


So now I find that once again
The dream has smitten me;
And what the future holds in store
I can too readily see.


Let’s turn our eyes to face the sun,
And drag them from the moon.
Let’s turn our minds to seeking fun,
We shall be leaving soon.


I walk along the shores of life,
Not turning to the sea;
But drowning in the waves I know;
It is as it must be.


And what’s the point of life, me boys?
Pray, tell me if you know.
There is no rhyme to keep us here
And we had better go.

Queen of Wands

Light as winking dust
That floats in a sun ray.
Solid as lichen covered stone
For you,
Again, my heart leaves me,
To draw in life
Sucks in pleasure
To create.

Sounds drip
From my fingers;
Honey and sparks,
Blue and gold.

Senses intense,
Cut every edge
Like a laser.

I hate the emotion
As it drains me.
I love it
As I am filled.

Always again,
And again.

The Big Day

We sagged into the pub
With relief;
Like an old wet, woollen sock
On the kitchen floor.

Planted our grubby fingers
On the bar.
Just in case we were real,
We drank,
But came to no conclusions.

Drooping into the night,
Somnolent again, on a wilted
Like a stuffed camel.

Looked at our nails intently,
Tommorrow is
The big day.

Waiting for Rain

I am waiting
For the rain.
The clouds,
That skudded
In the brazen blue
Of morning,
Knit in expectation.
And I;
I am waiting
For the rain,

On the Concourse

On the concourse,
With courage,
I could be free.

Sweet incence petrol,
I am perfumed
By your feverish presence;
I walk to
Across the cobbles.
Matches rattle merrily,
In my pocket.
Their brief spark will end
My flash.

Empty talk?

They scream,
As I ignite,
Into pungent smokes
And bubbling fat.
How long could the white pain last?
An instant.
Enough to quell the ache in my heart?
Perhaps, enough.

On the concourse
Were I not a coward,
I could show my disgust.


I am a cloth
With its warp stretched thin.
Wind whips through a fabric of holes.
I am what
The cat dragged in,
Can you see
The cold in my soul?

But, I am the wizard
Weaver of words
Mine are the moon and the sun.
The black at the back
Of my heart, is a place
Where a smile can never run.

If my words were true
To my hearts intent,
They’d be spears
Or splinter sharp scythes;
To cut away the
Warp of this thin
Thing you see;
Reveal the pulsing,
That is my true, true
And Becoming.

On Discovering Sewitt’s Hill 

Two years ago, that day;
When winter was closing in,
I walked on in these woods.
The tracks muddy with other feet,
The sky a threatfull grey;
When I came upon this wild clear place;
This magic hill without shadows. 

This is my spot, my refuge,
Though the bustle of life
Is close at hand;
I hear the playground tumble,
The hiss of the trains and the traffic
But this hill is remote from that,
Its green shoulders
Shrug off sorrows.

The two lonely oaks,
Like parted lovers,
Speak only to the sky
And the rich, old earth.

Two years ago, that day;
Though I have left the past
I sense its face in the clouds.
Yet here I am at rest;
Stopping time for a moment,
Before moving on.

The Old Song and the New Morning.

The Woman;
Her head turned
With moist stare
To the window.
Closes her eyes;

The old song,
And the new morning.

A Dusty Summer’s Day

In the corridors
Of the mind
We found him
Dreaming of the darkened
The hidden door,
A lost key.
Riddles written
In forest trees
And ancient walls.
Sleeping memories
Of something never
But felt,
In fleeting instants;
Seen from the corner
Of the mind’s eye.
A certain harmony
Of colour, sound,
In a dusty
Summer’s day. 

Another Haiku

The farthest shore
Of memory;
Womb warm,
The universe enfolds.

A Wail of a Time

The music was so loud
My ears bled.
The old train rocked and rolled,
The streets were paved
With gold
‘Twenty carat’
Cried the parrot;
‘Let me show you how
‘It goes.’
We danced, we danced,
We laughed the night away;
We tangoed, we congoed,
We wangoed and we wongoed;
We danced on the ceiling
Till the paint was peeling,
And danced on the carpet
Till nothing would rhyme,
A wail of a time.

Leave a Reply