Ash Wednesday

Ash is blowing away on history’s wings.

No more the daily product of fire, swept

Together on bended knee from soot lined

Hearths; Cinders is a figure of folk lore;

Loved ones are gathered to be thrown to air;

Stains and foul odours are no longer purged

By ash; no more does ash shine the silver.

But it still sticks to woeful Wednesday.

Its pall can still douse the pride of lost hearts.

With the embers of vanity painted

On brows, bowed before the unchanging force

Of time, we still hope for transformation


The Wall

Ahead stands the wall.

Unavoidably there

for no reason.

Blank indifferent unmarked.

The mists of Winter

fall from the skies

with the lethargy of despair.

Only the wall remains,

the wall and the breathing.

Clouds of vapour, bearing

the unmistakable scent

of a life, of the unconsidered,

hang in the air;

a condensation.

And so it comes to this –

the wall and moisture

mysteriously at a moment

in doubt with each other.

Both unseen, unseeable.

Only the shade crawls

through the silence

to reach the wall with a shudder.

But is there music?

The World of the Spirit

With his head lifted up and all senses

six feet above his destiny, he seeks

the flights of freedom in the thinning air.


There he can dream of the ineffable,

pure wholeness of the imagination,

wings stretched to embrace the invisible.


Head and heart may merge in the clear sunlight

where the elemental truths of the earth

seem to reside, raised to the eternal.


How shocking then the world on which he stands,

shoes stained with dirt, place of defecation,

bedding for the expulsion of desire.


There he finds where the wholeness of the poor

drinks unholy waters, ingests poisons,

thirsts for blood crushed beneath his ecstasy.


Now he feels his bare feet clamped to the soil

and the spirit stirs not in the abstract

but in the arguments of connection.

There’s no such thing as a baby


A baby? No such thing.

Only the discourse with its blurred edges

and misunderstandings.


You may stand in the forest,

Winter bejeweling your breath

and a lone cry in the pearl vacancy


as you listen to the heart’s

empty rhythms. You may turn your eye

to the far horizon where the geese fly.


You may cling to the illusion

of transcendence, of a personal vision

but you are not there.


You are where the sounds of strife

make you shiver, where you lose yourself

in the exchanges of difference,


where accusation and affection

chip away your edges, grow scar tissue,

where you change with the world.

Footsteps in the Snow

Remember the call of the dark
beyond the frozen moment
Remember the sound of desire’s tread
muffled in the snowscape
Remember the warm light of friendship
crushed by the wildness
Remember the brush of velvet
frosted to abrasive dust
The night calls out the secret spectres, bloodless, alluring.
The tree spreads its arms to hold the killing memories at bay.

Can God make a fool of us?

It͛s all very well to talk

About the foolishness of God.

But fools are not in short supply.

Human wisdom may have to bow

Before God͛s foolishness

But who is to say which fool

Is God͛s fool? Is it the fool

Who has had enough of experts?

The fool who leans on common sense,

And the ͚likes͛ on his Facebook page?

The fool in his yacht in hiding

From the smells of the abandoned?


The tender foolishness of God
Meant silence before destruction,
Agony in the loneliness
Of death and relentless deeds of love.



The tree dies, dispensing

Decorative detritus,

Depth and disguise

To become form – diagram.


 On death, shape is ragged

Violent in its skeletal

Splinters, cutting

Into the demure softness

 Look away – to the hills,

To the smooth slate greys, cloud formed

Where comfort sleeps

To wait for the seed to crack.