Suburban morning – Winter

As the sun glares coldly

at the town, white around the gills

like an ageing dog,

the waves swish down the road.

The long night’s gathered

energy crashes on to the streets

only to stop, beached, steaming.

In the unsparing clarity

of the blue’s sharp light

eyes narrow to slits and the hardness

of brick and stone pierce the advancing tide;

killers come out of their sandy beds,

claws sharpened, shells hardened.

Shivering, I listen and watch,

but head for the trees,

the squirrel’s rustle and the furtive

twitch of the brambles, where I hide

my wounds in the dappled light.


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.

On playing safe

I’ve long prepared myself for this,

Through the mawkish tears

Of a child’s bedtime abandonment,

To the ruthlessness of adolescence.


And now the price must be paid

With you gone, all absorbed

Into some unknown soil.

Now whilst I can see the richness

Of grief in your silence,

I must skate lightly

Over my self-made glassy film.

Your stocky presence firmly set

On the ground has dissolved

To some cocktail of my own making.

The cadences of your voice

Are my fabrications from memory.


Past my childhood

The truth is we shared little

That I could see beyond

The reflection of you

Caught in my daughters’ eyes.


We live together in separate worlds
Caught between a dream of family
And the fact of death approaching just beyond the range of sight, Alone and ready to scatter
Our remains across forgotten prairies.
The best we can hope for is the brushed kiss
Of memory across a dampened cheek,
The sound of pipes across a sunlit bay
In the solitary pebble clad stillness,
The green shoots of new life
Rising as the light shines through our absence.

Late Summer

I felt the colours brushing off my face

as I drove through Summer’s exuberance.

I was an arrow, dull-rusted by time,

blunted maybe, aimless, but on a course

set by some naked marriage of fury

and desire. All I saw were like airwaves,

trembling wrinkles hiding behind make up’s

smooth public face of a pretending life.

Here was where the bite meets the blood;

where dark dread drives shame’s secrets;

where hope loses hold and the voices set their terms.

Here was where bodies hang in the darkness

and we take shelter in the helplessness

of the ripe barley, the soaring buzzard

and pale smiles of polite recognition