Somewhat dated poem from my commuting days….


Triangular emergences

Hosed into the city

Pushed by the new disgorgings

From Rowley or Tile Hill Lapworth,

Bescott or Four Oaks.



The life of the whole city

Is squeezed through these doorways.

The faces are still, solemn,

Minds already at work

Anxiously preoccupied.



In different directions

The workforce makes its way,

Vanishing and transforming

Into new public selves

By which they can be defined.



This morning, bathed in sunlight

I can almost forget

That my own urgent strained path

Looks much the same to those

Who can lift their eyes to see.



This outpouring seems today

A creative energy;

A marv’llous diversity

Of talent and service,

A mute cooperation.



The individual drive

That turns mass production

Into innumerable

Variations of dress

Cosmetics, colour and style



Speaks to me through the faces

As they pass silently

Towards shops, offices

Building sites and workshops

The engine rooms of living.



And yet I do not see them

Other than as this shape

Or individuated

Sources of energy,

Positive or negative.
The length or curl of their hair

The texture of their skin

Twinkling eyes and smiling lips

The rings, the scarves, the hats –

I miss personal colours.



It seems that I cannot look

Eye to eye, at quiet

Places, uncompetitive

Physical presences

At playful decorations.


My view is more Methodist;

No candles, plain essence

Of the flesh made Word, safely

Protected in the mind,

Brownly or greyly watching

By the Sea Shore

I throw off coverings of convention

And stand in the teeth of the gale

The salt spray sweeps away fears and troubles

And leaves me to be as I am.

Here the toll of bells can summon up no ghosts.

Time is ended by the waves rhythm

The shape of the sea bed and the moon’s pull,

Being breathes beneath Nature’s roar.

Afar, moonlight’s pale wash pits a walker

Against the flat expanse of sand,

One against the innumerable grains

Packed beneath the sea’s constant breath.

One man, a retort to the limitless,

A song in the endless silence,

Sung for the song’ s sake, for love and for hope

A launched message in a bottle.

Isle of the Dead

Sitting, muttering as life hurries by,

My hope is to catch the pulse of the sea

Rolling in the deep ocean where the wind’s

Whip calls to the lone horizon’s searching.


The pull of the tide draws me to new lands.

New lands where puffins burrow to safety,

Where shade cools my eyes and herbs fill the air,

Where peace gathers me in beauty to rest.


I dream and the swell takes hold. It carries

Me down to the cold currents in the depths.

Here all of the world is dark. A living

Soup moving to some alien rhythm.

The teeth of the isle, flossed black by the salt

Lie low. Innocence, unseen in the deep

Holds hands with the moon’s cold force to reveal

Nightmare’s appetite, the rock’s gape, grinning.


Spare me from the wreck; bear me to the sands;

Set me on the shore to pass from the world

With waves as my dirge, the wind as my song,

All grief set aside in the cool morning

On passing Tryvan

imageThe old man slept in the clouds

Nose turned to find the scent of heaven

Beyond the reach of my footsteps.

Spurned, I sped past, intent

On the same search by a different route.

Not that the raw simplicity,

The bare rock and the wind,

The strain of muscle and sinew,

The idea of completion,

Did not tug at me.

But I sped past, intent

On finding the still voice

In the interplay

Of melodic lines, rooted

In human endeavour

The Woods


No history has carved a memory

In these woods. No folk melodies breathe here

In the mists of morning. The old pines lean

Helpless and dying where the storms have blown.

The gnarled hands of working men have bypassed

These crippled oaks. Stones lie where God placed them,

Nursing the disorder of creation.

The wooded hill bookends urban stories

Of the glow of blown glass, of the clamour

Of forged tools, of the chatter of tradesmen.

Trees lean back staring vacantly where winds

Sweep the far hills with melancholic verse.

They look to the skies for the songs they know,

From times beyond the reach of history,

And they sing them in the shiver of bones.

From the Machair Sands


We walked the sands in silence.

The music came from a beat

outside time as the rolling world

sang through the sea’s fall.

To say the sands were white;

To say the sea was blue;

To say the mountains cased

our view with grandeur;

these words would deceive you.

We were in colours that glowed

through us, through our core

and took away all words

and stretched us across the beach

in dumb enchantment.



The roads tiptoe across the rock-studded

land, tripping between dark pools and peat-scrapes.

They’re like tourists in an ancient culture –

a surface noise that slips across the truth

of the island where always the wind is king.

Homes hunker down trying not to be seen

by the shrieking rage of regal vengeance

once it has wiped the fixed grin of Summer

from its fury. It yearns to scour the earth,

to scrub it until the old bare sculpted

rock shines new and clean in the Winter cold.

Only the patterns of lichen as friends,

the wind wraps its solitude in wildness

and hurls the rain at shivering heartbeats.