Day break


The days fall to foam, some crashing

in exuberance on the wind swept strand,

some subsiding limply in cold solitude.

They leave a scum-line,

a heap of fly blown seaweed

or lethal discards of plastic,

and the leavings are scavenged by

the thoughtless energy of life.

Their journey across the unknown,

moon-struck, stirred by strange currents,

comes only to this evaporation.


The Really Big Issue

When did I learn to pass by

as the thin gruel of humanity

clutches its bags and shivers

in the shadows?

I may avert my eyes,

become pressed upon some business,

but always, in my fear, I judge.

The dock is too small,

bursting with villainy.

It is my home.

The Mystery of Connection

The handshake explains itself;

beyond the closed boxes of words,

where angles dissolve, and shapes

hold the tenderness of raindrops.

It has a fleeting wisdom

that lodges in hidden corners

so skin can shelter from grief

and mind can construct a square life.

The explanation remains –

the shared disappointments of love,

or desire’s trembling quiver,

a buttress to failing courage

or rivalry’s robust grip –

all in muscle’s wordless memory

where reason’s stiff boned fingers

find no reassuring purchase.

The caress of skin on skin

like wrapt gazes’ exchange of light,

leaves no visible trace of

the mystery of connection.

Rochester Cathedral


Pale light, softened by the grey green glass,

Shaded into darkness,

But offering a stillness, marked precisely

By the still candle flames that guard

And measure the peace.

In the softness, a circle of chairs

Stand waiting. Their angles

Suggest fellowship to come, but also choice

Of solitude where a quiet sob

Or groan is the off’ring.

Here we are sheltered from the urgent

Noise of the icy winds

That cover the city’s contours with filmy

Eye water, draining texture and shape

Narrowing horizons.

Here eyes rest and heads clear, looking up

At last, daring to see

Something wider, something beautiful

Amidst the tired industrial life

Of the Medway landscape.

Rather old Winter visit – somewhere around 2000…………

On the Threshold, Close to Life

As I stand shivering

Outside the room of your friendship

It comes to me that this

Is a familiar place.

I have seen patinas

Of this same shade in other

Hallways; these tremors are

My resonating strings.


In one room I can glimpse

A holy man of passionate

Piety, disguised by

Restless profanities.

His sharp smile betraying

A disturbing recognition

Of the hard edge of faith –

Compassion’s cutting edge.

It was this rootedness

In our earth bound realities

Packaged in intellect

And drive that drew me in.

At the door, stepping in

And full of anticipation

I find a vacancy

An unexplained absence.


So I turn, another

Draughty vestibule sheltering

My frozen schoolboy self

Short trousered and alone.

I must leave this hallway

Stepping away from the lit room

In which, as I look back,

The boy and I could have played.

A new thought mistily

Had sprung up, that I might have made

A friend, had I only

Stayed; my own creation.


Now I see Harrogate

As the scene for more teetering

On the threshold of life

Aching with love; silent.

No, much worse, terrified

Of letting my passion be known,

Ashamed of who I was,

Crude, graceless, hurtful.


So I come, hesitant

To the door of another friendship

If that is what it was –

Golden promise to ash

Cold and grey, diminished

Shockingly in its weightlessness

Transformed from a solid

Strangely lumpen living……….

….To drab grief, his parents

Damaged, mown down in the cross fire

Of this childish tantrum,

Farcical tragedy.

I see now, as not then,

That I knew nothing of despair

That it could not be found

In the dead boy’s hanging.

Then I thought, romantic

In my youthful naivety

The cry, “Eli, eli

Lama sabachtani”……

……At death’s side, agony

Intense in its grip on the soul,

Christ transfigured despair

To life uncrushable.

It was not however

The acute dramatic moment

That would define true hopelessness

Despite its poetry.

The long stare, open eyed

Pupils lifeless, dried of all tears

Only the road ahead

All colour drained away.

Here stands hell, paralysed

Dreary, silent accusation

To our failings in love,

Featureless and endless.

This was his legacy

To his mum and dad; I escaped

With a different lesson

About nearly friendships.

I don’t know, wondering

Now as I look back, did I stand

Alone in the hallway

Looking but unnoticed?

Was I not visible

But out of reach, turning away,

Finding safety in solitude?

Miserly in giving?

The Furies

Centuries ago the contract was struck –

To turn the Furies from savagery,

From the blind urge for violent reprisal.

The seething currents with all their richness,

Their deathly instincts, their fertility

And the rage of their rapids, no longer

To be let loose, to pull the innocent

Into nameless horrors. And in exchange

They were promised a part in the human

Drama – not a starring role but honoured

For their drive and passion. A tragedy

Of lies and deception, it has turned out.


We can’t bear their wildness, and seek to tame

Them in displays of imagined control,

In the veneer of civilisation.

They will not lie in quietness. They claw

Their path to recognition through closed doors

Of suburban houses, through bruised cheeks;

They leer on the shoulder of fame crushing

Innocence in their predatory fists;

They scrawl their bloody prints across our treasures

And spit with contempt on our ambition.


To walk our ways in justice and honour

We must embrace them, welcome them to sit

At our side – good can only come from good,

And their vicious energy can spark us

To life, hallowed by self doubt, but fertile

And generous in spirit, colourful,

Alive to our destructiveness, our need.


Re-blogged from 2016

The Horror of Names

Lined up, they waited in silence.

Before them, the scored glass

hid the shady presence

of a pointing finger.

He knew invisibility

would give him away;

his absence would clash

horribly and draw

accusation from the watchers.

He had to be there,

there like the others,

not trying,

not trying not to try,

carelessly, like the others,

with care.

The weight of the day

bore down on his shoulders;

terror sucked in his eyes

and pinched his cheeks.

He felt the pointing finger

cutting into his body:

a voice called;

he could hear the name……….