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 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


We are content in our imprisonment.

The sun shines through the bars and the crops grow.

That is not to say that we lack complaints,

are bereft of hatred and misery.

But we are saved by the bars and locked doors.

So moan holds hands with moan and we trudge on;

the odd chair gets broken, the odd egg thrown.

A hovering drone may make us wonder

just for a moment, but it passes on.

These days, as the hearse passes slowly by,

we look not at the escapee’s capsule

but at fellow prisoners in their grief.

Do not throw us to the wolves of freedom.

We are content in our imprisonment

Love, Time and Death

Love, Time and Death;

not enough if the falling apple

is to be grasped;

if the watching eye is to grapple

with Time’s story;

if the destructive wounds of disease

are to be healed;

if the Winter’s storms and Summer’s breeze

can make poems.

Life stirs in the arguments of creation

not in the passive pools of contemplation.

And so, Love, we must fight,

we must reason Time to a standstill

and look through Death

and demand he bows before the ‘Now’ of creation.


From the film, ‘Collateral Beauty’

The Deception of Peace


The place we seek is a kind of dying –

all stilled, breathless, returning to the cold

absolution. The path ahead is wide

heading nowhere into the empty desert.

Time must swallow the past and future

into the invisible ‘now’ instant,

where thought, hate and love are no more needed.

Life lives in struggles of uncertainty,

in arguments of survival, on rocks

that we fear and tides that surge through

flailing arms. Only when we understand

that we do not know; that we cannot know;

that the heart still beats through abandonment,

that to see a promised land is enough

without straining our eyes to see beyond;

that faith means letting go, still uncertain;

only then will we find courage to try.

The Laws of Physics

I pinched the term ‘collateral beauty’ from a moving / sentimental (some think) movie about mourning. It seems to me a lovely insight….

All those years we believed in magic.

The future blossomed

in the sun’s passionate gaze

and we opened our arms,

sure of the flight of doves

to swirling celebration.

You sought out the source

of the sacramental ecstasy,

as the truth about love

came into focus, as something

compromised, escorted by grief.

I sought to unfurl

the tangled threads of trouble,

to outstare the unblinking

eyes of destruction,

to reveal the beauty

and companionship of sadness.

Then we are here, no more

sheltered by innocence

from the blankness of death.

The momentary blink of time

in the eye of creation

has its banal mechanics.

Our world it turns out

is collateral beauty.

Back in Oxford


The past tapped me on the shoulder

and I turned. Nothing. Well, a scent.

Not even the sound of running feet

or nostalgia’s gentle humming.

Yet a sadness washed over me

that the past was lost and absence

was its legacy. The future

too in its way, either timed out

or boxed safely in denial.

The shoulder was tapped and I turned

hoping to find that ingenue

thrilled to walk in history’s steps.