We are raised in a net.
Oh, for that wriggling freedom of new birth when we imagine nothing is set,
when all is open to the warm winds of hope. Then we are the cord
fastening our parents to a fixed life,
knotting ourselves to the flawed
twines that dangle in our path.
And freedom surprises us –
not found in the plains of Tibet,
not in the disco beat of excess,
not in the monuments of power.
It sits in the tangles,
in the strange patterns of our connections, in the curves and angles
of our woven tapestry of love and need


The Sun in Chaos

Where the sacraments in this knowing age?

The pews have been removed,

turned to timber,

displayed as design by the self aware.

Rituals linger

down side roads where

flowers fade against killing trees.

Pipe and drum prompt bewildered sneers

from the savvy, who smile at tears

as the anthem rings in the air.

The holy, freed from pinned displays

in ageing cabinets, is found

where the critic’s pen flounders

in the chaotic melee of motion.

It cries out in the feverish blaze

of the crowd, vigorous, rude,

and it weeps in the churn of devotion.

What you see is where you are….

It’s all there in what you see.

Nothing to do with the sun

giving the street a sparkle.

Nor the lark twittering up

to vanish into the blue.

The dog lady may flurry

past your indifferent glance.

At number forty seven

a man flits from porch to car,

from chosen uncertainty

to resented visibility,

already where he is not.

What you see is what you are.

There’s no compass to be found

and the stars hide behind the clouds.

So we have only to look

at how we paint our landscape,

at our graphs and diagrams,

at the fury we create,

the compassion, the desire,

the avarice and the tears.

This we know and we travel

on hope of finding other.

We see the trees bend, pointing

in the cripple of their age,

and catch the winds in our face

taking comfort from the fresh

scent of what is beyond us.


We are far from the sea

in the land of dry eyes.

No tidal surges here

to sweep clean fly-blown weed.

No rhythm of light springs

from flat painted farm lands,

grey between the bookends of fading industry.

All is driven inwards,

jockeying for inches

in our shared enclosure.

Only the modest towers

of home grown religion

point stubbily upwards

where the moon’s pale dancing

can haunt the stolid dreams

of grumbling passengers

Closing In

…….not knowing when the sun passed its zenith

Ahead the tunnel shrinks to a narrow

point of light. What promise? Joy or sorrow?

Who knows? Pulled forward to the closing walls

I feel the cooling air, the sun’s dimming.

Perhaps some naive explorer, trimming

their jaunty moustache, hears the calls

of the morning and sees a widening light.

Yet time blinks, eyes water and cataracts

mask broad visions. I see ahead the white

of finite clarity and barefaced facts

taunting me. Penned in by ease I retreat,

proof from the noisy babble of freedom,

drawn to  the pure white of absence, nerves numbed,

eyes blind, tongue tied, ears losing love’s heart beat

and its anxious search for marrow and pith.

The Trumpeter

“People have had enough of experts͛”

Resonates across our decline;

The old battles are doused

In despair – the rough diamond

Beating back the thorns

Of poverty with bare hands

Stands in a desert

Just as the wage slave

Is cast loose to beg his own bread.

They must join the new generation͛s

Battle with power – no longer

Against aristocracy or church.

Now the fight is with all the failed

Know it alls͛, whose

Sheltered privilege offends

The rancorous masses.

In this democratic dream

Spite may be in the majority?

The neglected masses

Must be honoured

For their victimhood;

Reasoned disagreements

Are banished to corners

Where they can no longer

Disturb the nostrums of ͚common sense͛;

Love of country is patrolled

By collective sneers;

Reality is what we believe it to be

In the certainties of ignorance.

Truth requires no search,

No doubt or struggle –

It is what we know

And can stamp on

Our protective walls.

What if it is those

Chained by the ͚owners͛

Of the means of production

Who will kill the world.

What if Marx were right?

Must we look to work

For our value, and learning

For some kind of fulfilment?
Through the irresponsibility of powerlessness

I will give you fear in a handful of dust

Where in the handful of dust is the fear?

Ashes, obviously, seem more hopeful –

gathered with promise of fertility;

scattered to hold fashioned memories near.


Ashes, created from burnt lives, tell tales

of what we know, familiar battles

on well trodden landscapes, and warm firesides

sheltered, whilst love is embraced, from death’s gales/


Inert, at the border of creation,

dust must be swept away from memory.

It is the passing of life to debris

that will suffocate story and motion.


Dust belongs to the nowhere beyond Time,

to a Godless not-place of absences,

where death is forgotten and love’s young dream

no more vibrates – with no here and no there.