Thursday, 30 April 2009

What was Once, Isn't

Inside the prison
of this flesh and blood
and beating heart;

inside the coiled sinew
and bone scraping bone
and metal plates;

inside the cracking joints
and the graying hair
and the wanting to be better

is the part of me
that wants to be
but in reality

is as rusty
as an Anderson shelter.

Boythorpe Wood - Hanging Tree

Boythorpe woodlands
A last drag through by Bear -
others walk him now

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Chatsworth Road Wildflowers

Laurel and horse chestnut

marsh marigold and

roadside violets

A Time for Talking

What obscurities have brought you knocking at my door?
The afternoon is getting on – a quarter after four
is almost late and yet the is some time to make the tea;
is that why you came like a footpad after me?

Earl Grey today, I think, although the Assam is quite fine
The Xiaguan in its one pound block is better after wine
I’m fonder of the Xizihao though I hesitate to say
it isn’t worth the money when the mottled leaves are grey.

Set the tetsubin on the grate while I prepare the leaves
the bergamot is bracing in the taste buds. When it weaves
its perfumed magic in the nasal cavities
I feel I should atone for all my odd proclivities.

I’ve pestled and I’ve mortared ‘til the leaves are almost dust
now the water’s boiling you must pour it on the must
we’ll give it several minutes while we set out cups of china
Perhaps a slice of Battenberg? I think there’s nothing finer.

Now let us take this half an hour and settle with our brew --
the sun is almost setting and there’s still a lot to do.
I’d like the opportunity to talk of your Jehovah
but my demon’s come as well, would you kindly just budge over?

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Aural Landscape

In the distance I could hear the traffic
on the Chatsworth Road – the thunder of trucks
and the beep-beep-beep of pedestrian ducks
using the crossing. It was pathetic
how pleased I was to find a calming spot
amidst the houses where for an hour
there were no sounds of traffic to be heard
just the gentle calling of an unknown bird
from the branches of a tree in flower.
An apple, I believe, from some garden
long forgotten when a house pulled down
was left to nature to reclaim a frown
of mother earth just for a year. The hardened
concrete softened by the sun and rain;
allowed to fill with buddleia again.

West Bars Sorting Office

The Sorting office
people bustle on Friday business
Post boxes sealed shut.

Monday, 27 April 2009


It seems too long, my childhood friend,
since you and I stole apples from the overhanging tree
and laughing, made our way along the bend
of crunching towpath to our den – “you and me
against the world,” you always said
though time and social mores took us far
from Callow Hill and saw instead
my first degree in art and your new car
that took you fast through life and love
and mortgages, divorce and kids
and finally an early grave : above
all a settlement that God forbids.
I mourned, but not for you but for
the Hiraeth locked behind a childhood core.

Walton Walk

Birdsong fills the air
I meander lost gardens
factory dust

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Grounds for Retirement

The lawn needs some attention to make it look just so
but I can’t do ‘owt about it when the lawnmower won’t go.
The dandelions are seeding and I didn’t see them flower
they said that gardens are for life not every bloomin’ hour.

The apple tree needs pruning but already it’s in leaf
I should have done it earlier but the missus gave me grief –
“I want a new pergola,” she said at lunch one day
with roses climbing up it but there’s not much I can pay.

I spent a fortnight scavenging from skips around the town
and brought home six-foot lengths of wood and painted them with brown
When I had got a dozen I began to dig the holes
and screwed on all the cross rails and uprighted the poles.

By the time I finished making it the hedges were all growing.
I retired to the greenhouse and began to set seeds sowing.
After emptying the packets it was time to thin the seeds
but you cannot see the flowers ‘cause of all the bloomin’ weeds.

When I retired after forty years at the mill
they said to take up gardening my leisure time to fill.
I wish I hadn’t listened when the got around to askin’
and twatted every bloomin’ one that said it was relaxin’.

Rust, Wire, Gate, Sky

Rusty gate
warm spring sunshine
lazy vapour trails

and a 'static' image for comparison.

Saturday, 25 April 2009


A ritual once lost to time
a celebrated span
a rite of passage for a girl
when she becomes woman.

Forget the modern shame
of menstruation blood
it’s men that cannot stand the birth
of modern womanhood.

No more the furtive purchases
of panty liners, winged
declare it to the rafters
“I have my menses,” sing!

Long Gone House

On a busy street
there is an oasis of wildlife
where a house once stood

Friday, 24 April 2009

Church Colours

White for the virgins,

cream for divorce;

yellow for the young-at-heart,

red for the whores.

St Mary of Pity’s

catered for all

from High Church and choir

to the lowliest thrall.

From Marital Sanctus

to bound for a day;

“Weddings not Judgement”

the New Catholic Way.

Walking to Morisson's

Old factories,
rusted gates,
blue skies.

weigela and twisted metal, planning application lies

and fastened gates -
derilict factory sighs.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

As a Child

I once thought that to be complete then I would be a dancer
a-tramping on a moonlit stage on ballet-points I’d be
aspiring to the dancing lead, like the Russian girls I see,
I’d be content with chorus line in ballet and in opera.
On empty stages I would dance , long after curtain call
and after patrons had gone home to whisky and to wives
that loved their husbands and were blind to double lives
and mistresses in ballet shoes that had no love at all.
Instead I was an artist with a crimson loaded brush
with which to mar a field of Prussian blue. Oils and water-
colours vied for my attention too, though I oughta’
pay my homage to the masters of the gilded blush.
Many years have passed and I write novels for a living
though I never shall forget that dreams forgotten are forgiving.

Dandelion Clocks

Wetlands field
a haze of fresh green;
dandelion clocks

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Interview with Rachel Green (blog tour )

Ooh! I'm here today!

Bit Player Reflects: Inside the head of Rachel Green

Watching the Bats

Chimnea at dusk:
we watch bats in the garden
as the sun settles.
dancing flames keep us warm
to the crackle of burning pine.


Translucent hooves
echo through birch and elder
a flash of horse tail
glimpsed through a hollow fog.
Oak leaves brushed aside
in a tincture of shadows
and fabricated memories
of what might have been.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

25 Word Story Contest

Twitter-ization has shortened everything: blog posts, book reviews, and friendly communication. Now it's shortened the already-shortened art of flash fiction.

Author Robert Swartwood coined the literary term "Hint Fiction" this week, describing any story that falls under 25-words, not counting the title. Until April 30th, he's sponsoring a hint fiction contest--Stewart O'Nan (pictured), the author of "A Prayer For The Dying" and "Songs For The Missing," will judge the final entries.

Here's more from the post: "'Hint Fiction: When Flash Fiction Becomes Just Too Flashy' is up today at Flash Fiction Chronicles ... I talk about how short you can make a story until it's no longer considered a story. And what does the winner receive? A $25 gift certificate to Amazon. Which basically works out to a dollar a word. Which, if you think about it, ain't too shabby." (Via Media Bistro)

Weathered Footings

When I am gone into those distant lands
will you ever think of me and smile
at the memory of our walking hand-
in-hand into the river? All the while
the suffering we did; the hardships and
the times (though few) of plenty left behind
like slippers on a summer day when bands
of light and dark lie on the grass. But mind
you look and take a careful step or two
into the future we had planned so long
ago when two became a clan and you
were working to a vision; nay, a song
of love in leather. Now that I am gone
who else will be your rock; your number one?

A Beakful of Worms

The Peacock cafe / a pot of Darjeeling / waiting for DK.
Darjeeling fail / Earl Grey chosen instead / tell Mr. Jasfoup!
A pot of Earl Grey / rain pattering on canvas / patio umbrella.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Jack-be-Dandy Yellow

She remembers dandelions –
bright eyes like golden studs in grass
and later, when the summer
stretched lazy fingers into hair
and tickled with fronds
of barley and timothy
the buttercups, candy-sweet among
the daisies and spikes of purple clover
and the reflected yellow on chins
“Do you like butter?”

Rainy Day

Newly mown field
grass clings to my wellingtons
birds sing of damp worms

Sunday, 19 April 2009


I click ‘refresh’ one more time
to see if someone has posted
on my 300 blog daily RSS
and then again on livejournal.
In the e-mail reader
the Outlook is bleak –
just a few dozen surveys
I’ve put off for a few days.
Ten o’clock.
Time to take the dogs
through the fields, the cemetery, the road home
then into the greenhouse
to prick out seedlings,
and check the vegetables
for slug damage;
the seeds for germination.
Back indoors for
laundry, washing up, tea
(refresh, refresh)
and write a demon’s blog, a poem, a Laverstone Tale.
Oh! Is it lunchtime?
I’ll write more of the novel
If I have time.

The Herb Garden at Hardstoft

Water fountains
flanking the entrance
Entrancing copper.

The old Man of herbs
and a temptress -
coiled snake.

Spike-backed critter
and a wheel bench
for a rest.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Conjectured thoughts of a non-mechanic

If I was a car
I’d be a Morris Minor Traveller
the kind with wooden panels
and a door knob for an indicator.
I’d be the kind of car
that you’d be proud of
if someone said how lovely it was
but otherwise you’d keep
under a tarp in the garage.
There would be rust on my sills,
one wonky wheel that no-one could fix
(you can’t get the parts)
dry rot in the wooden struts
and the speedo
would never get past forty-five
without the gasket blowing.
But once in a while
you’d give it a polish
and call it good.