Question Time

Where is it?

The thing is – there are very little clues?

Is the fleeting glimpse of the painting of Eilean Donan castle drooping it’s oil in tiny sparkling rivulets to be relied on; the black background mountains to be believed?

At what point does anything become certain, solidifying into squares of Lego like matter in our brains, seeking roots?

Perhaps when the nighttime gives way to the burgeoning dawn, the answer might reveal itself?

Until then the shiver of the morning air poses yet another question to be weighed, not answered, does it not?

Eilean Donan castle

The Littoral

This is a re-hash of Littoral, a poem by Phillip Gross rejected for his collection, “The Wasting Game”, and accessed through the Bloodaxe Poetic Archive.

Huge shells by the tide lips falling –

with a stare of how nothing closes

White, moist, loose as collies, they tensed

with a thin, a tightening breath.

Almost a canyon, a Wembley stadium out

and dead to an old numbness of staying.

Out of the hands of something colourful

and less muscular than Earth.

Under the blue terraced rocks, tame oysters

placed there like repaired crockery,

a gull came down, loosely flapping

wildly, clockwise like Bob Willis bowling

in a rain-lashed Test match. It was down on a shell

no longer clamped and wet, picking it up,

swooping and catching again and again

till a wave surrendered, dressing the rock-ledges

then hoovering the floor dry. The gull

hung smiling, over the whole rock

with his supper, everything under him

including (steadily), another’s reflection.

Phillip Gross


You Were the Wind

It’s day sixteen of the National Poetry Month challenge and today we are asked to find a poem written in a foreign language and it’s translation. Here’s a poem by Olav Hauge, the poet of Ulvig in Norway. He lived his entire life in this town, tending his apple orchard and writing haiku like poetry using the symbolism of nature’s divine meaning. The translation is by Robert Bly in The Dream we Carry: Selected and Last poems of Olav. H. Hauge

Du var vinden

Eg er ein båt
utan vind.
Du var vinden.
Var det den leidi eg skulde?
Kven spør etter leidi
når ein har slik vind!

You Were the Wind

I am a boat
without wind.
You were the wind.
Was that the direction I wanted to go?
Who cares about directions
with a wind like that!

Olav Hauge



The Goshawk Man

The curious peek of the celandine,

Hunting the sun as it opens its eyes.

Yellowing the day in seasonal rhyme,

Caressing the meadow on which it lies.

The man who runs whippets says hello,

Asking of birds and things I should know.

But he never did mention the goshawk again

The buzzard skydancing, is his refrain,

There were hares aplenty when last I came.

Slicing the roast on a wet Sunday morn,

I once ate the meat but never the game.

Put it down to deepest love of the born,

All things not right, the heartburn of shame.


New Life

Bella was keen to get out this morning. Her bark tearing the air, She romped up the stone garden steps to find a place, her place on the lawn. The celandine nodded appreciation of the company whilst the flowering currant in all its fiery red splendour shook at the passing of her tail. A Portuguese mountain dog, she claimed her territory and sat as a guardian of the isolated camp. A wet nose hunted the signals carried in the still warm morning air. The blue sky beckoned me forward but the job still needed to be done. The bench was rotting. The rough edged timer snapping away in rivulets of crumbling pine. A couple of coats of Ronseal wood preservative would do it – perhaps giving us another year or so of use. The clean brush dipped into the brown liquid as a piping noise turned me round.

after brushing Bella

the coal tit pinches

a cosy coat for her babes


Easter Bunny

She looked at me again

She looked, I looked.

We both looked.

It was always like this.

It wasn’t wholly sexual, though that was a part of it.

She knew my reputation. I knew her infatuation.

(The kernel of the hazelnut tasted sweeter than the husk, brown and earthy).

She promised me an everlasting-supply in the caves of Plush Wood

East of Piddletrenthide.

Through the misty dawning of a new autumn day I heard

Her calling. A strange, guttural sound.

Filling the hillside.

It was time to forget and get on with my job.

The eggs are the easy part. It’s the remembering that’s tricky.

And when I’m done

I’ll go back, find her, pour myself a beer, settle down

and watch iPlayer.

It was always

like this. She looked,

I looked, we both looked


Four Quartets

Ok stop showing off. I know you can write pretty good. But this is ridiculous. The flight from sumptuous carved detail to metaphysical doodling I’m talking about. But I’m not here to review or become in any sense a critic. I’m here as a fan. This is your greatest achievement. Greater than “The Wasteland” in all its glory. It drips with loveliness and intellectual rigour.

it’s a bit flowery but then again

so am i.

it came to me at a time of wanting

during the 1960’s between

the cigar and the pipe.

it’s hard to pick a favourite

it’s easy to pick a favourite

so I shan’t.

all four I love and

to say any more would

appear to be unnecessary.

Four Quartets

The view from the Tilley hat

I fit him a treat though

the chemotherapy

shrunk his head a little.

Summer is the best time

When, coming out of

hibernation I allow the sun

to soak my nylamtium fibres

held with British brass

and made with Canadian

persnicketiness (or so it says

on the inside label.)

We’ve had adventures.

He lost me once but

little did he know

I was throwing a jealous spat.

It was that engineers cap

he insisted on wearing:

grey and sweat-laden.

I didn’t get it – his fascination.

After all I’m the finest in

all the world (or so it says

on the inside label.)

Things are better now.

But I still keep out a

brass eye open just

In case. Just in case.


The Truthteller

You might think I don’t count, though you probably wouldn’t admit that thought to yourself

The truth is I don’t belong here. I’m a visitor from before.

“Before what?”, you may well ask. “Before anything“ I may respond.

And then I give it. It’s more than my opinion. It’s a judgement on where you’re at. As a species I mean.

I don’t want anyone to be offended, or hurt. It’s just so bleeding obvious that I would have thought everybody should know.

It’s like throwing a tennis ball against a brick wall. The ball wont go through, will it? It’ll bounce back, won’t it?

And so it is with the history of the universe. So if you’re sitting comfortably I’m ready to give my proclamation.

Here it is :- “You’re fucked”.

The Sandcatcher