my eyes must follow
the metalled river
a mirage of ripples
troubled by a northern air
that breaks on my face
a warm breath shy of a slap

and a sister wind pricks
a memory with an offering
of the water’s sweet decay
taking me inwards
taking me backwards
but I cannot stay too long

and must move on as
this silver hushed slip surely will
devoid of her own guideance
she disolves herself with the sea
and taken up as airborne spores
to form and fall and flow again

our winter winds

we’ve heard that winter is coming
who have seen the first buds of spring

soft nubs patiently pushed towards
the promised relief of shared warmth

now hesitant and still
unsure of the strength of the sun

trammeled by winds that will come
to strip the air from a birds song

and char the blades of infant shoots
hard won through a truculent earth

a flattening crystal chill from
empty howling mouths

beasts and braggarts purging
their mishapen hearts


the bay sweeps out a long majestic arm
of white coral sand and shamrock green
that pierces the perfection of blue
across the fretted water, wretched stumps of ancient hills brood,
purple and glowering in the shimmer of the sun.

a breeze breaths gently, fresh, undiluted,
gathering up choice pickings and ocean spray,
sweeping over barnacle pools and kelp covered rock
to offer sweet salty tastes of brine and shell
and wander snake like over dry sand and tousled grass.

the slow ocean pulse pushes in small rippled waves
that slap and roll and bubble up the shore,
refreshing pools, dousing summer heat, cleansing.
then in arcing sweeps, retreating back again
to disappear into the small din of the tide.

overhead, against the thinnest shade of teal,
white wisps of patterned ceiling cloud
drift calm and still to other distant shores,
and gulls wheel slow caresses of the wind
crying their long laments of the sea.


old lady of the sea lays in a watery sleep
serene and unencumbered by time
deep feldspathic roots defy her age
she lies one minute for our thousand years
unconcerned with joys and grief.

abyssal tides scour her flanks
running fast in deep gouged channels
that sweep troubles away from arching sands,
headland and Puffin holes
to where the ocean calms and stills.

and here by crags, caves and battered cliffs
is the distant droning trill of a thousand gannetts
that thread their languid airborne paths
in a gentle waltz of love and affirmation
and pierce the heaving sea to relieve it of its riches
as it rolls and draws in rhythmic slaps
and sweeps soft into flaxen filled bays.

she hints at her story with half hidden trophies
of ancient stone and concrete pillar, trough and tunnel,
conceals old pains and claimant scars
in a tangle of thorns, gorse and berry
with heady scents that sweeten sad memories
dissolve all pain
cleansed in the warm brackish breeze.

wisps of past torment are distant echoes
and no longer gnaw on her bones
she is serenity and comfort, healing and peace
a haven of bliss in the blue.

castle acre

time has draped its memories into the folds of this land
seeped into creek and breck, wood and field
left abandoned in greenways, ditches and lanes
it’s ancient flinted skeletons rooted by mound and moat
flying arches and buttress open to the whipping wind
that strips the ghosts of Cluny from their pews and cloister

a scatter of God’s houses hold our line to the past
and lie in sublimation to the east and the birth of a river
that wanders through meadowsweet fields
and hurries under light flecked tunneled canopies
with crowfoot and cress that sway in devoted melancholy rhythm
to the eternal enchantment of its crystal waters
from which languid cows dip their heavy heads to drink

under till and plough, hoof and wheel
from ages of darkness to our enlightenment
the land has breathed its cycle of fallow and birth
pouring its abundance into the mouths of transients
from refectory to garden bench
who are separated by long wandering centuries
but bound by the same spell of this acre

to be the fisherman

crouched barefoot in silhouette
simian toes grip the edge of salt smoothed wood
his shirt a gentle dance in the breeze

the boat lullabied by the sea
coloured by the last drift of light
his net gathers all he needs

sweet flesh of the sea bought home
tamarind crisped and coriander scented
his doorstep provides

and life sways with the tide and stars
fire and water, sleep with the pulse of the sun
wired only to the earth and sky

apple sheds

they are the faintest of years
a stretch of days long whispered away
reeled and stowed with so much dust but

memories can be plucked by the briefest scent
of redolent sweet astringent vines
their fruit as red and plump as love and calling back

simple patulous summers of trikes and nettled knees
hiding from the lemony bright sun
in an orchard’s tattered shade

and into the quiet cluttered womb
of oil pungent apple sheds
boxes stacked in silent towers

pregnant with patient Egremont
waiting their turn for the table
or to disappear in my greedy grasp

and what else has been spirited away
that does not live on colour bleached film
or the furthest reaches of me

hartwood asylum

doves-foot flowers in the walls
a creeping petalled caress

bracken rooted brick and mortar
letting go its grip where

splintered windows yawn
their silent decaying scream

born of melancholy skies
abandoned, left to the rain

like the aberrated mortals
this mizzle covered carcass used to contain

and a sign points the way to the dead
where their freshly laundered souls

can be collected, as they wander
trailing spectral fingers through rip-gut brome

unsure of what to do
now that distempers’ veils are gone

the lowering tide

a view of contemplation spreads
wider than sight
and a gentle coastal din speaks
voices we have come to ignore
though thistle crowns lean as if to listen still

eddies of wind pirouette and ruffle
salted and muckish, in from a silver slate sea
that slides surely from beyond horizons
insatiable waters drawn in by siren sands
nibbling at the shore with delicate lips

and the thin sky offers a downpour of scuttering feet
sinuous settling feathered sheet
a choir of chattering tenors
with urgent probing heads
that raid the twice daily pantry
surging pool to rivulet in collective isolation
a tide not pulled by the moon

and I hide
in the dimple of the dune
a distant observer
soused in the still and calm
savoring the delicacy of the untouched
saving my bruising step for better trodden paths