Home is where the heart is

And so I will grow roses
And enthuse everyone with Jasmine, having sharpened
Everything with lemons. 

Let children chew pawns
From my fresh chess set,
While I eat geranium
Chocolate with orange.  

Garden, house and food –
May I never forget these blessings
And always look up
From my table with thanks.

Space Isn’t Personal

Room for me

Room for you

Room for all

Hearth, heart

And space to

Breath, to stretch

To love to

Eat to seed

To sound to

Cry unbound,

To crave, to crash

And reassemble

In the factory that

Makes each

Day new for

Each and every


Snow Globe

A person and a  penguin , in conversation



 ‘Accessories are what it’s all about –

Hats, scarves, bangles worn over gloves,

Keeping warm  in the snow,  nothing

Else counts  when you’re cold and wet too –

Suddenly life contracts to a quick pulse

In the chest, trying to beat Frost and reach

Hands and feet first.


Keep the shuffle going, to and fro,

Across the glacier, here

And there a slide and skate

Punctuated with the odd skid

And backwards swirl, churning

The blood through warm wings or,

As we call them, waistcoat fins.


‘Where are we going in all

This white, what paths shall

 We black when all previous

Tracks are under four metres of

Soft silence and the only clues

 are foxing paths deviating on

a scent we’ll never crack?


Why ask where we are going?

 There is no direction

To go in because we are

Home, our feet make it

Newly, every step

into top snow .


‘Don’t you ever ponder,

One day, ice gone,

you’ll be swimming Through

to Death or simply,

wait for Life to

Pass, from the last

Raft of rock?


‘And what does it matter?

I feel my egg between our

 Feet and know to protect

And honour –

Our pact – we three:

Her, egg and me.’






Another conversation, same person, same penguin



What use is breeding? One

More penguin when there

Are thousands

Picking fights to 

Get to the inside.’


Who are you to ask why?

You have over engineered

Your brain so that

No fuel is compatible and it

Eats itself for food.’


‘Still, must be more to Life than

Eggs that may

Never survive and hatched,

What will it do? Make more

Eggs like you?


Better that than

Unhappy with what

I have, thirsty for what

I haven’t need, hungry

For what I’ve just gorged on.

The ice is melting

And we’re all on it –

Melting it more

In the warmth of shared space – nothing

More, nothing less.

Reality abides with us,

Quietly, no fuss at the fading snow. 


Killing time, over a nice cuppa

Sitting cold next to Arthur,

Tea brewing strongly.

Tied the knot in 1952, now

Tightened too flat to tell knot

From rope, you pop out to shops,

You pop back to tea, he pops

Upstairs to find his crossword. You pop

Out again for more tea from Maggie’s cups –

Same bags but the milk’s not

Not gold topped. Still, there are plenty of biscuits

Arthur couldn’t eat.

Before the milkman comes..

Take a tube node

in a nude robe,

make a rail stack

in a base rack,

sing a game toad

through a jail song,

breach a round fist

with a top hat.

Play a safe card

on a dud horse,

race a small car

down a kind alley,

case a large joint

with a ham held

to a stock pot of

cruelling liquorish rum.

Wish a roast catch

from a soft patch

taken to far, time

backed when cradle

scratched the timber

drawn silver in the

dust of crime hatched

warm in the sabre’s den.

Clam a tenth hole

with a skin flack

near a petal pen

written soft on a clothes

vine to make it

read cool through the

breeze of toasting wine.

Leave a mean coin fifty for

a pint of frozen, delivered

promptly at the smack of

dawn to the raw step cold

of the door, ready to wield

the whinge and make people

within soft with calf-juice,

woken up from this dream.

In short,

On Life stood a long day

Set up coolly

With meditation

And loud water

Gushing through

Fingers into basin

A house on a London terrace

The house was built in 1864 or thereabouts

With bricks and mortar

In the usual way,

Set down on the street

‘Tween two just the


No, I lie. Next

Door was a shop,

Greyed out now, modern

Style, frosted windows, the works.

Behind doors to the house of

A family, bent by

Chance into odd-

Shaped rooms, tombs

For the spirits of eras

Passed, mingling now and

Then with the plates on

The rack or a glass in the

Cupboard, no harm meant.

After twenty five years

No surprise at a flying saucepan.

A family lived in the house,

Part of it, kin to it,

Whatever its freight.

Besides, after twenty five years, they

Had their own ghosts as guests,

Those former selves in former

Times living on,

Resonating in overlapping lines.

The cello practice, the barking

Dog, the sleeping dog,

The trampoline, the one that

Broke, the roller blades,

The skipping rope.

The time when budgies tweeted

In the kitchen

And Ma cooked at 6 for me

And 8 for him, again.

The time when garden’s shade

Was less and next door neighbour

Had a cat called…called….

Times gone but still present

In the ether, round the stairs, up the blocked chimney,

Or the skylight, then

Down, over mossy steps

And at the back door, again,

With a ratataptap, like a


No, it must be Jack

The new next door neighbour’s


Published in Balladof Magazine, October 2009