higher power?

August 25, 2013 at 10:59 am (Uncategorized)

I step out in the morning without concern

in spite of a lack of winged guardian

watching over me,

nor do I hang from my keys

the preserved limb of some furry friend

to ensure protection against the evil eye.

The power of the four leaf clover

is a mystery I am content to live without.

Coins stay securely in my pocket

when I pass a wishing well,

and shooting stars are safe from unreasonable demands.

I glibly walk under ladders

take the number 13 bus

and seek out the frequented routes of black cats.

My fingers remain firmly uncrossed

at the prospect of the lottery draw,

I accept the mathematical odds against success,

it is pure chance.

When observing the twinkling lights in the sky at night

they are but burning balls of gas

in far distant galaxies.

Luck is not with me

nor does fate deal me cruel blows

and karma is just the haphazard happenings

in a random universe.

God neither provides

nor does he vent his wrath upon me,

the benign smile of Buddha

is merely a smile.

I do not ask for help

or feel obliged to give thanks.

A truth more frightening

is that the world is unpredictable chaos.


is in control.

( I lump all superstitions, beliefs and religions in together, they are all part of the same human need to find an explanation for things that happen. Why do bad things happen to good people? Well, ‘bad things’ don’t happen, ‘things’ just happen, it is human beings that apply the labels good and bad to the events. I hope that I have managed to have a little poke at everyone, so nobody feels singled out for criticism or persecution.)


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valentine poem

February 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm (Uncategorized)

the image haunts me unexpectedly
when I catch sight of it
though it does not bring tears to my eyes
like the first time
a bruised child
trying to make sense of everything
gone wrong
a careless parody of teenage love-hearts
with names entwined
this one is broken
brutally torn apart
the words mum and dad
irreparably separated

Linking back to ‘The Poetry Bus’ driven this week by The Bug

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September 5, 2010 at 3:04 pm (Uncategorized)

Breathe and sweat,
and breathe and sweat
then relax and wait
nothing to do but wait.
Bright lights,
bare and clinical
alien smells and echoing noises
linger in your unconscious.
A groan comes up
from deep inside
your animal instincts
guide you through the shadows
of unfamiliar sensations.
Time stands still
hours flash by
but minutes drag
holding you in the moment
of each contraction.
The room around melts
into the background
nothing to look at
looking at nothing
concentrating hard on
the strength inside
to take the next one.
Pulsating blood
and contracting muscles
are all that matters now.
The pace intensifies
machines clatter
people gather
instructing, encouraging
you are surrounded
alone in a crowded room.
And just when you think
it is unbearable
that you are too exhausted
to go any further,
it is ended.
And begun.

For the Poetry Bus, driven this week by Pure Fiction, the prompt being to write about ‘transformation’. I went for momentous rather than simple.

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Spot the difference

August 30, 2010 at 8:50 am (Uncategorized)

This week’s prompt on the Poetry Bus is to write about school. When I lay thinking about it last night I thought about just keeping my head down so as to avoid the temptation to make sarcastic comments about the nostalgic sentimental claptrap that is likely to be spouted by growups who’s memories have glossed over the harsh reality and think back to it as a time of freedom before the evils of wage labour. But the anger I continue to feel at the destruction of my daughter’s self-confidence and esteem during her time in school brought me back to the day she was allowed to leave (you can pop back here to one of my early Poetry Bus efforts to see how angry). We had just got back from spending £42 at the ‘uniform event’ because the new Head had decided to stamp her mark on the place by going back to the 1950’s, complete with blazers, ties, those knitted jumpers with the stripy trim … and knee length skirts.

An extra three inches of skirt

An extra three inches of skirt

will make us all better learners,

will increase our sense of belonging,

will be more ladylike, modest and demure.

Do that tie up

Tuck that shirt in

You’ll never pass your exams

dressed like that.

Go now

and remove that makeup,

we all know it hampers learning.

Take off

that badge

that necklace

that headscarf

You’re not here

to express your personality.

Cut your hair

Grow your hair

You can’t come in here

with hair like that

it’s provocative

and distracting to your classmates.

You are not here to make you mark

but to learn what’s what.

Homogeneity is the order of the day.

Those extra three inches of skirt

are so you know who’s in charge.

(My only consolation is that the kids still resist … I love to see the girls at the bus stop in their too short skirts, like two fingers to the system.) (And oh yes, my son was removed from class for shaving his head!)

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In Marks and Spencer’s coffee shop

August 25, 2010 at 7:57 pm (Uncategorized)

Still cagouled against the incessant rain outside

she tucks her capacious handbag between her feet

an umbrella and walking stick added encumbrances

beneath the tiny table.

She arranges the contents of her tray with precision:

scone first, sliced and meagerly buttered,

tea in the pot stirred then poured

the ritual neat and meticulous.

She drinks and eats, and nothing more,

no purchases to peruse

nor interest in her fellow patrons,

unremarkable and inoffensive,

but strangely out of place

amongst the affluent shoppers

with their beige linen jackets and

ostentatious jewellery.

She is still there as we leave

finished but sitting,


the price of a seat in the warm and dry.

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Stop all the clocks

August 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm (Uncategorized) ()

This week’s poetry bus challenge offered several options and I sat musing about what is the first thing I experience when I wake up, or rather am woken up by my alarm, and it led me off at a bit of a tangent. The first line of Auden’s poem came into my head and became the title.

Stop all the clocks, shut off that incessant din

deliberately jarring to the dormant nerves,

like an infant’s urgent cry,

and dragging from the depths of sleep

reluctant slaves to time.

Curse the man who came up with the notion

that we should abandon natural rhythms

of waking when rested and sleeping when tired,

but instead be bound to mechanical devices

that count and dictate

our comings and goings

our ups and downs

our eatings and sleeping.

Curse that luminescent green

flashing from the corner in the dark

demanding your attention

smugly judging you for the dissipation of your life

as you try in vain

to cling to the vestiges of that haven


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your cigarette

July 18, 2010 at 10:12 am (Uncategorized) ()

Missed a few weeks on the bus, some interesting voyages, that I had ideas for but not the time to put into words (or pictures as it turned out). This week we journey with Delusions of Adequacy, with two possible prompts, to be funny or poignant, not sure I have managed either.

we stand

all of us

cups of tea in hand

chatting in the yard

waiting for the second van

telling bad jokes

sometimes they kick an old football

back and forth

like kids in the playground

it’s all just casual

but I position myself

next to you

your voice vibrates

in my head

the scent of you

sets my nerves on edge

and I catch a trace of your smoke

from your lungs into mine

it is


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June 27, 2010 at 9:47 am (Uncategorized)

The Poetry Bus this week is feeding the pixies where the challenge is to folow, or alternatively not follow, or reinterpret, a sign, and see where it took you. The idea immediately brought to mind the Robert Frost poem The Road Not Taken (which apparently he come to dislike because it was so popular and always requested at readings), the idea that paths that you take have unforeseen and unpredictable consequences. This was my choice yesterday evening, we followed a familiar route and the signal dictated the consequences, sometimes even small consequences matter.

Signal Down

we take the footpath to the old stone bridge

crossing the railway by the sheep field.

looking along the straight empty track

you notice the signal is down

a train is on it’s way

so we wait to see it pass,

and while we wait

we kiss

like teenagers

up against the stone parapet

in the evening sunshine

and I find I had forgotten

amongst the mundane routines of life

this perfect pleasure

the warmth and taste of you

with a delicious thrill

of potential discovery.

this quiet path


leading nowhere very much

takes us where we need to go.

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Jesus Haiku

June 20, 2010 at 7:29 pm (Uncategorized) ()

The Poetry Bus driven this week by Kat at Poetikat’s Invisible Keepsakes, visit for more thoughts on the destruction this week of a rather bizarre statue. Mine is an instinctive gut reaction.


gone in a conflagration

God has taste after all

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childhood daisy chains

June 6, 2010 at 7:16 pm (Uncategorized) ()

This week’s challenge for the Poetry Bus was to write on the more general category of ‘flora/fauna’, which I suppose left it wide open for people to do what took their fancy, though nicely in keeping with the season. We have been cutting the grass this week so I was thinking of times when I was young and always feeling annoyed at my dad for cutting the grass and chopping down all the daisies. So here is my offering, and a homage to Gerard Manley Hopkins ‘Binsey Poplars’, of which I am very fond.

Daisy chain

Daisies, only yesterday scattered across

the lush expanse of un-mowed lawn

All chopped, chopped, are all chopped

their petals heaped amongst the verdant mulch

not spared, not one

for small girl to frolic in fancy and

festoon herself a fairy queen.

O if he but knew what he did

when he mowed and trimmed

cut down those fragile blossoms

the dreams of childhood

so transient,  in wild abandon

she who bedecked with garlands

would dance among the saplings

now stands forlorn.

After-comers cannot guess the beauty

that might have been

the spinning blade wipes clean

makes neat, pristine

Daisy chain, a daisy chain

sweet delicate daisy chain

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