Monday, 20 November 2017

The Hospice of Autumn

Bedside in the hospice of Autumn.
Late sad flowers hang on the last breath.
The russet leaves of an exfoliating cadaver 
float down upon a frosty quilted sorrow.
That crushed ice sparkle of Spring, 
tight in hope of buds,
a dream.
Sleep now my lovely,
for Autumn has passed away.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

It’s for the best

It was her grieving for dad
that brought the doctor.
Guilt at the death of your cariad.
Me? I’m just an interlocutor. 

It’s for the best.

The psychiatrist said they might
be able to fix the depression,
no, no, the anxiety, right?
Alas not both. So try the medication.

It’s for the best.

At the threshold of the ward
you were smitten by the stigma.
Frozen to the spot. Statue hard.
I pushed gently, “Come on, it’s OK Ma”.

It’s for the best.

For weeks the anxiety was a tragic comedy.
You did not want to be there.
“Take me home” an aching tragedy.
“You’ll be better soon”. “There, there”.

It’s for the best.

Side effects, so the district general.
The mad lady calling in the far end bed.
Different pills, joint and several.
“I wish I was dead!”. “Shush now”.

It’s for the best.

Back in the “mad house” she said.
The pallor of another sad pill.
Our hearts bled.
She did not deserve this. Still,

It’s for the best.

Weaker and weaker, week by week.
Rattling between each hospital.
Growling now, unable to speak.
The care, ever so gently regimental.

It’s for the best.

A bed blocker, so,
if it’s OK with you, then we suggest
a geriatric bed, more
suited, and then the quietness.

It’s for the best.

A wraith now, with a patch
of morphia, fast asleep.
Then the sangfroid all-night watch.
The last appointment so to keep.

It’s for the best.

The last breath we did not miss.
Then the wait. For another that did not come.
The warm, cold and final kiss.
Goodbye mum.

It’s time to rest.

Friday, 17 November 2017

poetry in emotion

by the emotions engendered in a poem 
everyone will surely know
that what they thought
they did not know 
they know now
that they had known that
and that they had known that all along
poems engender emotions don't you know

Thursday, 16 November 2017


autumn battens down for winter
even as it eyes the spring
summer reborn in spring
even as it falls for autumn
with winter in its eyes

childhood years of wonder
wonder if life will ever end
end in old age then remember
that the ember of youth is dead

seasons the very spice of life
since the ticking of time began

Monday, 13 November 2017

Man and boy

I am going to kiss them he said. And he did. And I did. Didn’t we? Oh, I could go on and on, but the time warp is closing. Why? Because it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work for you. It doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t work. You kiss your girls
and mine will kiss me. 60 years apart


If a poem has a lock, then bid it depart.
Do not fumble over the combination
of words that might drop the tumblers.
Embrace the poem that unlocks your heart,
that bids you enter,
"come on in, no need to knock".
Sit with them long into the night,
in tock with the grandfather clock,
quickening the remember embers,
so that when they flare,
you may lock them in your heart,
the words the key upon a look.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The village in 1950


The village remembered, of moon and sun,
of pulpit and pub. Trains that pass in the night.
Saddle tanks that rape the whistle darkness,
below the running sores that gutter
the white guts out of the fox-stoled village.

Firemen, soaked in red sweat, shovel coal
into the boilers on the single line,
released by the signal box key,
handed, signal man to driver, pouched and shining.
Sliding along the frosty rails between
Dante’s cupolas, belching and flickering
under the pulse of clouds. Tall chimney fingers
that claw at the coke sky. The sulphur,
the sulphur, the colour of old men’s phlegm.

The pub men, dart-shadowed on the window,
or in silhouette, busting their way to the outside privy,
their pint-sized thoughts running one handed, 
down the stalls, 
groaned in deep breaths down the walls of their valley.
The morning, through the bottom of their glasses,
glows far away, sad upon their laughter.
The raucous goodnights to bed,
until their work boots beat the wet pavements of dawn. 
The dusk pubs, the light at the end of their tunnel vision,
a thirst throughout the day, today and every day.

The classroom children flutter, and leave the sun
to wander the empty slag-stoned streets,
the cobbled soles of the village.
Polished on every doorstep by scarfed mothers
with pails full of gossip and knowing nods
of so and so, and so it goes, on and on.
Father, mother, daughter, son.
Chapel, church and pub.
The beauty of the beast,
that was my village in 1950.