Breaking the Ice

If you asked me to break the ice,
I would break it not with a pick
But with a word so strained
The air would snap like a rubber band.


A stanza that popped into my head. It could stand alone or I could construct a larger poem from it. I’m still busy with the novel.

7 August 2018


I Cannot


I cannot breathe,
No not because my lungs are drained of air
I lie here suffocating,
With leaves of trees enough and woods to spare
To keep me ventilating.
I just cannot breathe.

I cannot move,
No not because my body broke apart
I lie completely still,
With all these gears and pulleys of the heart
Able to keep me mobile.
I just cannot move.

I cannot see,
No not because my eyes lie lustreless
Balls, aged, smashed or pricked,
With such a planet bent round to impress
Them, blind were derelict.
I just cannot see.

I cannot taste
Nor smell, no not because my nerves lie wrenched
Loose, disconnected cables,
I just cannot pull vapours in, teeth clenched,
Body impermeable,
I can’t smell or taste.

I cannot hear
Nor touch, no not because the air’s light ripples
Fade without reaching shore,
Lying like seaweed in a world of bubbles,
Though myriads of them roar,
Just can’t touch or hear.

I cannot think
What has become of me, no not because
I lie here mindless but
Because the universe’s endless doors
Are opening on what
I just cannot think.

I cannot be
Whether everything lying pulled apart
Is I or I united,
I am what I am not, because without
Being in and of this night,
I just cannot be.


8 December 2016

15 February 2017

1 March 2017

This deals with the old problem of the one and the many, or how anyone can be one while being many.

One Longs


One longs to get the answer right,
To understand things plain,
Twisting the bolts of thought down tight,
All bound round with a chain

That tergiversation cannot
Shrug off nor lie cut through,
A cornered truth that isn’t rot
Nor ever jumps the queue,

Yet longs to set a finger’s end
Upon the pulsing ache
Of ambition going round the bend
For something immensely big’s sake,

A hero’s reason to exist
Or not, because one mustn’t
Just up and hurry for the exit
To escape an unpleasant

Story, the story that one lives
In tidy rows with others.
One longs for flowers amid graves,
Because what breaks down gathers.




Current draft 17 August 2016



Hero and Leander

Hero and Leander

They lived within each other’s sight across
The racing waters of the Bosporus,
A lovely maid of Sestos, Hero, and
A raw lad of Abydus, named Leander.

Home to her was a tower of stone that clung
Oyster-like to the restless shore and home
To him was any chance encounter flung
Into his path, no matter what might come

Of it. A priestess, she was sworn to Venus
And seemed as lovely as that goddess to men as
She passed by them within the temple precincts,
Her patter orisons, her perfume incense.

There it was she first reached into his eyes
And pinned his heart onto a wheel of fire
And there it was he caught her by surprise,
Lordly as an eagle skating in a gyre.

“Tonight, high in your window, hold a light
That castes a golden thread across the water,”
He said and so she did, the next night too,
And the one after that, all summer through,

Her swimmer he, she his enfolding shore.
So it went on until the winter came,
Winter that hardly knows what flesh is for,
When all is cold and all things look the same.

Still every night she hungered for the surf
Yet no wave rose beneath his elbow’s curve
As far as could be seen, the moonlight sifted
In vain, in vain her anguished eyebrows lifted.

The tower after that poured out its light
At night just for the ships to sail on by
And if a man sobbed out his desperate plight
The passing rocks returned a hollow cry.





Current edit 17 August 2016

Traditionally, Leander drowns but here it is open to question – maybe he just grew tired of Hero.

It sounds

wind chimes

It sounded like a wind
A wind trapped in a hollow place
It sounded like a wind trapped
In a hollow place

The music that I heard
That music I heard, I, some notes
Floating like leaves branched mid-air
Memoranda and notes

From the unending breath
In things for just a moment here
Somewhere where I am I am
In this very moment here

Listening to the wind
Assuming a strange shape in sounds
Worlds vibrating vacantly
Where the great bell darkness sounds.



First finished poem in a few months now, busy finishing novel. Looks good for now.

25 April 2016




The structure isn’t just the shape,
The structure is the shifting shadow,
The sheets of light stretched diaphanously tight
And darkly folded over,
The bruises round the cheeks and pillows
Of silk moon lingers over,
Star-torn ribbons and summer walks
Along the shell-flung shores
Breakers bulging hurl
Aloft and eyes swim through, riding
The steep current, fluttering
Hawks hover
Along eyeing ground-bound fugitive
Pigeons and mice, dawdling
Man made in God’s image
Flawed and fallen image
Marble flung down on hailstone wings
Clattering orisons
On tin roofs and running down the gutters.
The space
Above all that space aslant the
Sky and its wreckage calls me
To tread those towers again.

I have loved the clouds since ever
I first became self-aware
And I will go on loving them till
There is nothing there.






I wanted something formless so clouds suggested themselves or rather I wanted to write something about clouds and formlessness suggested itself. The ending is a weak quatrain where form is so washed-out and thin it is hardly there.

25 April 2016



Doorways are all that divide the world,
Being this side or that,
On one side new, the other old,
Outside a doormat,

The space you face a faceless door,
The handle in your hand,
The turn that makes the world before
The world you left behind,

The wall that nothing can climb, the hinge
Everything moves about,
The choice between whom you let in
And who must be left out.

Doorways are all that divide the world,
The days you must get through,
The dead weight of the nights you hold
Between yourself and you.




Too simple?


25 April 2016



As I was skirting by
The boundary of my property,
A weathered, old, gray post
Caught my eye,
Riddled with wrinkles up and down,
Threaded with barbed wire strands haphazardly,
Salient as a ghost
Amid the grass, over-grown.

Timber that kept its post
Loyally through long, sun burnt years,
It stopped the things this side
Getting lost
And long held that side over there,
Now barbed wire like a rusted pair of shears
Bunches of grass divide,
Its wrinkles gouged deep with care.

If there were cattle here
Today or there it could not hold
Them in any more than that
Loose armed wire
Keeps its own intervals apart,
But those mares there are easily controlled
And tame enough to pat,
Considering all barbs sharp.

Here there is only grass
And I don’t ask much of a post.
If that one there could talk
When I pass
It would remark upon the weather
In a wry drawl, a couple words at most
To make me slow my walk
Enough to think we stopped together.





Romulus and Remus

romulus and remus

Suck on the old wolf’s tits, you brothers,
Imbibe a wolf-like cunning,
Hunt in a pack and chase with others
Scared individuals running.

Wolverine legions must go forth
To conquer and to tax
Until the east, west, south and north
Have financed Roman pax

When Rome will scavenge works of art
To fill its city lair
And bones of countries torn apart
Will lie like marble there

For there must dazed Catullus cry
Out love songs for some bitch
And Seneca must satisfy
A philosophic itch.

Suck on the old wolf’s tits, you brothers,
Be of your mother’s ilk,
Honoured yet feared by those whose mothers
Dispense a gentler milk.


Current edit:

29 August 2015

8 September 2015

A Fine Line

high wire

All of us are precariously sane.
We walk a fine line high upon a tight
Rope over madness, stepping out
Daily on drawn-out hopes that doubt
Tugs and on which much thought puts too much strain.
Life is the art of getting things just right.

Don’t lose your balance or you will go mad.
Each step must be precise, aware of risks,
The body tense, the mind at ease,
Self-centred and yet born to please,
Since life is funny and profoundly sad,
Great spirits stooping to the smallest tasks.

Along the way, our nature must express
Emotions freely, do a pirouette
Or somersault and land feet first
Back on the wire, all unrehearsed.
If, at the end, our efforts meet success,
Our fellow clowns may chance to notice it.


Current edit:

29 August 2015