Byzantine Bindings

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Mining for the Sun

perhaps a geological survey
or trawling the internet
or other senses unproven
guides at any rate
but do make a start
see what is there
no longer sensible
yet here and there
tied somehow
linked maybe
a story here and image there
clouds threaded
dreamy sequences
in which you once played a part
secretly catch a glimpse
taste a little memory
rich sauce
tools of time and memory
boxes filled with musty smells
dried leaves of hopeful uncertainties
trapped in the early morning rises
of dedication to life

I wish I could just say something
like "The Archaeology of Water".

Friday, 5 December 2014

Arriving Home

hang on maybe they are the same place!
might be getting the hang of this colour business...

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Leaving Home

Days seem to pass by grey and lifeless
savour lost amid the garish humdrum
spend boom and bust of it all
wonkiness of it all
rattling around
like wind ragged paper
and pulp
a curse on its fiction
dressed up as fact.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Being true to your destiny

Listener to the Voice
Watcher of the World
in its infancy
in the chaos
spirit hovering over deep
contended with distractions
hooking the flesh
catching the passions
life becomes
constantly moving
in playful involvement
various guises
making pacts
moving on
retaining the polished
mirror of mindfulness.

Monday, 17 November 2014

What the Ancestors Said

They came when bidden
as if they
where there all the time
and I
foolishly thinking they were ever absent
landshaping my soul

there never was anywhere to go
words to say
residing here
manifestation in every breath
dust in the eye again

thank you for the constancy
in the ordinary
with every breath
every heartbeat
life force
what can I ever know more than that

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Waiting in the Wings

in wings of time
for the necessary
conditions arising
opening the door of the heart

Put simply
without chant to lilt
or lullaby
otherwise would be

timing is of the essence
sweet smell
right time
right place
for insect

worrying and wondering
misses the point
direct action
based on intuition
saves the day
begins to
make sense of the lifetime.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Taking the King's Shilling is One Thing.

On bombs
and bombed
rifle shot
bullet torn flesh
shrapnel shred soldier
men women
and children
oh, yes, the children
caught in sudden
unprepared bleeding crossfire
blown to bits
who all this war is for
lives lain down
relentlessly day after day
somewhere in the world

I ask a blessing
quiet simplicity
to touch reality
in my own heart
to release the anger
giving it no space
see the ghostly
not repeat
the future
live in the present
seeing its truth clear as a bell.

Monday, 10 November 2014

After Tea

Trying to make sense of it all in the River Gardens

I say
You'll be ok

I bless/break the digestive into little pieces to ease the passage

It doesn't seem to taste the same these days

How about another sip of tea?
Angled head inclined to awkwardness
a sipping sucking clumsy lip trembling bite at it
half a thimbleful clears the crumbs

I keep smiling and bless/break the sweetness of jaffa cake host into quarters
What's that you say?
Just a biscuit mum...
I can always manage a biscuit
said more from rote than commitment
There's no taste in any of it these days
I could be eating anything

Tongue cleaning round teeth and gums
and crumbs
fall on the bedclothes
catch in folds
for some reason to do perhaps with propriety
long lost standards
slipped a division or two
gathered in
to fill the thirteen baskets
as if by some miracle
they will pass to the poor.

Blessing  breaking smiling
offering all I can in the way of
Silently praying for the strength to be what I can
be what's needed
who are we mum
you and I?
somehow reflecting dignity identity
into a hopelessly awkward canvas

Nothing is lost to a god who counts sparrows
I hope not
but evidence is a bit thin
on this side of the veil.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Butterfly Soul

perhaps we are who we are
where we are
only by virtue of
where we thought we were
what we thought we knew 
about the world

Saturday, 18 October 2014

The Archaeology of Water

(long silence
holding on for so long
gravity dictates
geology steers
time forms
necessary conditions arise
liquid crystal bud
at some point
relinquishes -
in truth this time
no nearer)

but anyway


perhaps cave
yes, a cave!


ah there's the rub
chaos ensues

where now the wingbeat
of order?

where now the security
of the written word?

only now the dripping heartbeat
of what was started long ago

ask the question
for I am powerless and unable.

Why are there seasons?

Friday, 3 October 2014

Gone Fishin'

Silent silence
cloudy covered landscape
skinny stick figure approaches
like a painted fog
or thickened mist
feed my lambs
feed my sheep

there is little else


woven mist
to stand out
to move forward
towards me
through me
ghostly figure
gone now

chilled air


a time will come
soon enough
when fears become
harsh reality
tease and taunt
and walk towards
with what seems like
bad intent

if only
I knew who you were
I'd follow you
as it is I look inside
the devil is in the detail
even all the books in the world
cannot contain
answers to questions
knowing you are loved
now though
more about belonging

(John 21 etc.)

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Voyages of Brendan

Hazelnuts and Wisdom

How does the news of our sovereignty reach us?
A thousand miles away from home
in a tree hut on a golden dawned day.

Paired up pared down to two between towns on dusty road.

by what means
can we possibly know who messages are for
in what language and persuasion?
are they just words tumbling in no particular order
yet awkwardly organised in ways which
come together with
something of message
which, only half understood

yet it do burn within us
such that we have to let him out, see?
else we'd be bunged up with the flux
and choke to death on 'ee

Hear the quick note
fill up your lungs
and fly!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Frog Prince

helper found at well-side
promising what seems so simple

He was there not of his making and she there from her mother’s need.
He seized the opportunity, she promised.
The need was met.
Later came the time for reckoning.
Three denials and yet compliance at mother’s insistence.
Finally the revelation all’s well that ends well.
What’s it all about?
princes, frogs, mothers, daughters, wells, water and decapitation in order to live.
Paradox, unanswered questions abound ordinary reality is suspended in order to allow enchantment to take place upon life’s stage. 
Transformation and potentiality abounds.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Autumn Newnesses

Exciting times
new beginnings
sea/ land
wisdom seekers

years of seeking
questing come to this
story poem image book
stillness silence
prayerful peaceful

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Gentle Awareness

I am the sustainer of life
breathing it (the universe)
into life
breath by breath
the story unfolds
until familiar 
creases hold 
the dust of me

attracted to words
my moth wings
flit closer
risk singeing
for a life giving touch 
of life 
giving light
brought by wisdom

change you know
resist we may
but instinct draws us 
ever deeper into 
misty mysterious
archaeology of water

into stories
brings excitement
olden knowing 
before I knew.

Thursday, 4 September 2014


on an early autumn

words cling to the mind


delighting in new found

emerging from the insecure

threatening the vitals

in ways partially unwelcomed
but at the same time
awkward friendliness

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Moss on the Landscape

revealing itself through
experience calling
deep within primordial remnant

to the bottom of the pan
clinging stubbornly to
the future
time and space.

Japanese Moss Garden
with view to
long term relationship.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Entering the stillness of creation and listening well.

Preaching to the Converted
What is a garden?

How - like God -
or anything we make up-
is a fantasy
we weave
on top of what's there.

What really goes on
in reality
like time
before clocks
or when they stop?

Walking backwards
regaining momentum
taking responsibility
listening to the voices.

Four choice words left.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Back to Basics

folk or fairy
something for the children
dealing with the daily ritual

50 Word Story
she worries that none will see her egg
symbol of new life
symbol of hope
gathering around
things of greater import
fish man mouse perhaps
no boats
impish grin clerical approbation
what of the half way there people
similarly out of touch
it's hard to keep pace
without daily discipline

500 Word Story
And so it begins. After much worry and consternation she was safely delivered of an egg which at the time she considered a great feat. Understandably the others, some in the shadow some in the sea, fell around laughing at the way she took herself so seriously. This made for poor self image and great squawking around the farmyard.
The birds of the air and the fowl of the earth shall too have their day, it is written, in the book that no one read anymore, or at least read with no understanding. It suited the clergy, the mouse and the fish.
"Heavens above", she cried, "will no one listen to my plea?"
Widows and orphans it seems and hen's with newly laid eggs have no champion in these days. She made a vow to see the king, he would understand as he had eggs for breakfast every morning. She set off with a will to entreat the king.
The plan had a mighty flaw, true she had heard 'king' mentioned and understood the magnitude of the task, but quite where she might find 'king' she had no idea. Round and round the farm she scuttled making a nuisance of herself and bumping into everything along the way.
Thoroughly tired out, she collapsed all of a heap and laid another egg.
What on earth is this story about, why can't I even find a beginning, never mind a middle or an end. It's not even a farce.
It's more practice you need my boy.
Says who?
Says me.
Who's you?
The Turner of the Story Wheel.
I never heard of that.
Well now that might just be because you are sulking m'boy.
Come over here let me turn the wheel for you.
I don't know about that.
Well it's up to you, but you don't seem to have made much progress on your own.
Ok, how does it work this turning the story wheel?
Well, first you take an idea, maybe a character or two, even a situation, time of day or night if you want a scary story. Anything can be your idea, it's like grain you see, or sugar.
Grain and sugar?
Well nuts and bots and metal then.
Has to be something to grind, something to make from. Nothing in nothing out, that's the way of stories.
If your mum sets out to make a cake...
She don't bake?
Well if she did, first there has to be a will, then she'd take ingredients. Well, them ingredients are like nuts and bolts, metal and wood, fire and air. What's done with them is story, but there has to be a will and ingredients. Thought and things...

Five weeks to Goose fair.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Trying to be true to himself (Week 4)

See the black tarmac road upon which you walk
clap hands.
See the black-crow road fly up
around you
under your very feet
ten thousand thoughts dispelled
on what do your certainties now stand?
Thought is not reality
tread upon that road.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Beyond Thinking

I think that listening with the heart requires a different processing than that of brain sense. The lines of communication are different, the receptors and transmitters are different. The language codes are different and knowledge a strange glancing affair.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Right Direction

"The Lord God planted a garden eastward of Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed" 1

i) East
is where we belong
in the airy
at the dawn of the day
our first allotment
at the river's
four heads

ii) South
the summer sun
we travel to
gathering warmth
cunning fire
red things
among the green
and browned
in the sun
golden rays

iii) West
our longed for
babbling watery
of restful
in browns
fading greens
in cool clear
hazelnut ponds
streams and brooks
leading us
sinking sunly

iv) North
the winter
resting place
wet wild winter
chills bone
sparse beauty
white frosts
purge old ways
focus on the
necessary things.

1KJB Gen. 2:8-10

Friday, 8 August 2014


Standing guard at the doorway.
Touched by the Green Knight’s holly axe.
“Same old same old?”
“Yeah I know, tragic isn’t it?”

Now transformed into a tiny wren
- The King Of All Birds
unregistered then
only later -

On creaking growing shoulders
willingly stooping through the gateway
on the other-side
in the otherworld

There stands the impenetrable blackened trees The Forest of Self-Doubt
Rearing up suddenly from up here they are as clover.
Striding together towards The Great Ocean of Drowning Indecision
wading through
shrinking to a tiny shiny puddle
Heading for The Great Mountains of Unworthiness they become as dust to his ever increasing size.
Striding out now
arriving at the farthest reaches of the cosmos
in frustration he lets out a great thunderous roar which echoes throughout eternity.

Quietly slipping off his shoulder now
going where even he cannot
through The Immensity of Darkness
flitting in and out of hedgerow whose light
dark shaded face-fence bounds the allotment.

At home here returning to scale and size
a momentary truce is declared
and peacefully the web holds its breath
sensing a tear in the fabric.

The trees cough apologetically
awaiting my return.

Back at the doorway soon enough
finding a gift
a trug of harvest vegetables
tied to it with threads of brightness
allotment gate key.

giving thanks
leaving the doorway
moving to another future
whistling (you remember whistling)
whistling to the dark.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

What Won't Keep?

It's about visiting mum
and the relentless
the anonymity
ordinary magic of it all.

How does it all happen
fall into place
who knows
you turn round
and life seems to have happened
without your knowledge
or consent
but there it is.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Death in Life

There is a rhythm
to it like the
return to home
where growing took place
in hardly cultivated
nature's own patterns
and rhythms
seed and
ever turning

Tuesday, 5 August 2014


Thinking back
this and that of the coming stories
the lifting
the digging
and the fruits of autumn 
bestowed upon us
death companioned us of course
but sitting round the fire
seemed presently absent
in our comfort

there may have been much more of it
of shell and sword and flame

but it hardly seems important now
in the crackling twilight
is enough for one man's dreamy eye.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Jacob at the Well of Wonder

There is
a depth to it all
beyond the

Deep beyond

the obvious
well of
wonder and wealth
beyond dreams and

endless ocean
serenely bubbles
always available
to the seeker
looking beyond
the material

Monday, 28 July 2014

Give us this day

Provide sharp contrasts
between glorious mysteries
set hard against the sacred miseries
play them off
cruel theatre
...our daily bread

As if neither side has a clue
of what is going on
each muttering lines
heart engraven image laden
in the hope that something
might make sense to other
in our sorry souls
...forgive us  - as we them

That some stranger perhaps
come under cover of
speak words
which will break the seal
open the gap between heaven
and earth
with no strings attached

awkwardly poised


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Rainbow Crystal

There are memories and with them vestiges
of what once was
a hint here
a glimpse there
of meaningful days now
long since robbed by time
of their significance
and yet
the echo remains
like shoreline residue
evidence of
once upon a tide
things were such that poets
and artisans fashioned
strong images some
in granite
some in gold
some on the hearts of man
it is too and from the latter
my appeal is
soul to soul through the ages.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Gabriel Calls

By some standards poor
several suitors
some imagined
she has summoned conjured
sung and danced for them

one by one

not to be

but, he says, He is the one for her
she has been watched
it is on the whole notes of her body
He is to be played

not found in the discordant sharps and flats of
sermons hymns and prayers
but from the water she draws up from her
own soul's questing well
will come the sweet song of wine
gladly given and received

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Life Held Back

Having the words and hallmarks
of genuine misery
just look again at the grindingly grim
crushing metaphors

Helpless hopelessness
crushed down
compressed in
order to fill full
with alienation
smell it
taste its sour bitterness
until at last
forgetful of time
or name or place
brought to my knees
by the sheer
despair of it all

And yet as the box is opened hope flaps
about magestically filling the endless
void with
unconditional love
fanning promises
in the face of despair

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Standing Stone

What the sentry knew
- and all he could do about it
What the carpenter knew
- and all he could do about it
Unintended outcomes
of learning a trade
art become craft
become commodity
become death
become art
become new life

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Mapping the Rainbow Path

mind attempts 
recording techniques
counting the cost

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Forty Years a Growing

Straining for perfection
I have no wound
denying my weaknesses and frailty
becoming saintly is a dangerous thing
living in a state of denial
a thing no saint ever did
it is in humanity and humility that
saintliness is born
in learning to not only live with woundedness
but embrace as mentor and friend

without our wounds we are one dimensional
unreal unbelievable
plaster saints
it’s the slip of the tongue
the misguided enthusiasm
the self dillussion
masquerading as self confidence
that wins us over again and again
we like our heroes flawed
but not too much

I am like that
hearing myself in their story see myself about to fall
tripping on a banana skin
recipient of a custard pie
now I can identify
something to get my teeth into


with only my wounds I journey the land as a tragic soul
unaware of flowers
to smell
kiss of sun
breath of wind
song of brambling brook
consumed by self importance
concerned more with the keeping of appearance
than the discipline of learning my lines
developing discernment
knowing when to speak them

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

How to recognise any thing

describe every element of it
every inflection metaphor
even weakling simile

in line tone texture colour

make every connection and reference
senses especially note
every relatedness
note random story parts
tumbling down the bank
and then
in the aftermath of pen paper brush

just as it is nailed

melancholy remembers its past
and how you anticipated it

now that it is gone
beyond recognition

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

tempus et locus ineffable

it isn't that
I want to escape

or long for somewhere else
unhealthy obsession

or that I think there is
somewhere else to go

milk honey maidens
fountains and the like

aptly named temporality
puts paid to that nonsense

but that having been said
thoughts unravel into dreams

populated by images
unlikely conversations

it's after that I imagine paradise
no more than leaves rustling

or waving
dancing maybe

I daresay fluttering
in the breeze

Friday, 13 June 2014


How gentle sleep would come to me
how easy
light would dispel the tiredness
in my soul
but in an effort not to disturb
insecurity gets the upper hand
tenderness surrounds my loss

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Archaeology of Memory

I met Steiner yesterday -
in the raw
in itself a novelty
picked a bit
then this morning
change of habit
started to read in the
early time
receptors tuned in
fog of the day yet to evolve
I read something
realising a misunderstanding had taken place
rewinding a little and playing it forward I realised
echoes of misundertoodness
archaeological evidence of
error before the sneaky electron
sparked a row
in translocation
or speculation about the properties of light
in its particular waving way
in fact things were never that simple
striking the match
lighting the bunsen
the placement of the positions on the graph
altered the universe in unimaginable ways
before we knew
though the clues were there they
couldn’t be seen without fundamentally
altering our perceptions of reality
or that reality
in any way shape or form was mere illusion
so little changes as
the years roll by
maintained amid
cries of revolution
from the starving
war torn places
fundamentally changed
clinging to the appearances of
woollen security
yet preferring
silk’s exotic luxury
I rest my case

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Nuts and Bolts

Aristotle or Plato
at any rate
digging around in the garden
the way they all end up
seeking to unearth
grubs of knowledge
worming towards clarity
perhaps we never know or discover
in or outside the veil of experience

It's all beyond me now behind me
now thankfully I contend with
voyages in shaky ships
on perilous oceans
and still make it back in time for tea
one or two choice morsels
and a sip of nectar
to keep a body going
amid uncertainty
in a sea of change.

Perhaps key to the whole business
is discipline
keeping faith with certain anomolies
and fractured hopes
dashed now on rocks
long since forgotten
whose troubles seem like the endless tide
upon the shingle beach
shining words in wet wonder
drying to dullness in the unrelenting gaze of the sun.

Saturday, 31 May 2014


it was about more than the king’s belly
the queen’s modesty or scruples
it was the absence of crow
the sparrow flying in and out
missed the point about the missing crow

yes the keys
yes the power
yes the might
pomp ceremony and order -
yes the order

no order in crow missed the gig
busy finding other hiding places
nooks and crannies in human brains
for tasty morsels to be redeemed
at some appropriate date

and so the event passed by
with sickly indifference the weakest
going to the wall borrowing future metaphor
strong reason of order drew in
ensnared suffocated with no shock of air

no caw
to jolt the intuition into life
humbly submitting to the best of all
possible worlds

sad and dejected silent retreat into
a never-the-same-landscape
with twisted frame and tight restrictions
there were elements of sameness
but truth’s bell was forever muffled

held in the arms of a new custodian
shepherded safe secure comforted
stewarded unafraid sure
confident future
cosseted sweet sickly

none the less over time
beating wings and vicious determination
bring him back to the table too late
never he was never late or missing
just impartial indifferent no one’s fool but his own

but if you listen Cuthbert
digging and trenching the land
scratting about on the roof
fetching lard and thatch so that's what he was up to
crafty artificer corvus

Monday, 26 May 2014

Life in the woof

Blue Dog angel
announcing disgust at inability to see
Blue Virgin
Red Lady turns her back on the scene
whilst Brown Dog looks into my eyes
bemused at the whole thing
is it a kind of a dream
of things to come or things past
what metaphors
what omens
jangle about my baby's neck
preying on the small creatures of the day
half echoes of night and lost dreams

down the country lane egg leaf straw and wool
brown grass and fern
twisted round pierced egg
pigeons egg
feather and lambswool
sycamore wings
time to get away
re create

driftwood worn
and worn
itself a prisoner of the rusting barbed wire
tiny mussel shell
white plastic netting
more driftwood
a ticket to ride to the top of the cliff
to see the kestrel hover below

windswept moor sheep dead
whitened jawbone
heather and the ubiquitous
orange twine
binding it all
bringing it all together

weaving sea lane moor
wilderness hills
wild imagination
tempered by damp smell of crypt
and chrism
blessings on you children
courage to your dying
passing through the waves
feeling the rawness
awkward angular words
ill-fitting chunterings
drawings trying to mean something
when all meaning is lost
stubbornly carrying loads
lost on donkeys

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Reader in Histrionics

who taught me to read
those pinking sheared rag books
B is for ball
and I
tugging at the threads
swinging the legs
full of wonder
at the word
made flesh
on your knee
learning to let go of fear

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Book Review (1)

strange goodnesses come to feed
presenting themselves awkwardly
references to other
included in
parliamentary dispatch boxes
ministerial red boxes
perhaps in the dust
of worn red leather creases
corners cavities
or the handle’s sweaty memory
on the way to cabinet
nervously edging closer to agreement
on cuts and promises
just enough to tease
negotiation and overture
before the main event
nothing long lasting you understand
a splintered glimpse
before the glasses go on
revealing the devil in the detail
by which time the game is up
the deal is done and hands are shaking
moves made
a little closer
to resolution
the end

Thursday, 22 May 2014


we have to do what we have to do
aware or not
bidden by the gods as punishment
in the clever intricacies of our lives
lived out amid pain and pleasure
opposing similarities
we notice
a blade of grass
kiss of the sun
slippage of foot on unsure ground
but distraction comes easily
when mind wanders from the moment
stay focused
enjoy it all especially
the dull and boring ordinariness
realising that we could have
probably should have
stopped a few minus before we did
thus avoiding futility

Monday, 19 May 2014

In another life...

I am priest taking orders
yet yielding to monasticism 
becoming nothing
more than the daily round
of prayer
it that discovering
all within...

I am army captain
fighting hard 
blood bone and 
crushing defeats
endless tears 
campaigns glorious
in the eyes of no one...

I am poet 
blinded by the muse
harping my way to ecstacy
colouring lives of people
witnessing to beauty and truth of sorts
teller of tales to bleed ancestral bones
eyes on the prize never sleeping ...

I am lover 
dancing in the breeze
zephyr treading wild water
moving through things
rustling leaves
raising goose bumps
releasing tears...

I am you
reading tales that never were
unless they are perhaps with
fire and sweating palms
could grasp at something
slight uncertainty
promising reasons to encounter change...

Friday, 16 May 2014


dusty old maps in shoeboxes
perhaps in the loft
or tucked deep in wardrobed folds

that yellow colour attractive reminder of the grave
tending to fragile and white cotton gloves

we take them out and remember
some time ago summer nights and ten o'clock
evening sunshine walks

or down by the river
was it

how to value that which never was
and lullaby it into being with brush and pencil
tickling pages listening for echoes

where does the touch of those ears of corn
now so keenly felt reside you know
it too so though a dream we carry it in soul's hands

what frustration must the sparrow feel
unable to live in other than
the present moment

how the river must pine
to be stepped into twice by the summer
splashing children discovering themselves

look at the old maps and trees carefully
calculate years in early summers mellow autumn rich brown
smelling springtime winter whiteness relieving themselves

into so called seasonal unfoldments beneath the feet
across the years bridges and forest kisses painting
landscapes of the soul

Wednesday, 14 May 2014


"all around us we have known you
all creation lives to hold you
in our living and our dying we are bringing you to birth."1

1 Bernadette Farrel "God Beyond all Names"