Byzantine Bindings

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"

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

wanting to write

i want to write something
something waits to be born
come into being
have the necessary conditions arise
for its birth
i have a part
in the something
between reasonable and sensible

my role is not pre-determined
though my situation
is partly at least
hand held by guardian
angel of death
one in the same
faces of a coin
who pays the ferryman
what river to cross
kindly appreciation flows from heart to heart
in the day to dayness

say how
that’s most of the problem
never be afraid to state the obvious -
at any rate
the simple daily grind is the miraculous
the angels appear in every leaf
a slip away
thin places
the daily round of
exchanging glances
knowing looks
actions of profound unimportance

time to go to the ideas shop
barter for a pound of ideas
would you like a carrier
no i have an onion bag
they like to hang on the holes
a few get lost on the way
back in the studio