ON POETRY, WRITING AND RANDOM CULTURAL MATTERS

Work - Small Stones


Joyful January 2016

The enormous Buddha - British Museum

Satya and Kaspalita's January practice this year is to post one joyful thing every day - writing or otherwise. Details here.

My offerings are as follows:

1 January 2016

I am grateful for the heady scent of white summer jasmine, which, despite the date, is in full bloom over the arch in my West London garden. I am glad I did not give in to my first impulse to take down its support and try to retrain it over the garden fence. Had I done so, I would not have enjoyed the unseasonal reminder of California this plant always provokes for me. Flippant though it is to say so, when much of the country is flooded and people have had a catastrophic Christmas, but this is tiny positive from global warming.

2 January 2016

How dark walls and lighting can make a face shine. The brilliance of the Goya hang at the National Gallery. It repays more than one visit.

3 January 2016

The diversion of a good book that keeps me wake too late rather than sending me to sleep. 

4 January 2016

A walk in the sunshine that can open up the top of my head.

5 January 2016

Guilt-free oversleeping and gladness that the school bell next door rings so clearly and often.

6 January 2016

Finding a pair of soft red ballerinas in my size in the sales.

7 January 2016

Leaving the office at 8pm and catching La Tour's hourly orgasm.

8 January 2016

Sweet almond paste warm between flaky sheets. A late galette du roi.

9 January 2016

This in the stack of Christmas trees awaiting recycling

10 January 2016

Lateness, forgetting, not worrying.


11 January 2016

David Bowie  - sadness at his passing, yes, of course, but memories of all the good times spent dancing to his music with old, old friends with whom I am still in touch.

12 January 2016

Sun, Sun, Sun - a bright morning after rain, clean air, seeing for miles, the city sparkling.

13 January 2016

Booking an adventurous holiday alone for the first time. Taking steps into a new continent.

14 January 2016

From on high, hailstorms making their way across the city. In and out of sun searching for a rainbow. A moment watching the planet do its thing.

15 January 2016

Going home, even if the train is crowded and the people rude. 

16 January 2016

Camillas in my London garden - too early, but so?


17 January 2016

Snow - well to be precise, a few flakes across the river last night and in the garden this morning - a bite of winter.

18 January 2016

Choosing which snug, hat, coat, boots to keep be wrapped tight against the cold.

19 January 2016

Making like Siberia again today, even though it's only minus 2.

20 January 2016

Soup, an inner warmth that no radiator can match

21 January 2016

Sun, a ski day. If only snow, and no work. Perfect.

22 January 2016

Beating RAPT's attempts to stop me from getting home. There is always another train if you are prepared to walk. 

23 January 2016

Mint tea with new friends after two hours of exciting sonic yoga

24 January 2016

Conversation with a good friend, where explanations are not needed. Being myself and pretending nothing.

25 January 2016

My daughter telling me how much she loves me

26 January 2016

Slipping off the diet to allow one, Ok more than one, chocolate into my life

27 January 2016

Sacred singing - the first time since school I have had the boldness to explore my voice in public and enjoyed the freedom to make any sound I like without being judged. The strange sensation of having the vowels of my name sung to me - liberating, energising and a highly recommended new experience. 

28 January 2016

Being asked on a date

29 January 2016

On the train again and words from nowhere forming themselves into some kind of sense

30 January 2016

A day spent with young people showing them things they should have seen but hadn't. later, many good poems.

31 January 2016

Two hours with one of my favourite poets and friend of ten years, making coffee last a very long time.




Mindful Writing 2015

So it's that time of the year again - inspired by the challenges set out in previous years by Satya Robin - it's time to write one thing a day every day for a month. 

This coincides with my annual detox: no booze, no bad food and plenty of exercise (when my sprained ankle is healed this year, obviously) to make up for all the over-indulgence of the Christmas season just gone and well, frankly, the other eleven months of the year when I live it up, perhaps rather too much.

Previous years' offerings are below. Scroll down. Here we go then.

I January 2015

Deep amethyst

Velvet covers his hands, black-soft.
Take it to your lips
or kiss the gold ring. Bless you.

2 January 2015

Burnt sienna

Agate in the window, might be a slice of
growth
life
time
but at its core, ice and its veins
outline a bloody map.

3 January 2015

Bone

The wall in my chamber is singing tonight:
a high wind, the only time I know
the chimney's there.
Priest hole for clumsy pigeons.


4 January 2015

Bamboo

Rain in the courtyard
or leaves in the wind.
Sometimes the exact nature
of the film I'm in
is a mystery.

5 January 2015

Silver

You are shining in your frame
Cheeky, I want to say and chuck
you under the chin. I'd kiss you
if it wouldn't smear the clean glass.

6 January 2015

Almond

I fancy some sweet almonds
to start the year
no more poison
I'm searching for a king.

7 January 2015

Crimson

I am thinking about how
exactly
to write this.
I'm not using red ink
but my pen is bleeding.

8 January 2015

Yellow

Are you the colour of fear or cowardice?

9 January 2015

Crimson

My pen is losing its nib.
There are ink blots on every page
of my notebook.

10 January 2015

Brilliant White

Plastic bags tumbleweed the desert
impaled on fences they'll pennant
the air long after my breath.

11 January 2015

Rose white

A gift opening in the sun.
I take slow steps.
I am not alone in the streets.

12 January 2015

Pale blue

I am crying for want of
company, warmth
for the touch of someone's hand
to reassure me I will be all right.

13 January 2015


Grass green

The folly of thinking
paint and brick
and wood and cotton
and wool and china
and glass and silver
and steel and plaster
and grass can be home.
Time to dispose of fripperies
and focus on people.
The ones I love.

14 January 2015


Anthracite

Crow said yes, yes to my question
of love.
I hope she is right.

15 January 2015

Dove grey

I am becoming a cynic
as kindness is a surprise
I know cannot be relied upon
at least, not often.

16 January 2015

Rose red

You are in pain and I am too far away
to help. What can I say?
Nothing
Nothing
Nothing
I speak again
Nothing.

17 January 2015


Unfortunately a huge personal crisis prevented me from completing this in 2015- I was very saddened.





1 January 2014

Sometimes it's hard 
to call things their right name
but the water meadows live up, 
are more water than meadow. 


2 January 2014

Afterstorm

A happiness of sun whitens
gull wings, wheeling
the day into being.


3 January 2014

My mouth is sulphur, my lungs phosorous
and my head a cupboard of volatile words:
bring me fire and air, keep water standing by.


4 January 2014

I am trying to pluck up the courage
to do something new, have all
the right equipment and knowledge,
but it's not easy, breaking boundaries.


5 January 2014

Glow night, never dark enough in this town to say
'Go Home, Sleep,' so party people weary on,
still drink in the street, taxis do a brisk trade,
yet I'm turning into Maggie, wide awake, raring
and this frightens me more than anything.

6 January 2014

Feeling the power
purple spinning 
and threading itself
into a whole.

7 January 2014

A warmth of friends

people I can be myself with
no pretending, play acting, posing
simply the comfort of being at home

8 January 2014

Old Books

Their hides are parched from waiting
spines unbent, uncracked, gilt intact.

Caged behind gold grills, they keep counsel 
holding ideas till we need them once more.


9 January 2014

I ask sleeping trees of their health.
An oak opens its eyes, blinks
the wind bone-rattles its branches
it rolls over.

10 January 2014

Morpheus has been busy elsewhere
his lyre is missing strings
I wait
for night, for the song
of a wayward god.

11 January 2014

A visit from a sister crow is a good start.
On the pie crust chimney cover 
she pecks the metal, just in case
holds my gaze, black against green,
passes me the wisdom of feather and claw
down and rawness. I nod and understand. 

12 January 2014

My stomach is pained 
and sluggish with egg 
that is no blessing.
Childhood fad, adult wisdom.

13 January 2014

Through the Grand Arch, the moon
swathed in cloud. I reach into my pocket 
and curse the absence of my camera.
Note to self, change coats less often.

14 January 2014

Cats 
Dogs
Facebook wastes my time

15 January 2014

Rain highlights the particular
particulate filth of the city.
Water conquers dirty air.

16 January 2014

My mouth is briny when I am late
and the metro hiccups, 
trapping me like a sardine, tuna
anchovy, pick your fish.

17 January 2014

By this time the overwhelming
desire to sleep is, well
overwhelming and so I do.
Five minutes with my chair turned
from the door. I am a cat.
This is bliss.

18 January 2014

Confusion, the sea outside my window
blue sky, gulls. My gaze lowers 
to the junked tyres on the garage roof.

19 January 2014

Beautiful people catch the eye 
of other beautiful people.

I crow up the street in biker boots
my leather coat flapping.

20 January 2014

Two little letters, ordinary
frequently used, not worth mention
today have power over me.

Two little letters can ruin my day,
week, month, year, life.


Small stone for Mindful Writing Day - 1 November 2013

10,000 statues, more

On All Saints day it always rains
so their stones can freshen, their hands loosed 
by soft sulphur can brush away lichen 
and moss, rub their faces cream again 
remember how two fingers make a blessing.








1 January 2013


[Removed for use elsewhere]


2 January 2013

So early in the day it's barely day:
the first car trails red down the street
as paint thrown on an inky wall,
the street light is broken,
my desk lamp an indoor moon.


3 January 2013

Pollarded willows weep,
the field a lake, a grey seal
takes to the mere.


4 January 2013

One way to think myself clear
is by raven: passerine
fleeing the flood, not turning
over its shoulder, though
I've left a few feathers,
enough to be called a nest.

5 January 2013

Once gentlemen carried pocket handkerchiefs:
large, white, cotton, some monogrammed.
My father's were always ready for spills.
This evening I needed one to mop
the random spittle that mistook boots
for pavement, Desole Madam 
somehow not cutting it.

6 January 2013

Everytime I do a thing I've never done
and easily, I wonder why I never have.
A glow spreads inside me.
What's that? Satisfaction I hope, not pride.

7 January 2013

Rising like buttery pastries, I am filled
with excitement for the day - quick,
eat, it may be so much hot air.

8 January 2013

The saddest thing in my heart
is a lump of galena and this
failure weighs that heavy:
try again or elsewhere?
That is my dilemma.

9 January 2013

Rain glazes the terrace,
pulls clouds to ground
with a soft touch.

10 January 2013

I cannot sleep.
Deep hours, the city almost silent, dark
as ever it can be. Am I the only one
so excited I ready for the day?

11 January 2013

I am not good at this.
I make mistakes:
                        take today,
mispronouncing betises.


12 January 2013

When you really mean it, the water glass
jumps from the table, shatters
on a steel chair leg, cover the carpet with -
and this is the only time when it is
permitted to say this in a poem - shards.


13 January 2013

Filibuster
I do not talk often, mostly I bite my tongue,
but give me a microphone, a platform,
a captive audience and I can go for
hours until someone asks me a question
or calls time out -  it's the sound
of my voice you see, I love it.


14 January 2013

Luck is different here -
it doesn't drain away through the branches
of a rootless tree, it baubles
like decorations strung across streets,
lighting the new year more
than is strictly necessary.


15 January 2013

Last night the snow.
Seven again and a new pair
of leather gloves soaked to ruin.
My mother not here to say so.

16 January 2013

I've made this hard over my floral notes.
Breathing through the nose only, deaf
to the tap of my heels, I walk the first passage:

piss, lots of that, rank, male, the mad guy's;
fresh croissants, butter, sugar, morning's sweet gift;
poster glue, oil, work in progress;
lavender, cleaning fluid, bleach, it continues;
a blast of cold pollution, city's parfum;
another woman's scent; more piss.

17 January 2013

My third eye opens,
releases its little flood
of bonheur into my blood;
think pine trees
dusting the Sierra forest with spring green.
I'm grateful for sun and pollen.

18 January 2013

Of late I've been shouldering
disappointment -
nothing to show, no snow,
but today more flakes starring
my hair with wet than I could wish;
no need for coffee chez L'Etoile
to make up for any sense of lack.


19 January 2013

The city is quiet, cold 
and raw with beauty - 
the Place inches deep 
in soft white stuff.



20 January 2013

This is the sort of day
when the sky is incomplete
without a goat floating by.

I've seen enough snow,
fur hats, and blood
trailing from the bottom of a full length black mink.

21 January 2013

Sometimes the scale of it: through teeth,
like toads, amazes me:
everyone has forked tongues.


22 January 2013

Erratics:
the melt holds engine particulates
and soil scraps, moves them
an inch or two, one gutter
to another: glacial out-flow
in miniature, yet over moraines
and perched blocks I slip, skip, slide.


23 January 2013

I've had to avoid ladders twice,
then a black cat crossed my path. I forget
whether that is a jinx or not.

24 January 2013


Buntings

Those small birds, legs-a-blur, skittering away
from us along the shingle; their scrape-nests
safe from our tramp-feet; palm-sized, perfect,
disguised in their beach coats, breasts white as spume.

Funny to think of them as my train speeds
snow-fields in the falling minutes of dark.
Connections. Best not to fathom.


25 January 2013

Fox, St. Peter's Hill

Not a ruddy cub tucked
in a huntsman's pocket, or thinking
his way across this blank page,
but fog-breathing, real
in the street-lit-dark;
his winter coat ripples as he brushes
the road and up the grassy bank.
He pauses
at its top, tests the night air,
tail bristling. Over the turn
of engines, he listens for
the scuttle of small feet
or the welcome bang of a bin lid
in a back garden. Home.

26 January 2013

Next time I come back
you won't be there;
someone else will be washing
dishes in your sink,
singing in your shower,
dreaming under your eaves;
it's hard to acknowledge,
but I'll have to next time.

27 January 2013

No-one ever tells anyone
what they really think unless pushed  -
Lear was right - nothing comes from nothing -
speak again - courage, courage, courage.

28 January 2013


At dawn their goth-wings dry,
all four cormorants fly
and blacken the canal sky.



29 January 2013


Sun rain sun,
the day stretched by weather;
I'm too deep into books, screen, wires
to note anything.
30 January 2013




You tell me the news is out and I spin
around the flat, a child
with a bright, shiny new toy.




31 January 2013


The power of noughts and ones -
my face comes along with my name
to someone who says they know me.




Small stone for Mindful Writing Day 1 November 2012

The unselfish boy takes in the fragrance of narcissi,
paper whites; writes the scent memory
on a fresh sheet in pollen ink - me.


Jewels - 2011

Jewels are my tiny poems that will probably never be published in book form, not even in magazines. They are broadly anglicised haiku; a close look at one thing. Some have titles, some don't. If you are interested in this kind of work, you can read many more from the excellent and attentive Fiona Robyn here http://asmallstone.com/ and view her January 2011 project. Details here http://ariverofstones.blogspot.com/

The winter sun strokes
my derelict garden
with a soft remembrance of spring.
 (12 December 2010)

Students protest again today.
Magpie spends the morning
mobbing a Jay.
(13 December 2010)

Red Kite on top of a poplar
somehow in the swing of it.
(14 December 2010)

My heartbeat,
batters my skull
with the sounds of a hellish forge.
(15 December 2010)

Cholera and the mapWith each vein dot, choreographed
on the streets of Soho, Dr Snow saw notation, 
a dance around a single source; a theory 
of water born with the help of a map.
(16 December 2010)

It is winter now the first thrush 
has come to town,
feeds on frozen grapes.
(17 December 2010)

In three hours the toughest town
and busiest road can be subdued -
O, the benefits of snow.
(18 December 2010)

In line in the drug store
a stranger with tears in his eyes
asks me to take his hand,
tells me the size of it as a cantaloupe.
I hold tight till his number is called.
(19 December 2010)

Conch
for Gillian Clarke
 Hold the shell
and you may speak
many tunes. But blow 
and you can roar,
wake the whole world
with both your tongues.
(20 December 2010)

Solstice 
Day is almost over
before it begins;
already, light lengthening.
(21 December 2010)

If I write a poem with the f-word in it,
it might be published in an eminent poetry magazine. 
Here goes: fruit, fruit, fruit.
(22 December 2010)

Fine Thought
It takes till Sunday to make a fine thought,
for my breath to lengthen.
The week is sacrificed to Mammon,
others. I am hidden.
(23 December 2010)

Crow in the middle of a snow field;
black pebble
in the heart of the stream.
(26 December 2010)

A surprise of rain drums
the roof, disturbs our talk
with season's change.
(27 December 2010)

Even more this year,
the days in-between 
one place and another. Nothing
to be done, but wait.
(28 December 2010) 

Fog weeps on the windscreen;
I say adieu to people I love. 
(29 December 2010)

Thankfully I know the place
that makes the very best coffee
in this town, any town.
(30 December 2010)

Odd this leaving taking;
when I might or might not
see you in person again.
(31 December 2010)

An offering of flowers
at The Poem Tree calls
the new year with gold.
(1 January 2011)

Tiny squares of colour,
together they capture your smile.
(2 January 2011)

On the black river,
a pair of great-crested grebe nod
towards the ceremonies of spring.
(3 January 2011)

Consider this sunflower seed, or this,
or this; the black and white of them,
amassed  they make a field of grey.
(4 January 2011)

Twelfth Night, another Christmas done,
last chance for a little mischief...
(5 January 2011)

Three days of solid rain
clagging earth, driving
all indoors. I will not miss this.
(8 January 2011)

Two centuries of art in its first public space.
John Soane's smile. A day with a good friend. 
Chrysanthemum fireworks filling the clear sky. 
A crisp slice of moon.
(Dulwich Picture Gallery's 200th anniversary
celebrations - 9 January 2011)

Grey: my school uniform, whales,
January, Lady Jane, squirrel, etc.
(10 January 2011)

Bureaucracy requires patience,
politeness, stoicism
and a good book.
(11 January 2011)

Waiting for an AA rescue
on the M25, a windscreen raindrop
makes more progress than me.
(12 January 2011)

Married women's court fans
were made from the brown feathers
of female ostriches - dun, dulled, soiled?
(13 January 2011)

Hailstones, forceful on my head.
Wake up, wake up
to the potential of woods.
(14 January 2011)

Sauna
Heat warms my bones,
sinews, flesh; stretching
becomes a real possibility.
(15 January 2011)

A simple berry, roasted
and ground, can fill
my body with zest.
(16 January 2011)

Sodden earth
tamped into mud;
the lawn is bruised.
(17 January 2011)

The moon; blousy,
crystal-white, full-on,
breasting the night sky.
(18 January 2011)

A great poet talks,
I listen like a greedy acolyte.
(19 January 2011)

Westminster is an oak tree.
Rooks strung out on its branches
debate nest sites, newcomers,
the survival of worms.
(20 January 2011)

Ten minutes early, a man runs his car on the drive.
It goes nowhere. Its fumes mix with damp air,
worse for being visible. No-one notices his haste,
not wife, nor child. They take their time;
everything is more important than golf.
(21 January 2011)

Indulgence is lying in bed,
not specifically ill, just
very, very tired.
(22 January 2011)

Practising patience:
the foreign currency desk at the bank.
Smiling speeds things on their way.
(23 January 2011)

Catching up with a friend: we have
much to tell each other, much
to hear and understand.
(24 January 2011)

Strange money in my purse.
I will have to learn its patterns
and meanings.
(25 January 2011)

The gooeyness of a croque monsieur.
I haven't eaten one of these in years.
(26 January 2011)

Sulphur catkins are temptations
of spring. Snow drops have yet
to open their eyes.
(27 January 2011)

Over-sized ship in a bottle,
icicles on fountains:
winter biting at my heels,
(28 January 2011)

Students protest again today:
I stare at grey country,
grey clouds, an indoors day.
(29 January 2011)

Pheasants, two of them, tens of miles
apart; gold, green, white, black, barred,
spotted, bleeding.
(30 January 2011)

The coldest day, the oldest pub.
Something satisfying about
my last trip.
(31 January 2011)


My small stones - Gems -  from the January 2012 small stones writing project. For more on this visit here http://www.writingourwayhome.com/p/river-jan-12.html

31 December - Marie's Tattoo
New Year's Eve, the cusp of the year:
I  remember the line running up
the soft side of your arm;
a war-time stocking, a gift
too silky for your legs.

1 January 2012 - Pere Lachaise
Sheen of night is a pair of crows, feathers
wax-slicked, wings insistent black:
Proust's marble grave after rain.

2 January 2012 - Lunch
A free plate of macaroons:
as sweet left-over in the new year
as the old. Moi, je ne refuse rien.

3 January 2012 - The trace
My index finger makes its invisible line -
there. Electric. You have no idea
of the power latent in your skin.

4 January 2012 - Pigeons – Grande Arche
On the marble snow-field, a flock
of rock doves at rest, feathers puffed
against the rain, reveals its colours;
all the shades of grey, the cooler
mixed with winter blue, the warmer
with yellow; soft ghosts of slate and ash,
gold-ringed eyes glint in the clearing sun,
a reminder of springs past and to come.

5 January 2012 - Detox
The wind sloughs my skin
as if I am Lamia, scales fall
in cleansing air, my face breathes
smooth again, youthful, fair.

6 Janaury 2012 - Indignes
Six spindles of trunk and branch pass
for trees in this canyon of marble
and concrete, steel and glass.

Nature is two pairs of magpies
resisting each other over two twig nests,
marvellous for all their quarrelsome protest.

7 January 2012 - Missing birdsong
A crow cawing in the bare bones of limes
won’t do. The small flock of sparrows
filling their bellies in the Hotel de Sully garden
starts my day with song.

8 January 2012 - Red
A rose
is a rose
is a hip
as it goes.

9 January 2012 - A random act
Kindness is a mint green polo neck jumper
draped on a glass wall
in the metro at La Defense.


10 January 2012 - The moon
Our plump, smiling mother,
her silver light,
her arms
welcome us home tonight.

11 January 2012 - Homeless
A woman with a cat on a lead
and later, a one-eyed man
sipping coffee: strange proof
you need a gimmick to get on.

12 January 2012 - Early morning
Places des Vosges listening to a solitary bird,
I have the place to myself; without work,
what more might I do than stand
for a moment like a pyramid of yew?

13 January 2012 - Criticism
Before third Monday my thoughts turn black,
the trick is now/how to turn them back

14 January 2012 - Field ponds
tempt me out in a slide of ice;
for the first time winter marks its presence:
frost-needles pricking my skin.

15 January 2012 - Twitch
A nuthatch trapiezes on the pine;
soft grey and peach warms me for sometime.

16 January 2012 - Snow in NYC
River-wind east through tunnelled streets
dries the air into glassy eyes, paves the way.
Tonight, magic.

17 January 2012 - The New Jersey Turnpike
Liberty is small on her distant island
looking for some green kind of America.

18 January 2012 - Snow in Boston
If only love was as simple
as dry air, the cold
and the sky filled with white joy.

19 January 2012 - A good cup of tea
When you've been where water
doesn't seem to boil, even
an ordinary builders' brew will do.

20 January 2012 - Baguette
Warm in my hand, its freshness
barely makes it home.

21 January 2012 - Grey
Today is grim, full-clouded
and trees skeleton the sky into lines.
I am scared.

22 January - A sea cure
Stand at the corner of street and boulevard,
close your ears to traffic hum, and breathe.
You're in salt air, weeds fringe you vision,
there's a crunch and click as shells are shucked
and drain water is brine, if you but stoop and sip.

23 January - Nostalgia
You've made me think again of the time,
when nothing more terrible happened
than missing the last bus home and walking
in the dead night dreaming up excuses.

24 January - Ache
Succumbing to pain, there is nothing
to be done but curl up and wait
till it finds its own way out of my head.

25 January - Fall
Brought to my knees by a wet pavement,
I am not invincible, just surprised.

26 January - Unstable
It's tempting to think it's my leg that is loosing its grip on the earth,
drifting away from its plate, a bending of titanium under gravity's pull,
but it's a word - glissante- lethal combination of rain
and over-polished stone that hurts my knees two days in a row.

27 January - Packing away a decade or two
How pleasing it is
to pack my case with clothes
that are too big.

28 January - Occupy
January sun on stone smiles like deceit
on the camp where conscience
shivers on cathedral step,
stuttering to make itself heard.

29 January - Lanterns
Wax-white snowdrops shine in the cold,
fresh poured tapers
for the first rites of spring.

30 January - Dragon's breath
you used to call the playground air in winter.
This morning I miss taking you to school.

31 January - Place Vendome
The air is a diamond breathing, the softest
of kid gloves. I take a moment.
Pause.
Then launch my day.


My daily poems from Patrick Kilmartin's Lent 2012 poetry challenge.

22 February 2012 - Chakra
An ink heart is strong,
if winged, is stronger still
and if placed over your own heart,
the strongest of all.
It keeps you safe
from the mis-beats of love,
or stops enemy bullets
from piercing you flesh.
Yes, an ink heart
is as brave as a vest.

23 February - LA smog
Sticky-brown spit in the throat,
once it was chewing tobacco;
thinner now, still it chokes
city and hills with its yellow cloak.

24 February - Jet lag
Sleep at all the wrong hours,
my body working to some other beat.

25 February 
My skin sings for you, forgets
the rough sting of your three day beard,
forgives everything.

26 February - Sunday - not a day of Lent

27 February - Looking like I still know
If love was so very easy,
I'd find the answer on wiki.

28 February - A thousand words
The world protested at my door. 
I took pictures, lacking the language
to interrogate it more.

29 February - Jet Lag II
It clouds my thoughts, fills my head
with damp, with grey; time by the sea
on a fair Welsh day; fuzziness 
the spring sun can't chase away.

1 March 
The splayed wing of a crow
wrenched and bloody by the roadside,
knuckle-cracked and splintered,
is a warning of sorts: indecent haste, 
distance, things I don't yet know.

2 March
Lift the hair from my neck
and kiss me there,
and there,
and there.

3 March - Winter reprise
Uncertain snow
too soft to stick;
first spring flowers
sick, sleet, sick.

4 March - Sunday - not a day of Lent

5 March - Basalt
There are pet rocks with googly eyes,
pointless pocket-money presents
from bike-shed boys,
but I want a fire-bomb,
basalt-black, heavy-black
from the heart of Mt St Helen's;
so trap me in a pyroclastic cloud
and for the moment, I'll be wowed.

6 March - Declaration
No, there is no death.
Not even this rock,
not even windfalls are dead.

My hand embraces them,
they sing to the pulse of my blood,
the touch of my breath.

One day when this hand dries,
its memory will stay in another’s
and this mouth will keep secret
the taste of those it kissed.

This is an English version of a poem by Jose Saramago from a translation by Jason McGimsey.

7 March -  The silence of our eyes

In what language, country,
conscience is the word
to order the chaos
of this whirlpool?

Which wind-whisper or golden song 
of high-perched bird
will confess aloud
the silence of our eyes?

This is an English version of a poem by Jose Saramago from a translation by Jason McGimsey.

8 March - Opera
You know the plot: a woman and a man
fall in love, but they are doomed. 
One of them sails away, the other dies. 
The usual thing, but oh, so much more than this,
how to explain...

9 March - Creation
God does not exist yet, nor do I know
when his shape will appear; 
a sketch for the generations shading this sphere.

No gesture is lost, no brush-stroke.
Life is only this: colouring the earth,
making the god we want to give to the waiting universe.

This is a far English version of a poem from Jose Saramago from a translation by Jason McGimsey.

10 March
Red star in the evening - delight, delight.
Red star in the morning - delight or warning?

11 March - Sunday - not a day of Lent

12 March
Up from the metro I blink into spring
like mole busy cleaning his burrow;
blind to the possibilities of light,
so long missed, now flooding my vision.

13 March - Performance
I ask how to do it better.
My friend asks why. 
I say to be clearer, less noisy. 
She says stand still, fixed point.
But poetry has a rhythm, is music.
Then dance it. You know you can dance
with just one nod of the head, right?

14 March - The Meeting
Recycled air on a blue day:
distraction is traffic, a yellow sound wall
and awnings blinkering the apartments 
by degrees of orange as the afternoon wears;
consolation is the same flight of crows
hours apart, a spray of graffiti, and grass 
that does nothing, but start to grow.

15 March - Foreign field
A random glance from the train:
a small WW I cemetery, bright, clean
in the late sun; a hundred souls
from the millions take my breath
and my heart from simple worry.

16 March -OOOPS

17 March  - Grand
The men in red.
The men in red.
Nothing else need be said.

18 March - Sunday - not  day of Lent

19 March - Plane
The films are dull 
the food is bland
only twelve hours
till I land

20 March - Tian'anmen
In this square, 
in this square where 
my tiger feet now stand,
I hear the screams,
the sharp command.
Tears soak my face
and overflow my hands.

21 March - Opera
Golden carp swimming,
falling rose petals,
a tymbal and late spring rain.

22 March - Deng's cat
For all their goodness at catching mice and rats,
being allergic, I'd rather not have one as a hat.

23 March - Pearls
Hypocrite am I
to try, to buy
such purity, so why?

24 March - Plane
The films are dull 
the food is bland
only twelve hours
till I land.

25 March - Not a day of lent

26 March -Ice cream
Pistachio and peach
the first of the year
in the Luxembourg gardens
for that a loud cheer. 

27 March - The Trellis
To prove that life is complicated, you and I 
a series of negotiations, boxes, checks 
and balances, I've drilled a cross-hatch of grey 
and blue trellis-work into my shoulder blade. 
It runs rampant with roses and morning glory,
is splashed with ruby blood to make true our story.

28 March - Sushi
There's no such thing as a free lunch
and this one seems especially raw.

29 March - Birthday
One year, another, what does it matter?
At least you're not getting fat or fatter.

30 March - At the hospital
Time, he said, is what you need,
time is all and it will heal.
But this wound is not the sort 
that can close and scar,
it's too deep, too deep by far.

31 March - The eve of fools
Sometimes it's a miracle
I make it through the day,
when you throw such unkind
obstacles in my way.

1 April - not a day of Lent

2 April - No widow I
In constant black, stooped and shuffling
between marble, granite, slate,
shaking an overfull watering can,
is not the image I have for my old age.
Give me a much younger man,
bound to outlive me by decades.

3 April - Retail therapy
involves young men's torsos
and expensive scent,
pity my cash is too soon spent.

4 April - Becoming European at Versailles
I out did myself today,
barging an hour's queue of tourists
from our way.

5 April - Cartoon
I am not known for my ability to draw,
but nothing has made me giggle more.

6 April - Ruins of the Bastille
Two courses edge the line five platform;
mornings I see your smirk in every block
and want to hard-swing my leg just to knock
that so-so-so smug smile off your face, Rock;
to see if you will crumble at my kick,
fall with a flick, prove sandstone can be worn.

7 April - Gare du Nord
Holiday over, time for the train,
just a week till I see you again.

8 April - Easter for another year
I given up nothing, 
lost some things, 
learned a lot - 
enough to make me wonder why, what.