Monday, 15 January 2018


You for whom Monday dawns bluely

Not blue of gentian, of cirrus-combed skies,

Not cornflower, powder, periwinkle,

But bottomless blue bruise of ice,

Of frozen feather in a fox’s footprint:

I will stitch you a cloak of comfort in Arnolfini greens,

Swaddle your sadness in robes of amethyst,

Wrap your sorrow in sun-warmed apricots and ambers,

Dry your tears with tissues of cadmium and canary,

Warm your heart with carnelian and coquelicot reds.

I would not see you blue

But if that is where you must be for now,

I will walk out across

This fragile crust of slippy-sided blueness

To hold your hand

Under the frozen brow

To wait with you

For rainbows.

Sunday, 31 December 2017


The New Year slows its stride, beckons.
That wistful smile.
This is no blank canvas.
It comes pricked out with pictures under its skin,
Ink quivers a jet mirror, still in the nib.

Courage, winsome ones and wanderers!
Let's resolve to meet it all with mindful moments,
Future deliquescent into ripples of nowness.

Let's not miss this risk, this life, looking beyond.
Let's not cringe, not wince from the lyrical light.

Be there no regretted chance.
Midnight fires in spidered wheels of crystalline
Exploding through the spectrum,
Burn hello to tomorrow.

Dare to show up in your soul, crafting the possible
From the blissful imperfect.
Trust and go toddling!
Listen enthralled to compassion's soft whisper.
Learn your name afresh.
Let the critic fall silent.

May the crisp calendar call you
Out of fears into flying,
Out of dread into stepping
On stone, off springboard.

This be our moment for joy!
There is no other.

[You can see and hear me read this on Youtube here:]

Sunday, 3 December 2017


The winter of '63 was the first winter I really remember as a toddler, growing up in the Dearne Valley, Yorkshire in the north of England.

I thought they would all be like this - the coldest winter of the 20th century. 

I remember the snow banked up the side of our house as high as the top of the downstairs windows; the snow falling in through the back door when my dad came home from work at the station, the frozen rails and the steam from the trains in the icy air; the adventures of making snowmen, snow dogs, snow lambs, snow horses, snow igloos, snow angels; the icicles hanging from the back of the coal-house, the outside loo freezing up and the chill of the tin bath we had hanging from a nail in the back yard; the ice inside the bedroom windowpanes, with no central heating but a smelly paraffin heater upstairs; the cloak of silence over the valley as it muffled the pit hooters, the crunch of feet through the village, the bleak singing of the birds in the frozen hedgerows. 

The excitement and anticipation and sheer wonder at this world of whiteness was overwhelming, untainted by dread and disappointment, with slush and slippy rinks of treacherous thaw an unknown thing for the future.