The First Time

I peered through the belfry trap door
My eyes met his eyes, across the floor.
In a whirlwind year
The future was clear
And we promised to love ever more.

Thirty years on....

I peer through the conservatory door
I see him with grey hair galore.
Despite his hard views
On the current world news,
It's him I still love and adore.


She slumped in the chair

ran hands through her hair

rubbed tired eyes

and breathed out a few sighs.

Then came the names

of the kids whose games

drove her mad

and made her glad

the school day was over.

Oliver with his irritating grin

determined each fight to win.

Jordace with a face of thunder

throwing chairs and tables asunder.

Courtney who couldn’t sit still

until she swallowed her magic pill.

Ellis and Ryan’s two,

Michael, David, to name a few.

Those names for ever

tainted and so never

chosen for any child in my family.


In the town, the cock don't crow
With comb erect, the randy so and so.
There ain't no hens who run for cover
From the strutting, beady eyed, insistent bugger.

The bird that greets the dawn in town
Sings from the top of the chimney's crown.
"Look at me, look at me," it loudly brags,
And another joins in for a right chin wag.

"The sun's up, wake up, get up," it sings
To his dowdy partner who silently brings
Worms for the little 'uns in the hedge
While dad can't wait for them to fledge. 


Starting as a laugh
Nonsense replaced correct words -
"Open the carrot!"

She lost her car keys,
Then glove, scarf and knowing smile.
Her sparkle dimmed.

A well-worn door key,
Familiar and yet baffling,
Lay in her hand.

She started to speak,
Confident and sure until,
A word hovered ….. out of reach.

She saw him approach,
Wide smile, arm embraced but,
His name evaded her.

Brake lights brightly lit.
Left, right, she looked perplexed as
The way home vanished.

A gradual decline
As language disintegrates,
No past or future.

Only this moment ...
then this too... 



"Come to me," the teacher said
To the woman at the well.
"Then your thirst will be quenched, 
Your hunger cease.
Heaven is yours, fear not hell.
Water turns the desert a green hue
Brings new life and makes all things new."
"Long life and good health," the master said
To the Buddhists in Japan,
"Comes from drinking matcha, green and hot,
Then ponder zen like, if you can
The mysteries of human existence
of ying and yang in perfect balance.
In India a visitor is offered
Chai, spicy, milky and steaming.
A welcoming drink that comforts and calms
Conjuring exotic daydreaming.
Chai expresses the Hindu belief
Of sharing, karma and to the needy, relief.
In Britain the national brew
Was tea, strong, hot and sweet.
An afternoon treat of sarnies and scones,
The teapot made the table complete.
A cup of tea, a humble beverage
That cured shock and imbued courage.
Now tea comes in many guises,
Decaf, iced and herbal infusions.
The teapot's redundant, the ceremony gone
As the teabag is dunked with no precision.
The art of the latte and cappuccino perfected
And we become coffee addicted.

Reading the Stars

Oh what cruel irony that star gazer wrought
When tracing lines with his eye and caught
That side way scuttling creature of the sea
And a homemaker of the sandy shore.
Born under those stars, astrologers agree
Means family first and bonds restore.
If then a nurturer and intuitively blessed,
How cruel to name this star pattern thus.
A fearful name, one that makes us test
The breast, cervix and prostate discuss.
Oh, if only that star gazer had given
A healing name to that part of heaven.


Based on Gerard Manley Hopkins poem – Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for small things,
Peanut butter spread thick and taking a bite;
For furry friends that pull on a three mile run;
Awake at dawn as the blackbird sings;
For the white feathered egret lifting off in flight;
Awaiting the first smile from a tiny one.
For guffaws of laughter following a joke;
For silence and stillness when all is done.
Trust in his goodness, his sustaining grace
Then praise him for big things of which he spoke.
Hope, faith and joy; peace and love embrace;
Praise Him.

Everything Changed

One year on from writing this poem, about the birth of my first grandchild
Into the water
warm as blood
she stepped,
she lay,
she crouched
on hands and knees.
Belly full and tight
stretched around 
the life within.
This precious life
created from love.
A piece of her
soon to be
apart from her.
Deep breaths,
muffled groans,
bearing down,
a cloud of gore
Everything changed
at her nativity.
The cord that bound,
sinewy and blue,
throbbed with life.
lungs inflating,
oxygen circulating.
She breathed out a cry
of separation,
of liberation.

High Street Pantoum

Wellingborough High Street
Is a cultural hotch-pot
Where west and east meet
In a plethora of small shops.
First in the pot, the take away
Indian bargees and vindaloo.
A glut of shops shut in the day
Opening later for the nightclub queue.
Hot Indian curries and shish kebab
Rub shoulders with a sleek nail bar.
The night club windows looking drab
Next to the European Spar.
The nail bar, a place of fusion;
Latvian, Polish and English blend.
The Spar next door is owned by a Russian
And "We're European," the locals pretend.
Latvians and Poles in the Turkish barbers
Promised hot flannels and a cut throat shave.
The Euro Hotel now a homeless harbour
With bed, kettle and microwave.
In the cut-throat world of commerce
The bustling market is no more
But the High Street world is a microcosm
with cultures, and languages galore.