I would like there to be something  in between
an exclamation mark and a full stop.
A full stop goes “duh”,
lands flat
on the mat.

An exclamation mark goes
I don’t always feel that way…

I want something a little friendlier
and more enthusiastic
than a full stop.

A little less over-excited
than an
exclamation mark!

And don’t get me started on ellipses…
the drifting off of attention…
the valley lift…
my dearest punctuation tic…

I question all the time? or do I?

The colon and the semi-colon;
they are not my friends:
I never play with them;
they turn their backs on me;
too snooty for the likes of me.

Dashes, though – I love them –
they just run and run –
like frantic puppies panting for a walk –
turn every thing I write
into an homage –
to Emily, of course…


Yesterday I was a chair

Yesterday I was a chair –
a soft place to nestle with a book.
Today, I’m a table, spread with food.
Sit, eat. This is a generous house.

I was a bed, for months,
baby head heavy on my shoulder,
and most days I’m a bookcase,
carrying a rich burden of words.

I’m a cupboard. Open me.
See, all that shiny viscera,
and cups and saucers,
and my beating heart

and I’m the TV in the corner
of the room, with sound turned down,
and I’m a deck-chair,
leaning back among the roses.

This just tumbled out as my response to Qbit’s comment on my last post. It’s a bit ragged at the edges, but I thought I’d seize the moment. 


This mask –
once a god’s,
dripping – ah! –
down through
eternity’s lead wall.
Oceans boiling away,
scented with destruction –
just an echoing stone,
the song a passing curio.


I’ve been admiring other people’s erasure poems and vaguely waiting for the right poem to come along so that I can play with it myself. I read Brendan’s piece here, https://blueoran.wordpress.com/2018/05/31/old-saint-brendans-water-mask/ and some words just popped out at me, so I decided to go with it. I would describe Brendan as a “big” poet – his poems are not just physically big, they have big themes, big references, big resonances. I hope I’ve managed to keep some of that “bigness” in this very small poem. 



“We are all suns”

you said – “Burning

to live, burning to die”.


We light candles.

What else can we do?


These short days

leave us scrabbling

for light, longing

for the world to tilt,

to throw the sun

a little higher in the sky.


We light candles,

burn fires, seek warmth:

there’s an ancient forest

surging through

the house,

all that sunlight stored

in deep darkness, waiting

for us, for millenia.


We burn to live.

We burn to die.


A rather late solstice poem. Maybe it just works as a winter poem? 


Cluttered desk – a pantoum for Jane Dougherty

Here among these rags and tatters,
Scraps of paper, scribbled lines,
I keep some things that really matter –
Images of older times

Scraps of paper, scribbled lines,
Crayoned letters, drawn with care,
Images of older times,
As if I could hold you there,

Crayoned letters, drawn with care,
A flower you drew, a finger print,
As if I could hold you there,
But years pass faster than a blink.

A flower you drew, a finger print,
So tiny, when I see it now,
But years past faster than a blink
And you are so much older now.

So tiny, when I see it now,
The past, compressed into a jewel,
And you are so much older now,
My treasure; shining, sunlit pool:

The past compressed into a jewel,
In all the chaos of my life,
My treasure – shining sunlit pool,
Warming my soul with quiet delight.

In all the chaos of my life,
I keep some things that really matter,
Warming my soul with quiet delight,
Here among these rags and tatters.

Jane gives us a picture of her writing space as a quirky prompt. As Jane is the Queen of Forms, I felt it was appropriate to attempt one. This is a pantoum, which I find strangely soothing.

Ghosts at my table

there are ghosts at my table tonight
I write, not mentioning that
my table is a pale rectangle
of wood, so that perhaps
you picture your own table,
round, white, plastic –
or a dark mahogany oval,
and your ghosts are
the dark ring left by
a wine bottle, the last time
you had dinner with
a long lost lover,
or the scorched place
where you set down a pan
too quickly, the day
you heard that news
about your sister, while mine
are the assorted stains
and scratches left by my
children as they leave their
childhood, not quite ghosts,
waiting to fade.

Metafictionfor the Toads


I have been considering
kintsugi, and how
we heal ourselves,
we who are no longer whole,
and if we can
be beautiful
and flawed
and flawed
and beautiful.

I have considered
my scars, not golden,
not joyful,
not thoughtful, but
silver pale, glistening,
secret lines,
hidden from view,
and wondering
if I can be beautiful
even though
I can never be
mended, not entirely.

I am broken,
broken again,
mended. I am
burnt, cut,
I am not
who I was,
and yet I am
still here,
and flawed
and flawed
and beautiful.