The Rain it Raineth Every Day (a haibun)

Shakespeare’s county is April wet. The trees stand, drawn in dark brown lines, shrouded in a soft grey mist. Fine rain falls in constant drizzle every day. Acting as a tourist guide to visiting friends I lead them from Tudor tea shop to Tudor pub, huddled up against the cold. The smell of beer soaked into old wood greets us at The Garrick door. We can shelter here and wait for the time when the play is about to start.

Now as friends we gather here.
The play’s the thing and
the rain it raineth ev’ry day.

On a plinth, Shakespeare sits, in thought, high above it all. I was taken there often as a child. The sun shone then, every day it seemed. I squinted up at him and shielded my eyes against the sun as he sat quiet, dark against the light, somewhat of a mystery. But the light changes hour by hour, and the weather season by season. He is a man of this town and the surrounding fields and his birthplace and his grave are here.

Sundays were a pilgrimage
with a hey and a ho!
When I was a little tiny child.

The wind and the rain has always been plenty.
Present mirth, hath present laughter:
What’s to come, is still unsure.


(the last two lines are by Shakespeare – I thought I should allow him to add the last few words and the title)



as a child they said i was different
i am indifferent to their claims
i was one of the chosen thousands,
whose names i do not know

we were the classroom dreamers
the quiet, the shy, the lone,
the shamen of other lands
far from forgotten home

we sat in the corners of playgrounds
content to look at the clouds,
dragged from our hiding places,
chosen last for their teams

we became the clowns, smiling in our dreams,
for life is the ultimate joke
scrawled on a jesters jacket
to be read when he turns his back

Sweet Avon

Under green summer willows my family walked,

Avoiding the shadows of serious talk.

As a child, without care, I ran on ahead,

Chasing the sunlight, alarming the swans,

Watching the ripples that spread from the banks,

I took all for granted, when time was my friend.

Now, by the Avon, I wander alone.

Clear in the knowledge that everything ends.

Now I find comfort in rivers and ghosts.


a child that wakes from a nightmare,
bewildered and shadowed by fears,
stumbles in hazy panic
to the warmth of his parents bed
and crawls to their welcoming arms
beneath the sheltering sheets

a child in the war torn city
alone, a stranger to hope,
wanders though shattered streets
his eyes wiped clear of all dreams,
his eyes empty of tears,
in a world too dreadful for weeping
his face is a silent grimace
he clutches dry earth in his fist
to feel that he still exists

in a world with no semblance of peace
in a world with no certain sanctuary
in a world consumed by evil
a child cowers down in a corner
to be laid on the plate for consumption
surrounded by knives, trapped on the tines,
of the meal being served at high tables,
the meal of heartless greed,
the meal where the heartless feed

the scales of justice are tilted
in favour of keeping us blind
our good words are strangled and taken
twisted in tortuous ways
in Orwellian double-speak
by leaders and politicians
aided by media giants
the beacon fires are forsaken
our noble desires serve their lies

this is no bed time nightmare
this is reality
there is no protective sheet
no arms wait to embrace them
no place for the victims to hide
the world is falling apart
bring me your huddled masses
will never be spoken again

that voice in the crack of the pavement
is silenced or never heard
refugees, with nowhere to shelter,
rot at the side of the road,
driven and slaughtered cattle
washed up on the incoming tides,
their quiet insistent whisper
swishes in blood and rain

all for the lack of honour
all for the lack of justice
all for the lack of love

Recorded in the Books

In the caravan of dreams,
at the back of the north wind,
in the wood beyond the world,
a conference of birds was formed.

When one flew over the cuckoos nest
they all thought they might die.

They left the tavern of ruin.
For bread alone they searched
beneath the sheltering sky.

They flew along the song lines
”Let it all come down!”
was their cry

The sand child, then,
was just a wink and a waft
of the jitterbug,
from the djinn
in the nightingales eye





The kid from London’s back alleys
Tagging along with his brother
Selling flowers with panache and aplomb

Lost to the eyes of his mother
Locked by the deadly machines
Rebelling against the system

Defying the ledge
Spinning close to the edge
Wild wobbler on roller skates

Expelled from the town
He followed the dusty old roads
Winding away to the distance

Poverty’s child made us smile for a while
As the world came tumbling down

People laugh at the shuffling clown
But the magic is in the pathos

Meeting My Inner Child

in the midst of a storm of thunder

when hail stones fell from dark skies

a child came crawling to me

he came to me from his mother

sent into my protection

he was little more than a babe


i stopped and stooped to lift him

i looked into his soft little face

i saw bright eyes full of wonder

he seemed made of wonder and grace

i placed him onto my back


i told him to cling very tight

but he flung himself backward to earth

beyond where my hands could reach

i turned and raised him again

held him in tender embrace


i explained he had to be strong

for a journey



but we’d be safe

in the end


he smiled at me

like a friend




From a Window

the rooks nest in the Linden

a long established colony

the trees stand out, bare of leaves

flat grey clouds and stillness


nothing enters this empty street

it’s a quiet Sunday

the bins await the refuse men

collection Monday


beside the houses whitewashed bricks

weeping willow, drooping, static

May is slowly budding

daffodils split the earth in triumph


the garden now is overgrown

a lone child kicks a stone

the empty table and six chairs

of weathered wood awaiting summer


i open wide this window

to listen for a sound

i hear a bird call, the creak of wings

as two wild geese circle to the river


no other sounds reach my ear

nothing moves in gentle air

there is nothing more to hear

this quiet Sunday

A Welsh Voice


The mists, the mountains, cloud topped giants,
houses hung beneath the roads,
the mysteries of Cader Idris,
the bearded lake, Arthur’s stone,
a throne beside the glassy water
hollowed rock o’er grown with moss,
the leap of silvered salmon in the river,
the sheep, the lanes, the wayside markers
in the wall of wild flowers blooming,
by granite seat of ancient Bards,
where people gathered
hearing story roll from lips and memory.
All these things we saw together,
wandering in the wilderness of Wales
with my father, as a child.

The village streets where women gossiped,
the cobblestones and chimney pots
enchanted drifts of wood-smoked air
the clanging chime of book shop bell
as my father lead me to a gloomy room
walled with shelves.
Reaching up above my head
he handed me Dylan Thomas
a poet he had never read.

In bed that night a door swung open
with all the chimes of stream and meadow
louder than the bookshop bell
ringing out in word and image
words delicious in my mouth
the sounds, the shapes, the sensual pleasures
wrapped in beauty, thoughts profound,
laughter, love, the lowing cattle
driven home at eventide.
The orchards and the apple trees,
the night above that shines with stars.
The chapel choirs sang out across the valleys
voices raised in harmony and hymn,
the moaning echoes of the wind in grass
the sighing singing of the sea,
short lives lived
parading slowly to the grave.

The Magic House

the magic house

this room is full of funny magic things
birds made of corn, bronze candlesticks, a broom,
bells, painted drums, lamps with hidden genies
a broken mirror up above the fire,
spells, a golden egg and seashells, boxes
with locked lids in hidden corners, darkened
secret nooks, far from the big wide window,
piled dusty books too high to reach and read
not that i could read them anyway, not yet,
but I’m not scared, no fears, I like it here
i poke about and no-one bothers me
i wear jewellery and eastern slippers
they’re red, the toes have points, curling over
i think Aladdin came to visit once
no one in my family denied it
or maybe it was Sinbad, the brave sailor
because i saw an anchor in the garden
by the roses where the blackbird sings