Paris often told Helen
that her hair falling down,
partially covering her beautiful face,
and her gesture to push it away
was the first moment he felt
the infatuation
that would alter and shatter his world.

Pygmalion must have spent hours
whispering to Galatea,
recalling the shock,
and the joy,
of his granted wish
when she took her first step
from the plinth.

Philemon and Baucis
whisper their truth
through their leaves
as trees
grown together, entwined

Romeo and Juliet
never had time
to look back.
So many didn’t.
There are too many famous lovers
soon parted by death.

Orpheus should never have looked back at all.

Lovers love to repeat their stories.
Where they met,
how they watched each other before.
Their song.
Their words.
They remind each other,
adding small details,
confirming their private and precious thoughts.

Kisses are careful punctuations
and seal every paragraph.
The ritual of repetition
strengthens fond bonds
to the last.


Old Timbers

away from home
i think of old timbers
weathered by time
firelight reflects
on warm weathered wood

rattling windows
shelter lovers in tangled embrace
the old shutters tap
and swing back in the wind
in the blast of a storm outside
the weathercock spins
and turns twice about unhinged

this contrast of images
inside and out
where light does battle with dark
seems to sum up the world
where we cannot hide
and time is unfurled
but our hearts are well understood

Back Again

The fire is laid.
The house is furnished
and here we are,
hopeful lovers,
passing by this way again.

No doubt the storms may sometimes blow.
We both still need to learn and grow.
This time though, it’s not the same.
Fear wont drive us both away.
The fire burns warm.
I fixed the roof against the rain.

This time darling,
through your tears,
you grew strong.
I couldn’t leave.
I had to stay.
You’re not alone.
We made it home.

The Enigma of Anne

While plague after plague swept through the city
Winnowing lives, like corn, without pity,
The gallows stood close, the axe was not dulled,
While I, by the peace of Avon was lulled.
The play is the thing, all life is a play,
Three days and nights on horse-back away.
All journeys end in true lovers greeting.
Where the bee sucks our pleasures were fleeting,
Violets, eglantine, sweet summer wine,
Came with their season and then he was mine.
Spring time is gone, winter’s cold, he is dead.
I dream in the depths of our second best bed.

Seasons keep turning, and little remains
but wise words from sweet Will, who won’t come again.


A Girl in a Yellow Field

the girl in the park squats down
her head almost down to the ground
she is taking close up photographs
of crocus spread out in the sun

i take a more distant view
i see a girl
in a field of yellow
that shines
i know her obsession well
she is oblivious to all that’s around her
focused on one yard of earth

i used to carry a camera
to capture that special light
it’s a study in glory
wherever it’s spotlight falls
now i carry a notebook
i enter the girl on my page
– another small study from life

the lovers sit on a wall nearby
wrapped in each others arms
lost in each others eyes and dreams
they notice nothing at all

“Late Lament”, By The Moody Blues

Breathe deep the gathering gloom,
Watch lights fade from every room.
Bedsitter people look back and lament,
Another day’s useless energy spent.
Impassioned lovers wrestle as one,
Lonely man cries for love and has none.
New mother picks up and suckles her son,
Senior citizens wish they were young.
Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colours from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white.
But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion?


I remember the smell of bran mash and horses,
steam rising in winter sun
the creaking of leather out in the yard,
saddles and straps, the welcoming whinny,
the course hair of manes caught in the brush
the sharp hollow ring of shod hooves on stone
echoing round the stables
the first time a horse stood on my foot
leaning shoulder to shoulder and pushing
feeling the strength of sinew
and above all the stable doors
the names of old horses, long gone

I remember the bluebells
blueness in scented shadows
fallen branches and fungi
the huge tree, blown down in the winter,
still full of life,
and the rooks crying above
to the echoing shouts of young children
we play hide and seek amongst the trees
until someone falls over
and it’s time to get them to bed
the days are still shorter than summer

I remember in summer, sweet jasmin,
the buzz of the bees in the hedgerows,
the heat of the day, a sizzler
the smell of sun warmed railway tracks
where the weeds grew up through the sleepers
the shimmer ahead where the sun met illusion
my sandal strap broken, mended with string,
when we sat on the banks
while the dogs raced away
to the river

I remember lovers
Autumn is gold with nostalgia
summer is over
it’s time for fires
fires on the beach
fires in the house
the chill air makes us snuggle
there is no need to go out in the evening
time to find last years old jerseys
and let them embrace us again


if they walked
down the street
hand in hand
in this town
they would stop all the traffic
in no time

more magic than movies
their beauty surpasses this place

people may wonder
as the crowds part around them,
like water around an island,
why her mouth
has that other-world touch
that slight strangeness
he loves
so much

his smile looks like music
she walks like a river
his eyes dream of forests
there’s a glow, there’s a shine
in the softness of skin
that’s so hard to define

their words
are not spoken
but the birds,
in concealing
her wings,
their song

Behind the Walls ~ a haibun

They may think we are richer than they, we in a great big mansion, surrounded by a garden and trees, they in their warm terraced houses, stretching off to the distance hills. But we who live here lead another life, as poor as any church mouse, while the mortar crumbles around us, we watch the demise of the house. We have never been rich. No one ever knows what goes on behind the walls.

The rooms are cold and draughty
We conserve our power
And wait for that fateful hour

I look from the kitchen window along the line of the street. Two cars to every house. They drive away early and come home late or walk, burdened with shopping bags, with their children in pushchairs,on skates or running, healthily on ahead. Lives and loves are portrayed on the streets. No one ever knows what goes on behind the walls.

Grandma came every Sunday
Grandma is no more.
She died of cancer last week.

I watch the students come and go, like a yearly flock of birds, to the house at the end of the street. Laughing and joking, carrying bags, the girl and the boy, their arms interlinked nudging against each other, smiling. But I haven’t seen the girl for weeks. No one ever knows what goes on behind the walls.

The boy with the broken heart
Walks slowly today
The girl preferred his best friend

Now Christmas lights fill their windows, their houses welcoming, warm, waiting for Santa Claus to fulfil all their childhood dreams. My dream is to be back in a time when our house was full. The chimney was blocked long ago. No more flickering fires. Now we await the Christmas ghost, the spirit of Christmas past. No one ever knows what goes on behind the walls.

I saw Santa Claus one night
Through a curtain chink
Sleigh bells, snow and winter stars

Every house tells its story. The streets are full of lies. No one ever knows the things that are hidden by the walls.