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.


the summer,
always beautiful,
does not survive the storms
that winter brings

pierced with bitter icicles,
shattered hearts,
when lover part
with dreams they cannot mend

I see it every day,
a blizzard of bitter sorrow
snowflakes whirl and fly away
as lovers often do

snow drifts hide the paths we knew
banked around, too close, they hide the longer view

Shooting Stars

The lamps shine down from windows high above,
Burning moths, white wings singe against the light.
Old roses hang against the well worn walls
Amongst the darker tangle of the leaves,
Their blossoms gleaming as each petal falls,
While lovers sleep entranced in tender dreams,
Turning now and then throughout the long night,
Entwined and locked together by their limbs.
I stand below here, pierced and polarised.
The galaxies are singing psalms and hymns.
Seeing, I lose all sense of who I am.
I see a sky that’s full of shooting stars.

No wish I make can change our mortal fate.
It’s beautiful, it’s passing and it’s late.



Moving Wheels

the taxi drivers leaned lazily on their cars
where they waited by the rank across the road
suppressed by summer heat
in the avenue of trees, full of cackling rooks
who spoke in secret code

i was working near a window
in the heart of town, looking down
on passing cars and buses
slow moving wheels,
in the bustling, heat baked, town

i was dreaming i suppose, after lunch,
when i saw them, slowly crossing, arm in arm
an old couple, threatened by the cars
it made me tense to watch
in case they came to harm

they looked like tired lovers
grey haired and bent with time
it was a sudden shock to me
to see them from this distance
knowing they were mine
no longer young, now fragile,
clinging fast together,
on quiet cautious feet,
my fathers so protective arm
made their tenderness complete

when did this happen?
when did they become so old?
it was only yesterday,
rashly dodging traffic,
impetuous and bold,
my father was always
rushing on ahead

with a sudden jolt i realised
as tears welled in my eyes
it wont be long now
before they both are dead