Like a Bird

I struggled to keep a small bird alive.

The bird, tight beaked, was unwilling.

Now my mother lies curled,

The same as a bird,

Tired of this thing we call living.

If we let her go now she can open her wings,

the windows are open, flung wide.

I defend her souls right

To escape in the night

And fly into sweet oblivion.





Lucky Boy.

Mr. What-Was-His-Name
Had many Things
He lived in a house
Very fine, fit for Kings,
But the doors folded inward
And never lead out.
I ask you, my friends,
What was that all about?

The boy on his doorstep,
Had flowers in his hat.
He sat on the doorstep
And talked to the cat.
The cat said his fortune
Lay out in the fields.
The boy on the doorstep
Was happy with that.

The boy wandered off
In search of a wood.
He whistled and sang
As he went on his way.
His only thought was
‘What a fine day!’
When he was hungry
The berries were good.
He never did anything
Quite as he should.

When the night fell upon him
He looked at the stars
They hung high above him,
Over his bed,
Where he curled himself up,
Under a tree
And slept the sleep, of the just
And the dead.

Mr. What-Was-His-Name
Had many Things
He lived in a house
Very fine, fit for Kings.
But the boy, in the morning,
Woke up with the lark.
He shook off the dewdrops
And sprouted fine wings.
Lucky is he who whistles and sings.

Fragile Dust (a tritina)

like lace these fragile flapping wings,
new born from the chrysalis, pale butterfly
drying under a yellow sun, bright burning

full of life, vibrant, short lived, time burning
stretching out its virgin wings
clinging to a tender stem, this butterfly

climbing upward to your journey, butterfly
prepare to fly away, as I, burning
with desire to touch, with care, your wings

an awful thought, lost dust, wings burning, butterfly


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


There’s a song that wafts so gently
in music faintly heard,
a song with words so fleeting
I cannot hold them still.

Where many paths are meeting
in the tangle of the shadows,
just beyond your glance,
in the patterns of the dance,
from a farewell to a greeting
they will spin you into trance.

In a fluttering of wings, do you hear them speaking?
”No time today for sorrow, no time for needless weeping.
Mortal though you are, follow your own star”

I sense them in a twinkle,
in a gleam, a flash of star-fire
the silver light behind a cloud,
across the moonlight sweeping
in the rhythm of my breathing
and a heart that’s wildly leaping,
to the strings of their desire

”It’s a dream within a dream within a dream”
i hear them whisper
as i rest,
almost sleeping,
almost waking,
only seeming to be here.


All windows locked, no door, no sanctuary,
no hopes, no kindness, all dreams your nightmares
in this world, of your creation, only you
spreading your despair

Locking loveliness away with bitter hate,
dread fate, you hover over me, a demon.
Is this the best that you can find to hurt me?
I have my own mask

Masked and silent, with my stomach clenched in fear
I fly a million miles away, never near.
You shut me in a darkened room, I vanish
I wear my own wings

You cannot reach inside my mind, never will.
There is a light you can’t extinguish. It burns,
buried under night, it glimmers softly still.
I have my own light

You mistook me long for one who cannot see.
I know you, I see you struggling in your hell.
I cannot help you, break the spell or reach you.
I can’t set you free

I will go from here one day. I’ll forget you.
You’ll remember how I tried to bring you light.
No doubt you’ll see that as a greater torment.
I won’t be haunted

When I escape, the sun will shine the brighter
in a world that’s new to me, reborn from dark,
clearer, stronger, its definitions sharper.
This is not defeat.

Gravity Defying

Fame is a bee, brown and gold,
It buzzes round the nectar.
Bees suck and work away all day,
Turning all to honey.

I would rather have fame
Than any amount of money

Fame has a song,
long and lasting,
A ballad played on silver strings
Mortality surpassing.
Death is so distressing!

I would rather have fame
Than any other blessing.

Fame has a sting, like any bee.
We are bound to our own fatality.
Poems may live on.
Ah that just one might last
Rising away from gravity
On the outstretched wings of fame.

Such precious wings!
Death defying.



inspired by ~

Fame is a bee. (1788)
by Emily Dickinson

Fame is a bee.

It has a song—

It has a sting—

Ah, too, it has a wing.

Falling Angel

I hurtle through space
velocity pushing my breath back
choking on air, falling, eternal spin.
Seven aeons, seven hundred,
Seven days, seven minutes
No sense of time or a reason

I land in a world of stone
hard and unforgiving.
My left wing broken, unable to fly
I lay on the rock alone.
She comes to me with a scalpel blade
unpicking every stitch in my wound
with exquisite, fine pointed precision and care

lost again in space, I roll from the rock
drifting downward in free fall
the earth rises up to meet me
old greeting, old paths, old ways,
days barely remembered
this land of arches and doorways
doors open, doors locked, mystery

I escape from this place
to the trees by the river
where the castle shadow still falls.
Staggering I fall to one knee.
I try to hold on to what’s left of my heart
tired, broken winged, exhausted
time and space don’t matter to me

i wish only for peace, tenderness,
to know that she will remember me

wings battered and lame
spinning in free fall panic
hold me still again


fallenangelI better

The painting is Fallen Angel by Luis Royo


up in the mountains i had a vision
a river flowed upstream
a friend handed me a rifle
she said ‘the world is full of surprises
we had better be prepared’
”you cant fight nature’ i replied


weeks later i went to see a friend
the news had all been bad
i was so glad to see him
my heart was over-whelmed and sad
he gave me a kitten
very small and white
her soft fur was a comfort
‘look after her’ he said
he gathered all his keys
and battened down the house
it was already shaking
its timbers groaned alive
gale warnings were on the radio
he said ‘we have to go
button up your coat
it’s very cold out there’
I held the kitten close

there were riots in the streets
young girls fought, kissed, taunted boys
the old were pushed aside
there was fire and looting
broken windows, shattered glass
lost children and screaming crowds
he lead me by the hand, he sang
he said it was an old song
i was glad to hear it
he sang it strong and clear
it did so much to cheer me
a man started to shout a speech
but all he said was ‘listen’
we left the town behind us
and then the weather came

raging rivers, rising seas
broken dikes, banks breached
swirling mists and fog
on the hills that we had reached
the road was surging water
the wind howled to wake the dead
and waters ran upstream
rained lashed against my eyes
we scaled higher over rocks
smooth, adamant, gleaming
with semi-precious polish
i imagined them forged in fire
when the world began
the kitten huddled closer to my chest

he said ‘maybe we should speak of this
acknowledge what this is,
the apocalypse has come,
its stupid now to say it isn’t true’
‘i saw some of this in a dream’ i said,
too shy to say it was a vision,
‘the rivers and the seas all ran the other way
i saw these polished rocks
black and red and white, shining
molten in fire, cooled, made solid by ice
will angels appear as cloud formations?
do you think they will be coming?

he dragged me by the hand
we struggled up
then we found a dog
the dog was glad to follow
we became a traveling group of four
the raging gale began to drop
i saw a house
he pulled me through the door
he had made a home here
years and months before
in an empty hospital
the walls were painted gloss

he had built a wooden stair
that lead up to a loft
the wood was dark
and warm to the touch
my mother was safely there
she was frail but well
the strong wind had blasted
the lines from her face
she looked young again
she was packing and unpacking
and tidying her hair
distracted and confused

in a hallway, very simple,
beneath the wooden stairs
i saw four doors
all blank and bare, but one,
i knew this one was his
it was emblazoned with a sun
with golden wings spread wide
he gestured to the doors
‘one of these is yours
which one you must guess
and make it feel your own’
i didn’t care which it was
rescued, saved and wanted
i was happy to be there