Wednesday, 23 May 2007


Mary is a friend of mine. I met her originally when I ran a cleaning business and she was my customer. I did not instantly take a liking to her.

When she rang me in the first place, I had trouble getting to the bottom of what she wanted. Most people would say something like... "It's a three bedroomed semi. I work all hours and I want someone in twice a week for a couple of hours". Or they might say "Polish all the brass and change the bed linen".

Mary couldn't tell me what she wanted; only that she was "in a mess".

When I went to visit her I found the problem. She was in her eighties, a near cripple; almost but not quite in a wheelchair, and had been in bed ill for weeks with a skin complaint and dreadful arthritis. She had no family, and two cats and a dog that had not been able to get in and out of the house properly....with all the attendant consequences......

She had lived in bed and because she could barely walk had lived on microwave meals and just thrown the rubbish and wrappers over the end of the bed.

She was a bit of a challenge.

However, I did take on the job and I quickly learned to like her, very much so. Although her body had packed up her, she was undefeated and fighting all the way. She refuses to be spoken down to. She refused to give up her pets until she finally went into sheltered accomodation, and then she took the cats back again when she came out again only a couple of months later. She hated the condescending attitude of the nurses/carers in the home and wanted her independence back. (Her dog I managed to rehome with a friend of mine who, like me, is a serial dog resuer. Paddy is having a great time living with five other dogs).

Although it is a job that I am absolutely not cut out for, I became for a while almost her carer, simply doing my best to be arms and legs for her.

She now lives in a two up, two down terrace in Lancashire, is completely in her wheelchair and is one of the finest people I know.


I see you, in your chair,
Imprisoned in your body.

Yours fingers swollen and your arms twisted,
Where the pain gnaws you.

Teeth, brown stumps.

And your raucous laughter when,
Through your deafness,
You get the joke.

But, I also see,

The traces remaining
Of the luminous beauty you were.

Celtic skin, still clear and pale.
Fine straight hair, now white, once copper.

And your still glorious eyes.
Blue-grey and sharp.

I see, not only the old woman before me,

Not just the young woman you were,

But the young lass, who,
Somewhere in there,

You still are.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007


To everything there is a season
And a time to every purpose under Heaven

A time to touch, And a time to be touched
A time for Lust and a time for Love
A time to sleep, And a time waking, to reach for the one loved,
A time to smile, And a time, smiling, to be loved.
A time to speak, And a time, in silence, to let the eyes speak.

A time to laugh, A time for joy
A time for thought And a time for play.
A time for words. And a time when, distanced, words must suffice,
A time to embrace, for bodies to be close
A time for the shining passion of the physical,
And a time for the lust of the body to express the heart’s cry

A time to be apart
A time to be together

And that time, for some perhaps, is to come

Friday, 13 April 2007

Sunset in Helsinki Harbour

The “Chug-Chug” of the ferry engines,
Soothing, Settling,
Sat cross-legged on the bed. Enclosed,
Warm & comfortable,
Sipping wine.
Looking out.

And through the port,
Another world. Different.
The Land of Faery

Broken ice and sunset.
Shattered water fills the brain,
Fractured light splinters the eye.
A thousand colours
Rising and falling in the wake.
A million shards,
Undulating as one.

Tiny islands.
Tiny houses.
Dolls houses. Ridiculous
Made for munchkins and hobbits
Little wooden wendy huts,
In pink, lemon, bird blue and apple green.

The sun fades.
Light drains away. Colour washes away.
Shadow rises.
A darkling light. The landscape, a changling.
Blueness steals the ice,
Now changed to sapphire, opal and jet……

And as night falls,
We draw in, to Helsinki Harbour

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Pendle Eclipse

The Dark lays still o’er Pendle Hill,
Full moon shining, frost lays starkly
Vapour rises, Magics’ guises,
The soul of the mountain whispers darkly.

Shimmer moon shine down,
Night’s the beauty, yours the glory,
Glimmer moon shine down,
Retell once more the ancient story.

The silence speaks of demon sleep
And long dead warlock, mage or druid
Waking tonight. Sorcerous unlight,
And ancient glamours now unguarded

Shimmer moon. Shine down
The circle marred, Shadow encroaching
Glimmer moon. Shine down,
Ware the spell, darkness approaching

Luna’s disc gleams through the mist,
Her maiden’s face the sky caresses
Her age old eyes have seen the signs
Of Albion, Wicca and Lyonesse

Blaze stars and shine
Umbric darkness in the gaining
Brazen stars and I
Watch lunatic shadow in the making

The Dark lays still on Pendle Hill
It’s perfection bids my silence
The darkness reigns, as foreordained
Wordless sentience gathers presence

Cold, Dark. And I,
Benumbed await occult conclusion
Old stars and I, tranced
Await moonstruck possession

Returned to day, the Spirit lays,
The presence drops once more to slumber,
The hills and plains, Pendle’s demesne,
In sunshine. Night now ill-remembered

Shine sun, shine down,
O’er hill and valley, field and deeping
Shine sun shine down,
On Colossus, only sleeping

The Grin

What use is a grin?
For what purpose is it intended?

It is not a poetic word

So let us seek a poetic word

Many would prefer “smile”
And that is not the same

And that is all there is to prefer

Unless one cares for “smirk”
An altogether unpleasant word
For my taste

It is odd

Should one wish to weep, then
One may also
Sigh or sob

And the poet may use any one of these

But should one wish to grin
Then that is the end of it
No other word there is
For this most human of aspects

And no poet ever used it

Why should the human condition require
That unhappiness should have
An entire lexicon at its disposal?

And yet
Broad joy
And happiness
And love of life…….
And its expression

Should have only one word?

Thursday, 22 March 2007


A housewife hanging out the sheets,
A policeman meandering along his beat,
Children playing in the street,
A picture of the world at ease.

Bonnet up, man repairs his motor,
A family walking, man, wife and daughter,
Hedges trimmed, lawns clipped shorter,
An image of the world at peace.


The honking is heard, and every eye,
Is raised up, all heads towards the sky,
All tasks forgotten, let them lie,
As the whole world stops for a flight of geese

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Sleeping Alone

I lie abed alone at night and see with only dreaming eye
Through panes, the moon casts silver trace....
The shadows form my lover’s face
Beside me now my lover lies

With tender word and warm caress, my love and I make song
Our spirits, souls and bodies twine
I reach to touch this lover mine,
To whom my heart belongs

Outside the moon is bright and clear; a velvet night and deep.
Though beside me empty sheets I find
A warm embrace around me twines,
And my love and I shall sleep.