After reading Chinese Verse – august 2016

I found a beautiful old book of Chinese verse, it inspired me to write these shorter pieces:


how many birds have flown over my house
and then past your roof
through fog and sunshine

it seems like a thousand miles
but I used to walk home after
I kissed you goodnight


I guess the grass is always greener –
butterflies try their luck next door
over the fence and onto the Buddleia

my brothers and I used to climb over
and steal cherries from our neighbour’s tree
that was a million years ago


Mr Tambourine Man on the pub jukebox
I’ve eaten and had some drinks
I’m ready to go anywhere

outside there are foxes and badgers
and owls
they know everything


rivers and oceans go on for ever
but some insects and butterflies
only live for days
we have limited time
and must grasp it
like a spider’s web
that captures a fly
because it’s all it knows


sometimes I think it’s best not to love anymore
it’s tortuous and agonising
but having said that
I would rather stab myself
with a million knives
than not feel that again


I sit in the kitchen
through the open door
I can admire the night time garden
glowing in its own glory
the morning isn’t far off


from across town there came no message
or text –
months passed
then seasons

now I get scared
when I walk in that town
what I might see
or what people may tell me

my only gift is that I can look at animals
and trees and stars
and in my mind I hold them to my heart
and wish that I could present them to you as an offering

No Reply

I ask myself why I sit alone
but I don’t know how to reply –

I smile sadly

birds sing in the pub garden
ants crawl around under the table
and I think that I belong here
away from other people


clouds move steady through the sky
from west to east
they are the same clouds
that drift over my garden
then yours
like the moon you might look at
when you sit there
in the dark


I guess you still walk the dogs every day
in the park

when you told me it was over
I wanted to cry so much
that your kitchen flooded
and I would save you from drowning
and you wouldn’t need to go


my only companion tonight
is my shadow
thrown against the bedroom wall

even that will disappear
when I put down my book
and switch off the light

Stop and Go

the garden is quiet
except a breeze moving some leaves

the kitchen is empty
the cats are off somewhere sleeping

everything seems to have stopped
but the wind which goes on and on


leaves fall
and hearts break
but when you think about it
who is it for?


trees stand in the park
the sea rolls on forever
but in the town
and in our houses
we are all growing older


I wish for an end to this
agony of longing
if I’m honest
I wouldn’t have it any other way


when I look at the full moon
I know it will eventually fade

when I think of you
my heart
once full
is now like a shrivelled up old piece of fruit


the scented candle
you bought me for Christmas
stays in its box

I light other candles in the
late night kitchen
I burn away in vain


I don’t seem able to make choices
these days
I can’t even choose to float and fall
like leaves from autumn trees


when I take the dog for a walk in the park
or up on the hills
I think about what I am
and what I have

there are trees and clouds,
but I can’t capture any of these
and send them to you


since you left
the candles I burn each night
have no scent
wind breezes through the house
and makes the flame move

I think of you
like the seasons
that roll on one after the other


I needed to get away from those tormented thoughts
the kind of things that keep you up at night
that haunt you
when you put washing in the machine
or make a meal

I had to go for a walk
the word ‘love’ hovered
and shimmered over everything I looked at


my dad asked me to do his tie up
it was the morning of my mum’s funeral
we were in the bedroom
I used to share with my brothers –
Dad had asked me to read a poem at the service

outside the window
trees bent in the wind
cars rolled down the road
and everywhere life carried on
like a train in the night