Category Archives: poetry


It didn’t come in like a lamb or a lion.

More like a skittish goat, or a March hare

ready to box for domination.

Or perhaps a polar bear

exploring tentatively

south of the ice cap

but prowling,

not roaring,

quiet to lull

the unsuspecting population.


Strong gusts

came without warning,

amid snow, frost, hot sun.

Not so much

global warming

as severe change

and a dizzying sense

of doom.


Spring leapt into action:

cherry blossom, daffodils,

crocus, forsythia

and even, on the south coast

rumours of magnolia

and then

it snowed again.


It wasn’t friendly snow.

It didn’t fall softly overnight.

The children never got

to build a snowman or sledge

down a slope of white.

It snarled the traffic

(and the flower buds)

then crept away

before anyone could play.


If the lion and the lamb

are absent,

unaccountably diverted or delayed

will the month depart

soft with Easter chicks and rabbit kits

or will

high winds from the north pole

shatter the world apart?

Whatever looms I think

most will be glad when this March

is spent.


Can anyone tell me how to get WordPress to accept line breaks between verses? I have edited and edited until I’m blue in the face and eventually settled for lines of dots. It only behaves like this when it senses poetry!!

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Posted by on March 18, 2017 in poetry



On hyacinths opening



it said

on the plastic label

and I wondered as I set

the basket on the table

what kind of red?

And so I pondered.


The red of sunsets,

of robins’ breasts,

of anger

or traffic lights,

of jelly tongue twisters

or sunrises that, warning

shepherds or sailors,

in the morning

are simply red.



hue of pomp and circumstance,

or flagrant


of shame

or fame;

a colour with a dual nature,

Is scarlet.



speaks for itself

of injury or death;

of class (though maybe then it’s blue)

of ancestry,

(it may

be used in heraldry),

of diverse things like

fox hunting and the final brush

(though not the coats)

and geraniums,

does blood.



royal, yet

colour of shame.

Cheeks, stained,

may be aristocratic

but derided.

It can be literary

contrasted with white.

The very word

echoes with jewels

and depths

and night,

or gorgeous knights


in crimson.



states gems outright

but lips too,

ready to be kissed,

and apples or plums


for the picking,

the eating,

the stealing.

It hints of larceny,


and desire,

does ruby.



is just a foreign way

to say


and can have shades

of ruby

crimson, scarlet

or any other red

unless it’s in a paint tray.

Every meaning we assign

to each of those we attach, too,

to vermilion.


For a week

I watered the basket


while the buds stayed tight

and green;

no red to be seen,

then the sun must

have reached within

and told

the petals to unfold.

They were not red at all

but deep, deep, deepest pink,

beautiful and scented

but not

(most definitely not)




Posted by on February 4, 2017 in poetry





Small flakes spiralling

Cold on damp melting

The world greying

Houses shiver under wet roofs

Trees drink in great gulps

Cars slow then spring ahead

Lights sparkle or quaver

Sound quavers too

Then stills


Sharp flakes needling

Ice on ice driving

The world hurting

Houses flinch beneath metal skies

Trees sway at the assault

Cars spin then skid awry

Lights dance or flicker

Sound flickers too

Then stills


Huge flakes smothering

White on black swirling

The world narrowing.

Houses cower behind closed doors

Trees shrivel into deep roots

Cars loom then disappear

Lights fail or waver

Sound wavers too

Then stills


White drifts glistening

Quartz on silver shimmering

The world shining

Houses crouch inside warmed walls

Trees display jewelled arms

Cars slide then come to rest

Lights pale and are muted

Sound is muted too

Then stills


(The tree is at the bottom of our garden but I took this picture a few winters ago)


Posted by on January 16, 2017 in poetry



Thoughts at sea

DSCN3614 - Copy - Copy



When we are out at sea

There are islands,

Rough, ragged, jagged rocks

Ready to lure ships

To be holed and torn.


Captain and navigator

Steer a clever course

Between, around, and past

Leaving the siren stones

Behind, folorn.


And sometimes


There are islands in the air,

Cloud countries

That change and drift and loom,

Now tinged with sunset golds.

Now white, now grey.


Passengers hold cameras high,

Hoping to catch

The beauty of the skies,

Imprison it to watch later

On a less spectacular day.


And then


There are ideas that form,

Skimming over the waves,

Dipping into the foam,

Breathtaking in their immensity,

New born and still blind.


I watch them unfolding,

Children of the vast sea,

Space ships of the ocean

Inexorably building green island

Gardens in my mind.


Posted by on March 2, 2016 in poetry





My hands hurt.

Anxiety presses pins, needles, nails

Into my knuckles

The pads of my fingers

And my thumb.

“Don’t press so hard.

It’s bound to hurt,” they say, “gripping like that,”

but then they add

“You have half an hour to finish,” and wonder

Why I stress so.

The words are easy.

If I could type them on a keyboard,

Neat and bright

In a well presented paper, I could have ended this

An hour ago.

“You don’t complain

When it’s maths,” they say sadly, but

Maths is beautiful

And I can ignore the pain to get

Those numbers formed.

Meanwhile, they want

Three sentences that explain some words

I have understood

For ever and a day, and you must understand

My hand is numb.

(I was writing to a prompt: “If I waited till I felt like writing, I’d never write at all!” and was inspired by my autistic grandson who finds handwriting a trial.)

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Posted by on January 13, 2016 in poetry





These are the days

the days that pass in a blur of dark and light

the days when by mid afternoon

we huddle in our curtained rooms

and shut out the night.


The days of miracle

the days that are full of glittered decoration

the days when presents fill the minds of everyone

to give and to receive, wrap and unwrap

and share, with anticipation.


These are the days of wonder

the days of glistening lights on every street

the days when trees leave the forest

to wear indoor finery while we call

cheerful blessings to all we meet.


These are the days of miracle and wonder

The short days of the solstice and the longest night

the days when the world sleeps and yet

outside my door an onamental quince has already

opened new flowers to welcome the light.


Posted by on December 15, 2015 in poetry



April on The Wirral

new brighton

Pale shards of semi-whiteness across the river mouth:

thin cranes and looming gantries of the docks.

Against them, a brighter whiteness,

a lighthouse layered in sharp focus on its rocks,

the causeway a line of dark in the murky sea,

gulls following in case scraps were left behind.

An unrenovated fort stands

(proud as the lighthouse), sand

beneath, the strip decreasing with the rising tide.

Children, crowded on the shrinking beach,

pull small dogs in and out of lapping waves

or scramble barefoot, risking a spiked ending to the day

on boulders that keep the invading sea at bay.

A small yacht motors calmly towards the open water,

heading for the mists,

a noisy boat pulls a smaller one

in looping spirals round

the lighthouse just for fun

and there are shrieks of fright

or glee

while shuffling figures watch

from a pontoon

moored by a buoy that guards the channel

in case a ferry should go astray.

Crowds, shops, cars

as far

as the eye can see.

A queue

to find a space and then

another queue

for toilets or a drink,

or sandwiches that by the time the queue has gone

have vanished too.

Shaking the sand off our feet

and clutching a picnic we steal away

further along the coast and round the headland.

Turning south we reach

a long flat beach,

the tide

by now almost to the horizon.

A few dogs chase each other or a thrown ball;

a car braves the boat ramp

driving in crazy rings

near the sea wall.

The crowds have stayed

near the shops and ice cream vans.

Here there is loneliness and space,

only a few miles away.

We eat, watching a huge stretch of

damp sand

spread out to a charcoal smudge of what might be


A horse thuds past,

cantering against the sky.

Could we ride, we wonder,

all the way out to Ireland

if we were foolish enough to try?


I don’t usually post two poems in a row but this was an immediate reaction to a lovely day out, and needed to be posted while the date was still appropriate. Dedicated to Flair, who showed me round The Wirral, and whose birthday is this week.


Posted by on April 14, 2015 in poetry