Thursday, March 15, 2018

Out of Time

Out of Time

We spend our lives
trying to make time fly -
high octance adventures,
reality tv,
shopping for the perfect
clock for the mantelpiece.
Scared to sit and enjoy
moments out of time.

Later we worry
time is running out -
hold onto fleeting youth,
get cosmetic surgery,
can't face the clock
on the crumbling mantelpiece.
Scared of where we'll be
when we find ourselves out of time.

Originally posted in 2006 for the now defunct Poetry Thursday

Meanwhile over on Crafty Green Poet I've reposted another poem from 2006, you can read it here

Friday, February 23, 2018

Focus Italian magazine

I first discovered the Italian language version of Focus magazine many years ago when I was looking for a way of keeping up with Italian. I rejected other magazines -  one was full of gossip stories about Italian celebrities I'd never heard of, another was full of very serious articles about Italian politics and so on. Focus appealed to me because it is full of articles about science, the environment and current affairs all written in Italian at just the right level (for me) of accessible yet slightly challenging. So I'm learning new things all the time!

I take out three or four month subscriptions (cheaper than buying individual issues but without the likelihood of ending up with piles of unread magazines) then I renew the subscription once I've finished the last article in the last issue.

As a bonus for me, Focus is full of great photos that I can then use as creative writing prompts with the classes I teach!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Cello in the Dark

In the belated adolescence of my student years,
living by the words of the music
that blared my ears while I revised,
I spent restless nights alone
in exam stress and unacknowledged lust
while in the room above, your bedsprings creaked
as you made love to a woman
who shared my sister’s name.

Your daytime fingers making music,
the deep low thrill of bow on string
sent shivers down my spine
as I sat serious at my desk,
gazing through the window at the garden
where a black cat crossed the lawn.

Previously published on Bigger Stones

Meanwhile I've posted another poem on Crafty Green Poet, you can read it here

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Strange how deep under her skin he is.
She only knows him through his distant admiration
across darkened dance-floors and concert halls.

His desire waterfalls down her spine,
unnerves her, his heart’s poetry
troubles her through his hungry eyes.

She finds herself looking out for him,
wonders how much she likes to be admired,
how much she’s learning to admire?

previously published on Verse Wrights  

meanwhile for those of a less romantic disposition, I've posted a tanka on Crafty Green Poet, you can read it here

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


At night our minds meet over maps
of strange towns, mazes of streets
we stumbled through in daylight.

I am lost
in your sense of place,
find myself in your parallel universe.

Then time unfurls to chase us
through shadows
into endless dreams.

Previously published on Pygmy Giant

I've also just posted a poem with similarities to this one over on my Crafty Green Poet blog, you can read it here

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Malawian Cafe

It's a mud-built cafe
on the dusty corner
of a village alley.

Dark inside and cool
despite the day's hot sun,
lively with laughter
and warm conversation.

The menu is simple:
bean stew and nsima*;
chicken with rice;
Coca Cola, Fanta
and Carlsberg greens.

The walls are covered
with postcards
of its namesake
The Ritz.

Previously published on the Camel Saloon.

* nsima is a thick maize porridge. 

Yesterday I posted Papayas and Lemons, another poem about Malawi, on my Crafty Green Poet blog. You can read it here

Thursday, December 14, 2017


From a chance teenage meeting
you became my first foreign friend.

Strained visits give way to
letters now and then.

Ever polite, I always write
not wanting to be the one to not reply.

Five years pass with nothing
but Christmas cards
signed in haste.

Now here you are on my doorstep
determined to visit

but nothing to say.

Previously published on The Pygmy Giant.  

I also today posted a poem on my Crafty Green Poet blog. You can read it here

Monday, December 04, 2017

Influential Poets

At the literary festival
the academic poet greets
like a long lost friend
the young poet whose first collection
is just out.

They talk ‘man to man’
(of course they’re both men)
about poetic vision.
Around them chat other poets,
perhaps not so young or important,
less fashionable or lacking confidence.

But it is one of the overlooked others
who tonight will go home
to write the poem that one day
will change the life of the woman
hiding just now behind the academic
trying to pluck up the courage
to ask for his autograph.

Previously published on Verse Wrights.

Meanwhile on my Crafty Green Poet blog you can read Weather Forecasting, which was also originally published on Verse Wrights.

Friday, November 24, 2017


Every Saturday night, she palely sits
in a dark corner, her kohl eyes
watch the dancers, a mysterious
smile on her lips.

Every Saturday night, a different outfit,
always elegant and black,
always glamour gloved, elbow length
velvet or satin, lace trimmed,
sheer with flowers up the arms
rooted to her fingers with heavy rings.

Every Saturday night, she goes home
alone, undresses slowly, carefully
unpeels the gloves
from her scars.

Previously published on Camel Saloon.

Meanwhile I've just posted another poem on my Crafty Green Poet blog, you can read it here