Monday, 1 February 2016

A Proboscis Clutters Up The Keyboard

Sorry for the delay. 

I have been laid up in bed with a bug. The bug kept to his side of the bed and I kept to mine. Nothing untoward happened except that every time I tried to put one of my feet on the floor the bug wrapped one of his feelers around my leg and wouldn’t let me go. 

The bug must have been very fond of me. 

This has been going on for thirty days hence my absence from the scene. I never once woke up to find that I had turned into the bug which is kind of a shame because it would have given me some very interesting writing material that might have made me a household name if someone else, like so many other things in life, hadn’t already beaten me to it. 

Mind you, there are limits as to how far I’m prepared to go to be a smash in this business: imagine trying to type with a proboscis cluttering up the keyboard.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

What I Read In 2015

In The Blood - Andrew Motion

Poor White: A Novel - Sherwood Anderson

My Name Is Aram - William Saroyan

Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger

Selected Poems 1976-1997 - Andrew Motion

The Jungle - Upton Sinclair

Spring Chronograph - Red Shuttleworth

Barrels In Babylon - Red Shuttleworth

The Uninhabitable City - Aidan Andrew Dun

The Idylls Of The King - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

White Wings - John Freeman

An Extra Blue Mile - Red Shuttleworth

Nampa Lights - Red Shuttleworth

Stand Magazine, Volume 1, Number 2 June 1999

Amulet - Red Shuttleworth

No Time To Cut My Hair - William Michaelian

Mr Mercedes - Stephen King

Jack’s Porch - A Chapbook Anthology

Morning Poems - Robert Bly

Rose Madder - Stephen King

Complete Poems - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Four Quartets - T.S. Eliot

Final Light Of Day - Red Shuttleworth

Cider With Rosie - Laurie Lee

What’s It Like? - Dave Kelly

Collected Poems 1909-1962 - T.S. Eliot

Campsites Of Ghosts - Red Shuttleworth

Friday, 25 December 2015


It might have been The Who: their original name was The Detours and it seems to me that sometimes you can learn a lot from a band’s name.

With hours of festive freedom ahead of me I take a few detours of my own and drive along an unfamiliar road that leads to a churchyard. I park up on a patch of gravel in a green grotto of yews with  blood red berries that shine in the gloom. I share the space with a burgundy car belonging to an old couple placing flowers on a grave in the rain. I am in an expansive mood like Scrooge after the visit of the third ghost and feel like saying hello although it doesn’t seem right to break the silence so I don’t. 

Instead, I lift the latch on the churchyard gate expecting someone to leap out from behind a grave and challenge me at any moment. 

They are impressive graves, especially the great white sarcophagus that seems to glow in the grass next to a moss coated cross with fast fading Celtic knot work. 

I come to a wrought-iron lamppost in an early twentieth century style: it seems like the perfect place to wait for Mr Tumnus except that there’s plenty of rain instead of snow. 

Then, feeling like a burglar, I try the handle on the sombre church door. It’s locked and there’s nothing more to be done except to keep on walking in the rain looking and not looking for the next detour.

Thursday, 17 December 2015


Shadow of a seal
in the myriad shapes 
of the waves. 
An optical illusion 
that snaps self absorption 
to a tottering upright 
is that really… do you see what I see?


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