Thursday, 26 February 2015

Untold Stories

The hours that make a Saturday
- or a Sunday, can stretch,
if you don’t try too hard,
into years.

I wanted to see a ridge of hills
spread out against a washed out sky.
Walk in a Paul Nash landscape.
Something of this
was achieved.

A lonely business, trekking
through silvery grass, sheep
like fat clouds penned in
between my present space
and the mid-horizon.

If only I knew, as I should do by now,
how to read this landscape,
its ridges, hills and hollows
I could tell you something
of its story.

Instead, I stand here watching
a sheet of rusted iron tied to a post
flap in the wind, tongue-tied,
illiterate: only my thoughts
to tell.

A whorl of pearl in the grass
and a trench that might have
been a part of an ancient war.
A tree twisted at a crazy angle
yet still thriving.

Fortunately, no flowers grow here
and I never did get around
to saying just exactly
what it was
I meant.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The World Turned Upside Down

The Box Brownie
red portal
spy hole

shoots Frida Khalo

her face

on the wind

               another artist
turning the world
on its heels.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

The Intruder (Final Part)

Enough of this, enough of this messing around - scared now, Albert took the mobile phone from his dressing gown pocket.

‘Mind if I take a look in the garden, son?’

Albert followed the policeman.

There was, of course, no man in the garden. The policeman picked his way through the entanglements on the lawn.

‘Hmm, you need to do something to make your garden more secure. There have been a lot of shed break ins lately.’

Albert thanked the policeman and watched him get into his car.

The policeman’s shiny black boots had collected a serious amount of chicken manure from the garden. Albert decided that there wasn’t a good way to tell him.

Half way back to the station the policeman felt that something smelt very bad about this latest case.

Friday, 20 February 2015

The Intruder (Part Four)

Albert kept in the shadows, hardly daring to breathe. Meanwhile, the intruder continued to survey the bewildering garden casually as if he owned the place. It was a complete role reversal.

Maybe Albert should have done something to reveal his presence: perhaps open an upstairs window or turn the lights on. Anything to let this ape in the garden know that the house wasn’t empty. Instead, he decided to go upstairs to see if he could get a better view of what was going on.

Half way up the stairs he remembered the axe in the chopping block.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

The Intruder (Part Three)

The previous night had brought a gale. A fence panel lay like a dead soldier on the lawn. A mess of wild entanglements made up of brambles and branches and escaped black bin liners made access through the garden hazardous. Chickens scratched their way around the flower beds and there were at least three bicycles in various states of disrepair and a green wheel barrow carrying a load of brown rainwater. The barrow had a flat tyre of course. The shed in the far corner had a door that was propped shut with an old paint pot.

It was obvious that there was nothing here for even the most desperate thief who had ever cased a joint. But still the man didn’t move. Perhaps he was simply too stunned by the state of the garden.

Did honest law abiding citizens really live like this?

Sunday, 15 February 2015

The Intruder (Part Two)

Albert lay on the sofa and realised that he had stopped breathing. The porch door closed again. Albert had just decided that it might be a good idea to start breathing when he heard footsteps going around the side of the house towards the back gate that led into the garden. Sure enough, there was the sound of the gate scraping on the path because the bottom hinge had come loose. Whoever this mysterious visitor was, he wasn’t going to go away.

Albert got up and approached the rear of the house. He kept close to the walls and crouched like a very stealthy burglar in the hope that he wouldn’t be seen. When he reached the back window that gave a view onto the garden, Albert hung back. The intruder was wearing a brown sweatshirt with a hood that made him look rather like a monk. He was solidly built in jeans and steel-toe capped boots. The man stood very still, like a statue, and calmly appraised the garden.

It was impossible to see his face but breath came from his mouth and floated on the air like cigarette smoke.

Lord knows what he made of the garden.

Friday, 13 February 2015

The Intruder (Part One)

Albert Johnson was enjoying an afternoon of tonsillitis.
Certainly, the coughing and the sore throat had been something of a drag and the pink streaks of blood in his phlegm had been rather alarming until the doctor had reassured him that he wasn’t dying of throat cancer after all.

And now that he knew that he wasn’t dying, the compensations for being ill were fantastic.

Instead of being at college with all of its attendant boredom there was the joy of the wood burner, sofa, TV, phone and sporadic dozing. Yes, it suited him just fine to spend the day in his dressing gown.

Best of all, he had the whole house to himself. Tonsillitis was fast becoming Albert’s best friend.

He was just stretching himself out on the sofa wondering what screen to stare at next when he heard a sound that made him uneasy. No car had pulled up on the gravel of the driveway to signal the return of either his mum or dad but someone had definitely entered the front porch and they were taking far too long in there to be a delivery man.

And the delivery man wouldn’t try rattling the door handle…

Sunday, 8 February 2015


The wind rattles the doors,
shakes the windows.

Its hollow breath booms
in the throat of the chimney.

It blows in through the eaves,
the midnight slots
where pieces of the bricks
that complete the puzzle
that is a house are missing.

The same black squares
where starlings
smuggle their dazzle
and stash it in the dark.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Temporary Downfall

Snow is such a rare event in southern England. The appearance of snow should automatically declare the day a holiday. Unfortunately, the system isn’t poetic in the slightest. Cars slither and burn rubber along silvery grey side streets. People walk gingerly and a schoolgirl topples in a confusion of gloves, satchels and knees. The worst thing about falling isn’t just the shock of pain, it’s the hideous feeling of embarrassment as red faced you quickly scan about to see who has seen this temporary downfall.

She does what we all must do in such situations: dust ourselves off and start all over again.


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