spring evening

Spring late afternoon soft light  

glows hazy through wafts of cinnamon and citrus  

and light wood smoke like tasting notes

from a rare single malt.

Clouds of apple blossoms float over

and for a moment it’s too much and I am lost in the moment.

Bang! I hit my head on a single low-hanging apple 

half-hidden somehow in the light foliage out of time

heavy, dark red, shining, menacing. 

From somewhere nearby I hear your laughter. 

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spring hill

A translucent leaf lies by the prickly close-cropped hedge. 

When you pick it up it shimmers pink 

yet when you hold it up to the early morning sky

it glows green-blue-white. 

At last we turn and come down the long hill 

and bottom out where the trees lean tall 

bright green high and feathery, 

filled with blackbirds’ liquid trills and silent, warm, green-blue light.

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Dandelion spores float shining,

each tiny, hairy follicle glistening,

across the soft blue sky towards long stretches of hazy light cloud 

and the water reflecting their changing 

on warm air where that effortless tension resolves

as we lose sight of them in the sun at the horizon 

and the long shadows from the skinny bare young tree branches 

and the hedge beyond, dark green but also brown and deep golden. 

Through irregular gaps the sun comes persistent, warm, and strong.   

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A muddy path descends

through shining dark leaves, 

irregular patches of pale yellow light,

light brown and yellowish grass,

till the brook emerges from half hidden rocks 

to wander beside the path and the two merge

in those pools and puddles and rivulets 

where we stand now here by what we call the tree shrine

at the edge of the stand of slender poplars  

and watch the glistening water flowing by.  

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Early Spring

Early Spring. The pavement ahead shimmers.

A light breeze blows off the river.

I run hard, then find myself behind

a tall man in high-viz vest, dark trousers, dark boots,

walking heavily away from the depot.

Slowing down, I smell strong, spicy dry cologne.

We come round the bend

into light off the fresh expanse of sand,  

the tidal flats glistening.

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Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday. It is warm. We walk towards the bridge. 

Waves of grey mist sweep across the river where

the mud is deep and sticky

and we tell bits of the story.

The mist blows and shapes appear

and reappear in the mud and the water

turning darker where they meet.  

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Puddly reflection

This morning new and seasonable coldblue-grey sky stretches still and steelyover the winding half-dark pathand as on other mornings my prayers by Christ’s five woundsare interrupted. Once lost in ardent dialogueI did not see what was in front of my face till it hit me in the facea low-hanging slender willow branchIt splashed me with cold clear rainwater.Or again as I ran out to the confluence of Trym and Avon, the dark tidal estuaryedged by mud and tufty stunted grassfrom out across the gently scented stale salty watersomeone shouted to me from a rowboat ‘Morning!’ ‘Good morning!’ I repliedflinging my arm high,then turning to run back downthe slippery path shining with grit and standing waterhome to our front door.   

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It’s not the heat…

Cut wet grass, life’s steam, everywhere is humididity.
Early morning overcast glare, warm July air, breathe fedundity.
Stepping through the door I have a sudden urge for poetry.
It’s St Bridget’s Day, mother, widow, patron of Europe, friend of generosity.
Time is now somehow suspended in the grass glimmer’s bright liquidity.
The granular, angular path disappears in a field of hollyhocks beyond the old oak tree.

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summer afternoon

I step out into heavy air
and the long road down the hill
St Thomas says the higher the degree of perfection shown in creation,
the more diverse it is.
A sudden cloudburst leaves
droplet worlds
on the bent dark leaves
of verbena and some unknown prickly bush
and now back at home orange gin and organic tonic
on the plain oak table

sunshine frothing

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Holy Week and Easter 2020

Holy Week and Easter 2020

A Series of Free Compositions



Palm Sunday. At the park early this morning no one yet.

Still sunshine.  Coronavirus has stilled the traffic.


Somewhere beyond the trees

two male woodpeckers compete and converse


across the luminous green-blue space

of sky and quiet football pitch.




Good Friday morning.

I put on a dark shirt, old aftershave,

the sky steady blue

in Coronavirus stillness.

The sheer evergreen in the garden

reaches beyond the dark roofline opposite.




Holy Saturday clear sun,

the path worn into the grass outside the fence

where people with dogs can still walk now

uneven, dry, brown-orange underfoot

but broken open

in the Coronavirus quiet

and birds in the big still bare apple tree squabble.

Life goes on open to warmth and suffering.




Waiting for an answer to prayer is more than an untestable idea.

The shadows have shortened now

in the back garden and on the fields beyond.




Park bright yellow-green

gate swinging. It’s Easter Day.

One shiny crow stock still.




A patch of unstintingly blue sky

out of the kitchen window

is cut by the white windowsill.

Pain may take a long time.

It is not mere formalism to trust the forms of life,

the glass vase full of wilted purple flowers

still bright

three days after Easter.




By the white house a bee moves jerkily from pink daisy to daisy,

It’s easy to feel you and all things useless.


I’m jolted from reverie by something tickling my arm:

a cloud of dandelion spores floating


radiant, joyous, glorious.




Clear May Day — and St Joseph the Worker’s Day — and sun shines over
broken arcs of dark tree boughs
and deep blue sky,
the many-coloured blur of passing cars,
glistening dew and residual rain,
the divets and ruts in the dirt path aruond the fenced playpark,
bright green
in lockdown.
For a moment
we look on through the trees.

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