Journey to Bukhara (Gloucestershire Writers’ Network Anthology 2023)
This is not a poem about a journey that started at 7am
nor is it about oversleeping and having no breakfast
it isn’t about leaving the suburbs in the rush hour
with children in neat white shirts with backpacks
hair slicked down or plaited with white ribbons.
It is not about waiting in the traffic
and it certainly isn’t about crossing a bridge with a guard with a gun
forbidding us to take photographs.
This isn’t a poem about the worst lunch I have ever had
it certainly isn’t about greasy meat swimming in broth
nor about kebabs so tough
they challenged even the youngest of us.
It isn’t about the facilities standing apart
with broken doors and no running water
and it isn’t about feeling queasy afterwards
and wishing I had stuck to dry stale bread.
This certainly isn’t a poem about the heat
that hit us as the bus door opened
or about the garage where we stopped
to buy chocolate to take away the after-taste of lunch.
Nor is it about the power plants that we passed,
the refineries, the scrubland fit for nothing
the inland sea diminished by an upstream dam.
Not is it about potholes, diversions
Krushchev-era roads of concrete slabs
crumbling with age and overuse.
This is a poem about reaching a destination
a mirage of a shopping centre surrounded by white cars
and a hotel with a pool and staff
who lost keys, shouted at each other
and offered us cold red wine.
(Impspired Issue 24 , 2023)
Sunflowers will Grow Again (Wildfire Words, 2022)
the most devastating assault
indiscriminate use of force
a night of heavy shelling
transforming peaceful cities into military targets
Rescue me from the hands of foreigners
whose mouths are full of lies,
whose right hands are deceitful.
a Russian missile struck her home
the house completely destroyed
she thanked a guardian Angel
for saving her life
hands and woollen scarf caked in blood
I never thought this would truly happen in this lifetime
my God, I am not ready to die
weeping by the body of his father
the twisted wreckage of a car
a 13 year old killed in the attack
Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.
I will do everything for Ukraine
with as much strength as I have
as long as we are alive we will fight
refuse to lay down arms
in the face of certain death
democracy cannot defend itself
I will be only for my motherland
never will I submit
it is better to die
Together they will be like warriors in battle
trampling their enemy into the mud of the streets.
They will fight because the Lord is with them,
and they will put the enemy horsemen to shame
You are occupants. You are fascists.
Offer them sunflower seeds
put them in your pocket
sunflowers will grow again
Coda: Times newspaper coverage 26 February 2022 of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Psalm 144;11. Micah 7;8. Zechariah 10;5.
Mother and Child (Live Encounters,2021)
Perfect Pitch, (Lunate, 2021)
The Year of the Zoom-Christmas
A Memory Unlocked
Bubble, (The Lake, March 2021)
Lessons from the School for Young Ladies
(Poetry Village, February,2021)
What is it meant to be dear?
(Impspired, February 2021)
(Ink Sweat and Tears, September 2020)
Nanny Wore Silk Pyjamas
Death of a Mulberry Tree
Consider the lilies
(Impspired, October 2020)
(Lunch, vol 3, October 2020)
How to bathe an elephant
Uniform for a Unicorn
(Apex Poetry, September 2020)
Welcombe Mouth and other poems
(Poetry Kit New Poets, September 2020)
The Badger (Impspired May 2020)
I drive along the lane, not far from town,
to my house, where my lover will come,
one day, when he is ready.
The lane, unfamiliar…….
Restless Nights (Impspired May 2020)
In the still darkness
when the church clock strikes three
when all the world sleeps
I dwell on the past, on sins of omission or worse……
On growing old (Impspired May 2020)
The years stretched before me
hounded only by ambition.
Those first years watching children grow……
The forgotten photograph (Snakeskin Poetry 2020)
I take a picture from its wooden frame
and underneath it lies another
grey, faded, scratched and torn
a young girl posing with her mother……
Equinox Epidemic (Poetry in the Plague Year 2020)
The equinox is near
a feeling of relief
to have got through the winter:
through the twilit late afternoons…..
Lockdown 2020 (Poetry in the Plague Year 2020)
Twice a month I used to take the train in late afternoon
change at Reading for Clapham Junction,
walk from no-man’s-land
up the hill towards the Common……
Here are some of my poems published in online magazines:
Cynara Scalymus (Atrium 2018)
The Book of Death (Ink Sweat and Tears 2018)
Each night I craft
the perfect poem
a device for sleep…more
The Virgin and the Crescent Moon ( The Ekphrastic Review 2018)
She sits within a starburst
on a crescent moon
the Child in her arms
her gaze intent, eyes lowered …more
Black (Amaryllis 2018)
is the colour of my psyche
of the all-year-round dark mornings
of tears…. more
Poems included in The Poetry Atlas:
He was newly married.
A merchant told him of gardens in Holland,
canals frozen in winter,
tulips exotic in spring.
Maynard Colchester thought to please his young wife
by designing a garden… more
Myanmar Poems from The Poetry Atlas (2019)
Inle Lake -I
Voyeurs from distant places
taken by long – tailed boat
to luxury hotels
with lakeside views of sunset,
of exotic birds, water buffalo…more
Inle Lake – II
Pagodas of Bagan
Green countryside crisscrossed by dirt tracks
an expression of the search for Nirvana.
Most are brick, massive, imposing
some smaller ones, solid stupas…..more
On the green top of a sand cliff
they farm the land
workers gather crops by hand
take them on gondola-like canoes…. more
The circle line
The fishing village
The glamour of the name: Bay of Bengal
a luxurious cottage
sand raked every morning
sun loungers in rows under palm leaf shades…..more
The railway bazaar
The crowded market spills onto the railway line
women sit cross-legged
their tiny children with them…. more
The white elephant
Lord Buddha had a wobbly tooth
King Anawrahta found it;
he would build a great pagoda.
He went to his astrologers
to ask them where; ….more
Poems in anthologies and print magazines
Poetry Kit Anthology On Course 2021 http://poetrykit.org/lunch.htm
The Strike Breaker
Heritage: New Writing VIII. Horseplay Press. 2019
Low tide, two dog-walkers on the beach
islands and a lighthouse in the distance.
A modern block of red-brick seafront flats
built above a carpark, balconies gaze blankly out to sea,
and an Edwardian pier
newly painted, tastefully, pale blue.
At the seaward end a solitary fisherman,
substantial bollards for steam pleasure boats
taking families, ladies long-skirted
with parasols and hats,
on afternoon excursions to the lighthouse.
Inland, a chine, a word from childhood memory
of Boscombe, walking to the front
through gardens round a deep ravine.
This chine had a Chinese pagoda,
well-kept topiary, a war memorial,
and gentle paths for buggies, wheelchairs.
Along one side the ravine overgrown
with large-leaved jungle plants,
mossy paths green and slippery
from damp and lack of sun,
perfect for hide and seek.
My father had a box of precious things
dog tags from the war and medal ribbons
a photograph of children berry-brown
a silver paper horseshoe and a nutmeg.
The dog tags made some sense
as did the medal ribbons,
memories of war, of desert and Red Sea,
the silver dollars and the dhow blockade.
The photo of the beach in Egypt
was of a girl with hair in ribbons
back to camera gazing out to sea
a small boy in the shallows facing her.
The nutmeg had a hard and furrowed skin
dark, shiny with age and frequent use.
But what use? Why was it there?
He never went to Indonesia.
Perhaps he saw it in a Middle Eastern souk
and put it in his pocket thoughtlessly.
What made him keep it all these years-
the talisman that brought him safely home perhaps.
Poetry Kit’s Online Anthology Poetry in the Plague Year includes:
Sarasvati Issue 56 March 2020 has a selection of my poems: https://www.indigodreams.co.uk/sarasvati/4563791846
An English Grandmother foresees her death
My first pamphlet Pilgrimage written as a response to a Pilgrimage to the Holy Places in Israel and to St Andrews Church, Ramallah in the West Bank is available as a paperback or in a Kindle version at Amazon.