Poem ~ Grass, Hay


We grubbed out the apple trees, ploughed
and weeded, and waited through the winter
then we harrowed, seeded and rolled. 

I would never have guessed the beauty 
captured in the movement of long grass
the sway and flow of it in the wind.

And now, after mowing, before 
the first of three turns, I am entranced by 
the felt weight of it already turning gold.

If you wish, you can add your own analogies
here: effort, timing, patience, reward. 
Or, you can just stay with the grass

watch the wood pigeons settle 
on the layered tresses searching for seeds.
Close your eyes, breathe. The scent of it.  


Haibun ~ Words

For a year I have been thinking about getting back to fitness with each run I take but back is surely the wrong word to choose when ahead is where the gift of full recovery lies. And today the lane I am running along reminds me that neither word serves and it is only the now of the cow parsley, the fields of beans, the North Downs holding up a sun-bright sky that matters, this moment, this breath  

here now
stopping to listen
to the skylark’s song


Poem ~ So much

So much

I want to say so much about 
this oak and these first bluebells
but what can I say that you
don't already see and feel yourselves?

The weight of that trunk hunkering 
over the frail brushstrokes of colour. 
You might even imagine their barely 
perceptible scent soon to be booming 

through the woods. We are comforted 
in these moments, aren't we? The reliable 
return of Spring. By beauty. 
The way our small hearts sing. 

Above me the first shimmer of green 
in the splayed branches. At my feet
these steadfast little gifts. I want to
believe in a world that can change and heal. 


Poem ~ What I see

What I see

The railway bridge’s shadow staircase
rising diagonally on the opposite side of the cut
reminds me I cannot always be sure
of what I see, or what I think I see.
Or at least understand that even light
can sometimes lead me in the wrong direction.


Poem ~ The Old and the New

The Old and the New

What remains in the Afan of an old wooden wharf
overlooked by wind turbines crowning the mountain.

The castellated look-out tower at the docks dwarfed
by the unloading cranes in the deep harbour.

The timeless and relentless tides held back by
giant tumbles of rock along the steps of the prom.

This is what we are made of too: the old and the new,
what we were, what we’ve done, what we have become. 

Some days we look back with a heartful of regrets,
others, we are brimming with gifts a new day has brought.

The past is always with us. Change sits at every horizon.
We can only do our best to carry and welcome them both.


Poem ~ Never


For Mam, 1st December 1932 ~ 25th March 2021

Grief keeps changing its shape – a weight 
like a kilo bag of sugar compressing my lungs, 

sometimes a water smoothed stone that fits
perfectly in the palm of my hand. Yesterday 

the heaviest of winter coats that refused 
to keep out the chill. Today, I woke and heard 

birdsong through the early morning mist 
and remembered the last words you wrote 

the month before you died –  It’s good 
to be positive and looking ahead, Lynne.

So here I am running the lanes looking for 
all the things I would have shared with you:  

the planting of young laurels along the hedgerow 
on St Vincent’s Lane, the way the moss 

has grown sparsely on one side of the stone bridge 
but thickly on the other, and how someone 

has laid a plank across the stream to cross 
from bank to bank. I think I understand now 

that grief remains with us. And I never had to say, 
Don’t go, please stay, because you never left me. 

Mam, the white wood anemones are like 
a carpet of stars. Soon, the bluebells. 


World Poetry Day 2022

2nd day of Spring

No one shouts about 
the 2nd day of Spring.
The 1st day takes all the credit 
for just being, well, the 1st. 

But let’s celebrate being 2nd today – 
the determination to keep going 
when you know there is 
no fanfare waiting for you 
when the cheering
has stopped and it’s up to you 
to congratulate yourself 
for the effort you made 
and no one can say that’s

worth less than what is ahead
or behind you. Each day 
another burst of fragile scent
from the apricot blossom.