Seaside days

Slowly the sand trickles from my hand

Slips through my fingers

And drifts upon the breeze

There’s a chill in the air

And my bare arms tingle

My skin is cold

But I stand a moment

The scream of a gull overhead

Almost lost in the crash of waves

As the sea vents its anger upon the shore

I can taste the salt on the wind

As grey clouds bring the promise of rain

But then a scent of childhood memory

Fish and chips with the pungency of vinegar

I savour the moment

Then turn towards the promenade

I stand in line awaiting my turn

Then clasping my hot prize

I sit upon a wall and open the wrapper

But somehow it doesn’t taste the same

Plain white paper doesn’t blacken the hands

The way newsprint did when I was young

Warm and grease stained

Treasured times that disappeared

Like newspaper on the wind

Torn away by health and safety regulations

Cackles of gulls squabble over scraps

As I turn my back upon those seaside days

And head for home


Blind joy

He had never

seen the sun shine from

a blue sky


But he had

breathed in the sweet scented

air of summer


Felt the heat

upon his flesh and basked

in its warmth


He had never

seen the beauty of a

sunrise but he


Had heard the

birds welcome the dawn with

a myriad songs


He had never

seen the beauty of his lover’s

eyes but he


Had felt her

breath upon his chest as

she lay sleeping


He had felt

her touch upon his skin

in the night


He had felt

the sweat of her passion

upon his body


Without sight he

had enjoyed the world in

so many ways


He had tasted

the fruits of autumn and bathed

in cool water


He had danced

never seeing the moonlight but

feeling its pull


He had heard

the sweet song of his lover

at his side


And serenaded her

with his voice and guitar

in the piazza


She was his

muse as his fingers plucked

the nylon strings


She was his

eyes as she described the

world she saw


She gave his

life colour when he lived

only in darkness


He had never

seen the sun shine from

a blue sky


But he had

tasted the sweetness of his

lover’s tender lips


And his heart

was filled with wonder at

each new joy


The graveyard was empty, no one was there

To see his body laid beneath the ground

No one to notice the chill in the air


No one to see the mist all around

No one to weep and no one to pray

Buried that day with barely a sound


Hour by hour the time slipped away

Until day became night so quiet and still

The earth black and cold where he lay


The mist swirled and danced on the grave until

A shape could be seen, tall and thin

A revenant called to do his will


Dark of eye and white of skin

A shadowed face beneath his hood

A wrathful spirit with a vengeful grin


Upon that mound of earth he stood

And raised his voice with a banshee cry

Then filled with a naked thirst for blood


He saluted with his reaper’s scythe

And went to choose the first to die

Twenty questions

What brings you awake in the middle of the night?

What do you dream of and what gives you nightmares?

What do you fear when you hear the tread upon the stairs?

What ignites your passion in the cold light of day?

What drives you to get out of bed each morning?

Do you know what your heart truly aches for?

And what would you do to achieve it?

When the world turns against you, who do you call?

Who do you reach for when the tears begin to fall?

Or do you prefer to weep alone onto your pillow?

Could you offer your love without expectation?

Or do you guard your heart like a jealous lover?

What does joy taste like after swallowing grief?

Do you ignore everything that challenges your beliefs?

Can you open your mind to all of life’s experiences?

Or do you lock yourself in a bubble to shut out the world?

Would you give your life for a person or a cause?

Would you be able to take a life without a pause?

What would make you take to the streets in protest?

What do you take pride in and what do you hide?

There is no right or wrong way to answer

Each person’s perceptions will colour their views

Only we ourselves can know our own truths


The fluffy bunny brigade

Flounce around in their lovey dovey

Wishy Washy

Happy Clappy

Hippy Trippy

Pseudo-spiritual bullshit


They talk about love and light

Angels and fairies

And the latest Unicorn Wing Reiki

From some ancient ascended Atlantean

That they really must be attuned to

The latest in a long line of systems

Channelled by their favourite guru

Who sits like a Buddha

Smiling benignly as his flock grows

And the money rolls in


They quote words of wisdom

That sound clever and cool

Until you examine them

And the words fade

Into meaningless doggerel

They talk about Truth

With a capital T

Then claim there is no reality

Everything is illusion

There is only love


They deny anything dark

There is no negativity

It’s all in the mind

And the mind is wrong

Thought is wrong

There is only love

And you are wrong

If you dare to disagree


Cognitive dissonance

Rings in their ears

And blinkers their eyes

As they smile

And think how lucky they are

To be so enlightened

But they forget

That where there is light

There is also shadow

And the problem with being blinkered

Is you don’t see it creeping up on you

Until it’s too late

New perspectives

I have never seen this view before

This city I have known for over thirty years

Still throws up surprises

Still shows me new perspectives

I have walked these streets

Crossed the bridges

Trodden in the Cathedral’s shadow

But there’s always something new to see

Always something new to me


I have never seen these trees before

Or followed these wooded paths

That lead from familiar streets

Where memories were born

I stand for a moment

And catch a glimpse of the Cathedral

Through the branches

I wonder if this was the view

The Scots saw as they crossed the ridge

Onto the battlefield of Neville’s Cross

Did they see the famed towers

As the mist lifted from the valley

Did the bells tolls for them

Just as the clouds of arrows descended


Am I walking on their graves

Do they stir beneath the barrows

Are wights disturbed by my footsteps

Do they come with the mist

Those ghosts that haunt the English ground

Would I hear their voices calling

Battle cries and death shrieks

Or do they rest easy in dreamless death

What would they make

Of the tarmacked streets

Of the steel machines that speed

Faster than the cavalry they knew

Would they still recognise the view

Of the Cathedral as it towers over all

Or would it be a new perspective for them too


I cried myself to sleep last night

No matter how I tried

I just couldn’t stop

Each teardrop was acid burning on my skin

Aflame with an unknown yearning


I cried myself to sleep last night

My dreams were of death

Of ravens tearing at my flesh

A spear through my chest

On an ancient battlefield

But no Valkyries came to claim the slain

No heroes chosen to feast in Valhalla’s halls


I cried myself to sleep last night

A wormeaten hole where my heart once beat

As I wept I slept at Death’s cold feet

As He crossed the ancient seas to the Underworld

In a dragon ship hewn from bone

Around my neck a stone

A fragment of rose quartz

That once held our love

But was shattered into small shards

By the coldness of your tongue


I cried myself to sleep last night

And the salt water froze on my cheek

As I gazed out into a bleak future

I longed for battle

To rid myself of the fury

And perhaps to die upon a spear

Without fear of what comes next

Because without you death is all I can hope for

A surcease of pain and sorrow

No empty tomorrow stretched out before me


I cried myself to sleep last night

And as dawn’s light shone upon my face

I took my shield and mace

Upon the final battlefield

And fought my demons

Each one larger than the last

Until the past caught up with me

That final demon with your smile

I could not strike my fist into those teeth

I was overcome and overthrown

Swept into Death’s scythe

As it swung to claim my soul

Which, once freed from these mortal chains

Flew on Raven’s wings into the sun

To be consumed by light and flame

Until no trace of me remained


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