Pebbles for a Prize


In a cabin with no number,
on a ship without a name,
on a sea with no location,
inspiration never came
to the shaky old right hand
and the notebook and the pen,
of a man who was commanded
to go sailing once again.
Today it was not granted.
Today it won’t arrive.
I am washed up on the shore
with only pebbles for a prize.

c. Peter Clark |

c. Peter Clark |

Sober Advice

It is lately the case, lately the case,
the more deeply beguiled
I am by a face, the closer I stand
to disgrace. Men of a certain age
should quietly leave the stage,
breathe deeply and take a slug,
bottle the beast and put in the plug,
reflect on the reasonable shout
it’s no longer worth letting out.
Some cheer before I depart,
consolation is found in art.
Not much, in the case of rhyme,
but enough until opening time.

Blithe Spirit

I dig the deepest holes
in sole companionship
with the night.
And where they lead,
I must concede,
I cannot shed a light.
Morning breaks
and blithely takes
away my darkest fear,
that down the deepest
hole of all, one night
I’ll disappear.

Floating Pebbles|c. A. Bramwell|

Floating Pebbles|c. A.Bramwell|


Letter to None

I never wrote to you -
perhaps I should.
Love ties rope round
and then it pulls.
Leaves us stretching
like a kid under a tree
for one bright apple
nobody sees.

I don’t like apples -
never did.
Don’t eat fruit much
and won’t until
sweet berries lean
towards my door.
And that will happen
to me no more.


At high tide, the beach
where it happened
has largely disappeared.

A trailing thread
of police tape
flutters by the bandstand,

There is just the incessant
wailing of gulls,
who act like they know everything
but don’t know this simple a, b, c,
that tomorrow the beach
will be packed again,
except for the missing three.

For them there is only the sea,
the uncomprehending sea.

Silent Interlocutors

Now that everyone has left,
it’s time I got things off my chest:
kith and kin and ancestry,
and all that family history,
aunts and uncles (real or other),
fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers,
partners who were slightly rude,
cousins who should be removed.

All behaved with better style,
than those who couldn’t raise a smile;
who ate and drank and shut up shop,
so pleased to see you – thanks a lot,
who looked like they had indigestion,
communicating by suggestion,
who couldn’t quite react with us,
silent interlocutors.

And what was plain for all to see,
as plain as plain could plainly be:
no interlocutor, did he,
sit quite as silently as me.

Lorenzo & Isabella - detail (Millais) | Wikipedia

Lorenzo & Isabella – detail (Millais) | Wikipedia

The Cypress Grove

To linger among shades,
fading as day fades,
and when she calls
(she doesn’t call)
but if she did
to fade no more.

To lay and not repose
then to the cypress grove,
to go at eve
(it’s always eve)
and there to dwell
in make believe.

To wait for her return,
wait and never learn,
there is no she
(no remedy),
and only one lone
cypress tree.



cummings and Goings

i’ve gone all e e cummings
my style was looking tame
my syntax was obsessing me
the commas were to blame
so no more punctuation
fifty years too late
but to put god’s name in lower case
oh lord i hesitate
Dear Lord, I hesitate.