headland 1

there will be time for reading books
and time for sitting on the grass
time for looking at the shadow cast
by the house
we lived in as children

there will be time to pick up pebbles
by the sea
and if that is not enough
for you and me
time to wander further out than that
over to the headland
where there are flecks of light flickering
and people gathering on the beach
to look at the fallen man

but now time is upon us
and things must be made ready

Traffic Report

Bad traffic
between here and town,
totally static,
lights all down.

Since I got sick,
at the window I sit,
watching the progress
of traffic.

Arterial movement
in late evening heat,
a twitch of the curtain,
back to my seat.

Time moves along,
the lights are back on,
between here and town
no traffic.


I happened on a message
left under a stone
by an old brick wall
I used to visit long ago
as a child

it’s not easy
lifting up a capstone
entering a dolmen
finding a memento

there may be tears


the child went to the mother
for comfort
and was handed a glass vessel

glass has many qualities
the most obvious being transparency

the sea around the little bay
is translucent and calm this evening

everything in this world deceives
especially love

true love is transparent

like a poem

no joyful music

if there are a thousand ways
to hold back time
one would be to journey
down some unknown railway line
and by the winking
of a cheap hotel sign
slip into the forests
of the night

let the night take you
where there is no need for time
or for anything at all
till comes a dripping dawn
devoid of chorus

no joyful music then
to mark the day –
not that it would be
wanted anyway

cliff diving in Acapulco

in Mexico
men dive off cliffs into the sea

women too
most probably
will dive off cliffs into the sea

the whole world over
folk dive off cliffs into the sea

so my heart plunged
and helplessly
the first time that you spoke with me



trees have bones just like us
only made of different stuff

that’s stupid – you said
it’s just wood

I ignored the jibe and carried on
it was after the storm
we were walking in the forest
inspecting the damage

branches lay like spillikins
strewn all over the place
or poised perilously
like in a giant game of jenga
a huge conifer had toppled over
and someone had worked hard
to make a dwelling
like a ruined chapel in its loins

it’s nothing like a chapel – you said
– and anyway trees don’t have loins

I know – I said
but if they did they would be deep down
where giant roots draw up sustenance
from the sleeping earth
there you find the best soil –
I was guessing but it sounded right

oh – you said – I knew that

yeah right – I said

what do you think caused this huge
dip in the ground – you asked

meteorite – I said

you laughed – that’s the stupidest thing
you’ve said all day but at least you
didn’t say crashed ufo

it could have been a crashed ufo – I said

let’s go home now – you said
– you’re right though – as we passed
a pile of branches looking like a
giant rib-cage – trees do have bones
but I’m still going to call it wood

they have skin too – I said

yeah – thick skin – it’s called bark

no – I said – that’s something dogs do
– this is what I mean


see you later – you said

I believed you and hung around for hours
it was the first time you’d called me an idiot
and I was touched
such frankness could only strengthen our relationship
I thought

how wrong could I be

but I finally worked it out today
when you say – see you later
you mean – see you sometime
maybe never

I’m sending you a photo of what I saw
while I was waiting

life is like bark

you work it out

see you later


I went out to the woods again

this time on my own
where once we walked in step of sorts
now I walk alone
I brought a piece of bark back home
to hang upon the wall
of all the lessons life has taught
the harshest one of all
is now before me

bark shall remind me

each day remind me


c. Ichtor | Dreamstime.com

[posted 20 Nov. 2014]


In wine and verse I bargain with the night,
though wine is once again the favoured option.
The thoughts of men in print now rarely charm,
and tend to bring less sleep than irritation.
As for love, she may as well have been
a dream that I once dreamed in former days.
The pleasures of the flesh and of the heart
by lumps and bumps and groans have been outweighed,
Tonight as stars grow dimmer one by one,
no bright new suns have blazed into my view,
and as for those I marvelled at in youth,
old passions these, I do not now pursue.
From two consuming spheres I seldom stray,
dull circles that I trace to end each day,
sad orbits that bring neither peace nor light,
in wine and verse I bargain with the night.

[Note: The opening and closing lines clearly echo Robert Frost’s “Acquainted with the Night”. This is the second time this has happened. I’ll let it stand as homage to a poem that got itself into my bones. EB]