These poems were written around Christmas 2015, a year in which much happened. I thought I would have to summon the courage to write them down. As ever it was they with grace who summoned me.



So have you gone, youíve finally gone

I know. Under my rolling thumbs

Another rain tallies


You stare from the princely rail

Down a summer side


To the slow-moving matinee

Where a tangle of children holds up


A banner for alms:

Can we go mum can we go


Into a silence of scissors

Some youthful hand   

shouldered snow

Breaks your vice versa

Asks to say hello


Up Law Hill


Not now Who knows when

weíll crunch the same white

numbers the same prepositions

Up Law Hill behind us

the mast ahead the field

dumb with sheep. One hundred

two hundred. Slow

like fairground horses o


My love I am not here

I am there in the soft lanterns


of my rainbow colours                                     


have you heard


Snow posts words  

In the commentatorís coat hanger


Clouds rise out of the saddle

The camera believes in us

Itís why we run

Found Picture


O and it makes the bones so sore to feel

How embarrassed I was at the very thought

Of disowning all the downtrodden days

That lay me next to you, the slick perfume

Of your gaze and the spring tide stealing

Us both from the toes up. How embarrassed

Indeed. I knew one man capable of it. Divine

He was. And those that came after, flat pebbles

Thrown by curious hominids, that bounced off

the big megaliths, they were men too. Men

And women who dipped their pens in the great

Dragons of light. I admired them as well. But here

Iím with you on this coastal plain, perpendicular.

My big box headís been centuries lost in the garb

Of the benevolent masters, all the good lines

Are breakable, my implementís unsteady and anyway

The wordless edges of this wave and that are busy

Eddying at my feet.


Penelope Running


Penny may I call you Penny? Perhaps

Youíd be happier with the pigeons

Under the eaves where not even Laertes

Would think to look you out


While you faithfully unravel

Someone than me less leadered

will perform the utterly thinkable                 so

When dear Odysseus returns and the blinkers

                                                                are off

Iíll miss you

Penelope running

Between home and the dark songs     that pitilessly

Carry you away   


Francis Cadell on Iona


Something exploded generously

On East Bay 

something happened

To change the paint   There are all

But the innermost sounds

           and signs

The rocks wordless beasts

Bury in a powdered canvas 

Their heads come over all hushed.

A bright-eyed field paints me real

From this field nods green the scene

Already in my eye a picture ending

Before it begins in the time before time


A cool feline asks: is there laughter

In what you say to your hiding gods?

You take in the kelp the bladderwrack

Salt grass erupts in the breaking garden 

Blue. Orange


Answer. Will the question ever

                                                go away

If itís what Iím hearing Iím hearing

The moon up to high jinks

White in the sounded



Enough. Francis are you selling well

Iím shamed by your ending

All that poverty  The orange and

The eel-black lineage coming

                                      back to earth

By the under dear

Of a high-arched


Ocean of Longing


Iím pretty sure this is all

Because you exist  itís only I

Want to burn the hillside entire

Every tidy heathered knap

                                    buckshee sap

Iíd gladly pour down the neck

Of that silly man of yours


But then the least balding of

The tea time chimpanzees

A propos of Harpoís outsize hatín coat


Slopes for a pint   In me kindling

An epipelagic light of dawn

Crests the brae of those big goodbye

                        gangster shoulders





A stiff neck above the art

Trapped in my frame 

I dream of childhoods

A buoy hauling the glue

Bones of a horse

Across skittering pier sides 



Puffing your last puffaw

The roped hands easy

  in earth in water

Rocking the shipís bear-toy

            on your knee


Like the tide

By the rocks of Malta            a wave  

To learn not all of nothing

Of nothing






Red holds light

Cloud above the thumbnail

Peaks                        O so




Doyou write poetry yourself

Sitting at your cool cat table

Lick your lips for the pink


                                    sweet meats

Of the mildly talking rooks


Is your hot head from the tigerís flame

I envy you

The half-light

Half-life of language

(What was that again about

The island) 

Send me a postcard from

                                                your edge

Sir please do





Lost Album Tracks of the 70s


How good to hear from you itís

Been a while does the trailing sax

Of unsilence still get on your nerves

Wasnít it a form of loathing  donít be

Afraid remember you are also here

To be entertained   there will always be

Enthusiasts for spinning humming

Crackling in the undergrowth of sound


Yes I walk the backbeat county ways still

Receive the cold kiss of the abstract


Ghosting on the coastal path unsexed

By the civic placement of metal benches

That fairly freeze the bum  O for

A soft-mouthed dog to flush the bird

Root-a-toot brother galoot whose shoes

His deeds never quite matched  Iím happy

Youíre welcome any time with eyes blind

Iíll keep looking over my shoulder    guess

Against the cool pane whose lips      hissing

Furrow of youth that stopped being

    your place

And mine

The People On The Lawn


The People On The Lawn

Were invisible   werenít on

First-name terms with the dead


Waved maniacally at passing cars

Said their goodbyes by postal ballot


Nodded at the thinning poet

Made their own darkness


Were uninterested in the light from Liťbana

Fished in their youth


Won countless Petrarchan laurels

Woke themselves from pisspoor dreams


Suffered from chronic distraction

Never knew what theyíd missed


Owned a blind telescope

Slipped into mythology


Were doomed to loveís sequel

Called the Fire Brigade


Admired the bodyís embroidery

Were as pale as hosts


Held one end of the silver braid

Thumped their hearts in prayer


 Earned long-service medals

Broke wind inside the city walls


Wore rust petals in their hair

Struck coins


Launched a mouse hunt

Tied all their loose ends with logic


Were exposed from mid-thigh to shin

Understood betrayal as

      a slow circulation in the veins