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Traversing Rainbows



it’s a long long way

to the end of the rainbow

best keep your feet

on the violets and indigos

red through yellow sticks to your shoes like clay

and it’s surprisingly heavy

for light


and of course you shouldn’t look down

better to focus

on those shimmering bands of radiance

that ripple and swirl

beneath your footsteps

or the freeform clouds that vaporously drift

around you


it helps if you sing - naturally

any old show tunes

by long dead crooners

or ladies with sparkling eyes and thick red lipstick

that’s why over tin pan alley

the rainbows were always

the brightest


you may find yourself growing weary

but on no account lie down

sleep will come too easily

your dreams will be packed with detail

but rainbows have this habit of disappearing

you may wake to find yourself

falling to earth


and then there is the descent

as you draw towards the end

it’s slippery and there’s nothing to hold onto

rainbows don’t come with handrails

you need a steady nerve

and save the best of your songs

for now


as you approach the end

you can peer down to that marvellous plain

that no one can reach by land

and when at last you stand there

the ache in your muscles will ebb away

clarity will infuse your mind as you breathe the air

of gold


This poem appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of

Tears in the Fence magazine.

Her Shrine


framed in pastel flowers

a princess

raised in the pink

to a queen bee destiny

stares through mascara

across the desolate lane

low cut dress

night out, family occasion

big camera smile

the picture atop

her shrine


it’s up on the hill

where fly tippers shed by night

ashtray contents lie by the roadside

plastic bottles slowly degrade

and strange foams

collect in the gutters

it’s by the bwlch, the cut, the gap

trays and vases for flowers, a stone book

a child’s broken windmill toy

and her face atop

the shrine


she stares through her mascara

at potholes, nettles and bracken

no Disneyland, no fairy castle

even the farms here seem near dead

land degraded by

mine-disturbed springwater’s seep

fields rented to horse owners

for their little princesses to ride

in hard hats and pink wellington boots

with barely a glimpse for

this shrine


she loved without discretion

to mam and dad’s despair

did she go up there willingly?

did he cajole her, force her with threats?

did he know what he was going to do

up there on the bwlch, the cut, the gap?

her brothers found the body

it was no accident

that brought with a florist’s art

to this roadside

its shrine


dense rain slaps the ground here

rich moss and thick ivy thrive on wizened trees

brambles reach to wrap around

the first picture they mounted on the fence post

indistinguishably blurred by damp

its poem of praises and bitter regrets

reduced to a smear of dissolving ink

a cemetery gravestone will outlast all this

but up here on the bwlch, the cut, the gap

the elements embrace

her shrine


(RIP: Jenna Louise Watkins.  1985 – 2007)



This poem appeared in issue #44 of South Wales poetry magazine Roundyhouse.

Himalayan Balsam


a delicate invader

with a soft smell like coriander

and sweetly curling flowers

of mauve and white

moves into the territory

and with such gentle persistence

smothers the opposition


Another one that appeared in Roundyhouse 44



road trip


new engine on an old chassis

we took it for a spin

through lingering landscapes

wayside gas stations all long gone

we got it to run on love



stopped for a fresh paint job

hand-done by a wise old con

breezed our way on

through dangling avenues

long lost and laden



people would wave and grin

as we passed quietly by

signals would change in our favour

no one was in a hurry to overtake us

our tailbacks were parties, too good to leave



picked out our routes

on filigree maps

treasure at the end of every lane

made it to mountains through tunnels of trees

always found some place to rest the night



we left no carbon footprint

no plastic roadside waste

clean air blew from our exhaust

laced with the fragrance of not-quite-yet

and one-day-we-will



can’t say we changed the course of motoring history

we never changed course at all

somewhere we trundle to this very day

tread still good on our tyres

fuel gauge that never falls


This poem appeared in Tears in the Fence issue 69.

bird brain


there is need for a nest

for the light of feathers and down

framed in a tangle of twigs

wadded within for sanctuary


there’s a consciousness of cages

traps and snares, bait and brutality

men with arms and smeared agendas

size and might to seize and grasp


there is an immensity of air

blessed thermal uplifts

half brain sleep in months of passage

the span of three dimensions


there’s a whole hand of poisons

seeds that could once have been trusted

particulate accumulations

carrion laden with lead or dicrofenac


there is a sense of territory

parameters outlined in song

menace coded into melody

skirmish concealed by spring’s minted leaves


there’s true lies and lying truths

ascents reborn from ash and incandescence

appearances in numbers as predictors of fate

gods’ messengers, vehicles of souls


there is mass manifest

in surges in streams to marshy ground

and up once more in flow motion

stippled streaks in transient flocks


there’s sets of china effigies

threesomes pinned to papered walls

there’s daffy, donald, tweetie, woody

and little blue lovers with big baby eyes


there is the strut, the preen

the mad magnificence of mating

that shower of pitches at dawn

ovals of nutrient, cracks of birth


And another from TitF 69

then and now, now and then


okay, then it was a simple thing

took but a cloth to wipe away

a brush to sweep it out of sight


trouble was, it didn’t really go

not the particles, not the dilutions

not the seepage, nor the drift of vapour


the moral choice seemed clearer then

causes were righteous and fair

accounts inked in paper ledgers


now sleights of hand

upturn perspectives - they roll

twisting and squirming from view


thick and thorny clusters

snag each simple thread of sense

limp shreds left to hang


knowing it all, we knew nothing

now we know less

learning begins

Published in 'Molly Bloom' #25



spying a kite


metres above me

the rufous revenant

stalks the air

above ripe corn

swoops low at the hedge

raptor senses

tuned for prey

so close

its markings clear

breast in sunlight

tints to pink

great dark wings

patched in striated white

two tipped tail

an elegant trail



a sense of rapture

holds me to the spot

following its circles

from here to the copse

beyond the corn

a magnetised lure

for my needled eyes



oh big chief i-spy

what could I tell you now?


Published in 'Obsessed with Pipework' #88

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