Wrathful Atlantic weather
Sweeping from the southwest
In wild gales, raw elemental forces
Whipping out stripped branches,
Swaying tops, bending creaking trees,
Moving shaky images and broadly changing outlook

While we huddle in our shelter,
Bound to listen
To the blind and rampant majesty
Of atmosphere, of turbulence,
Of frontal pressure drop
Pounding out a restless, wordless litany:

Booming hollow in our chimneys,
Shaking rattling at our frames,
Windswept raining on the meek, the mighty,
The unlucky, the unwary, the wanderers, the lost,
As on the passers-through;  diverting fragile plans
While sweeping over our ideas, inchoate;

And us?  Revealed as overmighty subjects:
Who hope to make security more certain,
Aspire to replicate divinity in code and
Pretend that we can understand what matters,
As we dream and push and strive
To exercise control….


A pinpoint circle spread in darkness,
faint power marked on overhead –
an inwards, from a grain of wheat;
overtaken by the outwards,
swallowed by the scale of dawn in stillness,
its fan of narrowed sunlight spreading above shadows;

Suffused in silence on the cusp of morning,
permeated by a peace of wellness
before irony wakens and develops
into dissenting day, a perfect day of sorts,
of immutable facts distilled from caught behaviours,
of radical ideas, butterflies escaped the iron-fisted past;

Recovered from an episode of time, outlasting suffering
through patience found in journey’s toil,
its necessary insufficient cure matched by a contest:
inherent weakness, acquired strength, and bleeding wound
of insecurity – a perceived lack, embedded in a viewpoint.
So! I was betrayed by what sustained me:

Original unvarnished nature, so familiar,
welcome trust invited and hearth-harboured,
albeit poorly fed on rotten flesh /
now healed by abstinence, and openness,
and random kindness amid service;
ready to accept entire a wider muse.

Porter House

“You’re very patient with me”, she said,
the most unnecessary line I ever heard.
She’d flashing eyes, fine blue, and wild
dark hair; not plain, and belle’s irrelevant,
but stands out in a crowd, so that
I would know her anywhere….

In the storeyed, alcoved, timbered,
coppered, storied, Porter House,
the home of Plain, and more
variety; and plenty, on the bone;
the craft of malt and hops and yeast
and water and, above all, life;

An artifice to hold our breath….
a place to share, to drink, to eat,
to talk, to live, make memories;
reflected, lit by northern,
western, summer light; which
lilted Megan made complete:

My waitress, whose voice was clear
amid the hubbub and the craic,
in our bubble, quietly calm;
Ah, Megan! as dark as I, but lighter eyed,
though young and free
and truly for herself alone;

In that moment, in her role,
our opposites aligned –
no server works without custom,
no client dines un-served –
reciprocals, we met just once,
a pop-up, in simple symbiosis.


A thousand volunteers
Who did their best
Just as a sideshow

For the essential 30 men;
Voices felt and feelings sensed,
Senses unspoken, words unheard;

A cacophony of trying, effort
Never in time, not quite in tune;
A peal of bells, sounding

Echoes from the walls
Instead of ringing clear;
The noise we make

And steps we take,
Thinking to move forward
When instead we spiral round.

Who’d be human? Who’d be other!
Even as we live in dreamscapes
Structured against the fall.

(originally posted 23 March 2014)


Eyes shut:
eyelids closed against the slanting sun
seen orange-gold, red-amber ground,
beaten thin and worn by passages of time,
scratched by age in faded might-be runes,

sprung from light and penetrating warmth
shadow-flashed by rushing images
on stretched-wide silver overlay –
a bright tarnishable distraction.

Eyes open:
stood still and cold and insignificant
beneath a springing vault,
celestial pale and perfect blue
with hints of its infinity,

lit from behind by first sunlight
reaching out to strike the topmost mast,
steel beyond the barewood tracery,
a mark of beauty in the everyday.

Those eyes that looked in vain
when young and wide,
for the parents’ absent glance
and found bare eyes instead averted;

forged asunder and unready
in savage lack of primal bonds,
consigned a lifelong blank of longing
for what was sought and missed;

now hooded, searching for reflection
every day in someone’s eyes, a trace
to mirror spark and recognise;
no substitute but maybe some replacement?

Ourselves alone, deserted by our guide,
companioned by our siren compass voice,
familiar halting exposed unsure
while seeming confident and strong.