poetry diary

I rhyme to see myself, to set the darkness echoing. (Seamus Heaney, from Personal Helicon)

Month: July, 2011

Fallen birdling

Amongst the scents of watching summer:
sweet lilies and petunias,
cracked eggshells and tiring grass;
the fallen swift lay alone,
lost and empty.

“Fill me! Fill me!” his fledgling’s cry,
and age-lined leaves rustled in reply:
“Look up, look up – recall the joys
of air and sky you felt just once
(before you hit the ground)”

He looked, and called, and looked again.
The leaves watched till it grew dark,
and in the morning, he was gone.

Seasons of the heart

I opened to you
my virgin heart this summer.
Winter came anon.


Posted on Poets United


Conscious of reality,
I feel tense in this moment,
and everything sparkles.

A thank you

I woke today to see through different eyes,
raindrops on leaves, sunlight through trees, those pears.
I stood taller, too, rising from my car;
more in this world, more free, more clear, more new.
So much I’ve missed, so much to see and share
to learn and grow, to find and to explore.
Perhaps more able, too, to love and live,
to write and feel, to touch and care what’s real.
Both joy and pain, I know, beyond control;
and always time – ahead, behind and now.
All this and more I owe, simply, to you.
Thank you, once more, for teaching me to be.

Raindrops on leaves in my garden


Trying to capture the beauty of the raindrops on these leaves this morning brought home to me how difficult it is to take good photographs.


Confounding expectations, a ball of
spikes surprised by sprays of sapphire stars:
from hostility to hospitality and hope;
inviting you and me to see and feel
the wholeness and individuality
of each petal and stem, and all against
dark deep blue within and underneath
– out of reach.

There is a world within this sphere;
a world of caution yet display;
of inner and outer shells and days;
the promise of joy in place of thorns,
and of beauty in unexpected places,
– rising with the sun.

May we all, like this flower, find our bees.


Echinops is a globe thistle, and one of the more surprising and beautiful flowers in my garden, I think. I cut some for the first time this year, and they are wonderful – to share too. My poem doesn’t do them justice, but I wanted to try.

Into the unknown

Like a waterfall,
one day
I will step through this veil of romance
into the unknown.


When the sky reminds me of an abstract print
not seen for twenty years,
and brings back days of easy joys,
and grass and waters wetting blades,
and friends half-known,
or less, sometimes (as it turned out);
I know then, for sure I’m getting old,
and the pleasures of being young return,
like the first-opened buds of meadow flowers,
or lambs under the trees;
tall, dark green and sad,
with nothing left to say except to whisper,
gently to the breeze’s caress,
those memories that will endure and re-emerge, perhaps,
when faced by death.

You are distinct, and not so much of me now;
no longer caring what’s to come.
And no regrets as yet; like writing:
forever now, yet lost just as it leaves the pen.

Oh to be as flowers in the field once more;
forever young and beautiful and free with me;
forever fresh and growing, yet always doomed to die:
I love this world tonight.


Written on the train travelling through Warwickshire, summer evening – feeling reminiscent and reminded of a poster I had on my wall when a student. Relaxed, a little sad, and nothing to do except watch the world go by.
Submitted to Jingle poetry potluck, “nature and life.”

The paper man

Words on paper do not feel, nor screens weep.
And you, the reader, share the blame in part
by choosing to review each pregnant page.
The paper and the words come in between:
I do not have to look you in the eye,
nor twist nor stare at bloody, dripping knife.
I am outside the morals of real life;
I can observe – you all are words to me.

And words do not feel, nor cold blue screens weep.


The news is full of the ethics of reporters and a 168 year-old newspaper has just been shut down here because its journalists and owners completely lost touch with the human impact of what they were doing or writing. I can’t help reflecting a little on writing in general, and how it removes the writer from the reader (compared to looking someone in the eye and saying the same things). This can be helpful, sometimes, for those of us who are a little shy – but it can also go too far I think, especially when it takes over an entire culture.


I shiver when you touch me with your thoughts,
and scales fall like petals from my heart.
There is no time for all that’s gone before;
the future seems as distant as a star.
Then logic falls and worlds collapse to shades
of ancient tales that somehow stay unique
to you and me and now and here today.
Romance forever deadly, ever new;
I cannot fight, no longer want to flee.
Here is my life; there is no other way.


The first two lines of this came to me in response to a particular conversation – the rest is my romantic imagination.

Traces of children

It’s a sunny morning,
except under that duvet,
where a little hair and warmth
signify twelve-year-old life
asleep, still, and dreaming.

By the time I returned from the bathroom, he was gone.

Noises in the garden.

Later I found a magnetic banana stuck to the dishwasher.