poetry diary

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

Month: October, 2012

The Spiegeltent (for Heather)

I didn’t see the mirrors for a while,
beneath the velvet warmth
of cosy history.

Then you asked,
and the mirrors captured us,
as they caught those who danced and sang
between the wars.

Each dancer’s dreams and hopes are in these mirrors still;
kaleidoscopes of humanity
(which keep out the rain)
augmented now by yours
and mine.

In the spirit of this Spiegeltent,
we live, in joy;
knowing what’s to come,
and what endures.


I spent most of Sunday with a friend of mine at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, and we had lunch in a Spiegeltent, which was an unexpected pleasure. Spiegeltent is Dutch for mirror tent, and according to Wikipedia they date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I felt ours dated from sometime in the 1920s, and perhaps did indeed host singers like Marlene Dietrich in her prime.

Autumn morning

Blue autumn morning,
still to the rising birds’ touch,
while leaves glow coal-red.


Published on dVerse and  Poets United.

The last stand

If now be the time, then let them come.

I see one among countless leaves falling; the serrated edge
and yellowing veins against the green.
I feel the tips of grass stems catch the leaf’s damp surface
and hold it, in the autumn light, above the hidden ground.

That same light on their spears, glinting and beautiful; precise,
and honed by craftsmen; strangers like me.
I imagine one among many, held up to the light – admired by the blacksmith
and his daughter; his life’s work, and love,

I think of my children, at home, the lives they’ll live still,
laughing in the sun, which will rise again.
I think of leaves and spears and people, and the sun.

The buckle on my neighbour’s belt, dull iron across worn leather;
much used, and moving gently with his breath;
condensing in the air.

That buckle will endure.

Mist covers the valley, and their spears dissolve.
The leaves fall more slowly now.

If now be the time, then let them come.
If this be the place, then let me stand.
For now time stops,
and here I am.


Running a small engineering business in England in 2012 is not quite the same as standing with Harold against the Normans in 1066, but sometimes it feels like it. Today was such a day.

Posted at Poets United.

October morning

I fly with the early morning autumn light,
wary of the cold, damp leaves (warming slowly to a glow)
but alighting on a raindrop, spider’s web weight,
and sparkling.

A bridgehead for the rising sun, in this October day,
multiplied in the water, I fly faster, drawing arrows
in the air; pointing at puddles and clouds,
strangely red.

But not for long; lightened by the rising murmur
of a milk float and early morning cars, becoming white
and dissolving to a china sky; a seductive,
doubtful blue.

A split horse chestnut case lies on the path,
bright green and white, like the clouds,
and slightly battered, unlike the nut;
glinting brown.


Inspired by my walk to work this morning.

Posted on dVerse.