poetry diary

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

Happy places (inspired by Ignacio)

“This is my happy place,” you say,
and make it so with naked girls
and ancient books; sunflowers,
soft armchairs, opened writing desks,
a framed window with flower box;
pots and hedonistic rugs.

My happy place might share most things:
different girls perhaps, and books;
more plants, a clarinet and maps –
scents of summer, apple trees;
water too, for evening swims;
a seed table for birds.

I wonder though, to balance this –
for every happy place we make
might there not be as well a sad,
unhappy place, with pots unfilled;
fires unmade, and a woman –
unopened and unread?


There is a sign above the fireplace in the small and very cosy cottage we stayed in last week (see Human landscapes below) which says “This is my happy place”. I have only met the owner twice, and he and his wife seem very happy, so apologies for the third verse. The sign and lovely house prompted reflection.


A lemon tree

suspended yellow
against blue;
lemons amongst leaves,


There was a lemon tree in the small courtyard garden of the second cottage where we stayed. To my Northern European eyes this was very exotic.

The eagle

An eagle,
dark against clear sky.

Slow seeking seeing sensing slides,
twists and glides –
high –
through naked shrinking hills,
with one purposed swing of silent wings
and glint of gold against the blue,
tension-spilled –
falls, brings
sudden death –


There were many eagles and griffon vultures near where we stayed in the Picos de Europa.