As the clocks go back, the nights draw in, fireworks fill the air, Christmas decorations threaten, and the air gets colder, I thought it was appropriate to bring this poem to a wider audience. It has gone down well at readings in the past, I only hope it goes down well at my new Writers’ group tonight, as I have decided to take it along. Normally I would take a recent poem, but I think the season demands another airing!


Almost November. Someone pulls
A drawstring, tightens sky,
Murk seeps into streets
With a smell of smoke as crisp as leaves;
Stars start to look colder.

The country is at war:
Flak every night, boom of munitions,
Enemies sizzle in midair.
Cars are targeted as fallout and shrapnel
Keep the wise within.

Rain offers an uneasy ceasefire,
Killing off squibs and forcing retreat.
Desire smoulders in front of TV sets,
Interrupted by a sinister knock –
Not witches, these days, but killers.

Without this darkening, pausing
Of the world, we could never
Learn to treasure summer,
Not appreciate the skin of safety
Our windows, walls and doors provide.

Just two months, then it’s Christmas.
Afterwards, days will grow healthy again.
Today it was twilight at 5pm.
In this dark, just walking home is fear,
And fear is every passing stranger.

Great Orme, August 2006

great orme llandudno

I’m becoming very fond of Llandudno and all it, and the surrounding North Wales coast, has to offer. I recently returned there and spent several splendid October days, but this poem was conceived on my first trip there in August, although my mind didn’t give birth to it until late September.

It’s about walking on the Great Orme, about being alive, being at one with nature, and about being aware of one’s own mortality in the midst of natural beauty that itself is not eternal.

Llandudno is naturally fenced off on both sides by two mountains called the Ormes – Great Orme and Little Orme. The Great Orme is a spectacular natural habitat for many kinds of wildlife, with spectacular sea views and many pleasant walks. Despite being popular with tourists, it is always possible to find a remote spot and indulge in solitude with the spirit of the Orme (norse for sea monster, perhaps worm…)

The photos in this poetry blog entry were actually taken at the moment I believe this poem had started to gestate in my mind, as I looked over the cliffs and saw a group of bleating goats! In the future I am hoping also to use video to create audio visial accompaniment to my poems, and perhaps publish on DVD!

great orme llandudno

Great Orme
Llandudno, August 2006

From stone to stone my feet
Trespass in these avenues
Where heather forgives my steps,
Creatures-become-stone my
Pavement as the wind sets
And a tarpaulin of sea smooths
Out from periphery to periphery.

Out here the dead whisper louder
Than the living shout, goats
Keep counsel with wind, their quick
Questions, summations, might
Be nothing more than hellos
As I perch in their world
On the edge of my tomorrows.

Hours from anywhere and
Just a second from death’s
Forgetfulness, gravity holds me in stasis
As moon swells up the hemisphere,
Drags wave after wave on rock below;
The goats and I hang on like
Bleating and determined gods.

I have walked and found sanctuary
On this headland that will give way
To sea in a century or two, so firm
Beneath my feet yet like all the world it will
Follow the dead creatures of its birthing
Into other avenues of existence,
Perhaps a sea kingdom next;

Yet for now the stone bears my weight
And time has yet to do its worst
Half way through our stone and flesh lives;
I will come back here when a few more
Days have dandelion-clocked; when vision
Drags my feet and I must have faith
That I and the living world still spin.