You ask me what is it

this brittle I’m speaking of:

what is this short temper?

And I am cracking the colours

having broken the blue

I say brittle is like this

and the shortness in my own breath

shows me how long I have been wanting

that exact blue of your eyes.

The red is no better

run like the Rio Dulce into murk

nothing can save us now

the sweet scratch of your nail

through the hardening colour

makes red redder and the

small smile you give me

is as clear as the sky.

Then, yellow will not shatter.

Yellow will not yield

my thumbs are worn, nail bed

lifting from my scratching at the

yellow you say brittle in my ear

and I know myself that I shatter

in the the yellow centre.

We have found the colours,

collected them and grouped them

we made them run and spilt them

we have seen that they each will do

the thing they themselves dictate

being made waxy and soft

until they cool. Then they are

as crisp as the day

and as likely to crack into shapes

spelling brittle across the board.

You sisters take the round ones

and make marks big and small

over huge sheets of paper.

The spangled colours are

as mixed and sweet

as the lines on the maps that show the way.



Wing category supple taught

wheel powered and mounting

the fickle fling of gravity motion

the tingle of that flip high.

In the air you know it’ll have you

the ground is curved without give

you will hit and rise with the tumbled force:

velocity in control the skid in landing

foot first unbloodied.


Right the lean and tame that

crawling fear that pulls and tugs

and advises in quick pulse bursting

a lack of oxygen a lack of mind:

be inverted and know that

even if a second counts

you are flying, will always fly

air can hold your weight

that solid part of you leaping

is light and mote-like until you land.



Like Air


From here you can feel the cold breast of the sky

if nursing here the runnels of rain

have been sucked dry and any warm frames of light

succulent like honey barred beams

dried into powder themselves;

a day bees hate, with grey dissatisfaction

they fluff their buzzing bodies and frown down the wind.


But you, having nursed and found the fire’s warmth

in your bones you have no word for afraid

or refrain no other state than barefoot

even in the mud that licks you as you would lick the rain

and stick wet coldness

will fall off you

like air.



Letter from out here in Poetry


Dearest reader,

I write to you from Poetry

out here peripheral and near to dream

where the sun spattered trees

sentinel in autumn’s air

and the detailed sky is entirely held together

by voices of pardelotes and peewees

who call and call for summer.

The season shifts and exhales

at 3 am and slow pulses align

poems grow best in dark soft night

and bloom fantastic morning’s beam

birdsong, sky, clarity.





the wrist and flick and joust of these boys

building up one lumpen red at a time

walls appear and seem to last

whole cities sometimes

made to plan

the initials in each

looking out over trees that are not there

fire bitten and bronzed with ash

one red faced

the other pale

knows what the other is thinking

when his hand reaches into the satchel

for another


Foil Cage



foil cage


so count these atoms

that make this table, this hand, this chocolate bird

that chatters and chatters

perched on the silver wrinkled bars.

Foil Cage

Chocolate bird that chatters and chatters


Invaders – a typed version (A visit from Black Peter)

Poetry, Uncategorized



There was a rap at the window next to the blackboard

and in they swarmed, two of them

faces blackened, a sack shouldered.


Children leapt from the perfect circle on the floor

shrieks and scampers away from these invaders

who fixed us with their blinking eyes, white rimmed

and to each of us

they told the stories of ourselves.


My tall friend was ‘forgetful’

– but it’s me who can’t

recall my own story

memory’s cloth closes over

the way time muzzles thought

dents and fingers

the smoothness of it.


But then, the youngest of us

whose curled head was lost among our shoulders

put out a hand

pushed aside the bristles of sticks

and claimed his bag

of fruit.

The Bird with the Dirty Beak


The Bird


Did I tell you how afraid I had been?

For years.

Then, my

body so complete

pulsing outwards.



made who?

And from which of us?


But each evening she thinks of me

this bird with her beak

mud ridden

so encrusted

salt and old earth

earth and sand


she flies west to me

and she rubs me raw.


(With thanks to S.W and something her mother says.)