Thursday, 20 November 2014





Red

..it wasn’t meant to be a problem but right now it was.
..it wasn’t too much of a problem
and
it could be solved quite easily.
I only had to make up my mind as to what I wanted...
..which one was just right...
..the one for me..
..which colour red...
..simple!

..there were just so many..
..vermillion and crimson..magenta..reds into orange. purply reds or bluey reds..sparkly..glossy...tasty reds...yummy sweet grapes with black pepper, strawberry and cherrybrandy...mocha...double chocolate and champagne delight...see the problem? So many to choose from and I could not have them all! Just one, one only and that was the problem today...

The camisole was pretty, knickers that matched with just the right amount of satin and lace...just have to make up my mind about the colour, which red did I want and not the black....passe that was now, old hat, no, not black, red’s what I want...quite lovely these were, soft in my hands...feel good, on top of the world stuff, stuff to impress...mind blowing, gorgeous! Can’t wait to get it all on! It will turn my own head! Turn my own head!

Black’s boring now and not really sexy anymore, been overdone for years, black. I’m all blacked out and I don’t want the pink, don’t want the puple or the frosted mint, no, red’s what I want, what I’ll go for today...
...and...
it’s reduced in the sale...
...half price...
...and...
...very, very naughty, the scarlet, just what I need. Yes, I’ll get this for the naughtiness! So bright, so bad, so bad, bad, bad! Scarlet woman stuff! I’ll be a scarlet woman for the day...
..and..
I’ll get the fishnets too!

..and..
here I am,  now on my way home with my shiny little bag of plain French navy  and no one knows what’s in it!! Not one soul could guess the naughtiness factor! Not one!

Just the lippie to buy.
I’ll get scarlet to match, Paloma Picasso’s the one I must have, glossy and moist and quite luscious...plumps up the lips and in a lovely gold case...lippy to die for...for me!

New lashes for eyes, smokey grey for the lids but there’s no hurry for that, it’s the lipstick I want, in the red of all reds...

...and..
then I am home
unpack my bag
reverent,
slow
and
lay it all out on the bed
like a treasure

..oh joy upon joy, purest luxury thisl! And a perfume to set it all off! Malabah, I choose, by Penhaligon, the luscious, evocative experience from their scent library in Bond Street, no less...

He looked in the mirror
He lifted the golden case to his lips...
...Paloma’s kiss...
...he mouthed to the mirror...
..and..
..he liked what he saw
..and..
... stroked his beard...

..perfect, he said...

.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Servant of God



servant of God

we stand
in silence
together
quite still
together we join hearts
in compassion and love
and
in the silence I hear his scream...

...a name in blood red
...on white paper...
Abdullah,
age twenty two
who has lived thirty and eight thousand days
prays for peace when waking last Sunday
and
when sleep claimed me, death had claimed you....

in silence
we stood
together
joined hands
for you and the others...
...the names...
...on white paper...
and those yet to come...
and I see destruction, and murder and bombs ...

I think of a mother all covered in blood
and  
her tears washed the blood from your face
I think of your brothers who, rooted, just stood
and watched her silent embrace of you,
her son
called Abdullah...
aged twenty two

we are
still silent
together
and
I rejoice that the flame in your heart made peace
I rejoice that you have lived
and that I know your name
and
in our silence...
... I hear your last sigh...

...Abdullah...
...servant of God...






Tuesday, 29 July 2014

...summertime...


...summertime...


...everybody knows it, she said...
... knows that I talk to myself...
and
...that’s ok, no one minds...
...is how I like it, it is...

...the older I get and the more my life is taken over by my memories by talking to myself about them I am transformed, turn back the clock I do, and bring them back to life ...

...and then the other one talks back to me and we understand one another...

...it has been a long, hot summer. The sun a white-hot disc in the sky too bright to look at...left images of green and magenta suns floating behind closed, tired lids...the disc burned and  faded the lush green of spring grass to ash gold and singed the leaves from the trees.

...after the winter we had, she said, I rejoice in the warmth of the sun...
...yes, I answered, just look at the fruit and the berries...
...it will be a hard winter this year, she fortold...
...you think so?...
...I do...
...what makes you think that?...
...is what the natives say...Indians...
...Indians?...
...American...
...learn from the land, it tells you what’s ahead and it tells you from the past...you have to learn to listen to the earth, she talks, the same as we...you only have to listen...

and

then the wind changed, came gently at first from the west and brought with it the song of the sea. Wispy clouds  swirling, following the pattern of the land in the sky and you could hear gulls crying in tune with the ocean, hanging, gliding as if time stood still...their piecing cry to show that time moved on...

...she longed for the rain but it did not happen for her even though the sky was the colour of slate and, a little ill content, she watched the ruby fireball sink into the sea...

and

then she heard it...the first heavy drop on the glass roof above her and then the second and as the sound steadied the parched earth embraced clouds’ gift and breathed again...she smelled the earth . She smelled the coming of autumn...
She was alone and her bare feet felt the harsh ash golden grass beneath. She lifted her face towards heaven and the rain ran gently over her hair and over her brow,  over her naked body...she stood quite still and wondered how it would be when she was old...

...how will it be when I am old, she asked the night, will I feel the rain on my breasts and my belly, my shoulders and back and the grass still warm from the burning sun over the last few days? ...

...what a pity this moment will pass,
what a shame that it cannot last,
will hold it forever
and
the grass will grow cold...
and
the soles of my feet will remember
a moment so precious to hold
the ash golden meadow
with meadowsweet and purple clover,
this moment will never be over,
etched into my heart, into my being,
all seeing,
the earth answering the sky above
clouds fleeing the dark to the light ...
my soul is singing with the sound
of the earth and the sky in the night...

...how will it be when I’m old she asked the sky...

...it will be as it is, is what I answered her...

...and though my eyes are clouded now, I still see the setting ruby sun, I see the fields of gold. I see the woman standing, still, as in a baptism, a joining of what must be joined, so the autumn might come for the winter to follow, I see her being one with the earth and the ocean’s song and the song of the rain....

...I talk to myself...
...always have...
and
...I see memories etched into time...
...and looking in between what is and what might be...
...earth’s rhyme and her rhythm’s there for all to see...

...I talk to myself...
...they know it and...
...say it’s a shame...
...she was one of a kind...
...no harm there to find...
...and  no one did mind...

...it’s just how I like it, I tell her...it’s just how it is...




Saturday, 5 July 2014

...a truth to share...



...a truth to share...

I have a secret I'm willing to share.
I discovered a beautiful truth.
I found the treasure that is so rare,
I found the fountain of youth.

Stopped popping the pills
That cured all my ills
Stopped looking around
For cures to be found.

The fountain of youth is there for us all
For a life that's forever, aIike big and small.

Vit C was for sneezes
Vit B for cold breezes
Cod liver oil for the joints
Chondroitin to spoil natures grip  on my knees.
Pollen from the honeybees
Vit A for my eyes
Retinol caps the dark to espy...
Where nature's carrots had failed to rely...

Juice cabbage and beetroot to steer clear of strokes
The fire that burns and the fear it evokes
Horse radish a day to clear my clogged veins
Smear serum for wrinkles
A spoon elixir for eyes that will twinkle.

It all cost a bomb and the years have sped past
The cure of my ills is over at last....
Stopped cleansing colonic
Don't dye my hair
Despair of the cramps in my legs
But the gin and its tonic begs a daily repair.
The secret is quinine
The tonic is fair
And the gin will improve the mood that I'm in.

The mirror mirror on the wall
Tells me all I need to know
Who looks back at me is mum
Forgot to tell me that it's so....

...that what I found myself in truth
Is the treasure that I share
Is what we are
Is what we were

Is just right what it is.

...the beautiful truth....
....the fountain of youth...


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

...the fly box...


the fly box


Grampy never had a holiday...
...said he never needed one,  said it was all silly notions to go away on holiday. He was contented with his life and that was that..

Nana would cook the game he brought  home,  would gut the fish he had caught in the river and light the fires he had laid mornings for her to warm them on a blowy night. He would clean the gun he had used that day before he ate and Elli loved to watch...his hands so sure, knew what to do and the oil he used smelled good...he cleaned inside the barrel first, put his eye to it and when he was satisfied to its perfection rubbed the outside to a shine. It glinted in the firelight and when it was done and put away Elli moved close to him as she knew that he would tell a story now till supper...he’d tell of all that he had seen that day, about the dogs that worked with him and dropped the pheasants at his feet, two of them lived in the house and two in the kennel outside. She loved the little one the best, the long one with skin too big for him to wriggle out should he get caught in the badger sett...

Nana cooked hares for the dogs to get all the meat off and Elli liked a taste of them and although Nana did not like it when she ate the meat she let her have some as it would not do her any harm. She burnt the bones in the fire where the sizzled and crackled and spat and made the flames turn blue...

Gramps would take Elli fishing and he taught her how to tie a fly and what feathers to collect, tiny beads for balance and safely put in the slotted box on the mantle. Only Grampy  touched the box.

He made all sorts of flies and Elli loved it when he was at work. Flies for fast water or for foaming or deep...she was going to do all that when she grew up...she was a fairy hunter now...had her own pink torch and magnifying glass...and Grampy helped her look for fairies in the bluebell wood, in buttercup meadows and where dandelions grew...fairies were quick, they never saw one at all but they knew they were there...

He made a  ‘Wooly Bugger’ and Elli loved that word and said it often. She was a thoughtful little person, spoke well and grew up well and when Nana told her Grampy might leave them for a while she worried every day...was he really going away from them ?

Nana said  that he was going, taking his Woollies and Montana Nymphs, with him, the whole box he’d take with Hare’s Ears and Pheasant Tails...Royal Wulffs for fast water, he tied flies for everything...the Royal with its orange body and white wings was a real thing of beauty, special, and easy for him to see when he was fishing...eyes failing and all that...but his fingers were still nimble enough to tie them all and the fly box  was a vision of delight for them both... he would bring it out when he told her stories about the ways of the river and the fish he had caught or the fish too large to land that got away with his precious fly...he told of the heron fishing...’fierce competition,’ he said, how the bird stared into the water and stood completely still and how suddenly his neck would lunge forward and  the fish was caught, manoevered head first down the gullet, stary blue eyes...and you could see it disappear, bulging down the throat...poor fish thought Elli, but she had learned early that we all ate one another in a way...

...he told of the kingfishers and the otters and the buzzard high above, of cloudbursts and of lightning storms and how he watched a vixen bring her cubs to  drink at the edge.  He once heard a bittern call and thought at first it was a cow who bellowed or a stag that roared and then he saw a movement in the reeds...he told the story of the warblers there and of the one large chick they fed, ten times bigger than they ever grew...

Elli always knew that she would be a keeper just like him, that she would draw and share her love of animals and colour she had learned at her Nana’s kitchen table where she would dress a bird for Sunday dinner...

...after Grampy hung the birds in the old dairy to let the blood run out into an old enamel bowl with chips right round the edge he’d  pluck them when they’d hung their while, Nana gutted. She slit them open and with slender hands and tiny movements pulled the innards out, carefully so as not to break the gall bladder as that would ruin the bird’s meat is what she said, and not even the dogs would touch it then...the smell was bad for only a moment but the colours delighted Elli every time she sat and watched with keen eyes! Blues and white of the stomach, rainbow guts and pink flesh that shone...and then there were just the wings to do and singe the last fluffy down off the bodies when she lifted the rings off the stove and held a pheasant or a snipe by the feet and stretched the neck and carefully singed the birds over the dancing flames...

Elli would miss all that when she would go away to Bicton College, a stone’s throw away from the sea and not too far from Exeter where she would sit in a cafĂ© in Gandy Street with her books and iPad...talking with her friends...and sipping lattes...

...the years passed too slowly for Elli...
...for Nana and Grampy too fast...

and

when Elli came home after the last term away from the college she saw a lot of changes. She noticed that the gun was not in its usual place, the cabinet was gone and there were no boots by the back door. She noted that Nana had taken to wearing black...her hair had thinned, she had had it cut and she looked very pale...there was only one dog to greet her...the little one, the long one with the merry tail Gramps had always taken with him to sort the badgers out...

...perhaps he had gone fishing was her thought and she would run down to the river as she’d always done after the day at school to greet him, joyfully, laughing , hugging each other and feeling utterly safe in his arms...

...she remembered the trout trap he had built in the little brook past the bluebell wood...’no need for flies here,’ he told her, ‘you just pick’em out of the water, but you had to be quick enough, he said...you just needed two rocks and set them askew against one other and where the water flowed the fastest the trout would swim...you just had to be alert and quicker than the fish...a net would do it too...but you always got your fish for your supper...

‘Where’s Grampy Nana?’ she asked uncertain...the clock ticked louder than it did, the pendulum heavy and slow that she had never noticed...there was a fly buzzing, hitting the kitchen window with little thuds... ’where are the dogs?’

‘the dogs are gone...Nana said, looking at her, sad, ‘and Grampy’s gone...gone away... on holiday...

...on holiday?...
...away?...
...Nana nodded...
..we did not tell you, you had things to finish...’better that way,’ said Gramps...is what he wanted...

...and Elli saw the box on the mantel with the little brass clasp and a leaping fish painted on the lid...he would never go anywhere without his fly box...

...he went without the fly box?...
...without the fly box...

Grampy had been contented with his life.
He never had a holiday
He never needed one...
...is what he said...

but

...’he was tired,’ Nana said...
...he was wrong...
...worn out...
and he needed time out from it all..
...he couldn’t wait for you Elli and was sorry that he had to go but said that you would carry on where he had done...

..the fly box was his treasure then and the stories that he told...
...yours to have and treasure...

...now

Monday, 19 May 2014

...when time stood still...


when time stood still  

the ocean roared
and
clouds raced across the sky
and
the
heavens raged
nature’s fury
nature’s cry
drove the rain into his face.
needles
stinging
he stood alone and the salt of his tears melted into the running drops over burning cheeks
he wished
it might have been a still, a starlit night
but the rain and the storm were on with all that was...

...and...

...where he saw her then it had been still, too still,  but for the last shallow breaths coming from her, inaudible almost, had he not seen the quick rising and falling on her pillows. She was safe here and the awareness of time only in the letting go and the return to her essential being...like the dance of the tides they had watched together...no time...there was no time...
...just silence now , comforting  silence, holy silence,  womblike ...held together in infinite being....one more time...bound in love...but no time...

...he spoke softly to her who was no longer there but  her purpose now on the edge to somewhere and she turned her head away from the intrusion in her journeying...he needed to connect...she needed to let go...there was no meaning in it  any more , no need for the togetherness he craved so much ...words were too much...words were heavy, a burden, words that had been so hard in the learning and the sharing and so easily spoken, a treasure won and now let go...

....the wind was cold, it was not yet spring. The first swallows had arrived  with a chatter and there was the scent of Hawthorn in the air,  Bluebells in the wooded clearings as he walked, Red Campion and Queen Anne’s lace in the hedgerows...the promise of spring  when the dew drops hung heavy and the doves called out loud. He loved this time of buttercup meadows when the sun warmed his back as he walked with an easy step. He looked forward to a stop at the  inn for a pint now and a drag reserved for that delicious moment when the pint stood there in front of him and bade him take a sip...he looked forward  to sharing  all the gifts nature had shown him so fully...

...the Inn at Tarr Steps was his favourite place that he aimed for, he loved it here, he loved the slated roof, the homey feeling, the grey stone walls where ivy climbed  to frame the windows , the gurgling brook, the oak wood where he first saw a purple hairstreak butterfly. He loved the warmth of the sunny garden after the cool of the forest... he loved the oldness of it all when he walked, aware as in reverence to the now and what had been, the last few steps across the rocky bridge built  long ago and he loved the feeling that he was but one in centuries of weary wanderers who were longing for a hot home pasty and a quiet pint of Exmoor Ale....

...is when he saw her...
...her face turned towards the sun, eyes closed and smiling...
...and...
 ...in just that moment he knew she would be his...

he stood and he watched until she stirred feeling his eyes upon her and
she opened her eyes and they met somewhere that space  only lovers knew
both smiled
and that first smile joined them forever...
...is where they began their journey together...

‘mind if I sit down?’ he asked...
‘no, sit’, she said... she shifted in her chair and crossed her booted legs....she was a walker too.
she was beautiful
he was beautiful

‘cigarette?’, he offered
‘thank you,’ she said, and reached out to him with slender fingers
...it was the smart thing to do...
the bridge to begin to talk when you did not yet know one another, inhaling would bridge the space of silences, exhaling steadying the beating heart...everybody did it then...danced this deadly  dance...
...no harm in it was there...
...not then, oh no!...
...no one knew it...
...not then...

..and...

 ...he remembered that sun speckled day when the new leaves were still transparent enough to let the light through and dapple and dazzle the mossy ground...
and
he sat , close...
and he was holding her hand which now lay cold in his in the still point of the moment when

the heavens raged
and
the clouds raced
and
the ocean roared...
...and...
...he stood alone in the night on the ridge of pebbles that clacked like gunshots and the water sucked and gurgled in the incoming tide...
...when...
... the salt of his tears melted into the stinging drops
over
his
burning
cheeks...


Saturday, 12 April 2014

moonwoman




moonwoman

they saw a light where there had only been the dark
they saw a shadow where there had not been a soul
they heard a song where there had been only silence
they saw smoke where there had not been a fire
they saw a chain of geese
they saw the door ajar in the night and the day, it was never bolted but for the time of the dark moon… no light then and no shadows, the birds had flown and the shutters were closed….but they still heard the singing, more like a humming then and a keening on those very dark nights.

someone said they saw her catching moonbeams
someone said they saw her weaving them into a gown they said they saw her naked by the water
she had laid out the gown on the hard sand
and
walked into the sea
and
her body cleansed as in baptism of the Gods around her she put on her glowing gown and waited still until the birds came gliding to her in a chain…
…and…
… they called to her and she called back, sang the song of the sea to them and of the wind and they carried her into the night towards the crescent of the waxing moon…

they turned their silver over, turned over their gold
they hurried on by
but saw her fold up her gown
and saw also just how old she had grown

said she told them to dance to her singing
to sway in the wind and the song of the sea
and youth’s promise theirs forever would be…

…and every night they saw her dancing by the water
chanting and singing
she folded her fading gown on the hard sand
and
she drew a circle, stood quite still within…
she raised her arms and lifted her face which grew young once more as the moon kissed her cheek
her body lovely again in the light around her…
…that bound her…

the wind and the waves of the receding tide swallowed her words but still they heard…

I am the Mother of all things,
My love is poured  upon the earth.
I drink you with my perfect love,
Be cleansed,
Be healed.
Be changed….
Be healed
Be cleansed
I drink you with my perfect love,
Which pours upon the earth.
I am the Mother of all things….

and every night they ran away
and the next night they would return,
such power had her spell of love…
such yearning in their souls…

they watched her catching moonbeams
they watched her putting on her gown when she was done, to take them home to weave on the dark moon when  the nights were black…

it was hard work for her to weave her gown as in this time she wearied and grew old, her fingers gnarled and stiffened but it was for her to do to bless the earth, to bless all creatures of the earth and she knew that youth would be restored to her again when she laid aside the gown that she had worn to cleanse the sea and she would again walk into the water and put on the new gown she had woven…when she would once more draw the circle in the sand with the ebbing of the tide waiting for her chain of birds…to take her to her moon….
and
the shutters let in the light once more
they heard her song
they saw her shadow
they saw light
and they were safe
and reassured
that all was as it was
that all was well
and 
what they had grown to know….

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

not war!

I won’t write about war
I won’t write about killing and fears
I won’t tell about anguish and screaming

about losses and tears
march onward somewhere
carry guns, ammunition
a fork and grenades
a rope and a torch and a blade
for the soldier on foot
and
I will not write to say...
that it’s all for the good...

and

boots leaving prints in the sand...
proof we were here on new earth,
foreign land...

and

my comrade falls at my side
reaching up to my hand
there’s nowhere to hide
I have to go on
the war machine’s son

I just meet his eyes
and the light therein dies

...must walk on with the others
and cover the ground
because I am bound
to kill sons of mothers

I’ll come back for you
for my friend so true
but
march with the living
revenge in my heart
I’ll get even for you....

I won’t talk about anguish and screaming
I won’t write about killing and war

but

I will write about love, about peace and the hope in us all,
I will tell about the setting sun and the moon rising as I hear the distant lapping of the waves, gentle rustling of the leaves of spring and an owl calling...a chill in the air, about morning dew and a mist caressing the meadow, I will write about your sweet song as you rock the cradle I had built...

...rock-a-bye baby...
...rock-a-bye baby...

...in the tree top...owl calling...rustling leaves...moon rising...ocean roaring...
and
a rocket screams overhead....

...I cannot come for you my friend...
...I too am down...
...my blood is spilt...


...rock-a-bye baby...




Sunday, 16 February 2014

love sweet love





love sweet love



I cooked your dinner for you,
didn’t I?
I made your favourite for you,
I did...

...that proved that I love you! No need to come out with all that claptrap… and say it out loud! For heaven’s sake, what is the world coming to, wine’ve got storms to worry about…

we’ve got floods and houses under water

farmers crying
cattle dying
trees snapping
water lapping
sewage in the garden and sewage through the door, raw  on the floor...

and

you want to play Valentine?!!

I made your favourite
I did...

...that shows that I love you! All this nonsense you want, the hugs and the kisses, no need for that  rubbish, I say, for goodness sake, what’s wrong with you,
...there’s animals to think about, old Ethel to look out for, take care of her cat, it’s as simple as that... as her lane is like a river...

sends a shiver down my back...

water seeping
lambs are bleating
kids are scowling
winds are howling
roof tiles crashing through the air, sleet and snow and lightning flashing...

and

you want me to be your Valentine?!!

...I’m wet and I’m cold, the dog needs to pee, the shop in the village is shut... under water...there’s sandbags to lay, one on top of the other and they’re cold, they’re so heavy and I watch the water rising...

but

...I long for my bed, and feel snug and warm, want for a hug with my man, sweet, tender words, sleepy time talk and drift slowly and safe into the world where we dream, where we snore and we sigh, long belly rumbles, slow tummy grumbles, contentment driven and we mumble in dreaming till morning to wake to the sunrise...blue morning sky, to birds announcing the coming of spring in the apple blossom outside the window, a gentle mist with dew drop rainbows on the lawn...the sound of the sea as the pebbles rattle on the incoming tide...

...a nice day out  would be nice, just what I wish for, just the two of us, and nobody else, coffee at Jacko’s and a glass of red later for dinner at the Bistro, a posh little place with only eight tables laid with crisp damask and the waiter, black trousers, white shirt, just the right distance away asking me what I’d like...Madame...a steak would be nice, I would tell you, done to a turn...you would say, just a hint of pink in the middle, the same thing for me but quite rare and tiny green beans on the side glistening with butter and specks of black pepper and a choc squirty line zigzagging over the plate, an artist’s touch, papaya sorbet to follow to clear our palettes and then a fresh plump peach for dessert for us to cut with a little silver knife, a praline of bitter, dark chocolate on the side...a cocoa liqueur for me when we finish and a Remy for you, he knows what we want, it’s always the same, and we want plenty of time to relax, be in the moment we say and look out at the sunset over the bar where the white of the waves has turned the colour of roses...for the memory we did this...

... as on the day we were wed...a little gift for you and a little gift for me...a red rose perhaps, handmade chocolates or maybe Chanel?  English Fern for you, that I do know, Penhaligon’s best...with a pretty red bow in my bag...just something small, just something special, just a little I love you to remember the day and to remember for better for worse....

but

it’s not really like that now, is it?...
...bad news to contend with, politics and plebs, bonuses, tax, children eaten by dogs and sweethearts axed...
looting and stealing and martyrs at large...

and

you want lovey dovey Valentine?


...the tempests that rage, one storm after another...
waves smashing the houses and barns...straw bales are rotting...no feed and no seed...
..can’t go on anymore, my fingers are bleeding through the tips of my gloves...

what’s the matter with you!

can’t you see?...

that

...my hands are so sore, stiff hands from holding the water at bay...
...but I go on with the others...
...we work, come what may...

...I made you your favourite dinner...
...that’s quite enough love...
...have you nothing to tell me or say?

...he patted his belly...

...contented and full...
...he stretched...
...smiled awry...


...ate it all my dear love...I did...didn’t I?...