Another night watch

when streetlights slice pale parallelograms
through the three-thirty mist.
The streets belong
to foxes and folk between shifts:
a world emptied
dead to itself.

I am
one small speck of wakeful life
in the starless, windless void.

The peril of the moment
holds me wide-eyed and wired
my heart and breath two bolting horses
straining for the front.

Long knives gleam.
Hot blood runs.
Old enmities flare.
The kingdom shudders to its roots.

The fool who clasps the empty crown
in sweaty, greedy hands
has murdered sleep
more surely and more finally
than the tyrant ever did.


All I could see

from my small window
was the changeless street
unaltered neighbours
static cars
a strip of sky
no horizon.

All I could see
on looking inwards
was the shapeless fear
unbending logic
stalling dreams
a growing dark
all doors bolted.

So I rose and rode
to the windy top
of a high green hill
where sheep grazed, larks sang
ancients slept, old ways ran
and let myself be lost in
all I could see.

So much speed

Speed2 copy

and roaring, pouring air;
Suspended by magic and iron laws
Between dawn and a day from hell.

But no matter
What I conjure
From this concatenation of curving tubes
Precision parts and spinning spokes

It will not suffice:
There’s no machine, no human power
That can outrun the onward rush
Of fate, events and time.

Yet while there is a road
Breath and blood, a rising sun
And I have strength and will enough
I’ll ride and rage, hurt and hope.

Not much further

to fall now.


I have been tumbling
over and over
for so long
I have lost sight of the sky
and all sense
of which way is up.

At times it seems
a weightless drift,
soft as a dandelion seed;
until I look at the walls around me
blurred to black
by impossible speed.

Do I look down –
calculate, brace myself,
hope against all hope –
or surrender to the void
and go out quietly
never knowing.

Don’t need to know

the future:
Just that
There might be one;
What happens next:
Just that
I am strong enough.
What I could become:
Just that
I can change;
Where I’ll lay my hat:
Just that
Somewhere is home;
Who is left:
Just that
Love endures;
Or how and where this ends:
Just that
It too shall pass.

What are you, writer?

I am the owl / who asks questions in the dark

I am the wolf / who runs alone

I am the road / that takes you nowhere

I am the axe / whose edge is dulled

I am the lightning / that briefly reveals

I am the tree / that senses autumn

I am the stone / time wears away

I am the soil / in need of rain


Thank you to Monica Carroll for the prompt! N.

Hard to see

what any of this is about
When doubt and uncertainty
Are all we’re given
To live on.

Look on the bright side
They cried. So I tried
But damned if I could find it:
The dark behind it drops so deep.

Wish I could sleep
And wake up somewhere someone new
Breathing sharp, clean air
With a different view.