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Devon Cream Tease



We glide this slow afternoon, fingers
relaxed with each other, stories free-
flowing, easy. The sea behind us, we’re

heading inland, skirting the Otter’s sinuous
course, eyes caught often by a tawny flash –
silver bellies ripple upstream. Trawling.

We walk on, imagine otters at every turn –
stones disappoint, parting the river’s flow.
Inert. But martins swoop our sight-lines,

cruise clouds of midges in the evening’s hush.
Miles from sound-bites, tweets and Question
Time, the State on the Nation is here. Otter-

side, late May. Rooted – not ballot-box-routed.

Spring Dissonance



In Doone Valley, it’s spring already –
liquid rush of melted ice. It’s glass in flow,
refracting palest blue – a long time coming.

Showers of golden gorse splash the moor,
clinging to downhill slalom slopes – duck
under wizened oaks. But idyll this is not.

Two horsemen – seemingly benign – crest
the bluff and gaze across. We look where
they look, where their tracer-bullet sweep

pins the bronze prize. And before we can
re-adjust our fellowship on this Exmoor slope,
they thunder on, our peace in shards,

cantering their quarry beyond the next fell
dip. Doone Valley – so it’s fall, not spring, at all.

Ice Helmets and Periwinkles


Living within the sky – a crystal
high to steal your breath

Winter wraps a granite cloud
around us – freezing fog, like chain-
mail upon our sun-starved skin.

It bruises brave new worlds with
nay-saying nudges and tethers infant
fizz in blank inertia. Within this

blanket sky is muffled push and daily
trudge. Pressing down; an ice helmet.

Yet, between two breaths (we’re
nearly home) a chink of blue – crystal
high to sigh towards. Breathing sky

is chameleon – so now the fifty shades
are rainbow blue. Periwinkles stud
the bank – lapis winks between clods

and icy grass. Through January mist,
we’re breathing sky. Miraculous.




Image courtesy of Professor Bop (Flickr)

Watered Silk


On the high road to festive jaunts –
tinsel, puds, secret santa cracking
the whip – we took a detour, walked

the Strand and held our breath. +++ No wind,
no gull’s call, no ripple, no blue, no speck
in this long pause.

Mist in our mouths, eyes hazed by the pewter
glint from Mr Turner’s Topsham sky.

Moorish Skies at Night



Darker, brighter, more busy and packed
than you’d think. Space between stars,
smaller. It’s a crush of energy out there–

sparkling gas and moonshine. Lie flat. Gaze
up, still your eyes if you can – caught by
flicker and cosmic chatter. Few black holes

to sink into and many more exchanges – static
of the spheres – than you remembered. It’s
a melée hanging over us, snapping light shows

cast through eons. Names change by latitude, by
geography, by celestial cartography. But it’s
broadcasting despite us and we notice mostly

from the corners of our terra firma eyes.

Wine-tasting in Shanghai

African violet flowers, selective focus

Long swirl. Sniff. Taste – so far,
so good. But how to speak its
violet-ness if never seen, not

savored? There’s another way
of tasting this, of living this, of
speaking this. Un-tested, not yet

voiced nor swallowed – so swirl,
and sniff, roll light across your
tongue. Stare deep. Articulate.

And skip the rails. It’s violet.

Sea Glass

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The tide is on the turn – muffled pastels,
susurration; slow balm to scattered minds.

Air thickens into mist – blotting coastal
crags and curving bays. Edges soften, fade;
rubbed smooth by tidal fall and rise and fall.

Then opalescence – the palest kind of glitter;
cloud-refraction, calm work of long-strung
hours. Easing corners, brights and sharpest

tang to subtler bounty – memories laid down
in vital hours. That sea glass in your pocket.

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