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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.

To Watergate Bay


A smooth cruise from E.U. referendum chat
to this white Cornish beach – sandcastle flats
enticing eyes to turquoise. As warm, as fresh

as an English summer can be – and a cool leap
from 60s holiday weeks, sheltering from bracing
breezes with not a hint of latte, nor artisan gin.

These sands, so clean and wide that the crump
of surf is a distant drumbeat – seen, not heard –
is felt like a distant pulse from another life.

As the white ribbon unfurls, boards and surfers pop
like fresh toast – upright elation, swift, brief,
then return. It’s a long haul for surfers – but great

for Pecs and red carpet stunts. On this shore, Labs
race like hounds, chasing invisible bliss, out-running
slow days by the fire, and toddlers zig-zagging after

beach balls. There’s thunder on the horizon, but here
and now – enough fizz and clotted cream to dream on.

Walkie-Talkie, EC3


London’s breakfasting at Pret –
beneath the Walkie-Talkie convex
steel, just off a blowy Fenchurch Street.

Next door, Suits coffee-huddle outside
Nero – a splash of blue on the grey-black
City spectrum. By 9:15 the tide is turning,

pace easing to a late spring stroll. Students,
tourists, senior managers all weave this
gentler stream. But their phone-clamp stays

the same – eyes, ears, mind, elsewhere – blind
gaze ahead, or down; feet gliding separation rails.
History’s shades and cobbled secrets pause

unseen – hidden down St Mary’s-At-Hill;
within St Margaret Pattens – Wren’s spires
pale and quiet, keeping shtum, as London

walks and talks and breaks its fast in EC3.

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