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Scarlet poodles on fresh white cotton – red
bias-binding trimmed that summer dress
you stitched for me. I wore it – thrilled

with love, alive with #lookatme! Oh and
if I’d owned a smartphone in 1967, I would
have surely snapped a selfie.

Quick as a crimson wink.

Time-Travelling with Lady Dorothy


It’s the kind of salon she would enter, wafting eau-
de-nil silk and Chanel Number Five. Aeons ago.
Pre-digital, pre-ziplock bags and derma-fillers; way

before Made in Chelsea and over-wired minds that
never quite settle, nor gain mastery. Pale carpets,
shallow tread on oak stairs, and the autumn sun shafting

cocktail hour. A White Lady perhaps? She’d pause at
the threshold of course. For effect. Transformed from
country walk wellies and fresh-air cheeks – hiatus Jazz

piano as she reaches for her cigarette holder (far before
it was a mortal sin). Crystal laughter in the evening air,
the children’s thump overhead. Nanny scolding. Aeons

ago – pre-Apple and creeping Instagram anxiety. Before
the crash, the dishevelled coiffure and spilt sundowners.
Now the air in the salon is stale, but visitors magic up a

history to take-away. Blonde wood, low sofas and a red
maple; turning. Through wide casements, dusk is falling.




At three forty seven a.m. my mind
is multiplying – emails (pending),
birthdays (ravelling), workshops

(unravelling), business (just launch!) and
dogs to kennel. (I don’t have a dog.)
My remote is channel-flipping – colour

and volume to max. I’m quietly calling
Grace, my meditation mantra, to breathe
deep, flood chaos with muffling calm.

She’s hesitant, not quite materialized,
so the channels hop and jar again –
fizzing urgency, vibrating clamour. Still

Grace is loitering back-stage. She smiles;
knowing pre-dawn worm-holes lead
through barbed mazes to this. At eight

forty seven I’m mining meaning, seeding
seeds, untangling discordant strings to arc
a gentle glade. Settling into Thursday with

words, and Grace. Stars are blanked by
cloud, but crystal-sharp. They’re pulsing

yesterdays (orchestrated chaos), lighting
tomorrows, and tomorrow’s daylight grace.


*the worries that gather as one lies sleepless before dawn (Old English)
Thanks to @RobGMacfarlane for a timely tweet with this wonderful word (04 Sep 7 am)

A Skein Too Soon


A rippling V across the evening sky –
far too soon. Surely premature, this
exodus. It’s warm still, no evening mist

and light’s just long enough to linger.
Yet, in formation, flickering serious intent,
they’re arrowhead sure. Summer’s out.

Is duck-lore fallible? Can nature lie?
A resolute circumflex spells ‘no’. Yet –
look again. They’re flying west; not south

at all. So summer lives – tonight’s reprieve.

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.

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