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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.

Jane Seeing Stars



Midway from grey to greyer, it starts.
Between nimbus skies and running moors –

a crimson gash. Memories curl back like sea
fret, sediments laid down in marl and peat

and millstone grit. Her amber spirit sealed alive.
Glittering, not bitter. A fighter, stares down

her betters, knows her own worth. No field mouse –
more kestrel and ruffled feathers. But beneath

this tussock heath, tectonic ripples – Jamaican
heat seeps clints and grykes, sheers til death do

us part – Hurricane Bertha whipped by the wide
Sargasso Sea. Yes reader, she married him – but not

at first shot when her luck was too sudden to hold.
No, much later. Much richer and wiser, when

she knew blindness for all its faulty worth.




In the broad brim of her Sunday-best
hat, lie motes of space dust – genes
she gifts her son, his daughter, her son

and his daughter. One hundred years
in sepia. Right there. While she is washed
in last century – her heat and chaos stopped –

her alchemy lives on. In us. With a shot
of developer, stopper and fixer, his hands
halt time, freezing her fleeting mundane

to still history. Our gaze, alight with
recognition (her nose? his bright eyes? )
revives her now. She’s us and we are she;

spiraling this cosmic string.

The Theory of Rapture




Rapture of the deep – free
diving for the Martini effect,
drunk on one more fathom.

Rapture of the bluest zenith –
thins blood and lightens limbs,
whiffing ozone in your fizzy mouth.

Rapture of the mellow hum, zen
yellow windows flung wide, muscles
dazed by summer’s head-rush lawns.

Rapture of the sonic boom; girdling
the whirling earth, eager for the blur
of transience. Now to yesterday.

The Theory of Rapture. From all points
and every angle – it’s singular. It’s now.
And never merely relative. In theory.

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