City Scape

The cities reflect me as I stand on the edge,

cliff nose to window. They would be castles

in the air, if I didn’t look down

to see the miles below where eyes are open,

ogling until the soil, until the grave.

They have the scent of sweet rot,

that candy cane gutter pile left

for the elves in high viz jackets

(that render them invisible to the streets and suits);

underpaid, overworked, and tired – so tired.

And still those glassy screens profess

fresh lilies, crisp and bred to perfection.


Ghost act

The rain has filled up the circus tent, lithe

figures walking out of the wet floor to take their positions in the ring.

Spotlights create mirrors as they climb up thin vines

to the trapeze at the top. Aerial acrobatics

for anyone wanting to watch, energy matching

the stink of old straw, popcorn and tinsel pompoms left behind.

Outside, the sun breaks through and sends evening’s fire

around the grounds, sneaking into the big top as the act begins.

The performer jumps and evaporates, nothing more than steam.


Water vapour, as I see it

The mist drifts in

across the moor.

A natural occurrence,

yet to those there to witness,

its creeping hands form

a heavy stone, which

though small, gives

a sudden punch

to the chest.

Tales long thought to be forgotten

come unbidden

to the mind,


of eyes and teeth

and a cold breath upon the neck.

But they are only whispers.

Told to steal the knotted wrap

from your warm,

foetal body.


A book for Pandora

At the very bottom of the box, under all the aluminium ring-pulls, squashed bottle caps, tarnished costume jewellery, bent paperclips, and neat bags of lavender long lost of their scent, is a single book with one word stamped across its cover in gold lettering. The word looks familiar, but you can’t recall what it means. You spell it out: H-O-P-E. The meaning refuses to stir in your mind, so you pick it up, turning it over in your hands and caressing the cover. A button catch clasps the book shut. Even when you press it, it refuses to open. Dismayed, and by now a little bored, you put the book back. Under the lavender bags, under the paperclips, under the jewellery, under the bottle caps and under the ring-pulls. Now the book is completely obscured, you close the lid of the box and turn away, intending to walk off and forget about it. But even though the book is hidden, buried under so much, you cannot let go of it. You know it’s there, and it always will be there, waiting for you to pick it up again.


Beyond the naked eye

Yours is the shaded bench placed beside the stream where tired walkers rest their feet whilst watching the ducks at play.

Yours is the mansion with the ivy climbing high to the window of the first floor bedroom, where its creeping tendrils lightly finger the latch.

Yours is the garden that is home to upright stones marked with old names, beaten down by wind and rain to become unreadable.

And yours is the oak tree that has been growing for a thousand years, whose roots intertwine with the forgotten skulls in the invisible pit.