Friday, 23 June 2017


                       hair knotted with brine
                                          sharpness of salt

                                                        soft touch of a breeze

                                                                           seaweed scents

                                        hot gritty sand on bare feet

                                                                cool water around ankles

                                                                         as tide pulls    


                                                                        draws you

                                         seagulls call and shout

                                                                  horizons are everywhere

                  a world tensed tight

                                                       with struggles



                                                                       becomes free

                                               and you know how it feels

                                to see forever

                                                                         as far as love

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Postcard to my father

On Father's Day. This prose poem is for my Dad. (Walter Biggs, 27/7/1912 - 24/6/1978).

Postcard to my father
I have wanted to go back to that place for so long, to breathe the same air, to be where you were when that final event happened, by the loch those many years ago. Could you see the view as you left us? Was the surface water rippled in the breeze, or was it blue, flat and clear? Could you see the pebbles underneath, smooth and round? How green were the trees in that midsummer midday? Did you smell the warm grass, taste the minerals of earth, hear all the birds singing? Did the golden eagle soar above the white clouds? Did it fly away towards the distant Cairngorms? Did you think of me? Did you wish I was there?

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Bluebells and sea pinks

 Welcome to Spring!

Bouquet by the beach

Wet wool hangs raw from barbs on a fence
where the smell of sheep had gathered,

ferns uncurl in woods to hide bluebells,
their fragrance sketched all over the air.

A thousand flowers of hawthorn open,
tiny stamens like dots of dust

on a perfect white cloth.
On cliffs where water falls sea pinks hug slate,

make thrift in abundance, overlaying
seaweed traces on a breeze.

Salt stings your lips, ties knots in your hair,
tickles your nose, fills your head.

In the café a caramel cookie rests
wide and flat, sweet and delicate in its thinness,

on a bone china plate; fragments of chocolate
soften in the sun,

and there is coffee. I breathe through the steam,
catch scents of chocolate, of bluebells, and the sea.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

A poem a day

April is National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) and we are half way through! It may seem a mad idea, but aiming to write a poem a day for a month has its benefits. I last did this exercise in 2013 when I wrote something new every day of the month and spent the following weeks -- and months -- revising and reworking. It was a long time before I began another brand new poem, however!

This year I am approaching the month very differently. For a start I am working to prompts, which I didn't before. The prompts put up on the NaPoWriMo section of The Poetry School webite are excellent and the NaPoWriMo website itself has some helpful ones. As well as offering useful triggers to get us writing, both sites also suggest poems to read in association with the prompts, and there are sometimes interviews with poets to view or listen to. It's so important to read if you want to write.

And this year we also have the excellent NaPoReMo (READ a poem a day) blog from poet Jo Bell, which gives us a new poem to read every day, together with comments and analysis.

If a prompt, or reading of another poem, sends me to an old poem of mine that needs revising, I go there on the day and do that work.
If a new poem is sparked I do that. So far it's working out at about 50/50, which is OK. The month is helping me to work on poetry every day and to feel I am at least 'getting somewhere'. Not sure where that is, but it is not where started, it is somewhere else ...

If you are a poet and fancy joining in, it's not too late, just jump in now! The links I have mentioned are below, and they will also lead you to any number of online closed groups on Facebook and elsewhere where poets are sharing their new poetry this month and finding ways to work together to improve their technique.

Here's today's poem from me, a 'found poem' from my Twitter feed, kicked off by the Poetry School prompt -- 'Technology Day'. 

Here is the news

It’s described as the mother of all bombs.
Humans are the most innovative species.
Simple, yet delicate and concise.
Stock up with wine this weekend.
#DEC East Africa appeal, donate here.
Only today – #hot cross buns.

                ‘we are for ordinary working people’

Thousands are living on the streets in Milton Keynes.
I’m reading in a volcanic garden.
In Russia poetry is respected, it gets people killed.
British adults are too busy to read, new research shows.
Reading poetry is good for your brain.
White wood-anemones blowing in April sun.

                hashtag #Aleppo, again

Dropping a massive bomb on a cave –
                reminiscent of what kids do when they slam rubber ducks
                into the bath to show Mam. @msHolborow

                ‘ordinary working people’
                hashtag #Aleppo, again

Government drops plan to raise probate fees.
Talking about a love of the dead – maggots and all.
Venezuela’s anger is on the streets.
Recipes for Easter, with lamb.
A history of mass violence in Congo.
Next on The Echo Chamber…

                hashtag #Aleppo, again
Doctors on rota gaps – it’s terrifying night staff
                ‘it’s for ordinary working people’

Police attacked in Paris, one dead
Allez France! Hashtag Le Pen.
Read about the funniest text break-ups.
A novel of suspense and surprises.
North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is real.

                ‘we are for ordinary working people’
                hashtag #Aleppo, again

and finally…
                Let’s go fly a kite.

(a few moments of Twitter, 15.4.17)