21 March 2015

                                                  winter afternoon haiga

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14 March 2015

English Boots of English Leather:  sorry, I don’t own any Spanish ones!  The picture is just an excuse for posting this link to an excellent Bob Dylan cover by the duo Mandolin Orange.  Hope you have time to listen and enjoy their music.   

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08 February 2015


                          blues company

                                                 when a friend is playing
                                          it’s good to be asked to do a couple
                                       cut through all the smoke beer and noise
                                                             mellowed and moody
                                                                   but no pressure

                                                          do two and then sit down
                                                if the terminally pissed are present
                                                           they ask for another
                                                              maybe later
                                                     gotta get back to drinking
                                                                  i say
                                               they don’t understand the protocol

                                                             it’s not my gig

                                                   perhaps a little blue
                                           i walked through a forest
                                               more than a little green
                                              in sunlight after rain
                                                      i leaned on a rail overlooking the bay
                                                                   played a few tunes
                                                       loving the way the notes drifted off
                                                             down pathways between trees
                                                                 out across the water

                                                  high in the pines
                                                  a blackbird sang
                                              i tried call and response

                                                                just three or four notes
                                                                      short sweet jazz

                                                          he came right back at me
                                                   and for a few seconds we kept at it
                                              then he went off on this wild solo of his own
                                               warm trills soaring up towards the misty sun

                                                             i fell silent and listened

                                                                  that’s the protocol
                                                                  it’s not my gig


           This is a re-post of an old poem together with a suitable
     video at a Drew Millin gig. Drew is a popular performer in and
       around S.W. England.  Note: in the poem the word "pissed"
            is used in the UK sense, meaning intoxicated.

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05 February 2015

                                             it’s a shore thing

                                             i used to love fishing
                                                  in the summer
                                                    first light

                                  there’d still be a thin layer of mist
                                       rolling across placid water
                                       both hiding and revealing
                                              like a silk sheet
                                             on a warm lover

                                          the only sounds  -
                                     the slap of a leaping pike
                                falling back against the water
                                  the call of a distant coot

                                      tackling up was half the fun
              i often used an old split cane rod i’d had for years
                                       (a present from my dad)
                            ignored more modern pieces in my bag
                                     i’d choose a home-made float
                perhaps a quill taken from a pigeon or pheasant
                                   some time tying knots
              threading invisible nylon through invisible holes

                                      a little time to plumb the depth
        (now there’s a trenchant thought on all things mortal)

                                  mould the bread around the hook



                                          watch ripples spreading

                                     the angler’s expanding universe

                                  now comes the real joy  -  the wait
                             i look like an idler but  -  i’m an angler
                       a deep-thinking line-sinking wordy wrangler

                                     it was good to catch a fish
                                      the reel pleasure lay
                                          being there

                                         as the sun came up
           the sudden coloured bolt of kingfisher lightning
                         the cheerful acrobat flurry
               of long-tailed tits in the willows on the bank

                         the joy of cheese and pickle sandwiches
                    washed down with coffee from a scruffy thermos
                                             (of course)
                                    by the childish pleasure
                                peeing on the stinging nettles
                                    my own revenge tragedy
                  those swine had stung my infant legs  -  but now  …

                   i guess if i were a typical angler i’d tell you next
                                  of  all the fish i ever caught*
                                             the spiny perch
                                              the silver roach
                                           greeny copper tench

                                                  that’s not what i remember


                      i remember one still-warming morning
                                              when i sat
                                       entranced by a float
                                      the thin intangible line
                                        connecting it to me

                                   no fish no movement no distractions

                   as if brought into existence by its own will
                          a dragonfly rustled through the reeds
                                  danced with its reflection
                           with perfect poise atop the float
                                                seize the moment
                                   let it sear its way into your heart
                                    it may never be this good again

                                        take a breath with me
                                  be sure you see the picture well
                                      adjust your inner contrast


                          somewhere deep beneath the surface
             a piscine choreographer decided to play a part
                             a good story needs a hook
                                      knowing this
                             the fish swallowed and swam

                                              the float disappeared
                                                  (a perfect ten)
                                                 for the briefest moment
                                               the dragonfly fell into itself

                                                  as did this errant angler

                                        there is no more
                                       no roll of drums
                                     pictures in the local press

           so i keep hold of that vision but i can tell you this
           it’s dear to me as near to me as my first-ever kiss


         *For those more concerned with angling statistics,
 I refer you to that much-loved text
The Fisheman’s Question by Courtenay Bigguns.


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12 January 2015

                             Post Card

      Perhaps the first words which I saw you write
      Were gouged in age and algae on a bench
       Beside the creaking swings where once we played;
       Now silent metronomes to mark the times
       Behind us.  Words of symbiotic love,
       Reduced to letters of the alphabet,
       Were once enough: I wanted nothing more.
      (Commitment had not been invented then.)
       And so I aged, though not, perhaps, matured,
       But moved on, nonetheless, to other scripts,
       Finding fresh changes in new hearts and lips.
       (The same sun shedding colours on new dusks.)
       So why, each day, does mem’ry let you scroll
       A careless palimpsest across my soul?


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21 December 2014


                                       ever find yourself
                    touching a hand that’s not there any more
                       (not phantom limb but peopled past)

                                      it may be lover friend or family
                               with the suddenness of unexpected rain
                                                        they are
                                                   no longer here

                                   whether they have moved west
                                                  gone west
                                  realigned their compass to another heart
                                             doesn’t really matter

                                                 they’ve gone
                               your world is filled with mnemonics

                                          i may find myself in a department store
                                                        and remember
                                                   that awful moment
                                    (ah yes you know the feeling well)
                                                i ceased my prattling
                                          glanced up at my mother
                                  i was holding the wrong woman’s hand
                                       (not the last time for that one)

                                             in my mind
                                     chance upon a piece of road
                                    feel its bumps curves and camber
                                       as if you rode beside me still

                                                perhaps a joke
                                                     or moment
                                          needs another voice
                                                 to say
                                      i saw i heard i felt it too

                                 to this morning’s ambush

                                   i ran along the forest path
                                     the padding of my feet
                          playing bongoes to my labouring chest
                                 i struggled up a long climb
                                                 and then
                                     (as ways are wont to do)
                                           the track fed me a Y

                          this gave me cause to rest and look around
                                  at dappled snow on mountains
                                   a meandering river in the glen
                           (so distant  -  yet i heard its music call)
                                  through a faint seductive mist
                                                   the sea

                                     what could i say
                                      within my sigh
                        my cryptographic steaming breath

                                             it still remains
                                           that need to share   ………………….

                                 i held a hand that wasn’t there



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