An Outing

Boxed fields, drawn square,
packed with barley, wheat, and pasture
patch the landscape like an old family quilt
in block shades of green, yellow, and brown.
The seams of hedgerow and metal fence
running between, holding them tight together.
Tidy, organised, as it should.

A restless shoreline lies below, rolling in, rolling out,
eating up the width of beach in froth and foam
and then retreating back, exposing sand and stone,
slowly shelling aged boulders to rocks,
thinning those to pocket pebbles, to ovals, discs,
skinny, round, and slim, for us to pick
and throw and skim along the surface.
Working, active, never ending.

The World Reacts


We all make little changes
and the world reacts to us.

They ran a fence along the creek
because we kept jumping in,

the corner shop brought back those Russian sweets
to cease our everyday hounding,

and last week I gave a strawberry, large and chunky,
near the size of a tennis ball, to a local squirrel.

Today, in the same park, I found
a very, very fat squirrel.

(not pictured!)

Gentleman of Nature

A hurricane appears, this impatient, brutish weather quickly brews,
It peels tiled roofs, pulls up roots, tugs men out of their boots.
A volcano erupts on his whim, rudely littering skies with ash,
Clogging forests and choking towns.
A storm conjures when it wants, swashing seas, tipping ships,
And the tectonic places shift, aggressive slips,
Collapsing buildings above, toppling markets and stalls,
Cracking streets and breaking schools.

Kind and courteous, the Severn bore is the true gentleman of nature.
He sticks to his regular times in the politest manner,
As if to say, before he casts his two metre waves,
Hurtling them upstream,
“This is what time I’ll arrive.
Please make sure to stay
Out of the water.
I pass through here once a day.
I would stop but I can’t,
So keep safe.”

The Severn bore actually has a timetable – it’s one of my favourite natural wonders, partly for its punctuality!


My Little One

The smallest bee rallies against
My newly installed double glazed
Windows, thirsty for the pollen,
Wind and sun.
Aren’t we all, my little one.
Opening the sash, I let him free,
With pleasure, ease, watched him bounce
Into the breeze, carried across on summer drifts,
Soaring high, diving low,
The rest of his little, bouyant life,
I’ll never know.

Red Rex

There’s a photograph of three men stood under a tall, redwood tree.
They hold a banner above their heads. In thick, black letters,
It reads: Stop the chop! Keep the giants! Red Rex lives!
Six eyes stare deep through the lens that speak
Determination, resilience and strength.
Although the three men took on their duties,
To wars, to work, to women,
Although the three men returned together,
To friends, to family, to feed,
Although the three men succumbed and fell
To old age, to accident, to cancer,
The grainy photograph remains on my mantlepiece,
And the tree remains the king of the forest.

Green Seams

Not long now –
The weeds and moss already
Break through pavements of concrete
With ease,
Cracking thick slabs in two,
Garnishing our footpaths.
They are ready to yank the next politician
To walk by, pull them under,
Let them see the roots and seeds
That matter most.

#7 The Beach

#1 The Beach


“That’s a nice one.”


“Really nice.” He nestled the shell in the palm of his hand and admired its colours. With a grubby, sandy forefinger he gently pressed the centre of the turreted shell. “It’s strong.” I could tell he had his heart set on it. His little eyes flickered back and forth, analysing every groove it wore in the resting sun.

“I don’t think they’ll let you keep that one.”

“I want it.”

“You’ll need to find a round one.”

“Okay.” He pocketed the shell as if I told him to. He smiled at me and comfortably began to stroll up the beach.

“Charlie? Did you hear me?” He stopped.

“I just wanted to see what it’d be like to keep it.” Tears brewed from his now fragile eyes. “There’s a small box in my dresser – it’s got a gold crown on the lid. There’s a small combination lock on the front. The code is 345634. Could you put it in there please? I hope to see it again.”

And then it hit him. Despite the sea air, sandy socks, salty chips, browning sunbathers and calling seagulls, he couldn’t lock out the concrete walls, the iron bars, the mashed potato. That’s all it was and all that will ever be – Charlie would never knock on number 45 Oakgrove Road.

“I’ll guess I’ll have to find it again, here on the beach.” He dropped the shell in front of him. “Remember where I left it.”

“I’ll remember.” The officer took Charlie’s arm and slowly walked him back to the car.

I debated on taking the shell, bringing it in for him. Letting him keep it close. He wouldn’t mean harm with it. It was the youth inside him that lusted the beautiful token.

I thought I should leave it, like it was his last mark on the outside world, to be taken back into the sea when the gentle tide rode in.

But I took the shell to rest in his dresser, hoping in a perfect world he’d be out to hold it again.