Tuesday, 28 February 2012

View from the bridge

The surface of the water utterly still.
The reflection perfect.
Cloud and sky in two directions.

Monday, 27 February 2012

The Sun Will Still Rise

7.30am on a brisk and fresh Monday morning in Wicklow. Fears crowding my heart space at 5am. Out in the distance, a ship moves across the horizon so slowly it doesn't seem to be moving at all. Sometimes that's how progress feels. Birds sing in the steely early light. Somewhere close by, a pheasant makes its call. I turn through 360 degrees. A world all around me, going its way, oblivious to my fears.

The pheasant calls louder and closer. I remind myself that regardless of what this day brings, the sun will still rise tommorow. I take a deep breath, and face the week

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Sunrise over a turbulent sea

Waves; green blue black
White-topped; foaming fleck
Pale sun; a rising light
Lightening sky; fading night

(an experiment with waves. Town
looks on. An experiment. Somewhere
there's a drowning boy. Somewhere
Icarus flies overhead. Here and now
only waves and sunlight. And flecks of foam. Yellow rays breaking the dawn. Pale against a thrashing sea.)

Sword of Damocles

(Meaning: noun: an ever present threat, an impending disaster.)

Waking again at 4am, with this
Sword of Damocles over my head,
I wonder who Damocles was, and,
In the modern way, immediately
Satisfy my need to know. A story
Of envy and sycophancy and
Stepping into someone else's shoes.

Dyonisius, rich and powerful
But always under threat.
Damocles given a taste of that life;
Feasting, while the sword hangs
Perilously, by a single horse hair,
Over his head. Damocles choosing
The poor but unthreatened life.

I wonder what lessons there are
To be learnt from this story by me?
The horsehair holding this edifice
In place is pulled so taut, one touch
Would be enough for the sword to fall.
Dionysius lived with the sword. Damocles chose a different way.

Its 5.15 now. I've pondered the story
For long enough. Time to take it
To the unseen world. To process it
In dreamland. Damocles and
Dionysius, both long dead. The
Sword still hanging over all
Our heads. By a horsehair.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Square Peg

Square Peg

Worked hard all my life to make the
Square peg that is me fit
The round hole of my life.
Jammed and squeezed me into a
Space that is too small, hacked off
Rough edges to make myself fit.
It's time; time to make the hole
Bigger, expand the life to fit
Each and every part of me.
Reclaim those rough edges. Feel
And know the sharpness of my angles. Make a life fit for this square peg.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012


In the place called "here", there is no need"

Late Winter ~ New Life

Late winter walk at Varty Lakes.
There's wind, and there's rain in the air
It's not too cold tonight though,
and there's still light in the sky
at six o'clock. In the next field
wild baaaing of new born lambs
and the rumbling low baas of
exhausted ewes. There's birdsong
in the air, along with the mournful calls
of rooks. The sound of rooks, which always takes me back to wakings in
half light in a narrow bed in a distant quad. To waking too immediately,
and wondering how to fill the hours
waiting for someone else to be awake.
Back to now. Late winter with a
promise of spring. All that new life.
All that new life.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Evening Shore

Evening falls. Wicklow shore.
Marram grass and mild strong breeze.
New dogs running with the boys.
Old worlds fall. All things change.
Evening shore.


"Shrive: to confess and receive absolution".

Pancake day, and the shops have been full of lemons and ready batter, sugar and nutella. There's great excitement in the schools where pancakes will be served today.

But maybe today is a day to do some real, personal work. To shrive on shrove tuesday. No priest or confession box required. Just a deep entry into the heart, and finding that absolution within. No religion. Just the depths of the heart.

Monday, 20 February 2012

So Much Beauty

So much beauty! What to do
With so much beauty?
I drive over the Wicklow Gap,
The colours changing from autumn to winter,
Low cloud hangs in the valleys,
Sheep stand white and pure
In misty rain.

Stark contrast. In the car,
I'm playing late 70's punk,
Harsh, loud, angry.
It takes me back to those years,
Sleazy nightclubs, too much drink,
Bleary hangovers and school.
Alka Selzer BEFORE going out.

What to do with so much beauty,
But cry with pity at it all?
We come so far
And find ourselves
Right back where we started.
I drive past the B&B
Where we once stayed.

The eldest was a baby then.
Six months old.
I felt blessed.
To have a baby of my own,
To be in so much beauty;
A job, enough money
For this cheap holiday in Ireland.

Who knew I'd end up here?
Who knew I'd end up living
In these mountains, in Wicklow?
The tough girl from Brum,
From the city streets and city nights,
Clubs and pubs and sticky floors,
Falling over too often?

So much beauty.
If only I could capture it,
Bottle it to share with you.
To feel ROOTED in this beauty -
How fantastic would that be?
But I'm only a drifter,
Floating over it,
On my way to who knows where.


Saturday, 18 February 2012

First signs of spring

There's a warmth in the air. The sun is shining throigh the gaps in the clouds. The water's glistening. Groups of young people hang around on benches by the water's edge, pushing and playing, politely drinking beer out of cans. There's dogs out a plenty, and owners unwrapping their winter selves. There's children, shedding their coats to the gaps in the clouds. The soft wind strokes the surface of the water and the children at play. All is good. All is good.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Evening Arrives

Evening arrives. Even - ing. A time
to leave things even. Nothing's even
between us. You, retreating to your
high moral ground, and dubious speak;
leaving me, to explain myself, in
increasing circles of helplessness.

I know what I know. Gestalt, I think,
is what you call it. I know the knowing
deep inside. And know what's been
lost, or pushed away, or cast into oblivion. You choose not to know. Ok. Let's not call it denial -
just things you choose not to know.

So, here, now, tonight, I sit. I. Sit.
Separate. Not alone. Opening my
arms, the universe flies towards me.
Not alone. Connected; connected to
all this; and all that too. Connected
even to you, as you frantically withdraw, in panic at the reality of it all.

I know what I know. I know connection,
how it feels to not be separate from
the world. Mostly, I don't live it. Easier;
alone is such a safe and special place.
And yet. Connection. Is real.
And strong. Pulls at us, even when we resist.

My connection is real. If you pull away
the connection isn't broken. Just not
experienced by two. The world
moves in; and on; and on; and
time (that sly fox) will come to blunt
the most intense of feelings.
My tea is warm. My life is good.

Sent from my iPhone



Thursday, 16 February 2012

for simplicity of purpose.

to the simplicity of existence.
Grow food.
Make art.
Build shelter.
Hold children.
Breathe in.
Breathe out.
Be at rest with the universe.
Be at peace in the world.


That Sly Fox Time

And the fox standing there beside me,
Upright in his fishnet stockings,
Smoking a pipe....

Tired and sleepy, an old checked shirt
thrown across the foot of the bed,
wings of lead, a day spent peering
into wall cavities, recording cracks
and taking moisture readings, then
finishing urgent reports. This too is life.
On the side of my wardrobe hangs
a pair of black fairy wings.
This too is life.

Step by
Step by
Step by
Step we
Walk towards
The end
Of it.
Come aplenty
We ignore them.

Step by
Step. Until
The steps
Run out.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


The little girl down by the lake?
Those things she's playing with,
that you never could see,
moving and moving them around?
Baking tins. A Kuggelhoff mould.
She's sitting in the sunshine
ignoring you and moving the
tins around, gently humming.
Quiet. Peaceful. In the sun.

She's not, you know. She's sitting
on a cold tiled floor, victorian tiles,
in a cold dark corridor, at the foot
of uncarpeted timber stairs,
and she's looking at the tins,
the tins that are dented,
the tins that just flew
down the hallway,
after her father,
and she's notthinking
about her mother running
out of the house
and she's notthinking
about her father running after her
and she's notthinking
what happens if
they don't ever come back.
No, she's notthinking these things, she's just thinking about how
the cakes can be baked
for christmas when the
tins are dented and
maybe it will be ok
and she sits on the floor,
and she moves the tins
from one hand to
the other, trying
to push the dents out
with her small fingers.
And she's notthinking
about anything else,
just about the cakes,
and the tins, and
she's notthinking about
her mother and her father
and how angry they were
and what if they never come back,
no she's notthinking about this, she's
just moving the tins around,
and humming a tune under her breath,
and sitting on the cold floor,
until she lands on that sunny shore.

For forty five years she's been
sitting there humming, and
moving those tins around
on the ground in front of her.
It's time
to bring her home.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


They call it a facebook feed, and feed us it does -
except that this is a feed that never leaves us satisfied.
Like chinese takeaway, five minutes after feasting, you're hungry for more.
No sustenance. Its "craving" food, not wholesome fare.
Like sugar rush and cheap cider rolled into one.
No wonder its such fun.

Sent from my iPhone

Cabbage Leaves and Poison

Monday, 13 February 2012

Vision behind bars


Choose to be happy

This is my life and I can choose to be happy. On the radio, a Greek man is talking about hardship in Greece, the hunger and cold, people freezing to death in the streets, complete absence of hope. The economic world continues on its way. I remember loud voices calling at the height of the boom "we need to build a society, not an economy". Those shouts don't seem to be around these days.
Is it possible to be happy AND sad? I think so. Is it possible to be happy AND afraid? Much harder. Happy and hungry? Harder still. But maybe possible, if happiness is a choice.
Happiness a choice in a broken economy or a soured society? Happiness a choice, even if the life you are living is not the one you imagined?

Keep imagining. Imagine the reality you want. Imagine happiness. Imagine even as certain things are withdrawn, or withdraw from your life. Withdrawal leaves a space. New things can move into the space. Make them the things you want. Keep imagining, and feel it all, the whole parade.
Happiness is our birthright, and is strong enough to co-exist with it all, the whole tumble and jumble of life.
This is my life and I choose to be happy.

Saturday, 11 February 2012


Old Jumper

Tonight, I'm wearing that old grey jumper, and thinking about friendship,
and about the ways we wound one another, without meaning to, and
how the one who seemed so close that distance seemed unimaginable,
seems now to be on the other side of the moon, and me, forlornly standing
at the ocean's edge, looking out into vastness of distance.

I wrap the soft cloth tighter; a semblance of holding,
while the parade of necessary feelings makes its way through my town.
With no intention of wounding, not me, not you, yet somehow still it happened.
And now, instead of that rock solid place, we're walking on quicksands.
And friendship hangs in the balance.

Easy to pull up the drawbridge and just turn away. Defensive pretences.
The old words slip into place; "it doesn't matter. It doesn't"
Wrap the grey fabric tighter. Remember. What's torn asunder
does not reduce the cloth to ash. Wrap myself tight. Remember.
What's real stays real, even if it isn't here tonight.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Heavy Bag

Pulling this heavy bag of debt behind me, the years stretch ahead:
2012, 2013, 2018, 2027,2035.
On the most recent schedule, my debts pay off when I'm seventy two.
I wonder how much different I am, to the indentured servant; the tenant farmer; the serf. Yet they too lived.
Lived, and laughed, and danced, and swore. The human conditiion.
This life should be easy. Cross it out.
This life might be easy. Cross it out.
This life can be easy. Cross it out.
This life IS easy. Amen.
Walk through the dark doorway to the unknown.
Happy with. Happy without. Easy.

Sent from my iPhone


Sunday, 5 February 2012

In the Beginning

In the beginning
There was a single cell.
Look how complicated
Its all become.

Changing Landscapes

You cling and cling and cling to what you know.
Then suddenly, and without warning, things change.
The known lanscape, with it's boulders, and it's sunsets,
It's smooth lakes and it's cottage gardens, - disappears.
You can't even see a new landscape yet. You're in
The in-between place, wreathed in mists and shadows.
You don't even really believe there'll be a new place.
For now, all you see is grey light, and shadowy,
Menacing forms in the fog. This is where courage is needed.
To take the steps you need to take. To keep taking,
First one step, then another, towards an unknown destination.
Courage; and with that courage faith; faith that a new landscape
Will slowly appear as the fogs that swirl around you lift.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Fragile Trust in a Changing World

Trust these tears,
Trust these fears,
Trust these days,
Trust these nights.

Trust myself to stop holding on,
Trust myself to stop fixing,
Trust the universe to do the holding,
Trust the sun, trust the moon,
Trust the sea, trust the sky,
Trust the fluttering wings of fear,
Trust the burning,
Trust the rough and shallow breathing,
Trust the piano wire lifting shoulders,
Trust the grey waves of mercury,
Trust the rising waves of soapy dread.

Chest of fear
Eyes of tear
Low down low
Birthday blue

Not Slippery ~ Myself

Not slippery. Not let down.
Caring. For myself.
Connected. To myself.
Thinking. Of myself.
Getting to know. Myself.
Loving. Myself.
Seeing. Myself.
Don't fool. Myself.
Don't cheat. Myself.
Be who I am. Myself.
Touch. Care. Know. See.
Follow. My. Hopes. Be.
Not slippery. To me.

Sent from my iPhone

Age of Miracles

Neptune moves into Pisces. Miracles become possible.
Miracles need you to be open to them.
I'm opening to the age of miracles.

Thursday, 2 February 2012


There are whole worlds inside us.
When I was small, I made up worlds.
Spacemen and travelling through the universe and landing on planets and stars.
Kings and armies and battles and horses.
Caves and hidden treasure and mysteries and solving mysteries.
Kidnapped boys at windows and following people in the street and trying not to be seen, notebook in hand.
Practicing to swim the channel in Sparkhill baths.
Practicing to win the high jump at the Olympics in my back garden.

I'm big now. Still whole worlds inside. Creating imaginary presents. Creating imaginary futures. Its fun. Its addictive. Its lovely. And its easy to get sucked in and believe its real.

Breathe in. Breathe out. THIS is real.
Those worlds are gorgeous, I want to enjoy them - and still know what is real