Sunday, 27 March 2016


There are giant radioactive crocodiles
in the Aghoule channel which
separates Moneystown Island from
the Isles of Carrig. We survive
on what we can grow,
eggs from the hens,
honey from the bees,
and avoid the dangerous shallows
where the crocodiles hide,
waiting for the careless or carefree.
We have peace. The crocodiles
keep the others away.
It's not a big island.
Two miles across. One mile wide.
The sheep are long eaten.
We set traps for birds.
No fish. Radioactive.
Recycling the clothes of yesteryear.
Semi- tropical now, no need for heating.
Four years left, maybe five.
Listen to the honeybees.
They don't care.
Sweet, sweet honey.
Sweet, sweet bees.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Abandoned Cars

In summer, we played in the abandoned cars,
slid down the windscreen, hot roof to bonnet,
sat in and drove to wherever we wanted,
the backs of our legs sticking to the seats.
Oh, we were wild and free.
Between breakfast and dinner, no grown ups.
Between dinner and supper the same.
When time came for us to eat,
mothers threw up sash windows
and hollered their children's names,
which were passed along passageways to find us.
After supper, it was back out until it was dark,
and then scolding for being back late,
a quick wash of hands and face
and into bed. Windows open to the city night.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, 23 March 2016


Once I had orange and lemon trees,
In the garden of a villa,
By a pool.
Now I have a kumquat tree.
In my conservatory.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Bonfire Night.

Dark. Late October.
Parking the car.
Bright lights from the fair.
Pay in at the gates.
Candy floss. Rides.
The bonfire, twenty feet high.
Men with torches behind the fence.
The thing starts to blaze.
My face warm, then hot,
my back cold as ice,
the flames lick higher,
and higher until
it's a great orange mountain.
Then fireworks.
Ooooh and aaaah, and
spinning catherine wheels,
and then its over.
We walk over the rubbish,
tired now,
out through the gates
to the car
and home.

Bird Girl

Bird Girl climbs the tower
reaches the top
throws herself off.
Tours stop to watch.
She falls and falls.
At the last minute
misses the ground
lands on the roof
of the tour bus.
Grips with her feet
flies off again.

Friday, 11 March 2016


Lisbon. A park.
The pigeons circling my crumbs.
Not a cloud in the sky, Portuguese spring.
My cafe com leche is strong and hot.
A comfortable breeze over my shoulder.
Only one other person out on the terrace,
staring at her laptop screen as I
tap tap on my phone.
Its a full stop of a day.
An end of the week kind of day.
A flying home soon kind of day.
I'm not a tourist and not a local.
I'm not anything in particular,
and barely visible.
Only the pigeons notice me.
Notice me and my crumbs.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Sleep, little prince, sleep.

Sleep, little prince, sleep.
The world's thundering down the tracks,
Ready to seize you,
To take you,
And make you
A man.
Resist. Let it wait.
Keep fighting the dragons,
Hold tight to the stories,
Don't settle too soon
For growing up.
It's not all it's cracked up to be.
And the dragons will miss you.
Just let sleep kiss you.
Dream on. Dream on. Just dream.

Saturday, 5 March 2016


The houseboatman liked me.
When I rang at two in the morning,
he came cheerfully,
and when I complained about the rat,
he carefully closed the bathroom door.
Sorry, he said, and headed back
to the small boat tied up alongside,
where he lived with his wife and children.
I lay awake all night with the light on,
alert and waiting for water rats,
alone on the faded, glorious houseboat.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, 3 March 2016

At The Nursing Home

Frances runs. A nurse runs after her.
Another heads to the front of the house.
Three of them in the car park
trying to calm her.
"Get your hands off me, bitch".
She sees me, heading for my car.
"You'll take me, won't you?"
They ask her where she wants to go,
and she tells us, a job interview.
She tells us she has to go NOW.
"You'll take me, won't you?" as she
clutches her handbag to her chest.
The manager comes out.
Tells her to come inside,
she'll call Jimmy,
they can talk about it with him.
But she tells us she CAN'T go back in.
She tells us the nurses turn into elephants and chase her.
I say that sounds like a scary thing.
She tells us again that she needs to get to the interview.
She tells us over and over, until she gets tired,
and lets them lead her gently inside.
I stand and watch,
then get in my car and drive away.