As if life were a dance


We walked in rhythm  as if life were our dance
Holding hands, we smiled   whilst on our way
Exchanging too  a soft and loving glance
We walked in rhythm  as if  love were a dance 
Showing both the strength and  the nuance
I wish my love were still with me  at play
We walked in rhythm, our life  a home made dance
Holding hands, we smiled whilst on our way

The Russian wolf is licking his rich fur

I sense a feel of panic in the air
As if the Ark is not quite waterproof
I wonder if we’d welcome Tony Blair

To the poor this life was rarely fair
But now it seems unreal, is it a spoof?
I sense a piece of Putin in the air

I am looking in the mirror at my hair
It looks like Boris Johnson’s  but more louche
I wonder if we’d  dye  old Tony Blair’s

The Russian wolf is licking his rich fur
He’s happy Britain’s weakened with fake truth
I feel  a sense of  monsters  near, oh dear.

Putin won his Trump  with  that strange hair
Now it’s cyber warfare on the hoof
Will  he soon take Leave  from Tony Blair?

The Russians in Crimea  are still  there
 The Ukraine weeps  because we did not care
I sense a feel of Russia in the air
I wonder if   they’ll  fragment us  and tear.


One last time

I have  longed to see you one more time
I can endure that pain of loss again
Yet I still am with you in my dreams

I ‘d love to know your thoughts before you died
You concentrated,focussed, that was plain
I have  longed to see you one more time

I felt it was a Play we were inside
Then we’d come back home, where we have lain
We are still  companions  in my dreams

What of love is captured in a rhyme?
So much  so called poetry seems inane
I have  longed to see you one more time

Love is  not a concept of the mind
I need your comfort but I need in vain
We are still  companions  in my dreams

Now I walk alone on new terrain
I do not suffer torture, am not blamed
I have  longed to see you one more time
I  cannot ask you questions in my dreams


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFifty years since I became your bride
My old age unthinkable back then
No longer are you  happy by my side


Now I feel like drift wood on the tide
Going where I do not know or when
Fifty years since I became your bride

How to be alone, and how decide?
Grateful  am I to the words I pen
No longer are you smiling by my side

With no map or path, I roamed  plains wide
Wandered like a lunatic with pain
Fifty years since I became your bride

At least I am alive and  here reside
Wandering is no life for  those disdained
No longer are you  sitting by my side

I think of history and the years you spanned
The worst World War, your mother, life began
Fifty years since I became your bride
No longer are you  here;oh,love , you  died.

Fiery air

Autumn time in Essex  where we drove
When farmers burned the stubble of the corn
The earth itself was  fiery  like young love
The smokey air rose like a  cloud  new born

The Kentish  landlocked   cliffs  are  wide and steep
The farmers grow  their grain on land beneath
And there too we  have seen the holy fire
The flames  and smoke arrest me with desire

The earth and soil, the  harvest  we find there
Give me joy  both full of wheat or bare
Why did burning stubble   make me glow?
These images affect the heart’s deep core

Now  fires are banned., they damage our pure air
And I   did not like the murder of the hare

Connections,maps and roads

Roman roads connected in straight lines
The cities they had built in wealthy times
The remains of one  goes past my garden gate
Do ghosts of Roman legions pass at night?

I like to see connections,maps and roads
Others  love  old cities ,walls and moats
My road ran to Lincoln  near the Wash
Migrating birds and swans  go there to rest

Going South, there is the Pilgrim’s Way
Canterbury, Becket,murder, prayer
Julius Caesar, Deal,  the Roman hordes
Boudicea,  and her fighting Lords

Layers of history, meaning,love and death
Still we argue  what should be our path

Maps and roads

London is bewildered by its roads
The Circular, the North,the South, the Codes
The Morse and the Enigma Turing broke
So now we have new bicycles with spokes

Once we had the A to Z in hand
Turn it upside down and you’ll be grand
New technology has made gigantic strides
Carrying us to Eden ,what a ride

The motorways are empty for tonight
God decided we had too much Light
He taught the bare cheeked Moon on Jesus’ mount
To turn the other side when love’s about

I liked to use a compass and a map
But now, my dear, most everything’s on tap
I crouch beneath my sister as she drives
In the dark on the M 25

But if it’s closed, we are completely foxed
We left the old Road Atlas in a box
Along with all my ex’s underpants
And naturally his principles of Kant

We may be in Watford or in Bucks
I often wonder what will rhyme with luck
We may be near St Alban’s, we can’t see
The car ran up the trunk of this oak tree

We rang 999 and they are her
A fire engine filled  with Kentish beer
A ladder for the ladies to climb down
Now they are just women on the town

London won’t exist ,destroyed by cars
Angry men who cannot find a bar

No Summer Dresses

Button Detailed Midi Cardigan Image 1 of 4

Women can’t wear frocks and aprons now
We have to look like men  but well endowed
No man would wear a cardigan so long
Behind his wardrobe it would  soon be flung

Shorts are hot in summer, I shall sigh
Why do women have to have a fly?
If you  need to pee  while in a wood
A skirt  provides some cover  for the flood

I’d like a dress like mother used to wear.
As we walked to Grandad’s, she had flair
She knitted  lacy jumpers for  the heat
Even knitted  wool socks for my  feet

We  look like alien creatures  from elsewhere
I’m going to wear my sundress, I don’t care.

Miss Quotes

img_20191201_185820489-effects“What is true love which alters when it perspiration finds?”

” It is no love which falters when it desperation finds!

“Is it true love when  altars plague your mind?”

“Neither a  coroner nor any  gender be”

 “The  best of true love never did  mend louvres.” …

 “If music hurts the mood of love, play none.” …

“Neither a follower nor a leader be”

“I am one who loved  decidedly  yet well.’”

Who are you that I should pay for you?

“Who are you that I should prey  on you?”

“In  this tomb I sadly lie,see you soon, till then goodbye”

Holy heart’s affection,beating pulse

One single tear   expresses  love and loss
Dramatic storms  excess may make folk pause
Who  will notice  one tear and its  cost?

A little stone near water may grow moss
But only mountains bring a sense of awe
One single tear   expresses  love and loss

Grief  must not wallowed in, like  baths
Philosophers not hurt  their minds   uncaused
Who  then will  observe   the tear,  the  cost?

To an ant, a pebble is quite gross
To a widow, death has hungry jaws
One single tear  may   show how she is lost

The entire self is  tear-filled  like  a marsh
We weep  till love itself becomes remorse
Let  one tear out and hide its  anguished cost

The heart’s affections use  poetic laws
Holy  circulation,  blood that draws
One single tear  falls down like bladed grass
Who  will care for  this tear, bear  its  cost?





Crackling ice

What to me may seem a worthless weed 
Bears its little flowers to create seeds
Thus  it spreads itself as Love requires
Humble speedwell,hear of our desires.

In the pavements cracks were home to grass
The sidestep slabs were broken like thick glass
When heavy frost came, rain formed frozen pools
I trod in them as I tore up to school

The crackling ice, the mist dropped on the park
Our ginger cat, the trees, the dog that barked
Our mother in the kitchen making tea
The oven by the fire, the big door key

Little signs spark  tender memories
The future  fiction, gone the  past abyss

Heart and art

Limestone’s softness lets its cracks appear
Wildflowers,daisies,foxgloves love to grow
While little rivers  to the South Tyne veer

Alston on the hill  to me is dear
The main street in the winter’s under snow
Limestone’s softness lets its cracks appear

Granite hard as marble seems to jeer
Limestone  lets the seeds and grass stay,
While little rivers  to the South Tyne veer

The savage Pennines can cause panic fear
Their shadow in the sun, a fearsome layer
Limestone’s softness lets its cracks appear

Do we shift our vision far and near?
The panorama  of the Lakes is fair
The little rivers  to the South Tyne veer

Limestone,like a  woman, let’s love grow
Thus it is creative ,heart and Art
Limestone’s softness lets  broad cracks appear
Thus  streams, well  filled with seeds, are made home there





One tear

A silver tear rolled lonely as sliced moon
Down my pallid cheek  and wet my lip
Your loss turned me to sadness and damp gloom

My future  seemed, not promising, but doomed
The icy nails of death gave me a nip
A little tear rolled lonely as lost moons

Yet, in my mind, I heard L Cohen’s tunes
“There ain’t no cure for love” on this our trip
Your loss turned me to sadness ,clouds of gloom

Yet soft, deep darkness  need not lead to doom
Come,I’ll take a lover, board a ship
A starry tear rolled lonely as   new moon

I will  love,I ‘ll seek  for new  hope soon
Will I descend to stealing from a skip?
Your loss sent me to sadness like a room

I  need no LSD to take a trip
My open senses give me what I miss
A silver tear rolled lonely as cruel moon
Your loss turned me to beauty,life resumes



Now I need to  want to say goodbye

I used to know you loved me by your eyes
Not the eyes  of judgement cruel and  dark
 Yet I need to  learn to say goodbye

Every day  deserted lovers cry
Our eyes grow dim, they lose their living spark
I used to know you loved me by your eyes

You were full of humour, I can’t sigh
Remember swans, the  frozen lake, the park?
Now I need to  want to say goodbye

Like a lark, your soul flew to the sky
Near Studland Bay,  where small birds seem to talk
I used to know you loved me by your eyes

My tears fell like a  curtain from each eye
I could only see you in the dark
Now I need the will to say goodbye

Though not  violent, you have made your mark
We got into that  rhythm when we walked
I used to know you’d  love me till I died
Even after death, I feel you by.


Translation across the Iron Curtain


low angle photo of ceiling
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on


This is the beginning

          It is impossible that any Russian poem should survive, undamaged, magically transported into the English language. The simplest Russian word has no exact equivalent in English. A table is a different table. The food on it is different. The life around it is different. Its image, its behaviour as a word is different; rectangular and immutable in English, possibly round and probably inflected in Russian. Better to admit defeat at the outset. It will be a different poem. All the more important, therefore, to try and preserve whatever you can. Not only the sense, but the spirit of the thing conveyed through the rhyme, the rhythm, the music of the original. If you are not a poet when you start to translate poetry, you will be by the time you are finished. It becomes so natural a means of expression that you find yourself writing your own stuff.

          Some translators, of course, were poets before they began. Great writers have translated other great writers. But you have only to compare the original with the translation to hear the persistence of the poet-translator’s creative voice, even while submitting himself to the discipline of faithfully following someone else’s ideas, someone else’s choice of the form in which they are to be expressed.

          Since the thing, then, is inherently impossible, why try? Why do it at all? There are, of course, some advantages for the English reader. He can satisfy his curiosity. For instance, why all the fuss about Griboedov? What is this wonderful verse-comedy of his? What characters did he create, what views did he hold, what feelings did he express? Why is he so great? This last, alas, is a question which no translation will answer. No, the true beneficiary of any translation is the translator. There is no better way of valuing a work, getting under the skin of it, sucking the juice out of every last line of it, than trying to translate it.

          I encountered Gore ot uma during my first year at London University, studying Russian language and literature. And here I must mention my only advantage over you Russians; I didn’t ‘do’ Gore ot uma  at school. (Imagine reading it for the first time at sixty-two.) One of our professors gave a lecture on the literature of the early 19th Century. ‘There is this brilliant verse-comedy by Aleksandr Griboedov’, he said, ‘but it is completely untranslatable.’ The challenge was irresistible. I went to the library after the lecture, took out the play and started at once.

          The problems were numerous. How to preserve Griboedov’s laconic style, compressed sometimes to the point of obscurity? What to do, for instance, with that reference to Tolstoi Amerikanets? Short of a footnote, how is the English reader to guess at that disastrous voyage of his? How to convey the irony implicit in Griboedov’s double game, in which Chatskii shows us the flaws in Moscow while Griboedov shows us the flaws in Chatskii? In the attempt to convey a sense of Griboedov’s  masterpiece, one is required to joke like an ambitious bureaucrat, think like a revolutionary, feel like a Moscow socialite or a young man in love – in short, to jettision one’s own view of the world, and share, briefly, for the space of a play, the author’s – or his characters’ – experience of it. the problems are varied; the challenge is always the same. How to preserve the spirit of the original.

Darkening sky

How the sky tried to turn black but the cloud thinned
Leaving a dull yellow ochre,  lightening slowly
To cream
A black cat leaped onto the fence
I think he’s sleeping here
But he never shows me his face
He runs as if a banger has gone off behind him
As if he’s going to take off like an aeroplane
He hides in the dark green shade
The honeysuckle chuckles, wishes to see more
The wrens ignore him from their holly tree
Too prickly for domestic cats

God meets Freud

Please lie down.Tell me what brings you here
Not literally?            [ could be autistic]
No, you are always here in a sense.
Well, you know English is not my first language [ excuses]
No,  you were here before language.How hard to imagine.
I have come here because of my guilt   [ trying to be human ]
I’ll be judge, I’ll be  jury, said cunning old fury

Very adroit [Shows off his skills]
What’s  that?
The opposite of maladroit
Why did you send the Flood over the earth\~
I pressed the wrong button.                [Teases me]
That is absurd. There were no buttons then
Not even on coats?                    [Pretends to be ignorant]
Well you should know
I don’t like little  details in my creatiity           [ Thinks he is superior]
Come on, tell me whatever comes to mind
I like playing with water and fire as well          [ Melanie Klein  come here]
You tell me
It’s such fun                         [ emotionally stunted]
Like War?
It was not so bad to start with { always an excuse…. lacking in adult responsibility]
What, even Cain and Abel?
Very sad but it’s just a story      [ Derrida,Levinas, Enid Blyton]
Don’t tell me you are a post modernist
I can be what I want , for  fun you know    [ repeats himself]
I didn’t know God has fun
Well you do now           [ Humour]

Right that is £120

What, you think I should pay?           [ feels superior]
I have to live,Lord.I have a family [     childish plea]
So  did I once             [Sarcasm and grief]

You hide inside the air

Coming in, the whispers of your breath
Float into avid ears, there is no death
Your honey smell, your eyes so sharp and kind
Evoke your image in  the deeps of mind

I see your shadow swiftly move away
There is no tomorrow, just today
And you are here, your smile remains yet fades
Deep in the woods of   feeling  there are glades

You do not hide, you exercise your tact
You knew people’s faces, not the facts
You said  you felt so tender when we lay
And smiled when we enjoyed  ourselves at  play

You  hide inside the air,I breathe you in
I let you go,  I see you  float again.

Starry Night




The humid air of Summer  makes us sweat
No time for kissing lovers  on the lawn
Too much movement constitutes a threat

Behind the rose bush hides our old  black cat
Wanting to take rest, his coat untorn.
The humid air of Summer  makes us sweat

Few lovers want to risk sharp heart attacks
Better to go out in cool,  white dawn
Too much movement  is then less a threat


In Van Gogh’s night, the stars look almost black
Here is his lost ear, alas, it’s torn
The humid air of Summer  makes us sweat

Genius  knows  much more than  what we lack
The motley objects and the chosen form
Too much sorrow constitutes a threat

If we  start to work, we are new born
Resisting weather and  the sunlit barn
The humid air of Summer  makes us sweat
Too much movement constitutes a threat