Like a natural god, the geese divine

When we walked  I  held your hand in mine
We walked  round a small lake  to see geese fly
We  sauntered, in a rhythm were aligned

Time had stopped, the geese  in circles climbed
Then swept  onto the path as we came by
When we walked  I  held your hand in mine

Like a natural god, the geese divine
Landed  in their beauty with a sigh
We  entered  a new rhythm, were aligned

On the shining water  geese in line
Float and hunt for food with little cries
When we walked  I  held your hand in mine

 In our garden for your love I pine
I may never love another  till I die
We  sauntered, in a rhythm were aligned

God is on the mountain with his lyre
Singing of the beauty of desire
When we walked  I  warmed your hand in mine
We  lived attuned  to love  until you died

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

Why we may be blind to others



I once became interested in virtue and perception.It began when I read  a little Aristotle about virtue being a habit.That was quite recent.Before that for many years I believed virtuous acts would follow from being able to perceive well.But when we are fraught our minds and eyes tighten up and so we perceive only what may be a danger to us.To perceive others well we need to be in a position to trust others and we need to feel secure.How is this possible?
From my studies I read that our ability to trust begins with a trusted caregiver in infancy,[See” atttachment and loss “by John Bowlby reference to come] We may be able to become more secure later by good fortune,friendship and love.
If not,I seem to get the idea that if we are insecure and nervous we cannot truly perceive others and they may be in the same position.If we are very afraid then virtuous acts may be hard to accomplish. The reason is obvious… when. we are concerned with  mere survival as a person , in that state what we do to others  may be impossible for us to consider.We cannot truly see them and so we cannot act well towards them except by good luck.
Or if we are able to tolerate great anxiety,we may see better…. if not we are incapable…. Those whom we cannot see properly we cannot truly consider with feeling  and act on this feeling.We see them partly or mainly in terms of the fearful fantasies in our minds and cannot see them as  other and interesting.When we make a friend online we may feel safer but in fact we are more likely to misperceive them.
When we are from a sad a or difficut background it may help greatly if we have some friends who might point out our errors if we trust enough to tell them.Or we may pretend to be hard and tough.Neither leads to virtue.
If we trust God it may help but I believe we see God through the lens of our parents.. which is not good…depending on the parents. When we live in fear,we cannot see what is there before us.We cannot let go.We cannot accept grace and love nor give it.We will try to live by will power.Ironically people who are fearful inside can develop a shell of toughness and pride and so are not seen as vulnerable  and/or lovable.Tbey may seem frightening to others. This account may help to explain why politics is the way it is and also  we see that arguing is not persuasive when the other is not able to open up and see things more broadly.Arguing makes us tighten up and see less well.And it can be frightening too though some cultures find it more acceptable than others.

Here are some relevant blogs and articles

This author had a lot to say about perception…

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In honour of Paul Tillich

Paul Tillich gave our spirit proper place.

He showed us courage as a  space to dwell.

He wrote for us and left us with   his  grace

With hope he might  well speak and he might tell.

So many people ignored Fascist speech

And lived with mind cut off from  their own soul

With pen in hand he wrote his soul to reach

And touch us as we strive towards the whole.

Expelled from his own country, he wrote on

Continuing during  tortuous war long years

He lived, he loved ,he wrote, he died and then

His books continue to dispatch our fears.

For many men have lived and have destroyed.
 Tillich showed  us how to face the  void


The fire must burn

Circular the building and the fire
A ring of stones wherein the fire was set
An eye hole high for smoke, a height for gyre

The wind might whistle. might bring chill, bleak, dire
The fire burned hot and red, the cats there sat
Circular the building and the fire

Warm when hunters came in from the mire
Meat  was roasted ,everyone ate that
An eye-hole  for  the smoke, a height for gyre

Families slept in  heaps, as cats desire
The fire  must  keep, the embers not  go black
Circular the building and the fire

The wind looks in  and tries to cool the fire
God  sees through our eye, we eye  him back
An hole above for smoke, a height for gyre

In each living heart there is a crack
The light and fire  get in to  fill our lack
Circular the building and the fire
The eye  is God’s , the wind itself inspires


The loss of dignity, the face unread

His face was black, he fell against my breast
Dying in an armchair by his bed
While nurses gossiped,he was  alone left

The  doctor said it would be for the best
The rehab is not meant for those  near death
His face was black, he fell against my breast

I asked him,dearest, do you feel depressed?
He nodded  with a gravity like lead
While nurses gossiped,he was lonely left

Then I realised   my  wifely task
I was even asked to lift him to his bed
No longer  as my bridegroom at the feast

The loss of dignity, the face unread
The  blindness of the staff,  the broken head
His face was black, he fell against my breast
While nurses gossiped,he was fading fast



The eye of a storm


“The eye is a region of mostly calm weather at the center of strong tropical cyclones. The eye of a storm is a roughly circular area, typically 30–65 kilometers (19–40 miles) in diameter. It is surrounded by the eyewall, a ring of towering thunderstorms where the most severe weather and highest winds occur. The cyclone’s lowest barometric pressure occurs in the eye and can be as much as 15 percent lower than the pressure outside the storm.[1]”

About Alfred [January 2016]

King Alfred

Lately I have been   loaned by providence   a  graceful  beautiful cat.Early on he was a  shrinking, hunched and nervous creature who slept by the back door on the daily newspaper.He ate hungrily and drank  water with a drop of milk.

He was reluctant for a couple of weeks to venture further but as the tranquil peaceful time went by he began to sleep on a towel by the hall radiator and eventually on my knee.

The most striking change was in his size.As he ate more and was petted more  he relaxed so that when stretched by the fire ,more of his body was in contact with the floor and he looked larger all over.He was loosened up and comfortable.

If he were human I might say he had a good mother.He is affectionate and initially I feared his demands might be excessive.When he came onro my bed I was concerned.But after five minutes of  being stroked he went off to his own place again.

Sometimes when he’s been out in the garden he reappears with an air of  humorous triumph as if he has worked a miracle to enter through his door.Another time when I was reading in a different room  from  the usual one he appeared mid morning with a face full of more expression than I can easily put into words.

He was anxious and relieved,puzzled and afraid,happy and a touch angry with me.How can you do this to me? was his query.Suppose you had gone altogether?Oh,the insecurity of being a tame cat.

I wonder why cats do not miss their own species.Or maybe they meet them  outsibooksde.Often though they fight to defend their territory but fortunately they have no WMD as yet.I like to read and stroke him as I muse over my book,

This is not my husband



When we got married we could only afford a single bed

Did we

a] take turns on the floor
b] use double sheets and blankets
c] sell the bed and sleep on a rug
d] lose weight so we fitted onto the bed
e] fall out of bed while consummating our marriage
f] get a divorce
g]. none of the above

I wanted an elliptical dining table but we had not  got  enough money
Did my husband

a’] buy a round one and saw some parts off
b] tell me a rectangular one was better
c] ignore me and buy a comic section
d] just not listen
e] tell me  it was better to make love in a wood and forget about this table
f] none  of the  above?


My first attempt: wind and eye

An ancient one roomed building was  once home
Lit and warmed by fire,heat upward flowed
The smoke escaped  through one small  hole or “eye”
The winter wind  would fight to get inside.

Like a human eye, it was a breach
The bones of head and face allow this reach
We must see out and not live all within
Wolves, those metaphors. might  bite our skin

Enclosed spaces need  selected gaps
Few would enjoy choking in a trap.
We need a way to breath, to see, to touch
Sophisticated means, this eye  to watch

Sitting round the fire we hear  Wind howl
Through the eye, we see the moon,our jewel


Is writing therapeutic?

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We hear now of more and more ways of living healthy lives.But I think it’s important to live a life of worth.What does it mean,to be of worth ? We must live first of all in a way that suits our nature and since we are part of a whole we must also live in ways that do not harm others and hopefully helps some of them.One problem is increasing in the affluent West and the USA and similar countries.This is the well known fact that more and more of us suffer from stress,worry and depression.Maybe the more serious psychic disturbances are also increasing.This can lead to violence

I have heard my friends say that writing poetry or keeping a journal is therapeutic.But is it not true that some forms of talking or conversing are therapeutic and some are harmful or maybe just pointless? A good friend whom we trust is a person with whom conversing may be beneficial,whereas “dumping” your problems on someone  may give only momentary relief.I feel real friend listens and may comment,may even criticize.Someone you  know less well  may react badly.You must not blame them for you are ignorant of their personal life and difficulties.
Conversation of course has the advantage that you are with the person to whom you talk and can stop or adapt your talking in the light of their nonverbal responses.To a lesser extent it is also true on the phone if you know someone well.

Just as gazing into the lighted front window of a large home filled with people and pictures and lovely furniture may make you envious so may your fantasied views of others around you.And yet it is likely they feel pain just like you ;we operate often from a view of life which is a poor fit with reality [whatever that is]
Since conversation may be good,bad or meaningless so it is with writing.
Writing comes from .your experience but must convey it in a manner by which others can feel the truth of what you are saying.As with music, poetry can say certain things not possible in other ways.And as in music there are forms developed down the centuries in which others have expressed their feelings. I have read that writing poetry in a structured form is therapeutic,But writing in free verse may not be.In either case poetry can stir up deep feelings.

Fiona Sampson, author of,The Expert Guide to writing poetry, advises that you keep the phone number of the Samaritans near when writing poetry but prose may be less stirring

I read about the value of structured writing in an article about Sylvia Plath.I am sorry I cannot find the reference as yet.Some people say writing prolonged her life,others that the kind of writing she got into at the end may have precipitated her suicide.We cannot know the answer but we should be aware that it may not be “letting it all out” that helps but the shaping and sculpting of the material into a form which pleases us and others
Alternatively writing about Nature ,other people,love, may turn our minds in a new direction away from our mind’s idle chatter