Someone other takes charge of our boat

The kindness of  our neighbours helps us cope
With life, with death,with many shades between
When we despair and  can’t imagine hope

When the sailor takes us in his boat
When he rows us on a  night-blank sea
The kindness of  our neighbours helps us cope

The world  seems  made to hurt, and then frustrate
The mind confuses   dreams , reality
When we despair and  dare not even hope

 Love is built  as we restrain our hate
Sailing well   a new country we see
The kindness of  our friends helps us  to  cope

Persistence in the virtues   gives us scope
Start again, the angel said to me
When I despaired and  lost my  threads of hope

In our mind love’s buried and unseen
Yet we can raise the dead with energy
The kindness of  our  frriends helps us cope
When we are lost and  mapless is our hope.

Virtue rendered void

Envy poison, friend of vicious hate
We know Cain for he still lives within
Society is built on hellish states

If not so, how can we lay love waste
When time is short, why cut it down with sin?
Envy poison, friend of vicious hate

Do not  hid it, saying  this is “fate”
Though brilliant Sylvia,Ted  asked spirits in
Marriage too is built on hellish states

Only with her death, did he relate
One had to go to let the other win
Envy poison, friend of vicious hate

We suffer when we  think  that we need fame
All paper one day ends up in a bin
Society is built on loveless states

Comparison and judgment are  no game
Virtue rendered void, our hearts are lame
Envy poison, friend of vicious hate
Can society is built on other states?


Lying on a trolley, feeling Zen

Cycling in the dark  one Friday night 
Down St Giles, deserted without lights
On my way to  rehearse with my church  choir
I never got through  Oxford, struck by liars

A car was coming at enormous speed
Is this to be my end, that tourist’s dream?
Time slowed down,I  went up very slow
This world  a film,a construct, down below

I fell as slowly as I’d risen  up
Till I landed on my head,my jacket ripped
Yes, you really do see stars,I told myself
Not a metaphor, the shocking truth

Then I was inside the film again
Lying on a trolley, feeling Zen

The Catherine wheel, the longing, the desire

Oh, my brother, I have said goodbye
Once my little playmate, you must die
Your voice is very weak as there you rest
I wish that life were not a  cruel test

I told you  of the see saw and the swings
I will not argue, this is what life brings
Remembered  fireworks and the  blazing fire
The Catherine wheel, the longing, the desire

How can a boy so strong soon turn to dust?
Where has gone the liveliness the lust?
Weak but uncomplaining you lie there
On my face I feel the damp of tears

You’ll never die, you’ll live in  other minds
I forgive your acts,  for you were  blind

The wrens

My front hedge is so thick, wrens made a nest
I saw a small bird flying low and swift
With my garden I feel human, blessed

The bonsai beech has grown till almost dense
It has no trunk, the leaves are tiny  gifts
My front hedge is so full, wrens made a nest

My clematis has flowered beyond  all sense
When I looked  I felt my soft heart lift
In my garden, know that I am blessed

In a deep green  wood the eye can rest
Open eyed, a look  must not be fast
My front hedge welcomes wrens ,oh,love,a nest!

Deep happiness connects us  to what’s best
The dark blue sky, the sunset flaming,  brief.
With my garden I feel love, I ‘m blessed

 Be alive, don’t dwell on thoughts too sweet
The natural world   brings virtue  and deceit
My front hedge is so thick, wrens made a nest
These tiny  creatures filled with  love and zest





Cobblestones and weeds



Image by Mike Flemming.Copyright,

Cracks in pavements,cobbles,gutters,weeds
In the little street  we  children played
While nature fought back, spreading out  wild seeds

Old women reached for grace with rosary beads
When I call.I don’t know what to say
Cracks in pavements,cobbles,gutters,weeds

Neighbours borrowed eggs and helped in need
What was my entire world has shrunk, decayed
Still nature fights back,  flinging out wild seeds

The cobbles have been tarmacked till aggrieved
Here we once enjoyed school holidays
Cracks  for insects,cobbles,gutters,weeds

Girls played  with doll’s prams,boys disagreed
All the world was here, where’s left today?
While nature  blackened, blasting out her seeds

Where are mother,father,oh dismay
I am old and they lie in the clay
Cracks in pavements,cobbles,gutters,weeds
Nature acts still, spreads out flying seeds



Closing Time

A husband died at half past two
What has that to do with you?
The  past is like a candle  blown
The heart a grave beneath a stone
Grief is very close to fear
Shaking legs  and frozen tears
It’s closing time

The  poppy fields , the linseed blue
The cottage where I loved with you
Noone else will know  it all
The Suffolk Rose, the paint all worn
The rented car, the yellow corn
The cottage windows seemed to yawn

Closing time

But I dream and I see you
Smiling widely as  you do
Ask me where the car keys are
Ask me if I’ll take you where?
Whitby,Staithes. all understood
All gone now,god sweated blood
Closing time


In the end, our roots are what remain

Uunstable winds and clouds that veer and swerve
The sun appears and vanishes again
Trees  adapt  to nature, life’s a  verb

The birds have sung but no-one here  has heard
Their mates and nestlings in their home have lain
Evading winds and clouds that veer and swerve

From this chaos, what can humans learn?
Life can swiftly change and cause us pain
Yet trees  swing round,  clouds swim life is verb

Virtue,honour,love have no rewards
Evil men have faces quite unstained
Despite the winds and clouds that veer and swerve

Gazing at the storm clouds,long I stared
In the end, our roots are what remain
We must  adapt  to nature, life’s verb

All desires,all wishes will be slain
We lose ourselves in evil  then are shamed
Uunstable winds and clouds that veer and swerve
Life flows like the  stormy Thames unnerved



Feel the  loving sun  and kiss the bees

I wish that I could be inside a tree
To put my entire body in its form
To feel the sun and wind and hear the bees

I’d like my hands to dance as   flexibly
As birds move  through  the air, as rises dawn
I wish that I could feel myself a tree

I’d love my  garden sweetly, ardently.
I’d love each single  daisy on the lawn
I’d feel the sun and wind and hear the bees

But would a holly want to  be just me?
Oh, poor tree that walks about  forlorn
I wish that I could turn into a tree.

Perhaps a cat that sat upon my knee
Would mioaw inside my  home by   dust deformed
She would love the sun and wind and hear the bees

When I change,I’ll keep you all informed
You may hear me singing in  the Storms
I wish that I could dwell within a tree
Feel the  loving sun  and kiss the bees


Blue the sky

The  sea shore blue of  operatic sky
Turned to navy then to darkest grey
Dark trees  despise the mysteries of light

The holly has its depth unknown to eye
Hiding fragile wrens  from birds of  prey
The  cerulean blue of soothing sky

And in my room upon my bed I try
What words would come,what humour could you say
Oh trees  held in the mysteries of light?

The words won’t  come,unspeakable the sigh
The weeping  of the sick, the donkey’s bray
Depression of Van Gogh. the lowering  sky

Oh,mother, why must newborn  babies cry?
The Lord ignores, the sheep flee as I pray
The  trees   hold in the mysteries of light

I meet your eye,I’m feeling drawn and grey
You want my love,I fear the  last  mistake
In sinking blue of  dawn and  passive sky
The  trees  despise the virus and the lies




My hair floated so far out

While we were walking  by the Oxford Canal
He told me it is illegal
To look through a woman’s bedroom window

I tried to jump off the bus
His restraining hand
Made me fall

I was too shy to say
I wanted a pee
I broke up with him
It was  the juice
Of criminal desire

He said he had a car
But I

Had claustrophobia
Otherwise I’d not be here 

My hair floated so far out
I fished up

My hip bones stuck out
Like two sharp knives
Like the cliffs at West Bay
I was very light
Even had a flame

I did not know I was desirable
Like a semi detached house
But eventually
I got it.
I mean you



In green thoughts I dwell.

Small rain in summer
Pools on large green leaves,
Makes all birds dumber
Silently they weave.
Wrens fly to and fro
Nesting near the house.
They know where to go
With nestlings and spouse.
Simple life of green
Hiding in lush leaves.
A space to be unseen
Humans only grieve.
Where is our safe space?
Where can we live well?
As anguish veils the face
In green thoughts I dwell.

An artist’s canvas stretched , a matricide

Saturday was shopping then a walk
Epping,Ongar,Finchingfield by car
Reading book reviews and chewing stalks
Buttercups and meadows,Henry Moore

Driving back from Chelmsford, cornfields flamed
Smoke and fire and earth, the sun dismayed
Farmers working hard,  a harvest, grain
The sky  through mist a cobalt  blue displayed

Standon with its fords and wandering cows
Little rivers,Essex, flowing down
The Stort joins with the Lea,a gurglimg sound
Water for the Thames  and mossy ground

The earth feels like my body sacrificed
An artist’s canvas stretched , a matricide


It seemed a good idea at the time

 I studied numbers,sequences and rhymes
Connections,patterns in between the lines
It seemed a good idea at the time

 Unfortunately,  with study, we use mime
We see   beneath the surface to the crimes
I studied numbers,sequences and rhymes

Whenever  I was found, I  took the  blame
 The clock gave  more than twenty thousand chimes
Life seemed a good idea all the time

Humiliation, sadism,torture,fame
We share the blasphemy  that God will smile
Life seemed a good idea at the time

How the world is full  of rebuffs yet  beguiles
Enough,I’ll give it one more finite trial
I studied numbers,sequences and lies
I joined the Secret Service,I’m a spy

I apologise for loving you too much 


I miss the cat and the newspaper

I apologise for loving you too much 
We never learned to balance the see-saw
In modern times the lovers should go Dutch

Two lonely   lovers with  a single crutch
Each one having many curious flaws
I apologise for loving you too much

What ever did I do to merit touch?
Then I was too careless with the salt
In modern times the lovers should go Dutch

We should measure what we speak at lunch
Then we weigh the sentences that spilt
I apologise for loving you too much

Maths and stats are useful in the lurch
Equality of signs and numbers,bills
In modern times the lovers should go Dutch


Let the mouth be silent, keep quite still
Love is rarely used when writing Wills
I apologise for loving you so much 
In modern times  we lovers cannot touch



Touching them and keeping them at peace

The photo is by Mike Flemming 2020
Thank you,Mike


We can cast our body like a cloak
Around the loved one when they cannot speak
Hold them like an infant  when at  rest
Sleeping softly on a mother’s breast

Touching them and keeping them at peace
Until they  can accept death and its release
They seem to concentrate  on unknown tasks
Till their minds are happy and they pass

They come first but afterwards   we  fall
Into  an abyss where  we just crawl
Seeing shapes and visions, feeling sore
Aching for the one we  see no more

A paradox , we  give  and nothing  gain
The suffering of the heart, the searing pains

The pain of our own Cross

I see a friend who follows my old path
The downward slope, the tunnel through the dark
Helping partners ease their way through death

The hesitance, the disbelief, the wrath
The sharpness  like a knife that cuts  our heart
I see a friend who follows my old path

So many lovely friends, ny husband said
Just before he lost  the vital spark
Helping  him  to   float  from out his bed

I did not realise that he was dead
Until his pallor faded, blood departs
I see a friend who follows  on this path

We miss them where they used to lie in bed
We miss them  taking photos of the park
We help  them ease their way to  their good death

We need love  to help us with this work
Who will  help the carer when they hurt?
I see a friend who follows my old path
We each bear the pain of our own Cross


The gift of sight, fine flowers, blue butterflies


In my hedge of beech mixed into yew
The wrens have nested,now they learn to fly
I felt my heart grow lighter at this view

When the heart is lifted,that’s a clue
That symbols of new life are coming by
From my hedge of beech mixed into yew

Keeping vision clear,look out and bow
What lives now  must shrink and one day die
I felt my heart ache taking  such a view

With many gifts  we humans are endowed
The gift of sight, fine flowers,  blue butterflies
By my hedge of beech mixed into yew

The gift of tongues, creation of the new
From  sweet Joan Baez to little babies’ cries
I felt my heart swell in my breast anew

Conception, growth,maturity,goodbye
Like the flying star we  shall go far
By my hedge of beech mixed into yew
I felt my heart  beat stronger than I knew



Who sieves earth?

When we think of God, we see an eye
Watching us like some abhorrent spy
What of his touch, his hearing, his   small voice?
What his  taste conveys and  how employed

Larger  than the total of  sand grains
That  form all  ocean shores  by  moon arranged
Smaller than  the eyes of ladybirds
And insects humble without   spoken words

What is size  compared to tangled roots?
What is loud compared to army boots?
What the colour, what the perfect form
To ripple through my eyes with no alarm

What do you here, what  vision do you flee?
Who  sieves earth and whose the face you see?

Words benign

The gap between experience and words-
Should any person be reduced to signs?
A hint, a sigh, a flight, a  little bird

Who ought express  in lines what has  occurred ?
            Does the  bloodied heart  weep words benign-
The gap between experience and words

A line distinct, a line that is too blurred
What impact can this have on a design?
Which  hint,  which sight,  which  flight, will kill the bird?

The sentence  well constructed has its flair
Yet  to the  void   much feeling   is consigned
That gulf between experience and words

Who tore  apart the meaning  we  hoped shared?
So now to nothingness we are resigned
No hint, no sigh,  no flight, no  little bird

With   whose filters  may  we be refined?
Who shelters souls that others have declined?
The gap between experience and words-
A hint, a sigh, a flight, the   shining bird