Bill,Bill,my mother’s dad mother’s dad
Down the coal mine he did dig
When he was but a young lad

He was never very big
He spoke in the old dialect
He had a dog, a pipe, no cig

Silent,smiling, starving wrecked
He sent kids to a soup kitchen
Learned to read, but knew few facts

Went to London,saw Big Ben
Still angry from the General Strike
Aye,he were a silent man

He walked at night, he had no bike
To the coal mine with his cat
The cat sat waiting till first light

Then they walked, he did head maths
His wife had died, the son was born
When he got home, he had a bath

His father worked in fields of corn
Peasants on the Chesire farms
The pay was poor, were up at dawn

He himself were on good terms
With his neighbours, Irish, torn
He went to Mass,so Latin learned

My mum was th’eldest of those born
She had me,my own dad died
She went mad, she was forlorn

Lost her mother, then she tried
To help her Dad with all her heart
Never wept and never cried

Then she made a different start
Met my dad and married late
So I am here with my own charts

Is it destiny or fate
Why am I down here, d’you ken?
I see you grandad, is it late?

In the desert grey

I was walking in a desert grey and bleak
All alone, with none to speak or  eat
I shuddered when I realised the truth
I was unmarried, pregnant, mere refuse.

Cast out for other failings all unknown
My baby came too soon and I alone
A doctor with no face appeared and said
Your baby died ,I see he’s never fed

He flung my baby  on his heap of dead
I lay there  in the dirt, red with  my blood
I  had to leave or I  would  die of grief
The will to live  just stronger than a  leaf

I went to see my baby, and  he smiled
He was still alive, my love,my child
I took him in my arms,  where should we go?
I walked into that darkness
full and slow

The shape and form

Put your painful feelings into form
The sonnet,villanelle, the triolet
The shape controls the anguish of the storm

Our wounds can shape our vision and our thoughts
Remember school, where bullies made you pay?
Put your painful feelings into form

Words like daggers pierce the loving heart
Oh, memory must not cut us off from play
The play controls the violence of the storm

Let all thought of vengeance now depart
Or our spirit blackens, then decays
Put those painful feelings into form

In its time the sun will bring new dawns
Tears will wash our souls from black to grey
The words compress,contain the bloody storm

Do not give the monsters time of day
Conversation does not always pay
Put your painful feelings into form
The shape will heal the anguish like a balm

Meeting you

I used to see you waiting up the hill
Your shape a cipher,features not yet seen
My heart would smile and I feel tender still

I’d start  to run, while your eyes had their fill
Getting close with kisses like thick cream
I used to see you waiting up the hill

We would get the paper,pay the bill
As love flowed out like water from a stream
My heart would smile and I feel tender still

We walked  the City churches, they were  chill
But beautiful  and complex like a dream
I used to see you waiting up the hill

Now never will you be here,yet I shall
I mistake another person as sun gleams
My heart may smile for I feel tender still

In the night, I woke up with a scream
I felt I too must die, that’s how it seemed
I long to see you waiting up the hill
My heart will smile, I feel  so tender still




The one ram’s horn

Xmas lights induce a feeling sweet
Memories of the love inside our home
Little children safe drift into sleep

I never knew that other mothers wept
The smell of baking,cards and keeping warm
Xmas lights induce a feeling sweet

My errant brothers did their best to tease
Burned my golden hair as if to warn
Joan of Arc rocked restless in her sleep

When the lights are off nobody sees
The moment when the Saviour child is born
Xmas lights induce my feelings deep

Holy are the beggars in the street
Waiting, hear the sheep bells, the ram’s horn
Little children dream this as they sleep

Midwinter low, and slow the sun, the dawn
The veil between the worlds must not be torn
Xmas lights , oh stars that deck the night
Little children smiling draw us tight

It doesn’t have to hurt

I get up in the morning after twenty cups of tea
I dress in some bright clothing that will make God worship me
I am getting so much older and I never learned to flirt
How did I have time to go to work ?

I spend a long time daydreaming,I love a reverie
Now I have no cat at all, my new plants all love me
I sit and write my poetry, it doesn’t have to hurt
How did I have time to go to work?

I’ve a prayer plant from the tropics,Brazilian so I read
I’m buying it some pebbles, it likes a waterbed
I’ve also got a Peace Lily, surveillance is covert
How did I have time to go to work?

Time they say is precious, as they run with manic verve
Like a tangent to a circle, they miss the holy curve
My ambition is for indolence, my ideas I will nurse
Why did I waste time and go to work?

Do not ask

Astounded by love’s impact, my tears fell
As if a door was opened up by you
The reservoir of grief, the flooded bell,
The marble on the shore, the hidden view.

I stayed still and by you I was held
In your golden cloud, I felt embraced
You covered me with warmth,I was your child
A candle in the gale,a shining face

I was silent,I was even dumb
They who see a face can not unknow
Love is not a method nor a sum
Nor can logic point the way to go

Do not ask for knowledge or belief
Do not ask reprieve from human grief

She tried to smother me

I dreamed she tried to smother me one night
I had had suspicions with deep roots
I screamed ad yelled and kicked her, as one might

Then she tortured me with brilliant light
As her minions climbed down from the roof
I dreamed she tried to smother me
, alive

She looked so ugly, she gave demons fright
I wished I were a donkey kicking hoof
I screamed and yelled,confused
ten megabytes

Her muscles strong, her grip was over tight
I tried to crash her laptop, no re- boot
I dreamed she tried to smother me last night

I wished I were a tiger with cruel bite
Or God whose name to angels was a proof
I screamed and
shouted 999, please write

She was more sadistic than astute
She gave me pain, this action her debut
I dreamed she tried to cut me off last night
The two pint flask
saved tea, my perfect right

We still stand on shifting sands

We walked on sea shores with our mates
Though wide  oceana separate
Now we’re abandoned on the  shores
By  the loves we’ll see no more

We  still stand on shifting  sands
Expecting , needing, helping hands
But most people walk on by
And we’re too afraid to cry

Lost in places we once knew
But recognised by  very few
Our eyes  look out but do not see
Filled by tears we can’t set free

Shall we stay here evermore
Hoping lovers we adored
Are on their way back to their home
As slowly, sadly, we still roam?

The  sturdy walls that bear the sky
Have been shattered from on high
And  feeling smaller than the snails
We hear the long lost sea winds wail

Oh, weep for  him and me, wide seas
Embrace  our souls  in   your salt breeze
See the  crushed and broken shells
Hear the tolling of the bells

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

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



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


Entertainment,sadism, power

On a hilltop not so far from Rhyl
Mother took us to the Zoo as Mothers will
The wind was strong and cold, the air was harsh
Although it was in August, not in March

Vultures  in enclosures   chained by leg
Like convicts in a prison   full of dread
When they vainly  tried to  get away
I felt their faith and hope dismayed

Who had chosen birds like these to show?
Even God himself would never know
Entertainment,sadism, power
Making people pay  and  children cower

When we got back  to the station I was sick
What cruel minds  played such a trick?

They miaow in Hebrew,Mary said loftily

  • Stan awoke feeling very thirsty.
    My, this bed is much  too hard,he thought.
    He put out his hand and felt some wood not far away.It was his desk.Emile was lying on Stan’s stomach purring.
    You fell out of bed,the little cat miaowed.Luckily I clung on with my claws and I am ok sleeping down here….I can see  mice better.
    Well,it’s not ok with me,Stan informed him gently.
    How can I get up from here?
    He picked up the Cambridge Companion to Sylvia Plath and banged on his desk softly.
    Mary was awake and heard a strange sound.She  found Stan lying on the floor with his head by his desk.
    Emile wanted to sleep by the wall,you see.,he told her.
    Then he rolled over and I fell out.


    That is logically and scientifically mad,Mary told him.
    Surely Emile is not so big that his weight was enough to knock you out of the bed?
    It is against the law of gravityAnyway,why don’t you get up?
    I like it  down here,the old man lied to her optimistically.
    Rubbish,Mary said,then she picked up the phone and rang 999.
    Hello,she said.My cat is very upset as he feels guilty for pushing my  aged husband out of bed.
    How terrible for you,the man answered.I’ll send an ambulance right away.
    Mary opened the front door and left it unlatched whilst she lit the electric lights with a match.
    How do you feel now  Stan,she enquired tying her  red polyester fleece dressing gown a bit tighter before the paramedics arrival
    I am thirsty,give me some brandy,he ordered her politely as he was  full of kindness
    They said not to let you or Emile drink or eat
    Blooming ridiculous,he told her in a manly fashion.
    Soon the ambulance arrived and the paramedics were running up the stairs to see the poor cat. Mary fainted so they laid her on the bed whilst they comforted Emile and cleaned his paws.Then they picked up Stan and laid him right next to Mary,his wife.
    Why don’t you have a bigger bed,one asked Stan.
    Bigger than what,he responded academically.
    Well,if you were any fatter you’d not be able  to lie next to your wife.
    True,he replied but my wife is too large.I keep hoping she will lose weight.
    I shall make you some tea the female paramedic told them forcefully
    Well,you don’t seem to be hurt,the other one told Stan, but the cat may need therapy or counselling because of the guilt he will feel.
    He’s not  a Catholic ,I hope?
    No, he’s Jewish,Stan shouted  implausibly.
    That’s alright then.How do cats get to be Jewish anyhow?
    It’s their souls,Mary said…they are all waiting up there for a suitable place to be reborn and some choose to be cats.
    But how can you tell? he asked wonderingly.They have no prayer shawls
    They miaow in Hebrew,Mary said loftily.And they like to sing the psalms before bed.
    But how do you  know it’s Hebrew,he replied.Do you speak it?
    No, it’s just he hates bacon and pepperoni and always wears a hat so it seems he must be one of Jesus’s friends,but not Judas of course.I suppose Jesus wore a hat but it’s never been found as yet.Not even being sold as a relic.


    Well,that’s intriguing.Do you think Emile might be the Messiah?
    Oh,dear.We never thought of that.Will he have to go to Galilee and catch fish and walk on water?
    No, he can go to Rome and tell the Pope that the Church is not what God planned.
    I hope they don’t kill him,Mary cried sadly.
    God will not be very happy.
    I didn’t know God had moods,Stan said.
    He has post-creative depressive disorder….no wonder when we look round the world.
    Still they did try,I’ll say that for him or her.
    And so say all of us.
    For he’s a very good yeller,he’s a very good yeller
    A cat’s life is a fuss.Miaow.

The strange world of Stan

Art by Katherine

While Mary boiled the kettle in the new greenish blue painted kitchen,Stan smacked his thick red lips.
“I thought we said, we’d have no more corporal punishment,” she murmured loudly.”
Why did you smack your lips just now?”
“Well,I can hardly smack yours” he said politely
“But we said no more smacking at all yesterday”
“I just like the noise” he confessed, turning as red as a stalk of ripe rhubarb.
“Sado-masochism may be fun, but after reading,Fifty Glades of Fray,I thought we said we’d abandon it”
“Well,why don’t we abandon ourselves to our bodies or divine providence?” he answered curiously.
“I am unsure if one can do that on purpose or if it just happens whilst doing something else.”
“Elser than what?”
“I dunno” the Oxgrudge educated woman replied sheepishly .
“The Government didn’t give you a three year research grant so you’d say,I dunno” Stan told his slender and silver haired wife and lover.
“Well,that’s their problem.Three years studying Searat’s equation did nothing for my spoken English” the brilliantly brained brown haired and eyed bonny bosomed  beauty told him shrewdly.
“Well,are there rats in the sea?
“I dunno”
“So who wrote the equation?” Stan asked her.Immediately in a peevish tone
the door bell rang.
“Hello,Mary,It’s me” cried Annie their naughty neighbor and man magnet
“No,it’s not”
“What do you mean?”
“You never invented Searat’s equation”
“Pardon me for living,”Annie answered rudely.
”I prefer peeling potatoes to this noisy argument.”
“I never knew potatoes pealed”
“Yes,it’s like little bells ringing” Mary informed her kindly
Oh,for God’s sake,”Stan shouted quietly,”that’s Emile’s bell ringing so the birds can escape from him”
The women went red all over with shame.Annie ran into the kitchen and poured a bucket of cold water over her head.
It’s this hot weather;it’s too much.I need a man now!I am mad with desire.
No,it’s just that mid life madness coming too late,she told herself gently
It’s too hot to make love anyway.
Why you must be getting old,she remarked to herself confidently
Heat never turned you off before.Why you once said you’d lie down in the road and sleep with the next man who passed by.
Unfortunately he passed by on the other side,just like in the Bible.
But in my case no Samaritan came to my aid.
“Am I having a mental breakdown/” she shouted pensively
“No,it’s me” Stan told her,I am trying to stop Mary smacking her lips but it is hard work. and it has create a bad atmosphere.”
“Is it wrong to smack your own lips?Can you morally smack someone else’s?” Annie said wonderingly
“Why do you ask me that?”
“Well,it seems lots of things are wrong if one does them alone but are moral if you do it with someone else or to someone one else”
“I just have no idea what you are talking about,”Mary called valiantly.
“Make me some tea.My lips are parched!”she continued
“No wonder,”said Stan vivaciously
Well,thought Emile,I am glad cats have no lips.That’s one thing less to worry about.
He sat up and drank some tea from his china saucer
Stan and the ladies sat quietly on the patio watching the birds flying about.
“Do birds ever get obese?”Mary asked.But answer came there none.
Night fell and they all went to bed together,Emile says there is safety in numbers and I find thirty is a safe number to share my bed.I write 30 on a postcard and pop it under my pillow.With my dentures and my hanky and four mobile phones
I seem to manage the night.

And so shout all of us

I forgave him everything last year

My brother kindly set my hair on fire
He stole my food  from off the plate   or floor
So for a man I  had repessed desire

He took me fishing in a pond close by
I loved him very much,indeed adored
My brother madly set my hair on fire

We went in  disused brick kilns, we were spies.
Of his company  I never  tired
Yet for  new men I feel not much desire

Now his time has come and soon he’ll die
I forgave him everything last year
His voice is weak, he thanked me  and I cried

I did not plan forgiveness  nor to lie
“God ” filled  me with love ,  our lives restored
Yet for new brothers I   feel  some  desire

Who left Daddy’s matchsticks near my boy?
He could  not know he would destroy my hair
My brother hurt me, set my hair on fire
We choose to love until we  both expire





For men may come and men may go,

white brown cow
Photo by on



Dr Smith that  lucky man.
Had a wife called Mary Anne.
He gave her children twenty two.
How ever did this woman do?

She had many helping hands
To take her children on the sands.
They swam in batches in the sea.
And then she took them home for tea.

She had triplets,she had twins.
She even had one set of quins.
So loneliness was quite unknown.
And all were trained to use the phone.

She was a very sturdy wife.
She worked  very hard at life.
But once a week she went to town
And looked at bags and evening gowns.

But Dr Smith did not go out.
He was dusting , have no doubt.
At night they went to bed and loved
Just like a pair of turtle doves.

In the morning she rose up
And made some tea in a big cup.
She had a tiny chunk of time.
For such a one,this is no crime.

We all need a peaceful break,
To sit by our own inner lake.
To see the fish and watch the sun
As gold and glowing up it comes.

So if you have many children too,
Take heart from this small tale.
She took her time to meditate…
And her heart never failed.

For men may come and men may go,
and likewise children too.
You need to have some free “me time.”
Whatever else you do.

Please release me,Mary cried

Mary stood at the bus stop in her chocolate wool winter coat which Stan had always loved.It hangs so well,he had told her.
The optional imitation fur collar had been removed as she preferred natural garment  made from wool with no ostentation.As a matter of fact she has one of Stan’s woollen vests on under her gold silk top.Her hair fell in light blonde curls around her pensive face and her eyes looked as if she were seeing a dim vision of the Matterhorn in midwinter after drinking a double brandy

Suddenly she realised the bus was there ;she put her card up to the machine before looking for a seat.The bus was rather full so she sat down next to a youth with an i phone hanging from his hand.
Suddenly it rang.His chosen theme was, Please release me, sung by Tom Jones.
Mary smiled as, if she were near Tom Jones she would need no invitation to free him.
The youth began to speak rather louder than normal.

Mary tried not listen but it was impossible.She was too hot as well..Wearing Stan’s vest was a mistake as the bus was overheated.She turned pink like sunrise over ICI in Billingham as the pollution had a beautifying effect.

I’m sorry I wore your vest,she told Stan.
I should have given them away but I was trying to save money on heating.Still I will be home soon.

Where is your microphone, the youth demanded.It must be one of those new tiny ones.
A microphone? Mary said curiously.
Yeah, he cried.I assume your phone is in your pocket.

Actually it’s in a pocket in my knickers,she informed h m in a manner resembling that of a mildly dotty scientist.We used to wear these knickers in the gym at school.

Did you not wear a top? he enquired,his eyes running over her hourglass figure like water falling off High Force in Teesdale. in summer storms.

Well.I didn’t have a bra until I got my grant to attend university,she told him sensitively.

Well,that’s news to me,he said.So you had to wear a bra at University? That was before feminism,of course.Did you burn it later?

Certainly not,said Mary.I’d been longing for one but my mother didn’t seem to notice my development which was her way of coping with adolescent girls.
Of course my brothers may have noticed but they were too nervous to tell Mother I needed anysupport.We were all so shy and afraid.Anyway be quiet now,I want to speak to my husband.
Have you had your phone on all this time? he asked anxiously.
No,I don’t need it to talk to him,she responded
Why,where is he? the youth enquired sardonically.
He’s on my knee,Mary informed him.In this bag.She pointed to her hessian shopping bag.
I have just been to the Coop for him.I ought to have got a cab as he is quite heavy.
Jesus Christ,cried the youth,hastily pressing the bell before leaping off the bus into a small pond that had been created b Hurricane Desmond.He swam away into the cold night.
Well. that shut him up,Mary said to Stan.
Mary,don’t become less gentle and kind,Stan said in her ear.
I can’t be gentle now,she said.It’s a nasty tough world without you to help me and tell me what you think of Jeremy Corbyn.And do I need to have a roast dinner at Xmas or just some toad in the hole?
I am sorry,sweetheart he murmured.Maybe you need assertiveness training.
I’ll just get more aggressive,she replied.Micro-aggressive perhaps
ou’ll need more than micro in this era,he continued.Mary forgot to get off the bus and found herself in the Leisure Centre by the River Lee
What about the river,Stan, she asked.
Would you like me to throw you in.A policeman standing near by ran over.
Madam, is it suicide or murder, he asked her.
No,it’s a life sentence,she said humorously as she put her hand up her skirt to get her phone.
That’s a silly place to keep your phone he said.Anyway don’t call a cab,I can run you home in my car.Have you got any China tea?I could kill for a hot drink.
I have some lapsang souchong,she told him.Do you fancy that?
I do, called Stan from the bag.
The policeman passed out.
I told you not to get a boyfriend yet,he continued to Mary.
I’ll do whatever I feel like,she said rudely.I could use a comforting arm around me.
Stan sobbed quietly
She said,quickly
Don’t worry.I’ll get Emile to sit on my knee.Goodbye for now.
Goodbye whispered Stan faintly.
Good bye…. goodbye

And so say all of us

Mary meets her neighbours


Sitting on the high backed,v Ercol sofa  in the large sitting room of her new neighbours Tom and Edina, Mary sipped at the PG Tips tea she had been given in a pseudo-art deco mug.The tea tasted pseudo as well!
Would you like  some delicious  cake,Mary? Edina asked her  rather loudly
Mary jumped.
Oh excuse me, my nerves are all on edge, she cried.I’d love some  home made cake
Edina took out a penknife and cut a slice of  the large cake.Alas it was coffee flavoured and Mary was not fond of that.This was agony to her especially coffee  flavoured  butter cream filling as she liked all the other flavours..Suffering from this is a new psychiatric disorder called uncakeophilia disorder
Why are   you using a penknife in here a,Tom asked his wife angrily.We have lots of kitchen knives and other silver ones
I found it on the floor,Edina said  pensively
I don’t suppose you washed it, Tom answered furiously
Mary leaned back and shut her eyes for a moment.I hate noise, she thought.
No, dirt is good for the immune system, Edina murmured
What rubbish,  you are so lazy I can’t believe it! her husband told her.
After 39  years you should be used to it,Edina told him sensibly.Who made all these new curtains and  vacuumed the roof? she went on languidly
Did you vacuum the roof in your last house,Mary asked her?
We lived in a flat before so I never had to do it.
Well,  it’s unneccessary,Mary said , why not learn Esperanto?
Where do people speak that?
I have no idea but it’s a  language,Mary cried decisively
But can it really be a language if it’s not the native tongue of any country?,
Well Yiddish is a language yet few people speak it,Tom told them
It would be difficult for  the dead to speak,Mary said in a sad  voice
It used to be spoken by millions of people in Central and Eastern Europe.
Why didn’t Hitler teach them English,asked Edina?
You  think he only hated their language,said Tom in surprise.I’ve never heard that before.
It is  bloody ridulous,Mary said  in her soft  yet vibrant voice…he didn’t kill them because of their language and they spoke German as well,Maybe even French,Polish and other tongues
Just then they heard  a strange  choking sound .It was Emile the talking tomcat trying to get out of Mary’s large  plastic handbag
Good grief ,Tom shouted.Did we invite this cat? Does he drink tea from cups? Is he  real?
Well, yes , I love tea, Emile mewed.And don’t shout at Mary like that!
I am not letting a cat order me about,Tom screamed like a lunatic
But  it’s not nice for Mary.She is a highly sensitive person and I love her
Now, they tell us,Edina whispered.She is married to her cat
I didn’t hear you,Tom said,Is  she harried ,did you say?
No I said married
But her husband is dead
Well, now she  has taken the cat, for better or for worse.Edina said in a humorous  yet angry manner.For richer for poorer… a cat can’t earn a wage
Edina  and Tom were shouting  at each other not realising what impression they were making
Mary  called. out,
Why invite me to tea and shout like this?
Did you never shout at Stan?
No,I didn’t need to.He  listened to me.
Well, you are very quiet, said Emile, so Stan  had no i to fear you might shout
I might have shouted when I read Fermat’s Last Theorem.Mary admitted furtively
Was Fermat your teacher,Edina asked?
No he died a long  while ago
Fancy dying  and all you have to leave is a theorem
Well, it stops the family fighting,Mary said wisely
Suddenly  the door opened and in  flew Annie, the flame haired mistress of the late Stan
Why was I not invited to this tea party ,she asked rudely?Are we in Boston?
Sorry,dear,said Tom.Not many people like to come here because Edina has a bad temper
No I don’t she shouted.You have a bad temper
I get so  tired of all these projective  misperceptions,Emile said in his intelligent voice
My therapist was not a cat, but I kept projecting on to him and he looked just like a cat to me until he barked one day.He was in fact a dog.I  realised
Was that the end  of your therapy?
Yes, I  stole all the money from Mary’s purse and there was none lef.tAnd I learned about projection, that was enough
Good heavens,Mary murmured.I thought Annie had taken  the money
What!You thought I was a thief.Annie bawled What next?
Well, you’re more like a sister and I didn’t mind as I know it’s so demeaning to ask for money.
See, said Tom to Edina,I said you should not ask me for  money after we  make love
Why not, she enquired? I need some new art materials
Can’t you use the housekeeping money?
Well, if you are happy to starve,Edina said sarcastically
Don’t use sarcasm.Only prostitutes take money.,Tom added.I did say you can buy whatever you like in the way of clothes and so on on our credit card
How do you know it’s only whores? Many women do need the money as they may be single mothers trying to feel their family and  not getting Universal Benefit on time,Edina told himBut other women might demand jewellery, and expensive houses like Wallis Simpson
That’s a fair point,Tom  muttered.It’s more complicated than I realised.
Money is a big problem in many  marriages,Mary  called
But I earned my own and Stan retired early and got  a pension so I had no need to
beg him for  money
But did he beg  you,Edina asked?
No, we just kept in  the  bathroom under the soap.So it was clean.
I wonder if viruses can spread on money? Tom said
I feel sure it is  possible but how would  we test that out.  his wife asked
Best to wear gloves but when you take  them off the viruses might  fly all over the place
I didn’t   know they could fly, said Emile.Are they invisible?
Well, we don’t really know but people often get bad colds when they go on aeroplanes
Annie  turned pale.
Are you ill, Annie? asked Tom
I am having a  nervous breakdown.I’ve caught paranoia from a  £5 note.
You can’t catch  it,Mary said in her kind voice.It’s not a physical illmess and they are plastic nowadays so they can be wiped down
Well where does madness come from? It  is horrible feeling so anxious.
This is not  much fun, said Edina.I thought it would be  lovely meeting the neighbours but we  go from tarts to paranoia and back.Is this wise?
They all sat looking glum,Then Annie revealed all
I am a Russian agent sent here by Putin.I befriended Mary on Putin’s orders
He must  be stupid.Why spy on Knittingham?
Well, you   will be surprised.Mary  is an expert on differential operators
On bicycle chains, asked Tom?
How ignorant people are.Annie  shouted.Did you never see anything odd about calculus and little things appearing and disappearing?
Well, to be frank, no!
I don’t believe we learned calculus said Edina
We learned  quadratic quotations
Do you mean equations,Mary asked?
I don’t know what I mean,Edina said nervously
And neither do we, said the others
Calculus is a bit like  the Mass.Important things  happen but we can’t see  them.Everything looks the same but it’s not
Then they heard a siren.In ran Dave,  the heroic paramedic in his new pink dress. and coat
Don’t drop the  bomb, he  told Tom audaciously
I’m not  President Trump,Tom imformed  him gravely
That’s what they all say,Dave said to Annie
Who can we trust
Just Emile,said Mary.And Annie.
Why don’t  you trust me said Tom?
I  am waiting to see how you behave,she replied
Like a  kind of exam?
Yes, it’s called
Trust your neighbour and yourself? How to know the people who might be dangerous
to your life and mental health
There’s not much mental health in Britain now,said Tom.I’m a doctor!
Well, don’t shout at the patients, said Annie
I only shout at home,
That is  horrible, surely those you love need kindness?
Tom burst into tears and Emile lent him his hanky
I don’t think we’ll  meet any more of the neighbours Edina said
Enough is enough.Kindly go home
Pleased to meet you, said Dave.Do call me when you need  coal bringing in or have a heart attack
No way,thought Tom as he drank a bottle of brandy in the bathroom
I feel  we made  a  mistake… we will have to  move as soon as we can

And so say all of us




While there’s life, there’s still a hint of hope

Don’t  be anxious whether you’ll be shot
Take your break in Morecambe with a cat
Do not go to Bethlehem   this year
Someone built a wall and we feel scared

Could Jesus and his parents  have got out?
Babies cannot climb  nor can they shout
Should we go to Rome to see the Pope?
While there’s life, there’s still a hint of hope

Did Jesus really  want to start a Church?
Perhaps he wanted rabbits and a hutch
By now the entire world would be full   up
Would  endearing rabbits  interrupt?

Better to play simple in our prayers
Say them daily,  don’t  get in  arrears

We wounded hide away

10363756_491792187620581_3914824934932227777_n (1)If I could see your heart and soul and know your feelings past 
 and if you knew mine
 we could   guess why our expectations go so wrong
 because at that moment what was said seemed right but looked at from a wider perspective 
Some  words we said were  errors
or at least not expressed in a way that communicated what we really  meant….
And how painful it is to hurt a beloved person…
Beloved…….I don’t believe you after the cruel you wrote…….
this is the confusion of the human condition…
when fear for a  time eclipses the  warm sun of love
when everything seems dark and  one can only wish to hide away.
…… to protect others from knowing……….
yet the message they get does not say that  the intention………
to protect them and it seems like a total rejection…..
I’m not good enough for you……
I don’t want to hurt you.
Don’t hurt me.
Yet the eclipse will end the sun will shine again………
 and it gives us compassion for others ……….
We don’t take an eclipse personally…………
but with people………………… it’s hard not to do so……
 yet there’s so much we don’t know……… or can’t know
so trust is all we can do….
trust what we once saw………….
and take down the barbed wire we put around our hearts………
 let ourselves be touched and touch.
 When words are not enough…………
we have a rich silence….
 the gaps between the words can say so much.
……to those gifted with understanding
When words refuse to come…….. 
we can share our silence ………
and keep it empty not full of dread or images of fear
until words begin to flow…
like tears.. welcome after a drought,,,,,,
when  our  words hide…. we will find them………….
so much is unknown…………….. we can’t know………
and past losses and rejections   haunt us………
filling the pregnant space with pain.
Yet words can comfort too…console, c
make communion possible

they are all we have…… we‘ ll make them enough somehow.
…..learn their ways and how to use them to touch gently the other’s heart.
……and show, and share our love
………….not use them as a sword…………..
 use them with care….to show care,,,,to show love..
.and regret our faults and failings … but not attacking ourselves cruelly
 stop punishing ourselves….~
have mercy on ourselves 
Have mercy on others…..
We are all vulnerable
We  may miss so much because we are afraid
Wounds can heal,will heal

Have mercy
Accept the pain until we are healed
Then we start again

A petrol bomb

As down St Giles I cycled late one night
The road as silent as an empty church 
A speeding car  attacked me from the right

I saw, I knew, I felt no touch of fright
Time was stopped until  I felt the punch
As down St Giles I cycled in the night

 Flying like a moth  towards the light
Is this my end or shall  my  mind  come back?
A speeding car  attacked me from the right

The car drove at right angles  to my bike
I had no time to scream or speed my foot
As down St Giles I cycled in the night

I saw stars,  when flung to fearsome flight
I landed on my head, a flash,  a flood
A speeding car  attacked me from the right

The choir   rehearse without  my  voice ,now crushed
To Woodstock  and to Banbury  cars  rush
As down St Giles I cycle in the night
A speeding car, a petrol bomb , ignites





Cat eats curry

I left a pan  of curry on the stove
Hot as  ash combined with burning coal
Yet when I  went back in  a cat stood  there
Eating this strong curry  with no care.

It must have had  thick skin inside its mouth
Before I looked ,it ran out of the house
To think it  gobbled up our supper  so
Leaving me  with nothing  but a glow

So then I made a chilli  beef and beans
My heart  ached as I listened to  puss scream
Can cats learn  that pans are out of bounds?
I’d hate to hear again its anguished sounds

Be  sure to close  the kitchen door  or else
You will suffer torment  from cats’ yells

Just had to play

While the priest annointed him with oils
I played in the gutter all alone
I hoped to find the marbles we had lost
Or from the melted tar to pluck a stone

The summer was so hot the cobbles baked
Looking like a row of fresh made loaves
There were no fishes in the millstreams rush
Nor a place where bread and Saviour rose

I found a florin in the cobbled street
I found two marbles lying near a grid
I found a daisy squashed in a wide crack
I saw a spider hanged in its own web

To summarise ,my father went away
The Queen was crowned and we just had to play

I want to sell  my   laughter on E bay

We called the  little tree a special name
In the woods where we were wont to stay
A nutmeg tree is rare like porcelain

We loved its hanging branches blue and green
If only it were  red it might be grey
We called the  little tree a special name

We asked for tea but nutmeg was disdained
I often wonder whether I am gay
A nutmeg tree is rare like porcelain


I have paranoia,I’ve been framed
I want to sell  my   laughter on E bay
We called the  little tree a special name

I  split my heart and mind,I sulked in vain
I passed my darling notes so he could pay
A nutmeg tree is fine like porcelain

Then we went to bed and lost our brains
Our nipples froze, stuck on  the window panes
We called the  little tree a unique name
Like grains of sand, the words  we count in vain


The nuclear bomb ,Iran and Don

I’m  turning off the Evening News
I’m reading Nicholas Freeling now
I’ve heard enough of  people’s views

I put my thoughts into deep freeze
Dresden Green,Emmanuel
I’m  turning of fthe Evening News

Boris says he’s  just a tease
The nuclear bomb ,Iran and Don
I’ve heard enough of  madmen’s views

We can see no-one  is pleased
Where d’ye think  these men come from?
I’m  turning off the Evening News

Maybe Boris had a wheeze
Asthma kills, we all feel numb
I’ve heard enough of  people’s views

When it’s over who has won
The world has altered ,  it’s a bum
I’m  turning of the Evening News
Boris tortures, people lose.

By degrees
He wants Leave
We’re deceived
Who believes?

[M A Oxon]


Life is not what’s said but what we heard

Life is movement life is song and word
We try to capture life in all its forms
Life is wild as tigers,sweet as birds

Life is what we get yet don’t deserve
The birth of infants and the  food of worms
Life is movement life is song and word

Life is not what’s said but what we heard
Grace comes down like leaves as Autumn turns
Life is wild as tigers,small as birds

Like a boiling pot that must be stirred
We need to watch  for only then we learn
Life is movement life is song and word

Love comes to the empty, is not earned
The heart   like Joan of Arc  is made to burn
Life archaic , everlasting curves

Of our empty fantasy we’re shorn
Like the fields of wheat and barley corn
Life is movement life is song and word
Life is a wild melody   lovelorn


Another Autumn comes with spiralled snails

Another Autumn comes ,I see damp snails
Boris Kemal Johnson hits the  roof
Brexit  and its battles , he may fail 

A carnivore, he leaves  bloody trails
And he rarely tells the honest truth
Another Autumn comes with spiralled snails

Is it just bad luck  we should bewail?
He does not seem a  leader but a spoof
Brexit  and its battles , he may fail 

Now the  media float in Autumn gales
The people read  but  is there any truth?
Another Autumn comes  with flying snails

Jews attacked in Hertfordshire,I pale.
The baby’s pram was knocked about,  oh grief!
Brexit  and its battles   let them fail 

Anger,rage and violence  hard to soothe
Jesus  is a shadow, evil looms
Another Autumn comes , are we the snails?
Brexit  and its battles , will we fail ?


He kissed my hand,I knew what was afoot

He kissed my hand,I knew what was afoot
He followed me on Facebook every day
I get these butterflies inside my gut

I never fall in love with porn or smut
Or men who ask me out to make me pay
He kissed my hand, I knew what was afoot

We went to Lyons cafe, it was shut
We  fried an egg and ate it in our way
I got those butterflies inside my gut

I could  have made it funny, should I flirt?
He ate my  buttered toast like it was prey
He kissed my hand, I knew what was afoot

I did not lead him on, for it might hurt
He had to be the one who led the way
I got no butterflies inside my gut

He kissed my hand and asked me to a Play
He wrote it all himself, my fiance!
He kissed my hand,I knew what was afoot
I tell a lie, I never said I would.






Oh, do not let the sun fall in despair
As desolation haunts our souls today
Leaving us in darkness  cold and bare

Can’t  some God or other make life fair?
I bet they’re  angry , we no longer pray
Oh, do not let the sun fall in despair

There is no  father, mother anywhere 
No priest to bless the house , its ghosts to lay
Leaving us in darkness  cold and bare

I fear the sun is heavier than air;
Though what is Mass, some form of ecstasy?
Oh, do not let the sun fall in despair

Who holds up the pillars, who would dare
While  scholars  smile at such complexity?
All their minds  are  focused on the rare

The broken altars crack, whoever cares?
The Church has never been what Jesus saw
Oh, do not let  our hearts fall to despair
Living  in  such darkness  cold and bare

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