ross wallis - artist and artisan

art + music + poetry + photography + craft


Fantastic Plastic (A Rap)

Fantastic plastic, wrapped in it, billions of bags 
Flying from the branches like ragged bunting flags
Crow black silage skins raggedly wrapped in crew cut hedgerows
PET bottles squashed like hedgehogs in garbage strewn verges where the knotweed grows
Little bags of dog poo hung in bushes in the carpark of the ANOB
Plastic clothing shedding fibres in every wash, washing out to sea
sewerage farms carefully filtrate the sludge, then spread the shit on our fields
along with the Neonicotinoids, nitrogen and phosphates to maximise their yields
plastic in every mouthful of water we imbibe
condom flotsam washed in on the tide
Fluorescent neon fishing tackle and the remains of immature cod
tampon applicators, bottle tops, and countless cotton buds
flotsam and jetsam mark the high tide line, mile upon mile of plastic rope
Hydration in plastic bottles from natural mineral springs on a trading estate in Basingstoke
drinking straws, laminated mugs, polystyrene burger boxes and disposable implements
facilitating our plasticised consumer driven fast food 21st century metropolitan encampments 
plastic chewing gum like lichen on 1000 year old cathedral slabs
where plastic crucifixions, gift wrapped in the gift shop are placed in cathedral branded plastic bags
inhaling rubber from the tires of cars, nitrogen dioxide and carbon particulates in every lung
anaphylactic, asthmatic, allergic offspring off on the school run
in diesel guzzling tanks with personalised plates pumping out the toxins
cling film clinging like a second skin
bubble wrap
shrink wrap
black sack
shopping bag
bin bag
nano balls
spewing forth from shopping malls
container ships of pound shop delights
all destined for our land fill sites
the sea a swirling vortex of detritus
waiting now to come back and bite us
as the smallest creature in the remotest depth of the coldest ocean in the remotest frontier
eats the junk that we dumped in our wheelie bin, destined for the land, the sea, the air
A hundred years of so called progress, the consequence of which are not yet seen
our vinyl, styrene, polycarbonate, polypropylene, fantastic plastic millennium dream

It’s a wrap!

Stacks Image 189

Rich Fabric

Here I am, patchy parchment skin and hair Thinning, white, retiring
Indeed a mirror image of my pa
Though he now behind the glass
In photographs
No longer of our time and place
Travelling far
And the familiar face reflecting
Is I, not he
Wearing his jumper
The very same as knitted by my mother
A lifetime ago
And she knitting still
With fingers gnarled as the pollarded willows
Lining the rhyne, misshapen, arthritic
A lifetime weaving a fabric
A pattern, a rhythm, a rhyme
Stitch by stitch
Each stitch a day, each row a year
The fabric of a life together, a pattern changed
He gone, unravelled
She alone, grieving
The road they travelled
The jumper, well loved, 
well darned, well worn, will remind her of him
A lifetime together to look back on
And what to look to? 
How strange to be 90
Suddenly older with his passing
He kept you young
Keep knitting, my mum
Stitch by stitch, row by row, 
weaving the rich fabric.

Only the cream will do

There is a  kidney on the bathroom mat
or it might be a liver
she is such a liver, my pussycat
she has it down pat, no kidding
I can almost forgive her, purring on my lap
or stretched out like a pelt, fully extended
as if to melt like the butter she rasps 
from my bread, unattended
muddy paw prints on the bedspread
moultings on the quilt
but the cat is perfectly contented
A seeker of creature comfort 
that might teach me a lesson or two
satisfied with the milk? not she!
only the cream will do.

Stacks Image 193

By Heart

I know you by heart
by rite, by rote
Learning the lines
the queues, the marks
a Hail Mary, a litany, a chant
sometimes affirmation, sometimes a rant
always rehearsed, well practised and versed
a cut and a thrust
as we spar with our words
for better, for worse
Like rhyming couplets
In tightly knitted verse
you and I
I know you
like the back of my hand
like a well worn path
like a well thumbed book
every gesture, every look
the plot unfurls to plan
ever so since Eve and Adam
ever so of woman and man
every pig headed mr and stubborn madam
re working long established patterns

but for all the repartee
I wouldn’t want it any other way
you are familiar as a favourite spoon, a much loved mug
well worn steps
the patina of years
tended with care
What would I be without you?
A lost glove
An odd sock
The two of us
It just wouldn’t feel right if you weren’t right there

The two of us
A right pair


I don’t need my name carved in stone, 
cast in brass or bronze, 
I am happy without a blue plaque or tablet, 
would rather not be a statue, 
equestrian or otherwise, 
nor a waxwork, or a marble in the park. 
I am happy as I am, 
no need for martyrdom, 
for sainthood or sacrifice. 
Leave the stake, I have no need to immolate, 
no flowers at a roadside shrine. 
Leave me without an epitaph, 
no need for bowing heads, 
for wreaths or special days, 
war memorials or parades. 
I would rather live a full life, full of life, 
a quiet life, a peaceful life, 
and leave the heroics to heroes and saints, 
I am happy as I am, 
an ordinary man. 


Ah Tess
Bless her
Our Tessa, in her summer dress
A barrel of fun
A wicked one
Ah Tess, indigo velvet Laura Ashley
Dashing a waltz at the Christmas party
Doe eye’d  dippy child of the 60’s
Where shall we meet?
Where there is wuthering
Morning mists and mothering
But Summer’s lease has all too short a date
Dear Tess, you shall be missed
Our fragile hearts will ache

For Tess Knevett, a work colleague, friend and English teacher

Wet Winter Walk

bloody muddy
piddly puddly
soddin’ soggy
dribbly drably
dilly dally
wellie malarkey
barky licky chasey doggie
squishy squelchy winter walkie


Peddling to work and slowly back
Along a remnant of old railway track
Long gone are the days of steam
A distant whistle, a nostalgic dream
Brambles and elder all that persist
A distant Tor nestled in the evening mist
Through a cleavage in the limestone downs
A stone arched bridge, our little town
A tune in my head going round and round
Peddling home, Homeward bound

Navigation - Times have Changed

Under the bed in a mahogany box
With inlaid corners and etched brass plate
Snugly laid in green felt slots
My father’s sextant from his seafaring days
A peaked cap, velvet badged, with thin gold braid
A telescope, binoculars, a camera in it’s case
A war department compass with enamelled face
Treasures he collected, leather, ivory, bone
Anomalies in these days of the GPS phone
He knew every constellation in the sky at night
The trees from their leaves, plants by sight
He knew every bird from the song that it sings
I have an iPhone app for all of these things
Despite several chronographs, carefully arranged
The world moves on, and times have changed

Bath Market

Young men gather round a table of guns
like sugar and bees
A stall laid out by army recruitment soldiers
polished boots and army fatigues 
An elderly busker plays classical guitar
and a stall holder sells cheese

Sunday Morning Swarm

Cars in queues
Like bees stacked
To enter the money honey hive
The nectar of the what might there be to surprise
A carboot bargain to make life complete
And the church can’t compete
It’s single bell tolls on the morning air
An unheeded call to the faithful to prayer
While the car boot toll booth rakes it in
Like ants with ants in their pants
The faithful bargain hunters congregate
Impatient to find a balm to ease their itch
This Sunday field is a sacred space
We flock to worship the God of Things
The trestle table alter of car boot bargains
So profuse we hire extra storage bins
For the stuff we collect and hoard
Till we can no longer squeeze through the door
Yet the sale still draws us in
Maggots writhe
Moths flutter in guttering light
The flea market excites us
Sellers spin their webs and wait like spiders do
To capture buyers who buzz like flies on piles of shit
The scent of a bloom in bloom, a pheromone
Locusts consumed with a need to own

Disappearing High Street

There was a grocer, a butcher, a tailor, a cobbler, all of them family affairs
There was Hardware and homeware a florist, a dentist, and street vendors selling their wares

There was a barber who shaved faces with a cut throat razor, a banker, fishmonger and baker, 
And maybe once even, though I never have seen them, a local candlestick maker

The rag and bone man with his cart and horse came clip clopping up our road
The paper boy’s bike was thrown on the grass and there was the clink of the milkman’s float

But I was knee high, and the sun always shone, and all this is memory lane
Now my hair has gone grey, and there’s nothing to say - and I don’t even know who’s to blame

The barber's still there, but multiplied, morphed, no longer a simple trim
But a hairdressing saloon, nail care parlour, tattooist, therapy and gym

Clothing chains, bookies, drug stores, pop up stalls, shops selling goods for a pound
The lovely independent interesting shops have all gone, and banality abounds
Mobile phone warehouses, factory outlets and a plethora of shops for charity
School leaver shop keepers on minimum wages carry the brunt of austerity

Buskers and beggars and big issue sellers and retired high vis do gooders
Where once we were a nation of shopkeepers, now we are a nation of shoppers

There is ebay and gumtree and Amazon and Tesco mobile and one click shopping by phone
A quaint town crier ringing the changes, but the interesting shops have all gone

And I was knee high, and the sun always shone, and all this is memory lane
Now my hair has gone grey, and there’s nothing to say - And I don’t even know who’s to blame


Karen is history
She was present, now she is past
It was that fast, here, now, gone
A bolt from the blue, this passing
Too swift a passing through
Somewhere it is still yesterday
Elsewhere, already tomorrow
The world spins on
Everything spins
My head spins, it was that fast
Yesterday she was fully here
Today just empty
And all tomorrows
What more to say
Marks left in history books
Deeper marks in the hearts of near and dear
A desk of neat paperwork, a stack of to do’s
A pile of books still to mark
A coat over the back of a chair
As if she will be back in come Monday
Tall and spare
Always there
Then not there
And what do we learn?
What has she taught?
Mark time well
For somewhere it is already tomorrow
And none of us know that we’ll be here or there

(Karen was a teacher of History, much missed)

Baby Finn

Finn, to begin
Compact as a broad bean
leaving your padded velvet lined pod behind
To enter this world full of cries and sighs
Hard edges, sharp points, cold and heat
Perfect pink and naked
Tiny Hands and feet
Nuzzled to nipple
Cuddled to breast
Swaddled and fed

How can such a perfect being
be born into a world
Made so imperfect
By such ugly beings as us
Just being

In your perfect nakedness
Is the Innocence of Eden
A garden never left, though
Sadly neglected

And what lies ahead?

An old man leaning on a fence
looking back the way he came
Even 100 years hence

Will times be better or worse?

Maybe he will see the start of a turn

While it is still our turn

A return

To nature

Our better nature

For his perfect pink baby

And their perfect pink baby

And their perfect pink baby

And their perfect pink baby...


I love breasts
I just do
I’m sorry if it’s not PC
And I’m sure it’s not unique to me
It may be due
to my masculine gender
And I’m sorry if it’s totally off of the agenda
I just love tits
They’re my favourite bits
So won’t you let it be
While I still have the eyes to see
To enjoy the sight of a goodly pair
Be they clothed or be they bare
As long as I don’t obviously stare
Don’t look askance
At a sideways glance
Let me appreciate
The attributes that adorn
The feminine graces
Won’t you allow
That I should enjoy
Those better endowed
Than I
I just love boobs
Large or small
Encased in lace
In a negligee or brassier
I don’t mind at all
Magnificent balloons
With cleavage to get lost in
A full Mae West
Or perfect and pert
Like a China Jane Austin
pointy as barnacles
Or like cherries or apples or peaches or pears or melons (but not bananas)
Forbidden fruit...
A breast to mother me
A bosom to smother me
Is it an anomaly
That this bit of physiognomy
Should draw my attention
Like no other extension
I know it may’nt ingratiate me
I can’t help that they titillate me
Like they say
Breast is best
And I just love tits to bits

Stacks Image 195

Laughable poem He he he

He he he Ho
Hi ho Ho
Ha ha he he he he Ho
Ho Ho Ho ha
Ha ha
Hi ha ha ha
He he Ho Ho
Hi hi hi
Ho Ho
He ho


Some time has past since last I sat here
a whole year past
Yet it feels like yesterday not yesteryear
When last we were near here abouts
I find sometimes time stops apparently, stands still
as a mill pond with not a breath of wind
Sunshine and nothing much to do
sharing with a lovely tribe of you
my tribe, without a doubt
Time is elastic as a band
of the rubber kind
Stretched long at the start of this week
Then pinged short by weeks end

Time races onward intent as a gale
rushing through the trees showering leaves of autumn
and the still summer day by the pool is suddenly far away
gone and my tribe is scattered by the wind to all far corners of the land
and I wasn’t aware of it’s passing until it had gone past so fast, it didn’t last
nothing does, time moves on
it’s just sometimes we can’t see it
and sometimes we can

We only see the sun move as it sets
when we can use the measure stick of the horizon to mark the turning of the earth
ever eastward
Though if we sit so still and watch
we might see the moon and stars creep through their arc
and catch a fleeting shooting star
so quick it might hardly have been
caught in a corner of the eye
from the same eternal space
the quick and the immensely slow

And know that we are just a spec
In this vast universe
And our worries are as nothing
So why still anticipating days ahead
when like the galley slave aware of the intense beating of his heart
marked by the drummer’s beat
I struggle to row against the stream
The boat moves slowly on stroke by painful stroke
day by day with a year stretched ahead
a deep depression descends and the gallows race towards me
not slowly
the gallows of to do’s that I would but do
but must
or fear the whip
And the heartbeat marks each passing moment with its quick beat

And do I fear the creeping year
the darkening shortening day
the winter chill and work to do
and wish that time could just stand still?

Or should I accept time as it is
neither a child before a birthday nor a scholar before an exam
but rather just as I am
knowing that everything passes
like hands on the face of a clock
or the turning of the earth
Do we fear the creeping year
the longest dark of night
the winter chill and work to do
the waxing and waning of the moon and mood
when everything spirals our of our control
or can we know
that all there is to do is to be
to watch
let go
and be still

The world was flat

The world was flat
Then it was round
Now it’s gone pear shape and it’s all a bit shit
We were in the garden of Eden all the time, but didn’t see it
open your eyes before it’s too late
Live simply, tread lightly in circular shapes
Find a purpose, a direction, a passion
To tend this garden with love and compassion


The symbol and the song, the reverberating gong
The myths, the patterns and the thread
From birth to life, from life to death
The sap that rises in the spring
Retreats as autumnal cold begins

Shining armour in the night
Full moon bright on shimmering pond
Pale maid bathed in dark and light
Floats through the pale cold moon lit rite
And the cloaked one waves a naked wand
Over white spring pools and sacred land

Am I the Jester? Am I the fool?
I yearn to know that Maidenhead
Yet knowing will destroy it all
As the sun dispels the morning mists
The magic lies in eyes and spell
in daylight, it is overruled

Square brick mill in the hill side place
black cavern copper pipe and candlelight
Steam punk pagans drone and pace
Obsessed by breasts and nakedness
A familiar yearning at the sight
While faking reverence to this new age site

We walk a fine labyrinthine path
Between the sacred, mundane and profane
This a spring or baptismal bath
Arthur’s place of home and hearth
The abbots of old who claimed his name
Truth or fake it’s just the same

The lady of the lake is joined by
Ophelia and Guinevere
And the boated lady of Shallot is also drifting nearby here
Those we see but never touch
no matter how our hearts may ache
Captured by an artist’s touch
And for the artists selfish sake

It is all the same deep energy
That drives life’s eternal lustful bent
The cycles of the universe
Unfold with full forceful intent

Lammas time of fruit and berry
mead and meat and making merry
Moon as round as a pregnant belly
Milk white maiden with raven hair
Drifting through the scented air
Molten pool reflecting flesh pale bare

Lammas time, ripe and rosy
Fecund female virile male
The seed that grows to full potential
This is the cycle of the year
The rhythmic cosmic pulsating life force
The blossom of spring that ripens and falls
Rots and roots and grows anew
Answering nature's eternal call

Thoughts on picking blackberries

We the perverse
Always wanting what isn’t ours
And the converse
Not treasuring what we have

On a ramble
Picking berries among brambles
The big juicy ones are out of reach
Yet if I had ladders I know I’d find
That they were pretty much same as mine

And does it matter?
It’s only time
Before the punnet is full
And the jam won’t mind if they are big or small

And while I’m picking I get a call
My contract is up, my phone can be updated
The man is quite persistent
My current phone is outdated
It’s the fifth call I’ve had this week
the fifth to ask if the others can be rated
Is this what I seek?

"Today’s the day
an incredible new phone is waiting for you" he said "Don’t delay"
"Your dream phone is waiting for you today"

I can’t imagine a phone
Has feelings for me
Impatient to be owned
Longings to belong

Unlike me

Hey Siri - make me happy!

("That May be beyond my abilities at the moment")

Why so needy?

Then I get a text from Olga
She's suggesting something vulgar
She says that she is very naughty
And she too is waiting for me
She can offer anything I want

But the hole I need to fill is in my soul

No Viagra, ppi or personal injury claim will do
With or without a free pen

But then

This hole can’t be stuffed with stuff

It can’t be filled from the outside in

It can only be healed from the inside out

Without a doubt

Filled with love and acceptance, making me whole

All that stuff will soon be landfill

My addictions are in my head, to be messed with by clever ad execs

But they can’t touch my heart if it’s already full

And fully connected to my soul

And Content

Pearls purses pistons pods and pelts

The perfect hardness of a pearl in the muscle, an oyster, the pink silk purple puce velvet lining of an expensive exotic purse, a gloss black pelt, oiled thrusting piston in a cylinder turned to perfect steel like the slipping of a brass shell into the rifled barrel of a big gun, the closing of the breech hissing sigh and clicking lock. To feel the lining of a broad bean pod slipping in a finger to pop out beans in a row, green smooth and shiny as a new conker, fresh as a baby, pungent and evocative. To polish cherry wood ‘till the surface is as deep as an azure lagoon, as an iris, deep as an eye, to swim naked in warm water and to snuggle to a breast of milk and honey, to float in deep dark space with an umbilical cord of love and understanding to share neither yesterday nor tomorrow but ever the perfection of a curve glimpsed in a mirror darkly and promising deep valleys of moss in a landscape to be explored by hand and taste, touch, tongue, toe. The rumble of a throaty engine, the roar of guns, grasping gasping tears and tearing pain, blood sweat and tears. Life's longing a little death a birth and asleep a hem that creeps, heady bubbles in sparkling wine dripping condensation. Burnished copper hair and floating drifting on and out together and apart adrift as boats becalmed, sheet uncovering, idle lying where cast across the side in the heat whip and lash of gale to trail in the wake. To wake. To sleep. To dream. To long. Too long.

A poem about sex and intimacy - perhaps a lack of - inspired by a new pair of walking shoes - Written on my iPhone during a walk up Wavering Down. This was perhaps my first poem - so it is out of place, but I only just found it again.

Veterinary Queen

Veterinary Queen
Reigning cats and dogs
Supreme folk arter
and Woodcraft crafter
Woolley worsheeper
Veritable Vegetable reaper
Mulberry tree dancer
Woman of the wood romancer
Magical Alison
60 years young
Life has just begun!
So much to be done and seen
Carpe Diem
Blow them candles blow
Make a wish
And follow your dream

A gender agenda

Why is it that ships are usually female
generally she not he?
Yet they are manned, never womanned
even if crewed by girls, and the boat is still a she

So what gender a space rocket? They should be male, Indeed, as is the sun, a god, a man
And the moon is a goddess, always a female, a woman, pale and wan

Are men always tan and women always waxen? the weaker sex, so men say, although many women I know are dark, and definitely hearty and hail

And what gender the stars?
sewn like seed across the sky
If the Sun is masculine and the moon is feminine
Then what sex are they, spattering the heavens?

And why does nature produce so much seed, when only a fraction is needed
maybe one in a gazillion grows to fruition
Except of course for the ubiquitous weed
A conundrum, dumbfounding confusion
I am truly at sixes and sevens

What sex are semen - I don’t mean the crew
But the seed of which I speak
What sex is an egg, I wish that I knew
The gender agenda seems such a big issue
Both it seems could be either

And men don’t wear skirts, unless a little queer
The kind who prefer to dress in a dress
And drink spritzers instead of beer
Women wear dresses and dress their long hair
Though the women I know cut it short, wear t-shirts and jeans, and in warm weather are to be seen in jean shorts.

The gender a gender is such a confusion, it seems like so much grey
It might be easier to fudge the issue and simply call everything they

Why worry

Why worry
When tomorrow never comes
Why lay awake at night
Fearing, fretting and sweating
When dawn comes
You find it’s not tomorrow
But today
And those night time worries have melted away
In the morning sun
There is stuff to be done
The day has just begun
Everything passes, everything changes
And yesterday’s fears are tomorrow’s memories
Isn’t it so though, that the things we fret about Are often things we can do nothing about
Are not those that we should have worried us
Are those that we had no inkling would trouble us
Every day dawns anew
What you make if it is up to you

Against the flow

You don’t feel the wind at your back
All feels still till you head about

You don’t feel this earth, spinning on it’s axis
Nor its orbit about the sun

You don’t feel the spinning of our galaxy, though we know that it’s multitude of suns, seen from afar, looks like a Catherine wheel

And why did they spin poor Catherine?

She didn’t go with the flow
She wheeled about and went the other way
Would not give way, nor give up her virginity

Total belief in her divinity

Those who turn into the wind
Those who say what they believe
Stay true to their belief

Be it turning pagans to Christ
Or Christians to heretics

That the word is sound
Or the world is round,

The Son came to earth
Or the earth goes round the sun

It was so before the thought was spun

It is hard work, heading into the wind

Your voice is lost

The cost is great

But often what you have begun


Canal Du Midi

Cycling Du Midi

Plane trees inch perfect line the pale green waterside
Stitching the bank like a seam
Or rivets in an old Dutch barge of untold age
They bow to stern in turn with plastic hire tubs,
Sleek white pointy power trips
And the odd sad hull sunk to the gunnels
In a scum of discarded plastic bottles and bits

Girls on Dutch bikes wearing cut off jeans
Crotch short and white embroidered blouses
Their scent like a vapour trailing them
Hangs in the air we pass through
A couple deeply embraced canoodle on the bank Classic Breton shirt - Le marine - and fluorescent orange espadrilles
A canoeist paddles by in matching hi vis buoyancy aid over his khaki drill
Picnicers picnicing, a perfect Cartier-Bresson
Sun dappled by plane tree leaves
And further on bikes propped on trees silhouetted in the September sun
Hampers and blankets and bottles of vin
Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe

We are stealing a week of sun from England’s autumnal days
Toulouse to Séte
To reach blue Mediterranean Sea
To see a lone bare breasted beauty on a Mediterranean beach
Eking out every last ray before winter clothes close in
An ever so slightly darker skin
Amid the patchy wrinkly retirees
Neck deep in sea so clear, azure
Like thick glass, distant haze
Stranded jelly fish

Mile upon mile of ticky tacky touristville
Sunset silhouette fishermen in the oily sunset sea And a full moon full as a beach ball
Or bare pregnant belly
Sheds light so bright they might fish all night Peddling Toulouse to Sète
Sometimes still and fast
With a strong wind at our back
Le Mistral
Sometimes hard in our face
Sun blinding sand blowing
Moaning in the rigging of yachts put to sleep till next summer
All the fun gone from the fair
Boarded up
Battened down
Too late in the season for all but the truly seasoned sun seekers
Whose working days are done
Starlings migrating north
Rise from the reeds and murmurate to our peddling past
And we shall see them soon in their winter home
Though the swallows will have gone

Spending a day doing nothing
Nothing Toulouse
Walking the alleyways of the old town
The bazzar and the bizarre
A homeless young couple in full fight
Argue over a dog
Shouldering their worldly goods
An old man nods off on a bench with his dog end smouldering
We tourists tour
merci beaucoup, pardon, Bonjour
Deux Velo Angles
S’il vous plaît
Enjoying the sun, the sea
And the Canal Du Midi

Wood burning stoves

Wood burning stoves
Require lots of logistics
Woods of trees
Chains of saws
Piles of scurf
An axe to grind
A wedge to wedge
Wood burning stoves
Need lots of logistics
But they’re worth it


I don’t do the lottery, I don’t feel a need
I won the lottery with my family tree

I hit the jackpot, born male and white
On this western isle
With health and education, a life foretold
Atop the tree, atop the world

Not for me the floods and mud slides, quakes, tsunamis, twisters and hurricanes
Not for me the genocide and civil war, land mines, famine, secret police and barricades,

Not for me displacement or refugee camps, extortion, coercion, corruption guaranteed

I have everything I need
Indeed, more than I need

Winning this lottery makes my life a breeze
But not necessarily a life of ease
To be truly rich I must also heed others
Living my life simply with care and compassion
sharing and giving with everything living
Healing this world of consumption and greed

Land fill

Had my fill of land fill
Had my day with diesel
With planes and container shipfulls
This petrol driven nightmare
Plastic garbage everywhere
Where does it end?

Back to the land?
Back to where it all began?
Some technological utopia?
Or some dire dystopia?
Where do we belong?
Where to go from here?
Where should we begin?

You turn me on

You turn me on
Like the flick of a switch
You cure my itch
You twisle my buttons and twiddle my stick
Slide my sliders and pimp my ride
You turn me on, you turn my tide
The touch of your chin
Prickles my skin
I get goosebumps
And camel humps
As I watch you undress
And wait for your caress
Unzip, unslip, between the sheets
Snuggle up, cuddle up, feel the heat
You fill me up
You fill my cup
You rub me up
You turn me on like a radio
Play something gentle, play something slow
Open up whole with a smile so wide
Such a beauty, such a pride
You turn me inside out
upside down
Snug beneath the eiderdown
Nuzzle and snuggle any which way round
Such a joy to spend the night with you
Just me and you, just us two
You turn me on like an old time waltz
Dancing slow, dancing close
The bliss
Of your kiss
I love the most
You turn me on
You flick my switch

Gathering Soldiers

We gather soldiers to our cause
Banners flying high
In our hearts we know we're right
We don’t care that the men might die
God will bless our righteous fight
Our victory is nigh

We gather soldiers to our cause
Hearing no dissent,
Ears filled with the beat of hearts
The sound of drums, the march of feet
The cause that’s in our sight
Is our destiny and birthright

Totally convinced at Sevastopol
We sent them charging up the hill
And on the Somme when we sent the order
Walk, not run
Running wasn’t on
Wasn’t British, wasn’t done

It’s not who wins or looses
But how we play the game
Not who is in the right
Or who is in the wrong
But how to fight the good fight
On the playing fields of Eaton

The day Castro died
The crowds crowded the street
Some to cheer, some to weep
Was Castro in the right?
Does it matter anyway?
Did he really take to heart
His own people’s plight?

The scientists who say
That ice melts
What do they know anyway?
Too many experts
Telling us stuff
We don’t want to hear

We stuff our ears
Believe what we want to believe
What suits us
Us and our cronies
Keep a grip on the reigns
Keep it all tight

We know about power
We know about money
We know how to feather our nests
And bugger all the rest
Cuckoos we are
do we care?

The eggs of other less worthy species
They can fall in pieces
Survival of the fittest, the rightest
The richest, the best
Boo to all the rest
When there’s a cherry to bite
That’s our right

We gather soldiers to our cause
But is the cause not us?
The arrogance of the silver spoon
Of the Old School tie
The rulers rule, the soldiers die
Political aggrandisement, establishment and might

The soldiers that we gather, gather willingly
Heed our rhetoric
Without them we are nothing
They are the works that make us tic
They who work hard to serve this land
They succeed to our demands
But we should be very sure of our cause
We hold their lives in our hands

Poet Tree

Walking in the wood writing poetry
leafing through the leaves of an anthology
The bark of a dog startled my reverie
I barked my shin
lost a bit of skin
And my welly boots got boggy
On account of the doggie
I should make a sound decision
As to what should be my mission
If I’m not leading dog
Then dog is leading me
I can’t be walking dog
While composing poetry
It has to be either or
Or neither successfully
Concentrate on the task in hand
Not make too ambitious a plan
Such, I believe, is Zen
A mindful dog and a mindful man


Boats, trains, vans, planes, runners in trainers and plastic food containers: Taking a narrowboat, slow, through Hounslow, a grand union of old and new, at two miles an hour, a steady pace through the city, which has a different face to show, here below the flyover, away from incessant traffic, the towpath, a ribbon of industrial revolution and Regency grandeur. Contrasts and juxtaposition, fast and slow, new and old, rich and poor, green and grey. Rush hour tube and Oxford Circus a car transporter of Maserati wrapped like presents in white plastic and Tesla’s dealerships A banter of black teens on the bank, and below them a gaggle of swans, both swanning, we get a friendly wave. A couple crouch down near crouch end, to feed a matching pair of ducks. Duck your umbrella for low bridges and the rain patters down all day, patterns on the water, leaking into shoes, teeth gritting grey dreich day
Coots do the stuff that coots do amongst the detritus of plastic wrap and anglers angle for a catch, reeling in plastic bags. Mind the overhead power cables as you cast reads a sign. Red morning sky, oily water, deep black shadows of trees and razor wire. The junk food factory lit up like the Taj Mahal. A palace of industry. The smell of Jaffa cake making mingles with watery canal smell incongruously. The wash and wake of our two tied boats collect bottles and bags between their roped together hulls along with the slush of autumn leaves. A man on a surf board floats, paddling, picking up the plastic waste in plastic sacks, and gives us a wave then a float for our boat, Renate. Putter chug of the diesel and the smoke from the stove, Life slow and oh so fast as we aqueduct over the North Circular, streams of cars burning fossil fuels in queues and we Pooter slowly tangentially by, as if from a previous century, time warped by concrete aqueduct over a 21st century conundrum - fast cars in slow lanes bumper to bumper in rush hour nightmare, cross impatient commuters we pass with only the rushing of water in the reeds. And beside these the festival disposable tents of homeless pitched with ditched mattresses and post Glastonbury piles of broken umbrellas shopping bags bottles clothes boots and macs. On a tube, looking up the train, like a hospital waiting room, but snaking through London to White City
All the graffiti, tagged like the tags on designer clothes and the occasional witty slogan
The city like a termite mound the bushes capture bags like bits in teeth, but can’t swallow or digest. Impressions like still photos, the decisive moment, missed, as my handy camera is not to hand, but captured in the mind’s eye. What if the bin men made billions, and lived in Kensington and Chelsea? At two miles an hour tomorrow I could be in Uxbridge or, I muse, as we pass near Heathrow, Sydney. And in our burger fuelled nightmare of a world we cut down trees to make pasture for cattle to make fast food on an industrial scale, the radio says that in 100 years Bangladesh will have disappeared. It all started here on this slow canal, carrying coal the length and breadth of this small country and all that conquest is plain to see in the rich mix of voices and the faces I see in this capital city legacy of Raj and empire and slavery in this tiny island which once ruled the sea.


We do all we can for our children
And help where we can with our children’s children
Sometimes we even live to greet our children’s children’s children
But what on this earth are we doing now for our children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children?

The Pretty Ones

A poem for Samhain

Maidens fair
the pretty ones
the dippie ones
in shredded khaki dresses
long blonde hair in sexy tresses
summer sun pattered cheese cloth frocks
daisychain braids in glowing locks
showering petals on Pandora’s box
the wild star child boho patchouli oil air
barefoot girls not of this world
but somewhere else out there
in some other worldly sphere
with the moon and the stars
and the Tarot cards
with a kiss of the hand
from lips without rouge
the boldly bodied
semi naked
black plaited
the red headed
Returning again to Hades

Such youthful hippiechic
vegan environmentalists
hand rolling cigarettes
and pipe toking weed
and ceding nothing
to this greedy self centred universe
in which we strive to be alive
mostly flailing
sometimes failing
and the image that I see
is not what it seems to be
no more than a fairy story
life is hard
a grind by day
a bind
and those summer days in which we played
are long gone this Samhain day
day of the dead
bad weather
bad temper
bad smells
and cold spells
and the girl

that perfect creature
that would complete the picture
is a figment of the imagination
an effigy
a myth
a mermaid
a harpy
a banshee
a siren

and the lady of the lake
is no more than a heart ache

The women, mythical or real
that we idolise or vilify
the maiden, the mother, the witch and the crone
are lost in the midst of a cold October morn
the death of the maiden
we mourn the loss
not just of summer sun
but of youth long gone
unappreciated by the young
from this vantage point of age

We fear these ancient archetypes
but age is also wise
in an age when the world is waning
it maybe hoped for
that the universal feminine will prevail
that the women of this world
will take control
nurture and care
without the rape and fear

Or maybe
the Goddess will intervene
Gaia will heal herself
and we will no longer be here
The human race will be run
and lost
to join the ever growing list
of what has gone before


Passing through very English villages on the western fringes of the capital past properties for super rich commuters behind automatic gates and quaint half timbered cottages built when the city was far distant and all the War memorials I pass are adorned with poppies and on every lamp post and omnibus and plywood cut-out silhouette tommies guard a village green festooned with painstakingly hand-knitted blooms many months in preparation for armistice day celebrations 100 years on and later I see a mattress on a Shoreditch street corner by a doorless red phone box half full of rubbish and a bunch of perished flowers by the ads for girls and 30 floors up atop one of the new towers in Old street I look towards Canary Wharf at sunset with St Paul’s dwarfed by these lantern like megaliths and wonder if Wren were here now how might he wonder at these towering wonders glowing like embers of the great fire with echoing images of a blitz of red sky and smoke shrouding a dome as my grandfather might have seen here then as he peddled home through rubble strewn streets after overalled nights as first aid air raid warden while working by day to ban indiscriminate bombing so unpatriotic beside nights of dust, smoke, bandages and blood and then I find myself unexpectedly at Jordans and Seer Green 104 years after my younger grandfather learned his first aid trade before embarkation for Flanders and the FAU then later Wormwood scrubs too incarcerated for his white feather views after two years service and if he were with me now looking at these towering symbols of capitalism in this capital city with nationalism again on the rise and the gulf between rich and poor as stark as ever before what would he think and do? I would like to ask him how we might mark Remembrance Day in such a way that makes a mark that might be seen in 100 years time to make this place a better place for my own grandchildren and I might ask Wren then too if we could start anew then where might we want to be 400 years from now.



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When I was small
less tall by half
I was castigated and chastised
for my vacant eyes
by members of staff
at my school
a gross infringement of the rules
letting my mind escape
from the tedium of sums
fully disengaged
from the mathematical equations
the teacher, enraged
but his teachings held no wonder stronger
than the magnet of my thoughts a wander
to drift in empty mindfulness
was my particular kind of bliss
and still is
I sit for hours staring into space
a blank expression on my face
letting my thoughts ramble on for hours
with a silent snippet of song lyric looping
a poem forming and a project gestating
I can’t recite the 7 times table
but in other ways I’m remarkably able
creativity wells up from the deep
when it might seem like I’m fast asleep

Stacks Image 249


This time comes round again
When the Sun aligns between standing stones
The same sun as long ago
The same stones
The same stones
As beautiful
And significant
Though now the sun rises on a different world
Seen with different eyes
A sodium lit world
Traffic passes on the A303
And this midwinter dawn passes many by

Once this solstice event signified
the promise of a return of the light
Celebrated with ceremony and feast
by the slaughter of beasts
Marking the start of winter famine
Hard times

We feast still
fill our bellies full
But the slaughter is done elsewhere
We flick a switch and the lights
appear on plastic trees
There is famine still, somewhere distant
Glimpsed on the evening news
Between Christmas special previews
And Christmas appeals
In places far removed
We may care
But can easily switch off

We shall survive this winter
Revel even in the beauty of frost
Bright low sun and Silhouette trees
Safe and secure in our central heated homes
Celebrate the virgin birth with alcohol meat and sweets, family and friends
Maybe to pretend all is well

In this dark time may all truly be well
With hope in the future and faith that light will return
May the turning of this earth that is our home
Long continue to turn
May we be as steadfast as the stone
And as strong


Sacred spaces Sacred places
Inner outer other nether
Deep in the heart
In the swim and the ring
feeling a way in on the wing of the wind
A flutter of feather of chance and of happenstance
dipping and circling
Swirling and twirling
Fully unfurling
Gathering togetherness
Sanctuary, sacredness
A Drawing out a drawing in
A rhythm and flow
A letting go

Winter Solstice

The year turns fast
The present is so quickly past
Another year older
Reflecting on a year gone by
The weights I’ve carried on my shoulder
The duties and the chores
Mine and yours
The things I meant to do
And haven’t quite gotten to
The songs unsung
When I didn’t have a voice
When I had the choice
I said nothing
Too late
Missed the boat
Missed the date
Time span on
Time and tide
And here we are at Yuletide
What I wish to say
On this shortest day
Is look ahead
All the possibilities
Where might I be
What might I see
From the top of the hill
A year from now
What might I regret
I didn’t do
And might have
But was too Tardy
Remembrance and intent
Learn and grow