Lost Child

I still think of her, my nearly daughter,

who got things wrong way round

and died before she lived.

Clare Elisabeth. Sometimes I see her

in my dream.Always the same.

A busy street. She’s standing on the kerb
waiting to cross.
In her late thirties now
with thick ,dark hair,her mother’s eyes.

A clever woman, happy in her skin.

The road is full of cars.

She glances left and right

then looks across at me, bemused,

as though she couldn’t quite recall
 my name,
or where we’d met.

I raise my arm to wave, but then

a big black truck comes to a stop

between us. When I can look again

she’s gone.

Train times


I’ve been doing a lot of travelling over the last week or two- once up to Scotland, and another trip down to Oxford- so I’ve spent hours on the train. No matter how many phones, tablets, books I take with me, I always end up just looking out of the window. It’s a privileged position- you get tiny glimpses of the way other people live- a split second of their existence is played out in front of you before the train moves on.

You also get an overview of the country. On the way up the east coast, the railway line follows the shore for miles on end. You look down on beaches, old fishing boats, tiny villages. Going down to Oxford, you move from the gloomy nuclear bunker which is Birmingham New Street to the genteel lanes of Leamington Spa and the dreaming spires ( yes- they do look as though they’re dreaming) of Oxford.

So I wrote a few notes and glued them together into some sort of a poem. It doesn’t particularly have a message, perhaps the tone is rather said, because both journeys had sadness at their core. It’s a bag of impressions, which I may keep…or maybe I’ll recycle them. Here it is. As ever, do tell me what you think.

Train Times


Idling past lock-ups and kebab joints,
corner shops and massage parlours, bright
with neon and graffiti-
“You’re dead Lorenzo”
A passing dog
pauses, lifts his leg to pee
against a post-
I blink-
Bright lego colours on a Twenties terrace-
suburban semis, all with fitted lawns
and baby Volvos
parked in every driveway.


A green river streaming
past the window-
branches, fence posts, hedges, hoardings
caught in the current and carried away.

A sky line waving like a banner,
tugging folds and wrinkles straight,
stretching the fields canvas-tight
for the paint speck sheep.


A bight out of the land, a crescent shore
of splintered shale and rocks
gnawed by the breakers, rank on rank,
and in a scratched out garden by the beach
a blaze of sunflowers.

Late summer


Like a guest
reluctant to depart
the summer lingers.
Trees cling
to their brassy leaves.
Grass, overgrown,
is rank and sour.
Heavy, lethargic, dull.
we wait
for scouring gales
to strip the trees to skeletons,
remember enviously
the smell of burning leaves,
the creak of snow under foot,
the luxury of shivering.