Element Books, 1983, hardback with colour illustrations, 50 pages
This book is universal in its approach as well as its appeal. The poems move beyond the personal in their questionings and affirmations, expressing a simple and unshakeable truth—a reverence for life. The title poem has been published by the BBC and Longman, and it is recommended by the London Diocesan Board for Schools as an alternative Halloween celebration.
lies in the cracks
The prism of truth
in many colours
of equal validity
free to wander
through the rays
again and again
is to rejoice
in the wonders,
and faithful reflections
Priapus Press, 1988, limited edition hand-printed chap booklet, collectors item, almost sold out
A well-worn glove,
I cleave to every contour of your hand.
My fabric barely
registers your touch: familiar, warm.
Each conscious ripple
Of our separate textures stirs the dance.
With counter rhythm
We adjust position, fold and flex,
To get the fit
Just right for palming out
And holding life.
Diamond Press, 1990, paperback, 91 pages
This collection parallels human growth and cycles of development with those in nature. It traces the path from roots to harvests and regeneration through first expression, potential and relationships. At times deeply personal, Interpreting the Tree encompasses human and global issues to which we can all relate.
The swollen ocean
Heaving past horizons,
With unshed waves
Held taut in its skin.
And licks an expression.
It coats the shore,
Sucking at dryness
Vast as itself.
So we break:
For one brief moment
In a unique curve.
Terracotta Press, 1998, paperback, 80 pages
These poems reflect on changes, both internal and external. They arose from extensive world travels and take us on a journey filled with people, places and relationships, viewed from a particular perspective.
You were trying to fly your kite.
Helped by your father, you struggled to launch
The enormous two-hander in uneven gusts.
Too large and heavy for your twelve years,
It looped and dived again and again,
While you, frustrated, stamped the ground.
In a flash I saw you on the threshold of manhood,
Looking back to this day when the task was too great:
You, defiant, challenging the wind,
Determined to launch yourself from my cradle –
And I cried, in the pause of this telling moment,
For all the moments we throw to the wind
Terracotta Press, 2004, paperback, black-and-white photos, 67 pages
Where do you consider home? Today, increasing numbers of us find ourselves moving and migrating between loved ones, work commitments, opportunities and changing world events. Is home defined by location, physical comfort, connection to roots? Is it a place that feeds the spirit, provides the support of community or deepens a sense of self? What makes us feel at home—or not at home? This collection explores these questions through deeply personal poems. The publication of this book is in support of The Dandelion Trust Charity (reg. charity no. 328159), which gives children from war zones respite and time to heal.
Too Thin (Swiss Cottage tube station, London)
On the floor of the station,
where raw air blasts in,
he is wrapped against the chill
in a blanket way too thin.
His narrow back bent over
and his body, so slim,
that his spine protrudes clearly
through the second woollen skin.
Sharp angles through the blanket
show bony knees hugged up.
Bluish fingers, glove-less,
are clenched around a cup.
The wind’s tossing litter
and his stringy pony tail
whips, like the litter,
round his face, so drawn and pale.
His covers are so thin
I long to give him my own,
as shivering with discomfort,
I make for my warm home.
There, no cold air blasts in,
but the image plays its part
and draughty questions whistle
through the murmur in my heart.
Terracotta Press, 2009, paperback, driftwood sculpture photos, 68 pages
All proceeds from sales of this book will be used to support WYSE International: World Youth Service and Enterprise (reg. charity no. 1053940). WYSE is a United Nations–recognized NGO that has been running residential programmes for young people from across the globe (more than 100 countries) for the last 20 years. WYSE programmes promote peace by increasing understanding of self and others; bridging cultural and economic barriers; and exploring ways forward towards a positive future for our planet.
Old Persian Silver Box
Surprising to notice
These nymphs are bare-breasted:
Tripping hand in hand beneath the trees,
Shielded by canopies of leaves.
Silken drapes slipping from their waists,
Are flung in folds across an arm;
Feet raised to measure a lyric pace,
Frowned upon outside this sylvan realm.
Strange that craftsmen long ago
Made this box with cold metallic taste,
Depicting their silver fantasies
Etched within a frame of thorns –
Freedom controlled by curving swords,
Dances that must be obeyed
By women, then and still today,
To dodge the unforgiving blade.
Companion Voices for the Journey Blue Moon Group Anthology 2006 (editor & contributor); CD also available
Touching Margins contains poems by well-known and new poets from several countries. It is intended for those approaching the end of life as well as for their families and loved ones. Touching Margins is available on request free of charge.