maturing trees
conspired to shed
their load of seeds
bending their branches
under a swollen sky
and blessing the earth
with a new generation
for the coming year


autumn came to stay
it brought shorter days
brown, curled up edges
on the corners of wallpaper
ceilings leaking, floors
wet and slippy with mud
fruit tossed unceremoniously
over floors, fresh and decaying together
the lights turned on and off
with an unpredictable spontaneity
cats and dogs sought shelter
in the corners of the house
away from droughts and drips
autumn brought feelings of
warmth and comfort too
life slowed down to a gentle
more manageable pace
despite the drips, the droughts, the mud,
the browning, the unpredictability,
despite everything that might seem
off putting about autumn
it was good to welcome
autumn back into my life
like an old friend
with all their faults and foibles
but all the better for them
not despite them
welcome back
my old friend


to some it is just a piece
of water flowing down to the sea
fish and birds swim in it
but nothing more happens
to me it is an ever changing puzzle
of blues, greens and greys
rhythmically changing
shape and colour
as the day grow old
and the seasons change
a bird dives in and breaks up
the rhythm creating a new puzzle
the fish below darts this way
and that to evade the bird
creating another puzzle
a puzzle within a puzzle
this flowing water is a
multilayered puzzle of
colours, shapes and life
and it can be anything
you want it to be


rewilding my life
revived my senses and emotions
allowing my mind
to attune itself
to what was important
and distance itself
from what was not


i left the angles and corners
of urban life behind and headed
for the non-conforming
hills and fields beyond
lined with tree roots, streams,
boulders and valleys, places the
ancients lived and worshipped in
so many shapes in one place
my senses at once rewilded
coming alive in ways
i had long forgotten
the urban sprawl was a
very different place
when i returned home


Getting to the top grade at school was a big achievement for me. Maths and English tests and I was selected above everybody else, just one person, me. However I soon began to struggle and was overwhelmed by the harder lessons and tougher expectations of me academically. In the grade below I was near the top of the classes and was effectively cruising at school. I coped with the lessons and homework and had plenty of time to play with my friends. School was not a worry for me. Moving to the top grade was a very different matter for me. There was more homework, tougher questions, algebra was a new concept for me, how could you do maths with letters? I’m still confused by algebra but I can add up, subtract, divide and multiply, what more do you need for life! Moving home didn’t help either. Everything happened at once, moving home, moving up a grade at school and looking back I couldn’t cope. It was all too much for me I was overwhelmed and collapsed under the weight of everything that was going on and retreated into my shell, unable to talk to anyone about how I felt because I didn’t understand what was going on and I couldn’t even begin to put into words how I felt. I felt lost in the world and took to my bed as the only place I felt comfortable and safe in the world. Maybe if I hadn’t moved away from everything I knew I would have been fine in the top grade. Maybe if I hadn’t moved up to the top grade I would have coped better with the move. Life is full of if’s and but’s and so many unanswered questions and we all have them and all we can do is think about what might have been and move on as best we can.


my eyes do not see you as you see me
they do not see the emotion and fire behind your gaze
nor the hopes and heartache you have endured
your fears for the future
the anguish of your past
are all lost to me
i only see your eyes as
two round objects in a
face full of features
a nose, ears, teeth
they are all the same to me
i try to read the stories behind them
and what stories they must hold
but i cannot know them
to know them i need to read your eyes
and that i cannot do
all i can do is sit here and dream
dream about the sights
your eyes have seen
the places they have been
the memories they hold
i wonder if you can read my eyes
tell me the stories they hold
read me in ways i cannot read you
open the pages that are in my eyes
see the sights and visions i have seen
just by looking at my eyes
if you can then you are so lucky
and truly gifted
at least in my eyes


Teaching in the 70s and 80s at state run schools in the North of England was a vastly different experience to the ones I read and hear about today. Teachers were in charge and they let you know it. We called them sir or miss, no names to ensure there was an invisible barrier between us that we could not cross. Yes the teachers were in charge and they let us know it. I remember one teacher who would trip you up if you ran down the corridor and simply say ‘don’t run boy’ as you lifted your face off the floor. Another teacher would hit you over the head with a piece of wood covered by a newspaper and when you asked him why he did it he replied ‘because I can’. One incident I remember is being in maths and the lad behind me was talking so the teacher threw the board rubber at him which bounced off the desk and smashed the window. The teacher just pointed at him and said ‘that’s your fault boy’! and it wasn’t worth going home and complaining to your parents because you just got a clip round the ear and told to behave yourself if you did. There were plenty of other experiences that I have forgotten now and a lot of the teachers were very nice and didn’t do anything they shouldn’t but it was a very different time and I’m glad I experienced it.

measuring pain

Posted: October 7, 2019 in poetry, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

my pain can be measured
by the flickering flames of
fire burning in the corner
of my tear stained eye

it can be measured by the
angles of rays of sunlight
and moonlight as they pass
over the wild, bleak moors

my pain is there in the distance
as the blackbird files searching for pies
and near in the flock of
sheep counting until they go to sleep

it is in the spots on dalmatians
running down the road in single file
and in the tails of nine cats
staring at the world from a tree

my pain is in the well of oil
that spurts from the burnt crust
of sliced earth leaping from the
frying pain into the funeral pyre

my pain is here, there
it is high and low
it has no end and no beginning
i can see it in the stars


It’s my first year at Tong and I’m doing well academically. I’m getting top grades in all my subjects and soon will be progressing to the top tier. I’m still living on Holmewood at this point and walking to Marks everyday to call for him and go to school with him. I’m enjoying life, enjoying school. Everything seems so easy, so much fun. Little do I know how life is going to take a turn that will forever alter my life and turn it upside down. Life won’t be as easy after this event. This is when life gets hard for me.