Thursday, 8 September 2016

A lecturer at Leeds college of Art (AKA Jacob Kramer)  found this - the Leeds College of Art Magazine from 1935 wedged between some books about tartan! There's loads of prints inside including this one of the stairs at Vernon Street! 

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Icon Gold

God is reflected in the gold and God is reflected in everything.
The fogbank and the gold
Gold of heaven
Gold of Ophir
Gold of infinite space

Mists of presence
Light of memory
Shadows of infinite space

The paintbrush on the glaze
The gold leaf, the size
It doesn’t matter which
Between the gold and the paint there is no hitch

And so to reflect
In the water glass glaze
And the matt sheen gleam of gold

The forgetfulness reflexivity of gold
The infinite space and the true presence
How much longer will time rule my day and night
Show me a glimpse of that timeless place
Peace and rest.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Fiddling Friday midnight

Playing airs and jigs
A round of verses and choruses
Halls, rooms, pubs and clubs
Connisborough Castle, Kirk Sandal, Denaby Main,
Grandmas in walkers, kids in wedding shoes
Men with pints, buying shorts for the ladies
Orange, purple, gold, glitter
Sunday bests, going-out-outfits
Heavy chains, chain-strap handbags
Jaden tattooed on a man’s arm in fairground typeface.

The songs like hymns
Black Velvet Band, Galway Shawl, Wild Rover
Mixed with 80’s saw Doctors and Pogues
Requests from ladies to click up their heels to
Half-remembered Irish dance steps from their 12th year
Men happy to watch and sing along
Young girls mixing line dancing, Irish dance, ballet
Wild swinging and harmonic singing.

Through it all I stand
I fiddle,
Two hours, three hours, five hours
I just keep going,
just keep playing
Don’t forget the bridge,
keep playing it if Ged forgets the next verse
A short instrumental is required while Christian and Benedict jog their memories for the lyrics
Keep on it
Keep awake
Christian on bodhran
Benedict harmonizing on guitar, Ged sings.
Keep playing
Once more for ‘Dirty old Town’, once more for the North
Once more for the ‘Green Fields of France’
And at last

Those ‘Fields of Athenry’.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Three Funerals and a Veil: Dream Poem 16

It was her Father’s funeral
She was all in black, white tights and a long black veil
She wrote her name in black – on her shirt hem - over and over.
She lay on the floor
People were a bit shocked but just looked.

And she was thinking, ‘I only have to do this one more time and that will be three funerals for Dad’.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

The water III

Strange and strong
Not fragile
Fragmented – the elements
Oily roiling of the waters
Mighty roar

Ripulous ripples.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

A Birthday in Rydal Mount.

Shifting clouds
Like sand through a time glass
All the shades of blue night
Morning never staying still
And behind the mountain
The rock
the bedrock
The place of scrub
Herdwick and hardy flocks
And amidst it all the rain

Softly wet.

Friday, 11 March 2016

The water II: After Bill Viola’s Tristan’s Ascent.

Beauty of our fragility
The beauty of pure life
The announcements of
Drops of water on our faces.

How, how, how?
Once we were dust of the ground
Once we were raw
Once we were elemental.
Our parts divided
To water, metal, earth.

The flood.
oh take away the water
It is drowning us
We are engulfed and dispersed
We are subsumed in this
Torrent of life.

Save us
Or we will drown.

The rain goes up
My senses are raw with the horror
The dark – the slab
The rain going up

The noise tremendous.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

After: Ori Gersht Big Bang 2006: II

A subconscious awareness of a subtle horror
A Dutch master’s dark and light beauty
And suddenly noise and violence
Shattered glass blast
Glass grinding crunch
Shredded shards fall in slow-motion
Fatal beauty
Hidden power
Hungry explosive devours beauty and perfection
And leaves a single bud blown
By the back-draft of the moving air
bombed erased lives
Scattered fragments
Collateral damage
The troubles
Ground zero
The uneasy beauty of destruction
The finality of death
Latency of
Amazing grace
And instant irradiation.

Monday, 7 March 2016


All rise
Magdalenas and
Madeleines soaked in tea
Treats and tastes
Small cakes full of

And savor.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

The water: after Bill Viola.

Whatever enters your heart
Is a guest from the invisible world
Entertain it well. Rumi

The ones that are left behind
The ones that have gone before
The wall of water
Is a veil of light
A shadowland
A mist of becoming
A journey
A lifetime of onwards ever onwards

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Still life: after Ori Gersht’s Big Bang 2006.

As I turned round
I caught from the corner of my eye
a darkened space
illuminated by white roses, as in a Dutch still life of bygone days
a movement from the centre
shattered the scene of pastoral beauty
 of muerte natura
 and all exploded
 shattering every petal and stem
 sending fragments cascading outwards
 in divine trajectory
 and after the dread explosion
 the plague
 of a rain of blood in slow motion down and down and down
 the pieces fell in devastating confetti
 left waiting
 in the black
 one stalk of geranium waving back and forth

 through shards of glass and slowly falling debris.

Sunday, 28 February 2016


Here in this place
Heels kick and beats brew
Here in this place

Language spoken time and true.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Stinking Hot Summer NC:

In my mirror is me
My Mexican mirror
In America once
I was soft and sweaty
Soaked in humidity
Pools forming in my shoes
From rivulets
Coursing silently, invisibly
From my neck, under my sports top
Down my stomach
And pants and inside thigh
As it ran sometimes dammed
By waist-band and seam
Gently absorbing until all
Became damp
And the only cure

Was a luke warm shower.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Iron shoes

The guns in the gun-rack
Signify a beautiful day ruined again.
Smooth shiny barrels in gun metal grey
Wooden or plastic stocks
Packs of BB pellets.

But do tell – why are they here in my wardrobe?
Along with the net dress I bought in Stoke
PVC bodice, boned and zipped plastic leather skirt.
Unwise choices slotted together
In their bungalow of belligerence.

My stance with my two strong feet planted
Is firmly against.

Against these guns
And the violent potential lying submerged,
Latent, haunting, threatening
Unspoken violence.

Against him
The unwanted advances he takes advantage of
When I’m asleep
The cigarettes and beers
The maudlin obsessions:-
Serial killers,
Army outfits - Multifarious camouflage patterns.

All these things I am against

His shiftlessness
His lack of ambition.
Selfish malingerer.

His arsenal of guns
Bought in my name
With my driver’s license
The imprisonment of my wages

And again I’m against all this
And my strong legs are braced for attack

And yet it never came,
Too sublet for the obvious
Too mysterious
Too ingenious

How easily I gave in and was manipulated
How often I gave up, all his way, spoiled child.
His intellect squandered in voyeurism on his own life

Spectator to his own history
Days spent sunk in an armchair
Dulled with anesthetic alcohol
Watching of others lives
A second hand life of his own.

I unplant my feet and walk

Land sea and rivers.
Travelling  away five thousand miles
Keep moving 
until I have worn out five pairs or iron shoes,

until I am East of the sun and West of the moon and he will never find me here.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Richmond Hill:

Down the clouds, across the way
Washing streaming and steaming
Hanging across flats only window
Sadly sagging the line drooping down
No breeze even to float dry

These flats many many
Close knit, tight knit communities
Kids Dad’s on strike from the mines
For months and months food banking before it was trendy

How did the mums survive on this windy hill?
Looking down over
River and canal
Barges up and down
To and fro.

Strangely silent, up here.
The long haul of shopping bag trudgery
From the echoing, noisy, humidity of the market
To this high rise separation
Wind rattling the taut plastic.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Trial by Space:

Mount Sinai and Mourning Lace.
Centre stone,
Down, down, down.
Think, imagine, centre
Concentrate, reach, reach out.

I am standing in a room.
It is a physical room.
It is a remembered room.
In this room is a life-times worth
of memory – not mine.

Striped silk bustle skirt, pink kid dance slippers, fans with petals missing.
Petticoats, bloomers, chemises, camisoles, gloves, bags,
top hats, cloaks, boaters, and beaver furs.

Draws of mourning lace, cards of buttons,
reams of tapestry wool and embroidery threads in rainbows of colour.
Fountain pens from the 1940’s,
fencing foils, tankards, Kafka novels,
portraits of Louis Armstrong.
Each object shouts for attention and significance.

Yet as I stand in the only space there is
a small corner next to a four-foot crucifix
in the room,
it is empty
and it is dark.

Dillon’s room was also dark and memory bound.
His thoughts have shifted and sifted and sorted themselves into chapters.
But mine are still out to sea.

Still looking from on board the good ship Hamnavoe
towards an enveloping
Fog bank.
Like smothering grief, it moves
over me imperceptibly
covering, obscuring, changing outlines
and landmarks, erasing the compass
until I am submerged.

And although I know my feet
stand planted on deck
and I hear the ships engine grinding on
And on; there is no feeling of
forward motion,
nothing to indicate progress through the water.
The fog covers all.

Floating clouds how vast, how vast.
How you deaden with white light.
How you deafen with density.
How you change the context of
the topography
with veils of water.

And you clouds of the sky O bless the Lord.
and you wives and daughters
Sing from within the heart of the mists
covered by the covering vapour.
As Moses on Sinai.
The journey to the mountain is many miles
from the sea and the boat.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

I have made my nest

Flats, tree houses, old offices
Crumbling mills
I have made my home
With enemies and disinterested disregarders
Alienating some
Infuriating others
Misunderstood and mistreated
my garden a concrete yard
A brick wall, the street
A roof, a carpark, acres of forest
The living only makes sense
With the loving
Otherwise it’s just

another set of keys.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Number One, Back Mount

'Silver Royd Mill' black clay  By Frances Ann Norton, seen at,; or,  
The bannisters up
How interesting it is that
They are the same at number one, number three and number five.
So old and black with thick, thick carving.

Here at number one,
Piles of children’s clothes covered in a dust-sheet
lie like a library of children’s lives.
Folded neatly, sorted by age, on each landing of each of the four floors.

Children that come and go quickly,
children that stay for a while
and the ones that live here.
Stationed around the landings of each floor are weird locked wardrobes with padlocks on the front.

In the front room – not the best-front-room
but the every-day-back, front-room
Gas fire on full
Stifling, dusty and winter-time-hot.
Richard sits scissors in hand.

He is perhaps six or seven years old
A small thin pale boy, quiet and watchful with wild curly red hair
He’s off school for the day – enviable position especially if you are not that sick.
He has taken all of the dolls
And cut off their hair.
No one stops him or says anything.

The kitchen smells strongly of cat food and cabbage
The shelves and cupboards and table are a museum to the Tupperware phenomenon.
Darren is in the cupboard polishing shoes.
In there are more shoes than I’ve ever seen in one place,
it’s like a second hand shoe shop.
They don’t really belong to any one child –
Darren has a lot of polishing to do, he’s the eldest and has chores.

In the back yard
A small square of garden with spinning spider-web drier.
Along one edge are Darren’s rabbit hutches
Next to them is the pile.
The pile is fascinating to me, I look at it every day.
On it is left-over food from dinners past
Cornflakes and porridge,
It’s massive and very, very slowly it rots.

It grows mold, breaks down
Cats and rats eat it
Frost covers it
It grows higher daily
A symphony in rot.

Sunday, 21 February 2016


A double edged thrusting dagger,
continuously tapering to a thin point,
used in France, Switzerland and Italy.

Why this,
why now,
what’s changed?
The word for dagger comes to me in a dream.
And I have to look it up.
Shakespearean overtones of Macbeth.

It comes to me that this sharp tool
Has a metaphorical job to do.
It used to be that I lied to myself
I snuck around truth, morality, right judgement
I cheated myself.

The poniard
Pierced my bravado and
deflated it slowly
Leaving my ego holey and tatty
Exactly as it should have been.
No more lies.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

The great curve

All the poems
and all the straight lines
can I re-use these fragments and make a new name?
Diffidence and radiance,
sighs and sobs
Encouragement and management,
a clock on a fob
Cover my shame with curtains of blue
snakes in the bedroom, spiders in the loo
and all the straight lines
seen from a far
make a pattern and rhythm
an elegance and simplicity.
once assembled they are
no longer straight but
create a greater curve of heart haunting beauty
that could be created

no other way.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Post Industrial; 

Mill kitchen, part of
The postindustrial landscape I see every day
But not the miserable 1980’s mills
Crumbling, on fire, deep depths.
This Mill,
Long gone are the workers
their time here just a memory.
A remembered scar where a touch calls to mind
A shuttle piercing the two bones of the forearm
A momentary call of attention to
Another’s voice.
Family, that’s what it was here in
The 1940’s.
Tea dances on a Friday night
At Pudsey Baths
Covering the turquoise freshness with
Boards and a Big-Band,
feverish, fervent dancers
Desperadoes and double-crossers
Two timing two steppers
Ardent looks, firm thighs
But yes the past is part of the present and

who would have it any other way?

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Ode to String:

What is the string for?
To tie my shoe
To secure my sleeping bag
A guy rope
A piece if square lashing
To carry my keys
To thread a rosary
That silly string that’s in space and its expandable in my hand
To fasten up a curtain rail
To tie a roast chicken leg
To hang a bunch of thyme to dry
To hitch a pair of trousers
Or a horse
To make a telephone with a tin Can
car phone string
Computer string
Machine string with plug
Crochet string for waistcoats and bed spreads
Macramé string for hanging plant pots
String that connects us all together
String that unites us all
Dust string
Of shared ancestry
String connected community
String connected relationships
String of time
String of washing and notes on a stave
String of life
String of heaven
String of death

O death, where is thy string?

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Smash this puny existence?

I don’t think so – this is our one shot.
This is now
Now and eternity
Telescoping out
and then
in again.
So high we can’t get over it, So low we can’t get under it.

Smash each other’s puny existence?
No not that either – not polite, not done
What arrogance, what superiority
What macho dominance

How can I hope
How can I be what I am meant to be?
Oh Listen – Oh discern -  Oh breathe
Then act

And pray I’ve heard right.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Web Heart

His and my souls are made of the same stuff
Drop soul
And find your plumb weight
Your level line
Your weighted thread
From heaven to his heart.

The one that I am together with
Our souls must be created from the same dust.
Attracted to each other
Like iron filings on a magnet.

Our heart strings
In an invisible web
Connecting us all.

The vibrations on my
Heart string
The reverberations on his
Heart strings somehow
Some way

A beautiful
Painfully lovely
Discord, so close it
Almost clashes in discordance
Analogous harmonies
Next to, yet a step apart


Monday, 15 February 2016

Underground Carpark

What I’d like is to
Hide in an underground car park,
To lie hidden and sleeping,
My body in a car parking space.

At the centre of everything
Nothing is important
Except to be and to love

I can drift
I can strive
I can work really hard every day
Driving, eating, teaching, researching
What does it mean?

It may mean nothing
It may mean everything
I want to listen more
Give me ears to hear.

Be calm
Be still

It has been a long year
A recovery year
A year of bright buds of hope
A year of finishing things
I give thanks for the year that has been
I ask again – every step, every breath
Every heart-beat, be with me.

And now let me sleep again
In my car parking space
Deep underground.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Valentine’s Day Twice:

That Valentine’s day I woke up
Knowing that you were across the road.

The evening to come did not go to my plan.

My plan was not to see you at all.
I had sensibly and sincerely
Pushed all obsession
Into the arena of phantasy.

You were not interested or so it seemed
And I was married
And there it could have remained

But that evening
You arrived at my door and I
Opened to your face – touched
By your thoughtful bottle of
and bottle of

Who would have thought we’d drink both
Make love on the front room floor

This really was not my plan.

We talked
About unwanted letters
Who knew he liked them?
He never replied
and I
gave up
Sending them.

Somehow we kissed

This was a turning point
This was the end of one marriage
And the beginning of another
Turning on a sixpence.

The next year we awoke
On Valentine’s morning
In each other’s arms
Wondering what came next
Knowing we had begun
Not knowing what
Not having planned it
Who knew?