top of page
sometimes I jumble words together in a Poem


jazzing down



It’s a joyful scramble down dune and over 

Tiny stones and whirled shells that dig in your feet,

And the massive green calling you,

Its waves beseeching and imploring you

To enter its rolling tussled waves. 

It’s not too cold - at least after 

The ticklish breakwater of your groin,

And shoulders under and head wet at last

You emerge dripping brightly in the sun.

And so to swim amidst the knurly billows and surges,

In your element, a free and vital thing,

The vast sea a home, and your shoulders heaving aside

The wet, and your mouth tanging with the salt,

And your feet paddling as your hands cut through the waves. 

Occasionally you wonder if  there might be a creature 

Beneath you to grab you and bring you down, down 

But that’s a silliness, and you press on enlarged

And disencumbered through the blue deep. 

You pause to tread water and bob with the breakers,

The beach a distant yellow smear.

Deciding that board free surfing would nicely finish the fun,

You dive forward into the curling combers

And you are as happy as Arion with his dolphin rescuers,

And merry contentment settles on you in the breaking sand;

And blood races round your exhilarated flesh,

And you stand up, a bit wobbly in the froth,

But what a time!


a dying husband to his wife

He lies scooped out

His once burly frame emptied;

His breath catches,

Like a falling autumn leaf on a branch …

Soon enough he will tumble down to the dirt

From which he came. 

He looks at his beloved,

The best he’s known,

And a smile spreads across his bladed cheeks,

And taking his wife’s hand he squeezes,

The mere pressure of a sparrow’s wing against her:

“Oh darling, He with the pierced hands…”

He stops to cough …

“He with the pierced hands brought us together,

And it’s he who parts us…”

Wheezing and blowing now…

“But with one hand on me and the other on you,

it’s only the distance of his shoulders 

That separates us …” and trying to sit up a bit,

“And he will bring us together again, my love”.

And he falls back, like an exhausted wave on the beach. 

A stillness descends as if angels have sidled close

And breathing stops and tears fall 

Down the wife’s cheeks and love fires up,

Even here, even now. For ever. 

How it begins...

Perhaps when the Jews carried God in a box 

(Or rather as they knew the grip of everlasting arms)

Or before then even 

When Jacob the multicoloured fell into a pit

Or before then even

When old man Abraham left civilised Ur

Or before then even

When in the Garden two found joy in the company of One


It’s bigger than all that,

Wider and longer than any horizon,

It was there when the sons of morning sang 

It was there when wisdom fashioned and carpentered,

And before ever any continent clashed together in fiery union

Before ever sea bubbled and frothed, rolling in...


Where it started and where it’s going

Ever ancient ever new


Under hill boiling away in subterranean caverns

Or glistening wide sweeping down curving dale

Or dripping slow so slow slow 

Or bouncing down boulders in a rocky crevasse 

It’s here and it’s gone 

Yet faithfully the same - gloriously true in its course. 

It leaps and jumps and straddles and sings

It flows and swirls, spills and splashes

You think you have it


but it’s away

cloud mountain.jpeg
man eye.jpeg

Blind Bartimaeus

This patch of grit, of stamped in dirt

Has been mine - and only mine - for years.

No one dare sit where I beg,

And if they try I snarl and spit at them ..

You see there’s good pickings 

On the road to Jericho, and here I sit

My blanket draped over my knees to capture the coins. 

My eyes are given out, flittering to and fro milkily

As if searching for sight. I hate being blind. Damn the day 

Of my blindness. And damn the sighted ones that pass by. 


Surprising what you hear sitting there - my ears are just fine-

And I’d heard tales of a prophet from Nazareth,

One who cared for the weak - and I knew I must get to him,

Perhaps he could unstick my gummy eyes. 


Long times of people’s sandals trudging by,

And not much to live on..

When I heard drifting through the crowds his name,

The whisper of too much hope: I yelled

“Son of David have mercy on me”.

Oh I knew my Scripture... when Messiah came

Joy would fall from the trees, the lame would dance, 

The deaf’s ears are unplugged and for the blind - dear God - 

Sight! I cried out all the more, my voice insistent above the clamour,

And devoid of embarrassment. 


He stopped. 

Actually stopped for me. 

Stood still

For me. 


I scrambled to my feet at his kind invitation, 

My warm rug discarded and its hidden coins clattering and rolling 

Around the dirt. 


His voice is the best I have ever heard:

Resonant, tender, calm, perhaps with a smile in it,

But one to strip the bark off trees and send lightning

Flashing and shimmering around your feet,

A voice that could quiet a grizzling infant instantly,

But wake the dead. He, he the Son of David

Asked me what I wanted. 


And all my yearning for sight welled up in me,

Unowned pain and bitter regret propelling my words

Like a ball of phlegm- “I want to see, I want to see!”

Tears long denied pushed  their watery way through my blank eyes. 


“ Go your faith has healed you.”


And like long shut doors to secret dwellings suddenly popping open,

And peeling back, my eyes cleared, light burning in, 

shapes and colours detected,  And oh the perfect joy!

The first man I ever saw was Jesus...and he was smiling, delighted for me,


And I follow him to this day

Homeless man

Lying folded up on the step of Lloyd’s bank,

Thrown away, discarded waste,

His face etched with weary suspicion 

Though his dark bruised eyes were distant pools of longing -

He couldn’t remember being warm. The soles

Of his shoes flapped over like unsightly tongues,

And by his side his roll up, which once may have been

Orange. Cold rain chilled his dirty body. 

He fell asleep, his head angled down on his chest,

As blunt as any “Do not disturb” sign on some swanky hotel 

Door. The rain stopped. 


Yet this son of Adam became aware of drops

Falling on his matted beard, warm tears

Diving down a curate’s face, who’d stopped to help and pray and -

The homeless man was washed by Mercy.  


St austell


Lest we forget 

For Holocaust Memorial

The sky is drained of all colour,

And all lies withered, a greyness hanging over us,

And we walk over the ashes of Abraham’s children,

The very grit of their bodies lodged in the soles of our shoes.

Birds don’t sing here in this horrible silence,

Nature itself revolted by industrial genocide,

Deadly detritus of skin, hair and teeth mock our mortality,

And vulnerable children’s shoes piled high condemn

Our easy empty lives stripped of such suffering. 

Ghastly creatures starved and naked crowd our minds,

The life let out of them bled dry of hope,

As pushed and shoved to take their murdering shower

They shuffle, so much cattle for the slaughter. 

HaShem yerachem. 

Trees in the Wind

When the wind blows

when the wind blows, really blows,

and the sea catches at the feathery hedge of our back garden,

our brave little house

on the edge of the cliff

is like a brigantine,

set to sail the oceans.

walls mutter and moan in the gusty blows,

floorboards creek and shriek,

shutters chirp and chirr,

we are about to venture across the globe,

and plough the deep,

and see the Lord’s wonders writ large.

the wind howls and the house yelps,

seeking to be free of its constraints -

a storm is coming and will our haven hold?

from each window the sea’s swelling,

rolling under and flashing white spume sprayed back,

rolling in, swirling, whirling, wheeling waves,

cracking the cliff face, rushing wet,

and round our house the wind curls and sprawls,

stirring up and jumbling the resistant wood -

it’s going to be a long night. 

Trees in the Wind
Mother Holding Baby Finger

for my grandchildren

when at three months you open your eyes wide in wonder,

and see what a jolly big universe this is, with so much to catch up on,

i’d like to linger there with you and laugh…

but in the meantime, while you are on my lap,

i shall lower you down to my shinbone

so that you are upside down and you can see this merry world

the right way up -

then you will see clusters of stars like wildflowers growing

in the dark soil of the sky,

you will see puffed up clouds surrounding you like pillowed mountains,

and above all, you will see men and women and children

held fiercely and kept kindly,

gripped by the marvellous mercy of God.



Advent always starts in the dark 



Remember the pained cries of a labouring mother

A baby born, who once lobbed whirling

Galaxies into space, but now sucks his fill at Mary’s breast;

This one baby the Word made flesh

And the very air thrumming with angels

And joy bouncing off the Bethlehem hills.


No matter how drear the dark gets

Life begins all over again here behind this pub

In some provincial backwater; and God 

Is someone you can walk to across fields. 


The Light has dawned. 

Collecting Christmas Tree
Mountians and Lake


up i’ve come to the ridge and i’m puffing now,

and i look down at the cupped rock-strewn slopes,

and the dark smudge of a tarn, 

a blue black bruise amidst the grass from here.


scuttling and scramble down, restless for home,

tarn shivering, rippling, deep, so deep,

who knows what lurks there

with the white capped coots and the secret trout?


sturdy herdwicks chomp

scattered white lumps


and away, away over there - see!

like a sinewy black cat’s tail

the river folds and wraps itself around the curving valley,

a swirl of liveliness.

Monkey Bathing

Having a bath with an unexpected person

the banks are muddied by penitents

waiting for the washing

and the wild hairy prophet calling for the next

to be dunked and one comes glad

to be numbered with the transgressors

and seeking a bath. how can this be?

to fulfil all that is right in the heart of God.

and so among the dejects rejects abused misused

the forsaken mistaken wretched losers

the lusty angry liars and haughty

                  comes one prepared 

to stand up for them, one of them

to fulfil all that is right in the heart of God.

and paradise cannot help itself and Father and Spirit

tumble out of heaven keen to join the bathers,

as if this is exactly where you’d expect God to be,

as if this is always what God has been about

and we never knew till one unexpected came for


Jazzing Down

it’s late and i’m on the A30, Cornwall calling

Kernow creating hope under

wider warmer skies.

the A30 bends and slopes

westering down 

it’s quiet and i’m coming home.

no radio on but i have jazz in my head, lining out, smooth

Stan Getz mellow and slow and 

i’m following each flight of rasped reed,

listening for the silences, sultry,

i’m in the mood for sax.

along the A30 slipping down, Cornwall calling,

wherever i go wherever i am

i hear its seductive realignment 

refocusing redirecting renewing

and along the A30 life grows

fresher and better at each new corner and each new Getz solo

i’m riding with the warm tone

all the notes home

Baby's Clutch



Deeper than my doom he dived

Flung far into the outer reaches of my rebellion

Undressing, down and down he came,

Looking for the bleating sheep that first belonged

And there enfleshed and bloodied

He felt my raw thirst, he lived my damage.

I have no idea how or why - why? Why?

But held to his account my profligate debts,

My secret lusts and treasured pride,

My boiling temper and my heart-squeezing worry,

My looking everywhere but him

(From whom all good comes)

He took them all, paid then all, freed me of all.

As he did so his face changed, and his heart broke,

His back gashed and opened like a ploughed field,

And nailed down, stuck to wood, a Roman trophy,

He bore my muck and lost his brightness. 

He loved the hell out of me. 


And then, shaking off the shackles of death 

Robbed the grave of its terrors

Alive with all goodness

He came for me

“The Son of God who loved me

And gave himself for me.”



Part time saintly but mostly grumpy

Old Caradoc was a miserable git

He felt left behind about the same time

The dinosaurs stopped stomping around

All was so quick these days so newly invented 

So brand up to date he felt giddy

He missed the slow growth of souls 

The gradual unveiling of sanctity

The way humans used to become over months and years 

Before they looked all raddled and buzzed up.

Bah! And reaching for his fiddle

And the consolation of catgut, he bowed a tune

That hung over the village he looked upon

Like magic perhaps like grace

Netting all into an embracing mystery

A silken thread of tunes that arched over homes

A flung down wish on all who lived there. 


Part time saintly but mostly grumpy

Old Caradoc was a miserable git. 

He felt out of place in this loin-fired age

Where lust was ridden as a man might his bike,

Uncommented on, and everything in the open:

God knows what happened behind closed doors!

And sighing the deepest of resigned groans

He prays for the blockheads and hardhearts below

Hoping his feeble prayers might somehow 

Lasso the benighted folk to grace 

That his devout (sort of) longings might lariat 

Them home, and a rescued bunch could at least survive. 


Part time saintly but mostly grumpy 

Old Caradoc was a miserable git

Now he was partial to a pint or three

And no harm ever came to him from a dram

but dear heavens, the stuff put away today

Or snorted and sniffed up or needled in or gulped down

Made sailors appear as nuns on a temperance do

And no dignity left chucking up in the gutters

Wrecked and their livers black as the earl of hell’s waistcoat:

Oh that  the soft rain would fall and wash the filth away 

Oh that the tender drenching would never stop

Till all was clean and bright as a new sacrament 

And Caradoc laid one more tune down (his best) for he could pray

No more, and pitched the music to drape over them

A covering, in and out of doors and windows,

Till underneath the fiddle’s soaring notes, a blanket was stitched,

Where all could be safe.


The crumble of bread

And the bite of the wine

The heft of an open Bible

God’s truth unfurled

Fresh Baptism water newly uniting


Beauty baffling creation 

And the breath held in wonder

Church buildings made holy

By faith filled stuttering prayers

Folded meadows rounded 

Rivers’ meandering light

A labrador’s undying affection

In brown eyes deeper than myth

And boys three rollicking gladly

Couldn’t be prouder

The sea, the sea,

( sounds more romantic in Greek)

Its rolling waves calling

All this I know

And oaks grown for Nelson’s navy

The love of a graced Woman

For forty kind years -

God is good.

There will be more...


I was Legion Legion Legion

Living among the dead

Cutting and slashing at my flesh

Pulling apart chains

As if  blades of grass

Wearing nothing

But my filth and stink and matted blood

I’d howl as if many wolves lived in me

And couldn’t get out

No matter how much they wanted to

Until one glorious day

A boat came

And from it one walked without fear

I ran at him to attack and hit and bite

To send him away from my raw naked shame

And I screamed at the intrusion of light

All within me hollered to scarper

Not to let him unpossess me

And I yelled and screamed and bawled and shrieked

I bared my sharpened teeth and made sure he smelt 

My fetid breath, I wanted to gnaw him

Never mercy like his I tell you

Never power and love so forceful 

Never truth so exposing

Or healing so complete

As 2000 pigs squealed and tumbled over rocks

In a flurry and a fall over fall over fall, turning,

And drowned.

And in that instant Immediately 

The wolves were gone, Legion vanished,

And I sat bewildered in my nakedness 

Feeling something I hadn’t known for years -

Freedom and contentment - settling on me

Like a merry intoxication. 

The fearless one called for a robe to cover me

And I sat dressed before my Lord in my right mind. 

Oh how I wanted to go with him

Like a faithful puppy

But he sent me home to my family

And that didn’t go well at first

Until I showed them my scars. 

Foggy Mountains

At times at night before I lock up
I stand on the drive and quieten myself
And then it comes, whispered into the wind,
The distant susurrations of the sea on the land,
Swishing intimations, far off tumblings,,
Catching me, holding me still. 

In another place I could have gone out
And merely heard the mad thumping of the M25  -
The road to Hell Chris Rea called it -
Circulating frustration, close-by menaced rumblings.
I know which one I prefer...

Here a daily marvel holds me
The wonder of the ocean
Day in night out moon timed for centuries thus,
And I feel both small and grateful.

On the drive

bottom of page