Category Archives: February

This planet is not terra firma

What was most significant about the lunar

voyage was not that man set foot on the Moon

but that they set eye on the Earth.


On the first day in space they pointed to countries.

On the third day they pointed to continents and by

the fifth day they were aware of only one Earth.


Jim put up his thumb and shut one eye.  His thumb

blotted out the Earth.   Everything he ever knew

lay behind his thumb.  He felt very, very small.


This jewel is lonely, is isolated

and there is no resupply.  Small and blue

and beautiful, it floats in eternal silence.


This round Earth in which all directions meet

and where there is no centre because every

point, or none is centre, is an equal earth.


We are riders on the Earth together, siblings

on this bright loveliness in eternal cold—

siblings who know now that they truly belong.


A found poem from the words of astronauts Scott Carpenter, Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell,

Abdulaziz Al-Saud,and American writers Norman Cousins, Archibald MacLeis


On his eightieth birthday, up at the lake
first snow, ‘ensilumi’,
fell in spirals of white garlands through
the dark branches of spruce and alder.

The old gang of party-makers
climbed out of their station wagons
and picked their way across the ice
towards the old smoke sauna.

Inside, the enormous mound of rocks
spat and hissed, voices swelled
with heat and memories, vowels expanding
to a drone like a tape running down.

He sat among them like a shadow, the thought
haunting his body until it punctured
through the steam and the years: how
she had got herself up there that night,

pain tearing at her young womb,
how she might have welcomed the pall
of smoke, her scream bouncing out
across the unflinching lake.



Sleep seeps through the house
from room to room
like evening mist,
enveloping one by one
the bodies laid out
in the darkness.

Now only the last pair of eyes
gleams white in the night,
just that last brain remains
under management control,
turning over and over
some scheme or other.

February Challenge

Okay, it’s too big to ignore. We’re confronted daily by the antithesis of Light…

Here’s a poem by Edward Baugh:

and another by D.H. Lawrence. It’s worth listening to Glyn Maxwell read  it as he adds an insight into Lawrence’s technique.

Poems about the dark can take many turns – political, natural, personal…  They raise questions, too – can the dark be positive?


Self-portrait with Seven Fingers

Your criticism in useless to me. I throw
it out. Along with stale water lilies
and threadbare nudes. My colours
are barbaric. Those that A child
throws on and over paper and table.

Une figuration anti-logique

I capture the dream. Steel
and fever and speed pulse
in my fingers. I am honourable
in my madness. It is poetry
streaked with the divine.

Paintings in the Local Art Exhibition

Paintings in the Local Art Exhibition

1. ‘White Poppies’

Look at them,
crowding from the frame
like girls in Communion frocks
who wait for the photographer
to pose them,
drop the shutter’s blade,
fix them in their purity.

Already a red spot
on the corner of the glass —

the Wolf loves innocence.

2. ‘Single Red Poppy’

Dark gape of throat,
blood on the canvas.

People are skirting it,
eyes lowered.

Wolf is in the corner,
wiping a long tongue round his teeth.

Gill McEvoy

in the art gallery

bearded Renaissance man
who shops at Ikea
buying cheap print on large canvas
cooks beans on toast

woman who saves cats
raves about Baroque
wears patent boots
and a gaudy frock

in the art gallery
they enjoy the space
between them

in general cats avoid him
Baroque makes him queasy

a beard is a beard is a beard
whichever century it spouts from

in the cafe
the manager considers serving
beans on toast


Terrasse a Sainte-Adresse

Terrasse a Sainte-Adresse

Whenever I look at this painting
reproduced in my book on Monet,
I think of the view from a balcony
over another garden and seascape.

Whenever I look at that view,
I think of the painting.

Different parts of the world
separated by a century and a half,
but  the atmosphere is the same.

Vibrant sunlight and colours.
Well-tended garden, strolling figures.
Sea alive with boats large and small.
Wide, windswept sky.

A few weeks each year, I’m there
sitting on the balcony.
Open the book, that could also be me
sitting on the terrace.

Same straw hat, same rattan chair.


The last of the yen went on sake,
wasabi peanuts, dried squid tentacles,
the makings of a memorable meal
planned for an early reunion
where, after the inevitable jet-lag,
we would juggle our memories
along with the chopsticks.

Nine hours to the west
the tastes were revolting, sake
an oily blandness soon poured away,
the peanuts leaving a sharpness
in our throats, the squid a reminder
of sweaty socks that no chewing
could dismantle.

A few postcards, the chopsticks
awkward between my fingers
as I try not to lose the last grain.