Saturday 25 November 2023


In order of composition, newest at the top. 

Photographs from Ashurst, New Forest unless indicated otherwise.

Is it the same thing?

From larva to flight mode,

from feudal to capital 

from dry to wet?


I was standing on a roof in Cosham

wondering if I could leap on a tree

then down to the street

and check if I needed a permit for that…



You may think they have little need

but what do angels do by way of relaxation?

That's given away by the celestial glow 

on the sign that announces their spa.




What’s the difference 

between a train, a bus,

a motorbike and a pushchair? 

Trains and buses go in other ways.




'Romance', declares the newspaper window

of the sort of store that is no more, 'is dead'.

Putting that in upside down

cannot disguise its truth.




I guess if she were

truly desperate for a widley

she’d be moving rather faster

to enter the promised express.





I'm somewhat surprised, but why?

Is it that subway customers rarely wear sub-fusc,

or more that

sub-fusc wearers rarely eat at Subway?




If you want a portion of chips

it’s probably best to be

bigger than a crow.

Or is that a jackdaw?



Whichever way they look around

to see if the gulls have left yet

these are definitely jackdaws:

short bills, pale eyes, quite small.


(Chichester: the common British corvids ranked by ascending size are jackdaw – crow – rook - raven)

Wok the fuk was I doing?

I may know my onions

and slice them just so

but that is the incorrect pan.

The fence-shaped cardigan

has found its home.

I’m glad in a way,

but should the home be all that it’s about?



This Wharton

didn’t use to point or pose.

I reckon it’s pretty much

Gone for a Burton.


(Gone for a Burton: a term for meeting with disaster, popularised in the RAF during World War II)

A bug-eyed man appeared

when I mopped up a spill -

proving, if not the existence of God,

at least that of Homer Simpson. 

(you can find online claims that, for example, seeing Jesus in a piece of toast is a manifestation of God's will that proves His existence. Scientists are more likely to point to the evolutionary advantages of quickly discerning faces and their expressions as the explanation for the frequency of such pareidolia

I do not doubt

that mobile phones are all that they’re cracked up to be,

but sometimes I want to go back in time

and they’re no help with that.


(The central phone is mine after I tripped up and found I had installed the ‘Spiderman Ap’. Go back to the 1980’s, and you’d reach a mobile-free era)



I like a little crisp delineation 

I like a little clear enunciation. 

I like to play with accumulation,

with what a lot of small thoughts might amount to…


(Peckham, London)


When a pole pulls a muscle

the problem it faces is how to follow the standard advice:

Rest is OK, and Ice might be applied,

but what of Compression and Elevation?


(Peckham, London. RICE is the acronym for dealing with muscle injuries: Rest: Immobilization prevents further injury and gives the body time to recover. Ice: Cold reduces pain by numbing the affected area. Compression: Pressure keeps swelling under control. Elevation: Keeping the injured body part above the heart reduces swelling and the associated pain and discomfort.)


Here's how to drive

into a traffic sign: 

hard enough for sculptural impact,

not so hard you knock it flat.


(South Kensington, London)


'Because', she exclaims

'I didn't expect you to be such a fucking arsehole!'

But it's OK: she can't be talking to me

or my phone would have rung...


(Gloucester Road, London - image is from online search: I didn't see the speaker let alone photograph her. It was - surprisingly? - hard to find an image of a non-smiling woman using a phone while walking down the street...)




You'd expect two penguins stranded in Peckham

to talk about global warming,

yet I suspect this pair of merely

working out who’s doing the bins.


(Peckham, London)


Just when I thought things were jugglygong

I felt a bit squiggly

and couldn’t foolly carruble

what was fistering on.   



I'm quite often introduced

as 'the man who knows everything'.

One thing I do know:

that isn't true. 


(The statue of Socrates, was unveiled in 1885 outside the National Academy building in Athens. It was sculpted by the Italian sculptor Piccarelli, following a model by  Leonidas Drosis (1843-1884), who conceived the elaborate overall scheme of statuary. But I guess everyone knows that…)




Distinctions wash over me

in this intermediate place:

Is it that some flowers are tissues

or more that some tissues are flowers?


(Koelnmesse, Cologne)



Two minutes to go 

When the mushroom

Reaches 3.15

the dancing will begin.


These are my selected


Please ignore 

what's in between them.


Just as rivers run to the sea

my urine flows into the blue

and would be on its way to the beach

were this the UK.


(Koelnmesse, Cologne: British water companies have recently been notorious for illegally discharging large volumes of sewage into the sea. Germany does better through thermal treatment and agricultural reuse.)


Cleaner! cleaner!

There's an urchin in my urinal!

Keep quiet sir,

or even the ladies will want one.


(Koelnmesse, Cologne: impressively, perhaps, each set of urinals has differently-coloured grilles. There is also green.)


I did wonder

what those holes were for.

It's a bit of a waste

to use them for air.



In the land of little leaves

the incursion of a bright blue dot

doesn't simply mark the spot:

it ranks as a significant event.



The nightmouse does

what nightmice do:

dance around when no-one's looking -

or so they believe.



I cannot commend these German cakes

on grounds of health,

or indeed economy.

Shame about the taste.




They have the world boxed up round here

You're in that brown one -

but when  it comes to difficult matters

we're in them all together.



Beneath the golden overhead

sits a woman with golden hair.

I'm waiting for the golden age

of minimum despair.   



What is the cause

and what the effect?

I suppose it depends

on the direction of gravity.

(New Forest / Cologne)


What does this mean? 

Cyclists must not disturb the leaves 

or else should keep beneath them

or should take care not to skid.



Are you Willy as in Wurst?’

I asked ‘or Bobby of the Bar?’ 

His reply, not unexpectedly,

was ‘Neither’. He was Frank.




It may not look like much from here

but there's plenty up there:

two trillion galaxies

each with an average of 400 billion stars.


(Those are the figures for the known universe, probably just a small part of the total)


This one-armed man

is just the ticket

from a cloakroom,

one arm raised to request my bag.



Some people

can find sex anywhere.

You may even

be capable of it yourself.



To be a parking anarchist

I guess you need to be sure that what comes next will be better

I'm not there yet

I may be given time and the right annoyance.



Here is where

we might go round the longer way

and cross the road above the ground

if that's okay with you.




I realise it’s the modern way

and I know they haven’t got that far

but I still maintain that’s it’s rude to text

during sex.         



When a leaf comes to die 

on the hard damp squash of the pavement 

what does it reckon its purpose has been?

Was it enough to reach the ground?


(Marylebone, London)




I don’t wait till Christmas Eve

to buy any presents,

but I just can't get the festive season into focus

before December.


(Fitzrovia, London)



JP Morgan, 21.20

Either the staff are working as long as their managers hope -

while cautioning against it,

or the firm has no concept of energy saving.


(Canary Wharf, London)


Here’s my bed 

raggled somewhat by a night  -

not of passion, sad to say, 

but difficulty sleeping.

(Britannia International Hotel, Canary Wharf)

If 'family values' have declined

I'm not sure the presence of Wilko

ever did get to the heart of the problem

for those who think they mattered.


(Bedford, following closure of Wilko stores - 'the home of family value' - in October 2023)


Those are the greens

that were his eyes -

before he'd seen how things were going

and started to cry them out. 


This is the way they walk around here

one foot improbably close to another.

No wonder the occasional trainer

gets left behind.




This is Bedford’s cutting zone:

flowers, keys, hair…

and a short cut to the culture:

Higgins, Bunyan, Panacea.


(Bedford – those last three are the principle museums in what the local signs term the ‘Cultural Quarter’)

It is forbidden

to stick notices of any kind on this clock

except this one, cheekily applied

without so much as signing in.


(Time clocks on display at Aerospace Bristol, Filton)

I like a little pavement glare

It shows the sun's not merely there

but shining unobstructed

after rain.



You could say that the picture quality

leaves a bit to be desired.

I prefer to think: I enjoy abstract painting,

why not abstract TV?


(Grenville Hotel, London)


Designed for life?

Does that mean there’ll be no value

for the next generation,

that my children will inherit a place of no worth?


(Woolwich, London)


Do buildings have feelings?

It's open to doubt.

Either way, they rarely seem

to let any feelings out.


(Martin Creed’s rotating triple-outline neon sculpture ‘Work No. 1637: Feelings’, as installed at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama near the Barbican Centre, London)



If you have two lines

why not two kerbs?

Same as if you have two eyes,

why not two noses?


(Clerkenwell, London)


Sorry, but we’re not

'visiting Waterloo station'.

We’re fucking passing through it as we have no fucking choice.

Does that answer your question?





Imagine a woman

naked on horseback.

You’ll have to imagine her,

as Godiva never rode along Godiva Road.


(Illogically, perhaps, the only ‘Godiva Road’ in England is in Leominster, Herefordshire, as illustrated  here in Estate Agent adverts. Leominster is 110 km from Coventry, where I found  - and flipped - John Collier’s painting from 1898. Godiva was an 11th century  Anglo-Saxon noblewoman, married to Leofric, Earl of Mercia. She’s remembered for riding naked – covered only in her long hair – through the streets of Coventry.  According to the legend, she repeatedly appealed to her husband to reduce the oppressive taxation on the local people. Growing tired of that, he said he would grant her request if she would strip naked and ride through the town on a horse, assuming that she would not do so. Godiva took him at his word, and after proclaiming that all persons should stay indoors and shut their windows, rode clothed only in her long hair. Just one person, a tailor who afterward became known as Peeping Tom - hence the term for a voyeur - disobeyed her order.)


If God exists 

we can assume that all of the rainbows are his.

Even if he doesn't,

you could make a case for this one in his absence.


(St John The Evangelist's Church, Bath)

How big do you want your ice-cream to be?

I say as big as possible -

not out of greed,

but to counter global warming.



They should have hung a towel in the window

to play up the ambiguity

between 'running a bath'

and 'running in Bath'. 


Dilton Marsh 

is a request stop, 

but the train does halt at someone else's behest.

I can’t see Dilton or his marsh.


(Dilton Marsh,  Wiltshire)

Pissing on nettles

seems fair retribution for years of stings.

But that wasn't these nettles.

Does that make it unjust?


Time in the garden

is never wasted,

not that I claim to do much myself.

Moreover, it's good for your mental health.


A parasol

injured and stranded

in umbrella weather

can't be as happy as it used to be.


That fangled bloke at number five

has never fitted in.

Take the way he flaunts the fact

that someone of his modernity has no need of mail.


A car should be able

to handle the rain,

but how well does the rain 

handle a handle?


If you put all the drips together

that constitute the cause

of many a slow motion degradation

would you have enough to make a flood?



I had an idea

and gathered these photos. 

Now I can't remember the point.

I'll have to give this one the heave - I mean boot.


Why do some trees

have so many needles?

So far as I know

they don't take drugs…

This selfie operates

in the self-effacing zone.

Those legs could be anyone's,

but I’m claiming more assertively: they're mine.


Somewhat annoyingly

I only just bought

a new pair of pyjama trousers.

And they were grey.




The point of Pop World

must be to burst the balloons....

though such small bangs

will hardly pop the world.



It’s wet up north

though anyone northern

would call this the midlands

and, I hear, it’s just as wet down south.


(approaching Derby on the train)


Is mirror writing

particularly contemporary?

I’m tempted to think

the whole way back to Leonardo.




Leicester is a dangerous place

where accidents will happen

regardless of the warnings

that I do not plan to heed.


(Leicester Railway Station)


Normal rules do not apply

in aster heaven

but the celestial rules make it plain

that those who know them must not spell them out.

The other way round

is a curious phrase.

Aren't circles the same

from all angles?


(The image shows a unit circle labelled with special angles and values. The circle is marked and labelled in both radians and degrees at all quadrantal angles and angles that have reference angles of 30°, 45°, and 60°. At each angle, the coordinates are given. These coordinates can be used to find the six trigonometric values/ratios. The x-coordinate is the value of cosine at the given angle and the y-coordinate is the value of sine. From those ratios, the other 4 trigonometric values can be calculated.)



How permanent can temporary be? 

Probably to the same degree

that all apparent permanence

can cross into the temporary.

(King’s Cross)


The problems are stacking up for cars

which may be good –

if they could enter nowhere and stop nowhere,

what harm could they do?

(Fitzrovia, London) 

If you are going to ignore the fines

it's probably safe to park again -

though I’m not so sure I see the point

of parking permanently.



I'm not sure how easily

you can lead a cow to water

but they’re pretty stupid:

I reckon you could make them drink.

(Ashurst Bridge) 

It comes to something

when you have to sign in to go to the loo

to find out what the second sign says

that the first sign says is inside it. 

(Ashurst Bridge)

 I must say

that's a total no-no!

The Oxford English Dictionary

would never allow it.


I spied a glade

with so many webs

glinting in the sun-pour

I had to call it Spider Glade.


If you must leave your holes

so low on the wall

in a place like this

what else do you expect?



I thought for a moment

that a frog had hopped onto the chair  

set out for the purpose in this scrubby zone

and was ready to leap through it…  



Must this be the place?

I was not convinced enough

to cross the road to see

exactly what they offered and whether I wanted it.


Such is the delicate

modesty of ferns

anywhere can take them in  

with filigree to spare.




Late summer in the village -

you could go so far

as to call it autumn -

and still all the colours are here.



If you fly through the air

you want a soft landing -

but do you want that softness

to land your hand in poo?


The log is dead -

feet in the air.

All eight of them:

who knew they had so many?

From the brief life-flicker of the tiniest mite

to the light from galaxies primed to emit

millions of years before man was an item…

all disappears into time.

(the image is an available cover design for a Samsung Galaxy mobile phone. Not quite the sort of galaxy I had in mind, but what came through from the Google image search for 'mite' + 'galaxy')  


This must be

a very important box,

cosseted off in its private space

and keeping the reason for that importance strictly to itself.


(Redbridge, Southampton)


This strikes me as odd 

Surely a woman  

will make far more mess 

if she adopts the standing positon?

(Southampton Hospital)

What kind of crazily

unequal world are we living in

when it's always cars and never trains

that have to wait at level crossings?




Cacti may be hardier

orchids more beautiful

and parsley tastier,

but ornamental grasses have the funkiest haircuts.


(Bexhill-on-Sea / Eastbourne)



Excuse my French

as chère maman would put it,

but it I'm fed up with f****** asterisks

disrupting the flow of my Google Voice Typing.


(Written after attempting to quote from ‘The Thick of It’, the super-sweary political comedy starring Peter Capaldi as Malcolm ‘The Fucker’ Tucker. The Google Voice Typing application automatically censors some words. That’s a lot of asterisks in, for example, Tucker’s ‘I'm gonna have to mop up a fucking hurricane of piss here’, ‘I will perform a fucking living fucking autopsy on you with a fucking rusty spade and I'll have your kidneys for fucking cuff-links!’ or ‘Come the fuck in or fuck the fuck off.’)


In ancient times the Grim Reaper came for your soul

later he was just a messenger.

Now no one believes in him at all,

but face to face I'm starting to regress.


(Josh Smith: ‘Friend’, 2023, as shown in Frieze Sculpture Park, London)



Kissing the ground

shows proper respect for our planet –

though I'm not so sure I’ll obey this invitation

to engage with the Earth through the pavement.


(St Leonards-on-Sea)


This, on automatic during a slide show

is what the camera believes Noelle to look like.

I would say it’s wrong,

but how objective is my perception?


(curator Noelle Collins introduces the Turner prize exhibition at the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne – 27 Sept 2023)


I'm sorry if retrospect makes this unwelcome…

he asked me to give you a hug from him

but not to tell you who it was from

until after.


is a tricky claim:

it sounds like ‘all the time’

but is it?


(St Leonards-on-Sea)


Forty-one streaks of muddy rain

have left their run-down marks on Polegate.

I didn’t check how many there were

at the other stations on the line.


(Polegate Railway Station)


The only thing

they throw away here -

and surely it’s recyclable -

is wind.


(East Worthing railway station)

Why does Ford Station

have a level crossing and a bridge

but not a ford?

It would be fun to plough through the Arun.


(Ford, West Sussex – I’m not aware of any rail fords in the UK)


There are many ways

to track time

but why does it pass so differently

from one part of a structure to another?

(Southampton Railway Station)


It's touching how close some berries can get

clustering into each other

as if they're not the result

but the putative means of reproduction. 


I don't mean to badger

but there's a typo in your road sign,

which - should it hepl -

I’d be pleasde to poitn out.


There are gardens 

and there are gardens

and there's gravel.

Is that so confusing?

(Penge, London)

I dare say wrestling

is an art of sorts

but is it the sort

that ought to grace an Art Centre?



Where does the grammar of landscape end?

Let’s agree to call

the pink punctuation

some type of full stop.


Two months in

to my Diploma in Bricklaying

there's still some scope

to improve my skills.



I took a different way out

of my usual carpark

but it proved of minimal interest.  

(Asda, Totton) 


Blackberry production

must be an act of charity:

they can't have made that much fruit

just for themselves.




The blood on my hands

is blackberry blood.

I'm unharmed and innocent

of anything other than stealing wild fruit.





How many druplets

does a blackberry hold?

I'd like to say it's a stupid question

but this one, picked apart, had 77.


(Minstead: the fruits of blackberries are compound drupes, composed of many smaller drupelets (or druplets), each of which contains a seed. Other drupes include raspberries (also complex), plums and cherries)


The blackberry spider

lives in a world

which would be no blood-darker

even were blackberries part of its diet.



Remember the time

when we used to say

'the weather is better today’,

 meaning it was hotter?


(at over 36°C , 9 Sept was the hottest day of the year in the UK) 


Does my bum look big in this?

That's hard to say:

how big does it look

in everything else?


(South Kensington, London)


I only observe

that this has been here for 18 months.

Even if storage is an emergency

how long can that last?


High rise

meets low…

This sort of roof flower

is surely restricted to bungalows.




You know the way a hen stares at nothing with one eye

then picks it up?

This pigeon looked full-on at a sandwich half its own size

then went right into the tussle.


(St James’s, London: the hen quotes Norman MacCaig’s poem ‘Summer Farm’, 1955)



prefer their headwear headless -

ideally a stetson, bowler or sombrero,

though most are prepared to settle for a floppy or a cap. 


(Penge, London)


What I like

is how they wear their hair

as a way of disguising their clothing.

Or is it the way other round?


(Brighton / London)


The acorn rainbow

may not match the atmosphere’s for spectacle,

but isn't that a bit too showy

and lacking any subtlety of size?

Having seen

a dancing beagle.

rotation cannot alter

my perception.


(Floor of railway bridge, Totton)

Before I launch

a new species claim,

I'll check if any pranksters

have been active in the area.


(Redbridge, Southampton)

I have the criteria

off pat: roundness is most of it,

I leave smell aside and give

density, texture and colour the rest of the points.

The years have passed

the bike has got sadder.

Does nobody want

to ride it away?



This equality

cannot last:

when lichen, leaf and moss are one

the question of primacy is bound to occur.


Not a landscape painting

so much as paint fixed in a landscape -

a swatch having fallen

from a peeling wall nearby.



If you can’t run

I suppose you have to hide.

But is this really

the best you can do?




Quicker than my flash

I caught these slugs in motion-motion

speeding away from whatever their love-in

or slugfest might have been.



We have no truck

with difference:

variegation is our principle,

same as the pea shingle speckling the driveway.


(Incidentally, a pebble is a clast of rock with a particle size of 4–64 mm based on the Udden-Wentworth scale of sedimentology. Technically gravel and shingle are sub-categories of pebble, but the term ‘pebble’ tended to be used more commonly for the larger end of the range, so that the size sequence goes something like granules – gravel / shingle - pebbles – cobbles) 

The dead moth looks

at home on the carpet.

I’m reluctant to bin it,

or even to take it outside.


I hadn’t realised, tbh

that Ronnie was inside,

that making bad paintings of bandmates

had been declared a crime.

(Ronnie Wood has a side-business painting pictures of the Rolling Stones)

What's up with that terrier in the window

the one that wants me on my way?

And how come it knows

I don't love dogs in any way?



I’m all for sensible back-up precautions

but what made this man

go to the trouble

of bringing his own box?

(King's Cross, London)

I'm ready to be grateful

but only pending further details...

into what, post-everything,

is the world set to turn?


(Stockwell, London)


The art of difference

suits me fine, and that’s enough:

it's axiomatic for difference-makers 

not to care what others think.


(Paddington, London)



My thanks to the subtitles

for making it clear

that they will clarify 

nothing here.


(Camden Art Centre screening of film on Martin Wong)




Given that

our industrial revolution 

isn't built on brick and iron,

how will the future see it on the streets?

(Pimlico, London)

There’s no time

like the present.

Apart from the past, which used to present.

And the future, which will be soon enough.

(Online image)

Amazing how still

an owl can keep

if there's a mouse

in prospect.

(Sculpture at Furzey Gardens, Minstead)

Could all those in red please enter now

along with orange rucksack man.  

That sees to the colour, now for the action:

try to look as if you have a train to catch.

(Waterloo Station, London: a tribute to John Smith’s film ‘A Girl Chewing Gum’, 1976, in which a voice-over appears to direct a street scene)


Here's the bind - a double

Not only are discarded packets

almost always disappointingly empty,

when they're not there’s something that puts me off.

(Deptford, London)


Might this be

what Beckett meant

by ‘failing better’ –

the failing on?


It's no good 

Those red hoops

will not convince me

that they are matching socks.

(Deptford, London)



I guess I was assuming

barbers finish with the head.

What are they expecting

to move onto?


(Portslade, Sussex)

The local flag

flies, if you can call it that,

only on the pavement.

I rather like it.

(Hampden Park, Eastbourne) 


It's sunny

but is it bright enough to justify Victoria

trivialising the royal brand

by wearing sunglasses while on duty?

(St Leonards-on-Sea)



you want it fresh - 

as long as it's not now.

(St Leonards-on-Sea)

There’s nothing fantastical

about the size of this snail

sliding along its step:

it is a concrete fact.



This ghost could be

what Mondrian saw

before he deconstructed

his trees into grids.



It’s a little known fact

about bees

that every other fact about bees

is already well-known. 


Everyone is lucky

according to Blackbeard,

the question being

how soon?


I'm not sure that this is true 

The rising of the moon

is governed by the Earth and Sun and gravity 

and all the laws behind the way things are. 

(St Leonards-on-Sea)



What an awkward feeling 

to realise, 31 characters in,

that there are eight to go

and only the room for four at half-size....


(St Leonards-on-Sea)



That was a night and a half

on the tiles!

Some sort of incident

was bound to occur…


(St Leonards-on-Sea)

'I've not said nothing to no-one'

he says,

and I like how sure I am

that he means exactly the opposite.

(Mayfair, London)


‘It’s me!’

‘Perhaps, but who am I?

And how did you come

To choose my bell?’

(Fitzrovia, London)

The fisherman says

he doesn’t mind 

if he catches no fish:

he’s happy with his being.

(Adobe stock photo, as watermarked!)

Not all that’s nature

is in flower

any more than

all that isn’t isn’t.



Give us today

a slice of reality

but please don’t overwhelm us

with the whole fucking loaf.


(St Leonards-on-Sea)


Paving stones

make serviceable plates

but can man live by rice alone

especially so few grains?




Ah for the days

when knowledge was visible,

if harder to access!

OK, maybe not.


(Camilla’s bookshop, Eastbourne)



Elvis Costello

as I recall it

didn't want to go to Chelsea.

But was he rejecting London, New York or Eastbourne?


(Eastbourne. Elvis Costello and the Attractions released '(I don't want to go to) Chelsea' in 1977. Does any other song, incidentally, start its title with brackets?)


I like the name

But is this an ancient street sympathetic to new desires,

or a sad repository for long-extinguished hopes

too painful to revive?



If you can't decide

which way round

to lay your bricks,

why should you?




In between strike days

I might try to claim

it's nice to return

to the usual reasons for delay...


Said Business School

isn't called Said

but Saïd

and I guess that's how it's saïd.


(Saïd Business School, Oxford: actually, it turns out, phonetically, that both words are said ‘sed’)



I feel at a loss

when something’s invisible

and cannot be touched.

How am I meant to engage?


(Ashmolean Museum, Oxford)


‘Boo!’ she said

‘I'm Sassy -  

I guess you're not

else you'd have seen that coming.’


(Woodstock, Oxfordshire)



there are as many different ways of whitewashing windows

as there are atoms in the universe…

but that tend to be claimed of most choices.



Insect life is full of ease

Two-three-four in a flower.

No-one cares

apart from entomologists. 

(Common red soldier beetles Rhagonycha fulva)

If prickles are no defence against death 

we might as well stay as smooth as the transition

we hope will take us

from this world to the next…

(Creeping thistle - Cirsium arvense)

You might think

that only the very maddest bark

would choose to park here. I’m not so sure:

just what are the rules for natural objects?   


Don't be confused

by mere details of timing:

here is my photo of a small tortoiseshell

about to take off.


Did you notice

that house prices –

and it, seems, their notices –

are starting to fall? 


Why is black medick

yellow? Same reason, I suppose,

that yellow medick would be black

were such a plant to exist…

The common name of Medicago lupulina is thought to derive from its seed, rather than flower, colour. There is no plant called 'yellow medick'.

The key, if you’re skirting

the trouser trail,

is to keep to your senses

of humour, balance and scale. 


I may not have the social skills

to make me very popular,

but I maintain my inner self

ought to be better respected.

(Stinging nettles, Ashurst)


Would you look at that road! 

Not like that,

more subtly, more covertly,

as if you might be doing something wrong… 




Does it make any sense

to frame something in itself?

Or is that as if

a map’s the same size as what it depicts?



It’s sad

to see a deadgehog.

How long will it be before evolution arrives

at spines that puncture tyres?


Is the point of green berries

that birds won't see them

and shat out the seeds before they are ready

or have I just made that up?

I’d say that the windows are bricks

but some of the windows are windows

and some of the bricks are just bricks -

so everything is everything, and maybe that’s the point.

(Southampton General Hospital)


The lodge sign dislodged

suggests that you can’t lodge here anymore -

not even if you lie diagonally

across your bed and hope for an unlikely breakfast.


It’s one thing to find out

who’s been punching holes in the bindweed

and maybe even how,

another to work out why…

(probably the work of a leaf beetle)

For almost two weeks

she's been lying here now, waiting for what?

Maybe for me. For almost two weeks

I've been walking past daily, headed for where?

Round about now

the sun’s at its strongest, appearing to circle –

though we know it doesn’t – over what’s ready to turn in turn

in what would be a misinformed response.


Were I a plant

I wouldn’t live here

I’d want the fresh air and views

even if I couldn’t breathe or see…

Sixteen months in

both on the news and in gardens

the war in Ukraine

has been relegated to a backdrop.



We know the world

is cracking up

but now I find the epochal malaise

is spreading to its concrete.

When hoses are up for the washing line high jump

the critical question’s bound to be

how much wrist-flick the rules allow.

I guess we'd be disqualified. 


I was surprised

to find a unicorn in the park, having believed them

extinct. The question, I suppose,

is whether there are viable mating opportunities.

The toaster’s effected a total pop

I suspect the holes in sourdough may have tipped the balance.

But is it over-performing to the point of a fault

or setting new standards for its class to be judged by? 


The trefoiled cap

is bad of course

but its aesthetic’s

not that far from good.

(Bird's-foot Trefoil, Ashurst)


The feathers in the ivy

are ready to be blown away

from the curious coincidence

of how they landed here.

Symmetry’s reckoned

a vulgar matter

in the land of blotch:

the more perfect it is, the worse.


Being unable

to wipe the light away

might have left this sponge feeling useless.

Thank heavens for refraction!

In common with the whole wide world

the tennis ball is what it is –

for were it not, we wouldn't know how to talk of it

without it slipping out of its identity.

I get the first bit 

The island was knocked down

in just the direction its arrow instructed…

But does that explain the feet?

(Hoxton, London)



will not be barred!

OK then, it will be barred, 

but it will not be stopped!

(Islington, London)

It's the old problem

of the same mistake twice,

albeit in different  countries:

ordering a curry that proves to contain an egg.


(Maastricht and London. Somewhat eccentrically, I don’t eat eggs.)



may not need much help

to fall from themselves,

but this one’s had some nevertheless.

(Clerkenwell, London) 

The squirrel is so hard to catch

I froze this one in time for you.

More than that: the squirrel is so hard to catch

I chose one that lives online.


All’s right

with this rose.

That only leaves

the rest of the world. 

Nobody loves us

I guess that's the gig.

But we’re somewhat stung that no punk-arsey rockers

have yet thought to call themselves ‘The Nettles’.


(stinging nettle clearance, Minstead)


Maximum dapple

needs red at the end to lead the eye.

And there it is!

Unless, perhaps, you're looking at the photo.

I like the mimosa's

blazing defiance –

whether of gravity

or of photo-presentational convention.



From my white distance

I’d never noticed

the pink and yellow

in chestnut blossom.

I wasn't very jubilant

during the jubilee.

Why should I be coronal

for the coronation?

(Covent Garden, London)


Rumours of my death

Have been greatly exaggerated.

Give me a dousing

and I’ll be right as rain.


Is that the shadow

of George Parsons’ death

or the light of his life? 

Nothing is likely of either sort.

(Old Cemetery, Southampton)


It's one thing

to fall into death

Another for the fact of it

to fall into a tree.

(Old Cemetery, Southampton)


When this is all my memory amounts to

I guess I will be happy

if happiness is relevant

and I'm able to care.


(Old Cemetery, Southampton)


When I saw

that he’d had to split his in-tray

to avoid its collapse,

I understood why I’d received no reply.

(St James’s, London)


How much irregularity

is too little or too much?

Maybe oxeye daisies 

have the answer.

At what point

do you stop referring to peeling paint

and start to say:

‘this door used to be painted’?



If I'm to be transformed into a flower

I hope it's not like this.

I'd rather dwell in pink restraint

against a field of grass.


(Balthazar, Covent Garden, London)

How many times

did that basketball

need to be hurled

before the right accident occurred?

(Marylebone, London)


I was going to say

‘the sun is having a ball today,

having come down to play on the lawn’

but that’s not sun, nor ball, nor grass.


(children’s playground, Marylebone, London)

I understand if forget-me-nots

can’t make up their colour-minds.

I suppose their mental faculties

are more attuned to memory.

Do cows love their parsley?

I don't know.

I guess I would be wiser

if I were a cow.

(Anthriscus sylvestris, known as cow parsley, in Ashurst. I believe sheep, goats and cattle all relish it)


This is as far

as orange can go

before it starts the try-too-hard

of luminescent glow. 

(Azeleas in Ashurst)

Will gutter gardens

become a trend,

or is that taking the greening agenda 

a little too far? 


(Elephant & Castle, London)

Dandelions are stalked by death

If I call the post-floral stage

a ‘residual receptacle’

they might as well be their own coffins.

By way of reminder:


If you have a glass head

you’d be advised

to wear a hat.

Will a woollen one suffice?

(Charlottenburg, Berlin)                              

These super-droopers

look like they've grown this way

to suck up the spillage

from careless drinkers.

(Charlottenburg, Berlin)


To say the sun

does not come out at night

would be ridiculous,

which is why I frame the thesis purely with denial.



Yes we've had dandelions

but these are German. 

Think of the history

their soil has seen…



How many definitions 

of 'superfluity' do you require? 

OK here's another:

seven chucked copies of the magazine 'Plus'.


(Kurfürstenstraße, Tiergarten, Berlin)


You dummy!

Even were she real, lust would be pointless.

Consider your scruffy appearance,

not to mention the glass.

 (Kurfürstendamm, Charlottenburg, Berlin)


Not much goes on 

at Hausvogteiplatz 

on a Sunday morning.

But if anything does... 

(Mitte, Berlin)


Of course, I have questions

How many apes live around here?

Do they tend to be keen on tattoos?

Assuming some are, how do they pay?

(Charlottenburg, Berlin)


My kind of painting doesn’t need paint

My kind of novel doesn’t need a story.

My kind of journey need never arrive.

But I do like a fountain to have water.


(Brigitte & Martin Matschinski-Denninghoff’s design ‘Column in the midst of waves’,1975, at Adenauerplatz, Berlin takes the form of a fountain spewing water, but currently has no actual water. It is meant to flow.) 

The modern bluebell 

is just as likely pink or white:

identity issues 

may not be merely human.



In nature, at least

those white with age  

don’t hang around in a home for old dandies.

One puff and they’re gone.  

Would a roar of dandelions

be the collective?

For sure they’re much louder

seen in a pride. 

How bad can it be

to be left on the shellf

if it’s comfortably bespoke

and you get a view of gardens and the sea?

(View from the 2nd floor of the Grand Hotel and Spa, St Helier, Jersey, of just-washed shells drying in the sun collected for my grandchildren)


Between the headspace and the poo-cast

the lug lies in its burrow -

living the beach life, true enough,

but eating what one might prefer to bask on.

(St Aubin's Bay, Jersey: to be precise there must be a blow lugworm, Arenicola marina, beneath. That makes irregularly disordered casts, as opposed to the neatly concentric coils of the black lugworm, Arenicola defodiens)


The hyacinth girl

is feeling off-colour.

That’s why she hasn’t been watering

what are now lowacinths.


(St Helier, Jersey - the hyacinth girl first appeared in TS Eliot's 'The Wasteland' in 1922)


This is the sort

of windy-wet weather

to make me grateful to have an umbrella

that’s already broken.


(Kings Cross, London)

The odd shy house

does take the veil,

but I’ve noticed that they tend to lose their inhibitions

within a few months.

It's a difficult art

cutting a tree 

with a spade.

I'm tempted to watch.

(Fitzroy Square, Fitzrovia, London)


'I’m sorry, sir

but we can’t clean that:

we had a shirt in identical style

three weeks ago.'

(Kensington, London)

Why don’t nature’s yellows

conversing under the yellowing sun

turn the same shade

beneath the same rays?

The rain's running down

the garden wall - 

which is only a surprise

because we're so far underground.


(Covent Garden underground station, London)


I've heard that the worms

are breeding like catkins round here -

improving the soil

to help the trees make their green confreres.

(Bermondsey, London)


I shouldn't have taken this photo. 

But, having got away with it,

my reason to want it has faded right away.

(London Original Print Fair, Somerset House) 


Do you do coffee with milk?

Do you serve humans?

Do you get fed up with questions like those

and this?

(Black Sheep Coffee, King's Cross, London)

There are so many roadworks

they've taken the signs down in favour of one -

saying ‘NO ROADWORKS’ - 

in the spot where that's true.


(Peckham, London)


Rain was due

Now it’s fallen

and isn’t dew,

though it does have the glisten.


A year

of flag-supported war

is not enough

yet far too much.

When a drink

is drowning

who can tell what used to be

from the cause of its demise? 

(Peckham, London)

I assume these are adverts

for an exhibition of abstract paintings

imitating torn-off posters -

which, one might argue, aren't abstract at all.


The flagrant mismanagement and their now-redundant staff

do thank you -

but it's only fair for them to point out

that you should have bought more, you bastards!



I can’t complain

I was warned that I wouldn’t be warned

and now no bike is there.

Lucky I don’t have one.


Water is straightforward

but how do tarmac rivers work?

are tributaries joining at the major crack,

or is the main line splitting into two? 



is high,

but secular is higher - 

or closer...


(Kensington, London)


How brazen

to dump such an enormous cup -

even while exhorting us

to dispose more thoughtfully of our humbler sizes...


(Aldgate, London)


Which way to go

in yellow land?

Towards the gold, the sun, the heavens?

Or just the humdrum train?


(Southampton Railway Station)

Just as I suspected

There will be no change

other than as caused by how, in its absence,

everything will go down the pan.

(Kings Cross Underground Station, London)

No sign of trains

despite the lack of adverse weather,

engineering works or strikes.

Perhaps I'll have to fly.

(Bournemouth Railway Station)


The art of fencing nothing off

or, rather, of fencing off nothing

has been perfected here –

but why?


If you’ve had your fill of daffs

you may have had your fill of life,

be what the Welsh call ‘daffod ill’.

I still love them with a will.


Would it be better to be a tree

Your wrinkle-equivalents on the inside

so no-one can guess your age

until you’re dead?

Out of the way!

My check-in closes at X o'clock

and it looks as if

it may be that already!

(Schipol Airport, Amsterdam)


The Dutch

are the tallest 

nationality in the world

but even they can stretch to the max along this bench in full reclining comfort.


This is the last letter

I expected to find

in 'A for Amsterdam'.

But who wantz all their expectationz met?



We are not paving stones  

we are mere props in the service of notices 

for roadworks far more important than roads –

let alone pavements.




I can understand

why no-one has eaten this portion of chips yet 

and though I'm keen on bucking trends, 

this may be where the buck has to stop.




This pony is stupid

leaving lush growth to wither away

while its focus stays determinedly down

among the weedier nibbles of the pavement.




Why are they complaining?

I was firmly on the stairs

and braced, come to that, against the bannister

as I shouted for my mates to hurry down.


(Hotel Continental, Amsterdam)


Some boring items

Complete a sort of circling round  

and back to oddball interest

Underground car parks don't.


I am a post, not a shadow

My physical manifestation

is entirely contingent, 

reversing - and yet reinforcing - Plato.


(Amsterdam. The post would appear to refer on the one hand to the parable of the cave, in which the shadows are taken to be evidence of a different reality, and on the other hand to the doctrine of ideal forms, taking itself to be the ideal form of the physical post.)



Here are the layers

Window; the rain on it; reflection of me;

a light that believes it’s a moon;

the rush of the fleeting without.


(Train Amsterdam – Maastricht)


As you can tell from this photograph

Dutch pigeons

are nothing like their British cousins.

It’s probably the pot.



Van isn't van

and hare isn't hair, I don't suppose,

but it makes me think that ‘The Well Groomed Hare’

would make a name and logo for a barber. 


(Amsterdam - in fact, 'van' id 'by' and 'hare' is 'hers' )


It goes without saying –

why have I said it? –

that the obvious should not be stated,

least of all in a poem.




We're rubbish at clearance

I can't think why anyone uses us. 

Phone box ads

can't have persuaded many.

(Hackney, London)

Shall we set out to sea

or should we wait

until the wind is steadier

and the tide is on the turn?


One becomes four

albeit the additions

will be keyhole-sized

and harder to show off than their plasters.


After the laparoscopy 

my bladder’s full 

but I can't pee the way I must

before they'll tell me to piss off


(Southampton General Hospital) 

Would you be the green

disrupting the blue

or even the yellow, 

making a point of your absence?


(Mayfair, London)



what the iron can do

and ask yourself:   

what role remains for the cane?


(King’s Cross, London)      

I'm in Euston


and pretty square in most respects.

Do I get a discount?

(Euston, London) 


The differences between catkins and worms

lie in colour, biology, season,  

activity, substance and  reproductive methods.

Perhaps I should have started with the similarities. 


It seems the last leaves on this tree

are kept in place by their branch having broken.

I’m tempted to read this metaphorically

but can’t quite work out how.

(Totton. The reason for this phenomenon, incidentally, lies in the fact that leaves don’t simply fall off or get blown away from deciduous trees, they are actively thrown off by the tree. Shorter, colder days trigger the hormone abscisic acid, which sends a chemical message to every leaf causing ‘abscission’ cells to appear – a thin line of bumpy cells that push the leaf, bit by bit, away from the stem. Any breeze is just accelerating the task. But if a branch is broken, there’s no connectivity of vascular tissue, no hormones, no cell growth, no leaf fall)

Surely we’re too cute

to be chomped up for chocolate?

The wrapping would be plainer were we going to be 

Ouch! Those were my ears!

To make a solid cup of coffee

keep a quarter tin 

of Azera instant Americano

for two years past its use-by date.


The empathy of objects

is a lesson to us all:

see how one wall protects another

that’s fallen on hard times.

(Totton )

They’re laying down the line

in a most assertive yellow.

If only the line were


(Southampton Railway Station)

What doesn’t this place promise?

Only, it seems,

the food and drink

it actually provides…


(The Huxley, Fitzrovia, London)


The bag of bags

holds bags of bags,

of course it does, and bagging rights

over plastic, hand and carrier alike.


I understand

how you leave an umbrella,

forget a phone or let a glove fall. 

But how do you drop a sock? 

(Mayfair, London) 



When the countryside comes to London

I tend to take notice –

even while suspecting

it’s just a horticultural simulacrum.

(Piccadilly, London) 

Say what you will about the railways

they do excel in one regard:

finding ways to waste  our money

on anything other than running the trains.

(Southampton Railway Station)


I was, of course, hoping

to get a duck in this shot,

posed near enough to be reading the sign.

But not even a seagull substitute flew in.

(Hampden Park, Eastbourne)

Raising the questions

Do they bake swans?

Do swans do the baking?

What is the setup if neither of those? 


(Swan Bakery, St Leonards on Sea) 


Five hours later

no-one had arrived. 

I was rather cold but not surprised.

Did they mean five months?

(St Leonards on Sea)


Just how    

did the Buenos Aires Guesthouse land in Bexhill?

Did the owners suppose that guests wouldn't mind

the 6,885 miles of inconvenience? 


(Buenos Aires Guesthouse, Bexhill on Sea – I guess its name may be intended to evoke fair winds and good air in the locality, rather than make any Argentinian reference)



Not all plants

are born equal,

so why should every human be?

Then again, why not?


(St Leonards on Sea)              


Now that beauty

is just another product 

can we get away

from linking it to virtue, or to truth?                  


(Beauty Factory, Eastbourne)


What’s the point of this root

free of soil as it loops the loop?

I suppose its aim must be

to make us wonder what its aim is.


By 8 a.m.

some subtlety's apparent in the frost...

I can’t say the same for the creeping thistle’s

sharp-cut crenellations. 

An abstract mouse

is still  a mouse.

You can't remove its mousiness

by making it hard to see.


I skip to the shops

past a scatter of scooters

that I’m tempted to take as proof

that skipping is best.


Grow where it will

the crocus is my redemption plant.

All I need to work out now

is how to be redeemed. 

But what can you fix

by screwing it up?

Other than a sheet of A4 paper

that wants to be a Martin Creed sculpture?


(Southampton: refers to Martin Creed’s notorious ‘Work No. 88 - A sheet of A4 paper crumpled into a ball’, 1995)


I like a good tangle

Especially with my wife…

And brambles are exemplary, 

whether they’re embracing or fighting each other off.



The teasing prickle of teasel heads

makes for a justified test:

to sleep in a museum

you really have to need the rest.

(Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth)

This is a pipe

to nowhere.

I suppose Magritte would say

‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’.


(René Magritte’s ‘The Treachery of Images (This is Not a Pipe)’, 1929 depicts a pipe but plays through the inscription ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’ on the fact that it is a painting, not a pipe. Might complete dysfunctionality have a similar category-shifting effect?)


My name is Stuart Dapple

though I’ve taken off my scarcely-dappled skin.

My friends, who are admittedly bananas, call me Stu.

Shall I bowl round super-naked with my cloves?

(stewed apple)

... because it looks so very closed 

and I'm not sure I want to know

why what arrives

is not the pizza / pasta that I ordered.

(Deptford, London)


Here’s a tasty scene

The zing of lime

blended with

the subtler tang of orange.

(Camden, London)


Were I to return to table tennis

it could be with a frog on board

to leap around distractingly

and give my shots the unexpected.

(from Cinzia Ruggeri's show at Goldsmiths CCA, London)


Step to it!

But not in shoes

at least a size too big -

as did the last six steppers.


(from Cinzia Ruggeri's show at Goldsmiths CCA, London)


How soon is soon?

Unless we're talking geological time

I don't believe this restaurant-as-was

is soon to be a restaurant-as-is.

(Lancaster Gate, London) 



Maximum fluffage

in the matter of grass

puts me in mind

of tickle-wiping my arse...

(Hyde Park, London)


I see now

what I hadn’t thought through:

that when a willow weeps

it's more a matter of twigs than of leaves.

(Hyde Park, London)  

These four distributions

foreground natural equalities 

of a sort we humans can’t achieve

even when we’re trying.


(Being the ungoverned spill / spread of leaves, lichen, pebbles and petals)


This gap in the fence

comes complete with the proof - 

or does it? - 

that there was once a fence where the gap now is.


In the land of long shadows 

a ball cannot compete

with a tree,

or even with me.

(Awbridge, Hampshire)


How much astronomy

do trees comprehend

when they reach for the moon?

Do they expect to touch it?

(Awbridge, Hampshire)

What is it that’s fragile here?

Surely it can’t be the tape

proclaiming itself so vulnerable

it really shouldn’t have been exposed like this?


Some like it fresh

Some like it older.

Some like it ancient.

Some don’t like it at all.


(New Forest pony poo)

Big orange meets little orange

but I’m well aware that the seniority

could be reversed

if I only took a different perspective.



You might get away

with a redundant second chain if

(a) you didn't tangle them; and

(b) you didn't demonstrate so close-by that one is quite enough.



Even at Christmas

the Belgians prefer an anorexic tree

to a one with enough burgeon

to cope with decorations.



What kind of pet

is a pigeon?

I wouldn't want one

and this chap seems to have four.



They could fit

the full ‘Copenhagen’ here

with room to spare.

It’s the frontage that needs to be abbreviated.



Losing an eye was traumatic

of course, but to be

fucked up the arse by a post

until someone takes pity...



The illusion being

that a giant blackboard scraper

has combed the mud 

into some semblance of a hairstyle.



Yuri Geller

bent his spoons with no purpose

beyond deception.

Here is how to fold them into function.

(Hotel Amigo, Brussels - I admit the function is rather spurious) 



A chambermaid knocked

to offer me a ‘turn down service’.

‘Can we fuck?, I asked. She turned me down.

‘Thanks’, I said, ‘I guess you can go’.


(Hotel Amigo, Brussels, 20.00. Apparently a luxury hotel’s‘turn down service’ involves preparing one’s bed for sleep and tidying the room and bathroom. I turned it down. The conversation above is somewhat imaginary)



Life Lesson 277

Even something

as simple as a pavement

can intersect with complexity.

(Aldgate, London)

If you’ve had a bad break up

I sympathise. The more so

if you are a road

and cannot – as your users will – move on.

Last night was cold

I fear for the deciduous

when even the evergreens

have wrapped themselves in scarves.

Conversation between logs

‘Length is the thing.’ ‘What about girth?’

‘Plainness is the thing.’ ‘Or lichen décor.’

‘Smoothness is the thing.’ ‘I like myself rough’.

Inverting the dance

between shadow and substance

the shadow is the frost

and what isn’t shadow has no substance.


They walked past

in the muddy past.

I walk past in the muddy present

which has now passed.

(Flattened box in Chapel Market, Islington)


The post-Christmas caterpillar

is as hairily unlikely

as a hippy who thinks he's an angel

come down from rather higher than a tree.

(Kensington, London)


Is a handle on its own still a handle? 

Does it hold onto to its former life

or pass right out of being 

with no body left to be lifted?

(Mayfair, London)


It seems you can park here...

Well, somebody has…

But I guess one car is not allowed

to park on top of another.

(Mayfair, London)



The bodily side

of bricks is revealed:

they do have flesh,

although I’ve never seen them bleed.

It turns out that a wall can bleed

but I didn’t expect that the blood would be red -

given the yellow of sea cucumbers, the green of leaches,

the blue of snails, or mortar's greyish white.

(Shoreditch, London)


Bad news

I suppose

if you like pasta

for how you've enjoy ed it to date.

(Kensington, London) 


You have to hand it

to tropical palms

carrying on, calm as ice,

fingering the frosty air.



Down by the tracks

the sleepers rest.

I guess the trains might wake them

but it hasn't happened yet.

Life should be embraced 

in all its ups and downs.

Here's a good place 

for a slip.



The shadow world

is not my world, though it may well be yours:

I prefer to focus

on the fire of its cause.


Pointless enquiry No. 638

Why does frost 

disappear faster

from some sections of tarmac than others?     


How should I use the mystery tube

in light of my fear –

even with breathing arrangements in place –

of live burial?

What happens

if I like a photo

but cannot think of anything to say?

It's quite a conundrum.

(Warren Street, London)


If you plan to eat

a rock with a spoon,

you’re going to need

a little bit more water.

(St Stephen's Canonbury churchyard, London)


I'm not surprised 

they're talking to each other - 

probably, like all of us today,

about the serial failings of the railways.

(Winchester Railway Station)


Think you know Disney?

If so

you may not have caught up with the news

that its HQ is now in Halifax.



We have not yet arrived

at the point at which the world –

or even binmens’ livelihoods –

is threatened by lack of waste.

(Islington, London) 


Is this a wasted opportunity to deal with waste?

Or an invitation –

I’m not inclined to take it –

to post it to uncertain effect?

(Canonbury & Barnsbury station, London)

Even signs

needs to lie down from time to time

for a proper rest -

assuming that this isn’t a strike.

(Bethnal Green, London - rail, bus, health, civil service, university and teacher strikes were ongoing in January 2023)

The moon is bright

but blurry tonight.

Perhaps it's enveloped in a luminous mist

dispersing around from the unseen side…

(through windscreen on M4, near Swindon. The car's movement may also explain the blur)

I could have been a bricklayer

Not through any aptitude,

but judging by the standards

required around here.


You need a fair old press of leaves

to realise that they - that trees -

have veins flowing through them

in line with their role as the heart of the earth.


I realise I should concentrate

but life is not so simple

as its homilies suggest.

What’s that over there?

(Sign in Southampton General Hospital car park)


I don't know the purpose

of its level of protection

but the holly by the hospital

is masked to the max.

(outside Southampton General Hospital)

It may have seemed unlikely –

‘Classic flower in leaded glass

seeks post-modern body in gaffer tape’ –

but here it is. 

(The Red Lion, St James's, London)

It's all very well

for a sign to indicate

which way it wants to get out and about

but has it the means to follow its own directions?

 (St James's, London)


The rumours

that this road is going to be renamed 

are almost as groundless as the suggestion

that it will then be Andrew Street instead.

 (St James's, London - in honour of Prince Andrew, Duke of York,KG, GCVO, CD being stripped of royal duties and publicly funded protection)

The cypress

is a synecdoche:

the leaves contain the form  of a tree

just as the tree’s replete with leaves.

These are not my holes

but I do feel

they’re just where I’d have drilled them

had they been.


(The holes were probably made to allow herbicide, intended to kill the tree stump and prevent any regrowth, to seep inside and be absorbed by the roots more quickly)

Lichen snow

is here again

its mystery quickened

by how rarely I’ve seen it fall.



Three sentries guard the pavement 

I don't know what against,

but I doubt that it’s me.

I shall approach.



When the paradigmatically

flat and stable pavement

is all at sea

what are the chances for you and me?




It looks as if

they ran right out

of wiggle room

in the company accounts.



This isn't a stream

but a floodle. The streams

are currently rivers, the rivers lakes,

the lakes on their way to seas.

About Me

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Southampton, Hampshire, United Kingdom
I was in my leisure time Editor at Large of Art World magazine (which ran 2007-09) and now write freelance for such as Art Monthly, Frieze, Photomonitor, Elephant and Border Crossings. I have curated 20 shows during 2013-17 with more on the way. Going back a bit my main writing background is poetry. My day job is public sector financial management.