Austen’s Smile

Austen’s face, pressed against my prejudiced
palm, itches to change hands. You need
her warmth to line your pocket, a patch
against the driving rain, a small smile
against your soaking thigh. Her smile
may afford a night’s respite; her smile
may buy you oblivion. Who am I to judge
your choice of pockets to line?
I can but judge my own.

Always: an Abecedarian


Brimming with possibilities, I
Constantly search for poetic end points,
Devoted to the ideas but
Evading the effort.
Failing myself is a
Given, knowing that I’m not
Helping myself by not starting.
I give up before I even begin.
Jokes aside, it ends now.
Keep going. Keep going.
Learn to persevere.
Make it to the end.
Never stop writing for fear of failure
Or failure will surely follow.
Perhaps that is the key:
Quietly, doggedly carrying on.
Unwavering when faced with the
Very wall you are
eXpected to climb with ease.
You tell yourself you will.
Zone out. Zone in. Write always.


He deserves decency, dear.
Dress better – every ensemble!
Cherry scented cheer,
Be helpless.
Be pretty.
Be keen.
Redeem the gentle sex.

Reclining Buddha: a Golden Shovel Poem

My cat’s eyes are apple green,
Glowing in the sunlight as this reclining buddha
Displays his fluffy belly on
My tiny urban balcony. He chaffs at the
Tree-caged birds. Their meaty fruit
And hidden giblets taunt him; they stand
apart – safe. He and I, we
Watch them together as I eat
My own tea. He stares – the
Unfairness of it all. I smile
Back, apologetic, and
Reach for the treats. He will spit,
Spit, SPIT them out
When he finds they’re the
Diet ones. He’ll be off in a flash of fur and teeth.


Inspired by Charles Simic’s Watermelons

Green Buddha
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.

Summer’s Song

A shoutout for anyone suffering with depression, anxiety or any other hidden illness: you’re not alone. I’m lucky enough to be living a summer day right now but am always mindful of winter’s presence on my threshold. This was written, with love, from painful experience.  


You’re buried in your winter world,
Were asked to spring too soon.
You need the safety of your hearth,
The warmth of home’s cocoon.
For whilst we’re here in sunshine clear,
The mists obscure your thoughts;
You cannot feel the joyful warmth,
Weighed down by ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’.
The buds have not yet sprung for you,
The air hangs chilled and grey.
We summer children cannot know
What haunts your winter’s day.
But let us bring the posies in,
With garlands deck your halls,
And sit with you on frosty days
When winter’s darkness calls.
We’ll sing you songs of spring and hope
When you’re lost in snowy drifts
We’ll be there, right there, next to you
When the curtain finally lifts
On birdsong-bound and balmy days,
When your sap runs clear and sweet.
When seasons yield abundant fruits,
We’ll gorge til we’re replete.
And, should you need to step inside,
We’ll know and understand,
For none control the seasons
In their mindscape’s varied land.
Come rain or shine, we’re there for you
And braced for any weather,
To help you find your summers day
And enjoy its peace together.

Scrabble and Gin

You are triple word score wonderful,
sitting in my Scrabble-tiled kitchen
and drinking my gin bottles dry,
one eye on the prize and the other,
my dear mother, on the chips in the oven
and it’s this that keeps us ever woven
in the fabric of each other’s selves –
steak and salad and chips and TV chilling,
endlessly refilling our need for each other,
cups of conversation overflowing
and love, ever growing and eternal.