What’s past is prologue.

The past takes our hand,
guiding us forwards,
giving comfort,
providing excuses,
telling us tales.

The past walks beside us,
shadowing our path,
making judgements,
fighting old battles,
taking names.

The past is a liar
dogging our steps,
bending our ear,
feeding our hopes,
setting us traps.

A snatched contentment
easing our days-
a fantasy playground
where innocence plays.

Stretch out your hand.
Take what you can.
The road can be weary
and it’s a long way home.



An absence.

The skylark population of the UK declined by 75% between 1972 and 1996. It is still declining.

There is an absence in the air.
A feeling of loss
for those who knew.
For those who saw
a tiny speck of brown
raise itself up on a column of air
into a clear blue sky
on a day just like this-
singing itself into being.
A tiny body
thrilling with life.

A tiny heart has stopped beating
and the world is smaller.

Each time was a surprise.
A cascade of notes
streaming down through the sky,
hanging on the wind-
seeming to come from nowhere.
So far.
So high.
I searched the sky
for a speck of brown-
the open beak and swelling throat
too distant to see.
A whole body transformed into song.

I don’t remember when I heard it last.
I didn’t feel the loss coming.
A shame.
I would have liked to say goodbye
but maybe it was for the best.
I can sit here
watching the gulls glide across the silence
and hope.

Time future.

You will remain yourself,
though people will no longer recognise you.
You will travel back through time
as your future foreshortens.
You will see ghosts.
You will be stripped back to your core,
reshaped by loss.
You will leave behind nightmares
and set aside dreams.

There will be no more pretending,
no more posing, no more excuses,
no more frills.
You will come to know what you had
and recognise who you are.
You will watch the world speed up,
as it prepares to move on without you,
reaching out your hand.

Just you and your memories.
Holding firm.


The Hipster.

A carefully shaved head,
shining brown hair trimmed.
Beard and moustache immaculate.
The heavy sage green suit jacket-
four buttons at each cuff-
and matching waistcoat
are old school
like the spotless brown brogues.
His dark blue floral shirt,
turquoise blooms with sage green leaves
to match his suit is not.

Turquoise socks,
peeping out from under soft, dark blue moleskin
wink playfully at the past.
The flashy watch is just for show-
a mobile shouts the time unasked
while he stares down.
He is examining a world elsewhere.
A strange confection of old and new,
youth and age,
conformity and playfulness,
daring and reserve.

He picks up his soft leather briefcase
ready to leave the train
and I wonder who he is.


Who you are, I once was.
Where you stand, I once stood.
Blink and the world turns.

Details change, people don’t-
they find fresh ways to hurt,
fresh ways to be kind,
fresh ways to strut and preen,
fresh ways to create and destroy.
Life goes on
while we watch ourselves
recede into the distance.
Things fall apart.

Memories sweeten
as the past is recreated
in our own image.
We retell our story
as we hoped it would be-
editors of our own existence,
bringing meaning,
adding in,
leaving out.

Who you are, I once was.
Where you stand, I once stood.
Blink and the world turns.