News of a death.

Sorry to tell you by text but dad passed away in the early hours.

The little boy is safe in his comfy seat,
snuggled into his granddad.
His round, shining face
is catlike and content.
Nothing can hurt him.
He is safe.
Full of life and ideas.
He wants to know.
“Shall I show you my one inch punch?”
Granddad is wounded, loudly.
He watches the river outside the train window..
“Is there more water than land?”
There is.
“Can I open the hotel room door with the special card when we get there?
He can.
“I like doing that.”
His grandma points upwards.
“Can you see that up there?”
He can.
“Can you read it.”
He can and he does!
“Challenge me again.”
Train tickets are a thing of wonder.
“Five minutes to go.”
“5 4 3 2 1.”
“Minutes, not seconds.”
They have a staring contest with added wobbling eyebrows.
He wins.
She laughs.

None of us are safe.


A Warm Bank holiday.

I look down upon a thousand stories.
A gull floats, twists and soars,
sending a shadow racing across the sand.
A small girl turns cartwheels
just because she can.
A dog trots out,
tail raised, snout up-
going somewhere.

Sounds drift upwards
on the still air.
Torn from their source
and floated into the past.
We have been here before.
Other children,
other gulls,
other dogs.

Not now.

I shall sit in state
wearing my smart anorak,
flaunting a glittery stick.
I shall nod at my friends
and say hello to strangers.
I shall know the names
of people who I dislike,
have my say,
take my time.
But not yet.

I shall compare ailments
with someone who will not be bored.
I shall locate the exact position
of my aches and pains
while I watch the nice man on tv.
I shall take all morning to do a small shop.
I shall have opinions,
take umbrage……….
But not now.
Not yet.

I shall put a sticker on my door
saying, no cold callers,
peep out from behind net curtains,
and turn the heating down.
I shall deadhead my roses,
watch and be watched……….
but not yet.
Sometimes I am tempted
but please God,
not now.
Not yet.

For the time being
I shall find my own patch of sunlight
and stand in it bravely,
waiting to be noticed.
I shall take the final chocolate
from the opened box
and eat it all at once,
I shall look back
without wondering ,
did I waste my time?
I shall survive.

The Merry Go Round.

So long ago, too long ago,
when the world was new,
there were endless hours
with so much to do,
Long afternoons, gilded with sun,
so many beginnings,
a race to be run.
I sat in a blue ship
time spinning around,
sand on my feet,
ice on my tongue-
a tiny adventurer,
waving at mum.

Now I am watching
from the far side of the years,
listening to voices
which nobody else hears.
A small child scrambles
to begin a new ride,
waving and bouncing,
mum bursting with pride.
A few things have lasted,
though many are gone,
there is no bus, no motor bikes,
but the ship sails on.

Somewhere hidden
under thick layers of paint,
the times I remember
grow distant and faint.
Figures are waving,
sketched in black and white-
people I remember………..
almost out of sight.
Swirling in the shadows
as the world turns,
and the rhythm of memory,
slips away and returns.

Daffs on Parade.

How do they know?
How do they know that the time is theirs?
Are they the first to feel the warmth rising,
the sap sprinting upwards,
tightness unfurling?
A longing to move?

Soldiers of the Spring,
uniformed, precise.
A regiment of happiness
reporting for duty,
jostling for position,
straight backed and trim.

Yearly manoeuvres almost complete
they wait to receive their dress uniforms
from the touch of the sun.
“Stand at ease!”
“Present blooms!”
“Show time!”

Looking for Christmas.

A time of stillness and memories-
a gathering against the dark.
A time of roistering and foolishness-
dressing up and pigging out.
Silly jumpers, bright red trucks,
naughty elves and melted snow.
Flickering candles, holly wreaths,
home made treats and fire glow.

Memories are laid down,
milestones alongside the path of life
as the young rush forward.
Still believing. Still alight.
Christmas is always real to a child.
Thoughts of how things used to be
hide behind watching faces.
Still hoping. Still wishing.
They remember how things were-
before the season slipped away.

The world doesn’t stop,
but in the silence
you can feel it turning.
A pinprick in the darkness
revealing a star.