, , , , , , , , ,

I dared tell the sun

to hurry up

couldn’t believe my own cheek

it didn’t listen though of course

thank God

and as I crossed the sand

towards the golden cauldron

simmering beneath the horizon

burning its unmoving audience of clouds purple

it seemed the waves slapped louder,

but perhaps it was just my sleepy hearing

waking up



Had I passed the point

at which I was meant

to scrabble up

the pebble mounds

and leave the rippled beach?

The cauldron was boiling fiercely now,

it could errupt any moment –

but impatient insecurity turned my back

and I scrabbled

and failed

searching out a likelier spot

I snuck a last look


Like loved ones who die

the moment you leave the room for a coffee

or the electricity that comes back

when you’ve returned triumphant with candles

in that scrabbling moment

the sun had snuck its forehead

over perception’s wall –

I deserved that

I Am From…


, , , , , , ,

I am from Sunday mornings as a child
riding hours into minutes at a gallop
before returning to a weekly treat
of hot baked beans in a bowl
I am from macaroni cheese and gado gado,
though I have no holiday snaps
and only very little blood (Indonesian)
from one of their countries of origin
I am from thyme fragranced mountains
and gentle seas that called to me ‘come, swim’
before I’d even taken my first steps.
I am from good, from people who love and share with ease,
who care for me even when I feel ‘uncareable for’
and I know this because the good has been well spiced
with mistakes and pain, which are sometimes too hot
for me to take in, and yet as I breathe I can see
the integrity of the original ingredients
I am from people who sing (loudly) and dance (outrageously)
and laugh as if the very meaning of life
hungers for those movements and that sound
without which whatever gives life life will cease,
or at the very least, go to sleep for a very long time
I am from silence, immersing myself in her comfort
yielding myself to her wisdom,
searching the pathways she reveals in all directions
for that peace, that joy, that truth
which I sometimes want to give up on,
but which never seems to be willing
to give up on me
I am from creative fearlessness
from invention, imagination, colour and curiosity
the land of ‘anything’s possible’
to which I regularly return with the same question,
‘What, really? Anything?’
I am from the strength that comes
from knowing I’m never alone
and yet that which accompanies me
all places at all times
needs no name
it just taps me on the shoulder when I need redirecting
and hugs me safe in invisible arms
when there is no comfort to be found in this world
I am from fiery passion, at times clothed in anger,
which sticks capitalised labels shouting
‘THIS IS WRONG!’ on inequality and unkindness
in all their insidious forms
until tears make the labels peel off
and I realise how little I truly understood
what I was so willing to name
I am from mystery and timelessness
for though my body will return to the earth
on some unknown, unremarkable day in the future,
that which is remarkable about the being I am
can never leave, for it never arrived
but simply was – always.

I wrote this in response to a chapter in a book I’m re-reading at the moment, ‘Writing to Change the World’ by Mary Pipher. Early in the chapter called ‘Know Thyself’ she writes:

“When I researched The Middle of Everywhere, I asked refugees to write ‘I Am From’ – type poems as they struggled to find themselves in a new country and language. They followed a formula with each line beginning with ‘I am from.’ Writing this kind of poem is a way to experiment with identity issues. The poem must include references to food, places, and religion. You might want to give it a try.’

And so I extend her invitation to you. Where are you from?



, , , , , , ,

I ate a couple of blackberries

on my way to the bus

sprinkled with a silvery

morning drizzle

that had watered my smile

into full bloom

until I realised

I’d stopped for too many flowers

and saw the bus

leave without me


the morning drizzle,

heavier now,

sunk my smile

and weighed down my pack

as I walked away from the stop

watching my destination

float further away

with each wet step


the morning drizzle

teased the windscreen wipers

who screeched at the sky

more, more!

as I flung out an apologetic arm

and the bus stopped

where it shouldn’t

and I showered my thanks and sorrys

into the warmth

and the dry

to help the day ripen

Please come again


, , , , , , ,

I know you’ve been

but I didn’t hear you arrive

and you’d left

before I’d had the chance

to welcome you


I found your gifts

but by then it was too late

to ask you more about them

for they didn’t seem to come

with any instructions


I’ve laid out a welcome mat

and prepared my questions,

keeping your gifts close to hand,

to be sure I’m ready next time –

please come again

I used to dance


, , , , , , , ,

I used to dance
stamp my feet at great speed
as a child
in our local Greek taverna –
people even threw money apparently

I used to sing
Elton John at the top of my voice
to the copse of trees
in the back field –
and I knew they heard me

But used to returns sometimes
so I dreamt I danced
down a crowded pavement
to a melody of whispered,
‘She knows! She knows!’

They called a meeting, the whisperers,
convened in a caravan that appeared
by the side of the road
(as these things do, sometimes, in dreams)
just they three and me

‘You do realise, young lady,’
said one
‘what watching you
could do to people.’
I blushed and pulled a face

an eloquent look of,
‘And your point is?’
– for my face and eyes dance too,
you see – but I said,
‘I know what you mean.’

We were going to take
the world by storm,
give it a dangerous shot of hope
danced with a joy that’s free
and fearless – but I woke up

and my first thought was to wonder
why they’d called me young,
for I’m not, you see.
I’d forgotten to ask the whisperers
in the dream

As An Artist…


, , , , , , , , , , ,

As an artist…

• I want to mine the emotions for gems of truth and wisdom
• I want to show people how amazing they are by taking soul photos while they’re not watching, and turning these invisible images into words that can be read as a map to somewhere at once absolutely the same and completely different in the world of the one who reads
• I want to remind the world of all the important things we seem to be forgetting, even though they’re right in front of our eyes
• I want to make a life as well as a living
• I want to invite myself and others to the edges and learn to fly (or build bridges)
• I want to shine a light on the knots the world has tied itself in, so skilled unknotters can see them well enough to unravel us back into freedom
• I want to write the rivers within that carry people through the landscapes of joy and sorrow so that they can enjoy them fully – and keep on moving
• I want to say, ‘this is who I am’, and to ask, ‘who are you?’
• I want to be fearless, respectful, daring and real
• I want to give Love lots of places to feel welcome so that it sticks around a while
• I want to get to know this world so well that I can recognise myself as an appreciative visitor, whilst remembering it’s not all that there is

This was my way of consciously owning that word ‘artist’ and finding out what I would aspire to do with ‘artist me’ if I let her lead. There is context and background to this inquiry, which I’ll perhaps share another time, but for now I’m very curious to know how you would complete the phrase:

As an Artist I…
OR As a writer/painter/actor I…
OR As a creative being I…



, , , , , , , ,


image credit:

I see a vast canyon

in the mere metres between

that queue and you

their eyes reveal hearts

teetering on the edge

of engagement

but fear burns all bridges

and they dare not fall


Who gave permission

to greed and scorn

to rob our elders of dignity

and our youth of purpose?

We drown our minds in numbers

until our hearts forget

people are downing too


I sit before a silent screen

aching to hug you through the pixels

to hold you, EveryGrandpa,

in my shamed arms and say

‘Please stand, I’ll hold you.

This stops with me’

You may know of, or find, your own way to stand by the people of Greece at this difficult time, either as a whole or more personally through individuals/families you know who are directly affected, but there are some links below to a few current stories and campaigns if you’d like some ideas. I’ve also included a link to the story of a man who is helping to rescue the migrants at risk of drowning in the mediterranean.  Let this stop with us. May we find a new way to take care of our whole human family with compassion, dignity and joy.



, , , , , , , ,

your smile lands on my face
like a butterfly I’d go breathless for
drawn by the joy
I hatch here
in this shelter built of books

we find comfort
your smile and I
in our shared, quiet passion
and I know you’d understand
these random volumes are my friends

but did you also share my fear
of dying wasted and unused?

your smile leaves me then
and I wonder where it goes
my face feels cold
a lonely shiver
I wrap myself in unread pages

For fun, and…


, , , , , , , , ,

There’s only an ‘e’
between feast and fast
so perhaps
with a little empathy
we could all eat
never doubting there’s enough
eradicating world hunger forever
but even I know
it won’t be as easy as that

famine’s just two letters away from family
so perhaps it’s not what we do
but how
growing food sustainably
to share our harvest generously
we’d nourish the world abundantly
dream I a little wistfully
we’re not there yet regretfully

if you swap earth’s ‘h’
from the end to the start
you get heart
for happiness leads to
harmony leads to
healing leads to
humanity re-seeing
that our mother earth’s well-being
is a must for our joy too
simple, yes, but true



, , , , ,

I took my unquiet mind
for a walk in morning’s first breaths
as the sun stretched sleepy rays
through the trees
to ignite the humble dew
suspended from a leaf
in the hedge
now clear and bright as crystal

I gasped
as uninvoked reverence
ran wild through my being
and I rode it fast and free
deep into the lands beyond perception
in search of the source
of this unchecked love

on finding none
I returned to witness
my hand
independently and unbidden
reach out to touch
that leaf in the hedge
in affirmation of the richness
of its indefinable worth

and so disturbed the dew
staining my fingertip
with light


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