Where I belong

We, the long line of undead,
The numberless shadows, 
Mining and plundering 
Until our hands are brown with 
Earth and blood,
Sweat and fear.
The diamonds we seek
We can’t eat,
Nor do they lead us
To what we are seeking.
Oh God, mine me!
Sift the sallow soil of my soul
And lift the jewel
Of me to your mouth.
Breathe me clean,
And swallow me,
So I can be where you are,
Where I have always belonged.

When will it be enough?

A woman walking a dog.
Two boys on a bench, alone with their smart phones.
A white feather flickering in a puddle full of blue.
A spiritual guide who’s seen it all before.
An vacant cottage, friends moved away.
An apple tree shedding its load.
A red van, lift maintenance.
A cloud laden with rain.
A dog mangled chick.
A shadow stalking grief.
An empty house.
This is all I have to give.
Are you feeling it yet?
When will it be enough?

Pray now.

I used to know to whom I prayed, and
Advised across the great abyss what
Needed to be done here.
We’d gather in groups, cohorts,
To add weight and volume.
You love us all you strange mystery.
The box tickers, the list makers, the
Worriers, fretters and god shrinkers.
It appalls me, your even-handedness, your
You come with us on our self-inflicted calvaries.
We just take you, you can’t not.
You do not flinch when we shred your advice
And throw it in your bride groom face.
But there are two things I see.
There is no abyss oh God.
I can’t get away from you, and this near love both
Proves my guilt and annhilates it at the same time. 
There is nothing left to say, except

Take me to church (Sergei Polunin)

(Written after watching him dance to this song by the Hoziers)
You begin your last dance,
so you thought,
a dark dance that chased you out of childhood.
In the spotlight, something had starved,
and here in a white chapel
you grip the very edge
of all you have become,
believing it to be the end.
In a snap of muscle and sinew
you are the arch
through which your soul pours
in paraphrase,
not formal, practiced poise.
You spring up, one handed and fly out
over the boards.
Butterfly lightness of flight.
Projectile velocity.
Impossible height.
Reversed thunder.
You skid your friction toes 
and stricken,
brace the window frame.
These matchbox walls
cannot contain the
flickering spin,
the whiplash,
speed scorched,
blood boiling,
plummet and streak of you.
Good God!
Someone is weeping.
Her tears are falling into my hands.
You have found a hundred ways 
to fall on your knees
and kiss the ground.
This is the place where you discover
how to love the world.
(Borrowed words from George Herbert and Rumi)

Looking into the Abyss (the joys of a She Wee)


When I was given the present of a She Wee by my dear friend and fellow Blake enthusiast, James Murray-White, I have to admit I was deeply under whelmed, but having looked into the abyss of festival toilets I have come to a wholly new appreciation of this bit of purple plastic. But what is a She Wee I hear you wondering? Briefly it is a device which lets you STAND UP and wee like a man when you have to ascend the shed of shame. It’s true, you do have a wet bit of plastic to carry about with you, but that’s better than having your nether regions besmirched by the sprinklings and daubings of a thousand strangers who clearly did not attend the workshop on” how to deficate politely”. Sadly there is no such workshop, but in one of my other alternate lives, this is the one I would run.

Scam Art Buyer

I was contacted by a person called Russell Holtsman from Ontario in Canada. He loved my work blah blah, could he buy some. And he detailed the ones he wanted and was very convincing in his description of where they would go. When a price was agreed, he said he would send a cheque to cover the paintings and add extra for the carriage. If there was a surplus I would have to send a cheque back to him…..hmmm. Beware he is a scam art buyer and will demand money for carriage once you have lost your paintings and got no money for them! Could think of a few words to call him but I shall just count my lucky stars I didn’t fall for it.

Dance or Die.

I am lying in a hammock listening to words that I will never be ready to hear but are inevitable. All around me the evening birds fling their final songs on the darkening valley, and away in the town the fairy tale steeples of the Church light up. It is Hansel and Gretel time, but I haven’t laid a bread trail and I will never get home again. Home is now in me, wherever I am. Currently it is unearthed, suspended in a hammock, the closest thing to the ground is my bottom and it feels like it’s getting a kicking. Bats flit between me and three purple clouds that are dissolving like gun smoke and it is becoming very chilly.

There is a time when life calls us away from the comforting certainties that grounded our existence. We don’t have to go…actually that’s not true, because if we don’t go, we come round again and again to the same bleak, night time station where we wait, and wait, and wait. Station life is not living, it is only waiting and by God, the place is crowded, some are even having dinner parties.

Make the train stop for you! Throw the luggage on the track. Wheel over the kiosks and shove them off the platform one by one until you bring the train to a stop and get on. You will leave a mess behind, and the dinner party will pause, and after a slow shake of their heads, will resume at their table, forgetting you. 

And, of course, the sacrament of life will continue to roll you along and roll you over, in the unremitting ordinariness of attending to the project of keeping the unbearable wonder of things alive in your own heart and the hearts of those you love. Feelings come and go in a kind of wild dance where you don’t always get to be the DJ. But dance or die, these are the only options.

SHEEP what could possibly go wrong?

What can I possibly have against sheep? Being here in the Alpujarras, where there are no sheep, I am in breathless wonder at the visions of wild flowers, herbs and shrubs that carpet the mountains and meadows that I walk upon. But just to keep you reading, did you know that every household in the uk pays £245 per year towards the continuous destruction of the UK uplands, causing soil erosion and flooding in our lowland towns and villages? No? Neither did I. Keep reading

In the rest of the world, including all the deserts and the really cold bits at the top and the bottom, over 30 % of uplands are forested. Along with this rewilding comes an ecosystem that supports insects, birds and a wonderful diversity of plants and species. In the uk only 13% of our uplands are forested. Mostly this is because of sheep who shave everything down to the ground, preferring nutritious tree saplings, but ensuring that there is no chance whatsoever of the reforestation and restoration of wildness in our uplands. “Oh but what about our poor sheep farmers?” I hear you cry. Well, my dears, they don’t make their money from sheep farming….they make it from subsidies, paid for by you.

The situation in Scotland is even more galling where a huge proportion of the land is privately owned by a few wealthy people who keep ‘their’ land artificially denuded by deer, or burn it for grouse shooting. This is so they can charge other rich people huge amounts of money to go deer stalking and grouse shooting. The activities of this tiny proportion of our population are not only destroying our countryside and ecosystem, causing flooding and eco degeneration,  but we are actually financing these activities! Where are the BBC when there is some real news to shout about???!!!

Just saying…..


They have softened now into blue,

And with clouds falling like a wedding veil,

They repose with mountainous thoughts of ther own.

A man, straining to impress, told me their names,

But they don’t know them.

They have endured, nameless for billions of years,

And I have crawled up them, skittering down like a stone,

And have waded in their waters,

And knelt among their flowers,

And felt the rain upon my face.

Hear, O Israelites, the Name you cannot speak,

All nature resounds with it.

Nearer my God to Thee,

Nearer my God to me.