The Membrane

And all their life, had they but known

It brushed ‘gainst cheek and chin

An elbow could have rent a tear

To plunge each one within

But as they moved, it moved with them

Unseen and unperceived

Existing on the distaff side

So few of them believed

Yet, when their lives’ absurdities

Reduced them to their knees

They longed to know the other side

Sought out with tears and pleas

An inner voice had whispered

Of a greater life beyond

Which they’d believed were fairy tales

Vague hopes benign and fond

When, all along, within a breath

If they’d but understand

The membrane could be breeched to show

The Heaven close at hand


Some days you need sunhats and other days you need rain hats. But nobody tells you which one you’ll need tomorrow

When the sun warms your skin, feel it.
When light closes your eyelids, lean back and rest
When a soft breeze kisses your cheek and causes you to turn, attend to it
When your breath is gentle, enjoy the moment
And when it rains, wear a rain hat


Sometimes we’re earthbound

Blind, opaque

All our tiny cares wrapped round

Day follows day,

From calm to quake

Encapsulated, we sleep sound


Other times our space door

Draws back wide

Summoning our eye beyond

Mind on the Infinite

Deep divide

Tethered by no Earthly bond


One with the Universe

Free, elite

Formless, immense, exultant

Mastered by no banal defeat

Part of the whole, expectant

I met Pam Ayres in a Tenerife hotel

Still jaded from the journey

And fuddled from the flight

The dinner hall a Babel throng

The food a cheery sight

Humanity resplendent

Could I be a***d to look

But wearily, exhaustedly

I focussed on my book


Avoiding conversation

But curious nonetheless

I peered askance at fellow guests

To analyse their dress

A fork mid face and platter

My eye beheld a dream

A long ad-mi-red heroine

Applying salad cream!


I kicked my hapless husband

Suggesting covert gaze

‘It’s her! I swear! Pam Ayres herself!

Ne-ver in my born days!’

Guffawing and harrumphing

My love pooh-poohed my find

So I began surveillance

And stalked her from behind


For 24 hours? 36?

I tried to catch her eye

And once or twice a nod she gave

And winked as she passed by

The chiselled bob, the crinkled smile

So sure I’d made a match

And readied then my book and pen

To thrust before my catch


Then 3 days in- unthinkable!-

Pam lurched towards my side

With knowing glint and gurning grin

She spoke with injured pride


‘Du bist ein English damme

Ich kenne was du thinken

Ich heisse nicht Pam Ayes

Aber so frequentisch am linken

Mein Mann, er heisse Helmut

Noch nie Dudderley, ach so

Und wir in Bremen wohnen

Noch in Oxfordshire, also’.


Und mit ein grosse saluten

Sorry, and with a stiff salute

She wheeled around and took her leave

My husband, in hysterics

Chuckled deep into his sleeve


I brooded on this incident

My disappointment deep

No greeting from my heroine

Just words that made me weep

Dejectedly, I sought the lift

Escaping to my room

But then, raw Cotswolds vowels

Surreptitiously did boom


‘Another one, me darlin’

Did you see that woman’s face?’


‘Oi surely did, Dud, number foive

This German scam is ace!’


I would lie down in a sunlit field, my back to the heat-drenched earth,

My face turned to the vast canopy above.

Eyes and thoughts closed down.

Conscious only of the sun’s warm caress and the slowing of my breath.

Ears tuned to the shrill calls and fluted responses of birds unnumbered.

Unseen and unnoticed by any but God and nature.

And there, immobile, I would loose my mind to the fathomless beyond.

Spirit free, at no man’s call and relieved of any burdens.

Nothing to myself or any other.

Released from the constraints of time and humanity.

Childishly free.



Sailing away on a boat down a river

Water voles playing a furtive peep-o

Silence in sinuous tendrils caressing

Providence choosing the way I will go


Heron a sentinel, ducks a distraction

Sunlight warm dancing on lids that are closed

Breathing forgotten and thoughts dissipated

Languid limbs splayed, neither rigid nor posed


Mirrored reflection of clouds that are kindly

Spliced by the prow in a gentle divide

Swiftly resettling after my passing

I journeyed on without helmsman or guide


Minutes passed, hours? The time unimportant

Lost in tranquillity, wonder and awe

Loveliness bathing each breath and each pulse-beat

Sailing to Destiny, wholesome and pure

The Lilt and the Loveliness

The lilt and the loveliness then up-surged

Though they long-chained were forced to be

Bright joys untrammelled re-emerged

And lit the heart and set her free

To giggle unreservedly


A blissful throng of friends long-gone

Descended and encircled round

And she, uplifted, joined the dance

Enchanted by their bubbling sound

With feet that left the ground


No past, no present, no regrets

No condemnation of her ways

They wrapped her in a golden cloak

And loosed her self-inflicted stays

To promise brighter days


And, borne along on joyful tide

She knew a wholeness long-obscured

She felt once more a golden child

Of all her ills and sadness cured

Her happiness assured


And we would run on, tireless, to the journey’s end

Our flow of life unfettered and unhemmed

Each cell, each breath alive to fill the Universe

Our power, our exuberance unstemmed


Unstriving, reaching all that we were meant to be

Of everyday contrivance unaware

A soaring, joyful wonder of Creation’s touch

A burst of dappled starlight in the air


With time suspended, every inch would phosphoresce

Our form, a formless, ageless entity

A thrilling, tingling spiral of our greatest dreams

And knowing, we would be all we could be


The influence of love is so immense

Defying all our efforts to describe it

Its impact on the human heart is so intense

And yet no man can order, buy or bribe it


No yearning song nor sentiment embrace

The range of daily disciplines to find it

It roams an inner network that no map can trace

And leaves no owners’ manual behind it


It isn’t what the poets write or singers sing

It cannot solve life’s problems in a beat

And yet we find its power changes everything

When frozen feelings flicker in its heat


To pause, reflect, abandon our desires

Occasions love to alter what was meant

Permitting us a moment in its dreaming spires

And shaping us beyond our own intent

Ashlett Creek

The wind was bitter but the sun was bright

As godwit and whimbrel soared in flight

On frozen foreshore kelp fronds trembled

Decaying fingers they resembled 

The crescent breasts of turnstones muddled

As frantically they mooched and huddled

While sandpipers stood sentinel

Mute listeners to a distant bell

And there within their makeshift nests

Abandoned tyres with greening crests

The curlews sought the leeward shade

Until turned tide forced feet to wade 

And jagged toothed the ancient groynes 

Demarked the designated joins

Where sea and ever-shrinking land

Permit the Solent to expand

O Ashlett shoreline, rich and wild

May your lagoons rest undefiled

For avocet and oystercatcher

And we, who in your swathes find rapture