Horse and Hare


Early one morning

I walked across a field 

and there was this horse

standing the way horses do

not depressed hungry bored curious tired anxious waiting

no, just standing there like horses do

when they have nothing better to do,


switched off.

As I stopped to take its photograph

it didn’t flinch an inch, didn’t move a foot,

just stood there

with the golden sun, rising on its left,

lighting up the brown, autumnal leaves,

whitening and brightening the pale, acrid smoke,

casting blue, elongated shadows

across the pale, yellowing grass.

Later on I saw this hare

couched in the grass

(no, I didn’t mean ‘crouched’,

though ‘crouched’ would have done  just as well)

huddled in the long green grass,

thinking either it was invisible

or I was blind

or both

so I was able to sneak up quite close.


The whirr of the shutter

and it was off like a shot.

Messages in Bottles

 This is my letter to the world

   that never wrote to me..”         – emily dickinson

That’s what wordpress  posts are –
you write your piece,
your message to the world,
the disc from the desert island
where you are currently located,
press the blue Publish lozenge and 

                                                                                where’s it gone?

spiralling into cyberspace that’s where,
bobbing and bobbling about  in the bloggosphere
surfing the wavelengths
corkscrewing through all Qwertydom
forever and ever
round and round
whirled without end…..

does it cease to exist up there
if  no-one reads it down here?



What have we here?

Here we have:
52 used tyres used as plant pots

4  untreated coffin-sized boxes without lids
a red and black brick wall
a sturdy bicycle miraculously upright
a  youngish hunched-up man in blue


But what does it all ‘mean’?



Nothing. Nothing at all.  

But  doesn’t —


Doesn’t it make you wonder who the young man is?


Why is he waiting? Or is he waiting? Could he perhaps —


What are the boxes for, what sort of —

No   No    NO

Everything means something.

What does that mean, apart from nothing?


2 Old Ladies (unfinished)

2 old ladies

watch a girl pass.

She is riding a bright yellow bicycle

that is perhaps too big for her

and wearing a skirt

that is perhaps shorter

than the 2 old ladies would like

not that they are nasty,

the old ladies,

just old and attached

to fashions that have faded,

things as they used to be,

the past when everything was different.

Brian is waiting

for his girlfriend, Joy

who was the girl with the short skirt

on on the bright yellow bicycle

He is on his second pint,

feeling irritated:

he has lost his mobile

and Joy is late.

Joy is late because

she has had a slight accident:

she has been knocked off her bike

by a van which did not stop;

she is shaken, not badly injured:

a bruised right arm,

a scraped knee,

a cut on the top of her head.

However the 2 old ladies

who saw what happened

called for an ambulance

which has taken her off to  Hospital.

She has tried phoning Brian

without success.

That is why she is late.

Of course Brian does not know this.

Later he will feel guilty

about feeling irritated

when all he should have felt was


When Daniel, the van driver,  gets home

he feels stiff from driving,

so far, so long.

He has driven non-stop from Coldstream

to his house outside Dunfermline.

He lives there on his own

but likes it that way.

Simpler that way.

He organises his life

to avoid problems,

unaware that problems are also solutions.

He is unaware of lots of things, Daniel,

unaware for example

that he had knocked Joy off her bicycle

when he took the left turn

onto the Saline road

but when he notices the scratches

and dents

on the left side of his van

to his credit

he  wonders  if he should contact the police.

He does not know of course

that one of the old ladies

had made a note of  his number.

Nor does Brian know

that his  lost phone lies exactly where he left it

half a street away

on the chair outside the really good restaurant

(whose name he could never remember)

where he had put it down

while chatting to the Bulgarian waitress

with a degree in Modern Languages

and whose English was so idiomatic

it sounded foreign


The Volcanographist

Looking down through the ‘roof ‘ of a Lanzarote lava bubble transformed by the artistic vision of landscape architect, Cesar Manrique,  into a black-walled, luxuriant  green and white lagoon……
Manrique used the tunnels from Lanzarote’s central volcano to their sea outlets to create subterranean wonderlands  (a ‘house’ for himself, a Concert Hall elsewhere…) that on their own are worth a visit to Lanzarote.
It is hard not to share his affection for this strange, barren yet beautiful,  island.

Changing Rooms

i  remember

(in aleppo once

back in our early oh-what-a-wonderful-world days

when nothing was too much trouble)

having been given

in this our first hotel

a room with a view

overlooking the car park

and sensing your disquiet

daring to ask  the manager

(a large man with little english

and a fierce moustache)

for a room 

(if that was at all possible

and not too much trouble)

with a view out to sea

(if there was such a room)

and i remember exactly how he leant back

in his black leather armchair

and looked at us

from one to the other

and twiddled his thumbs

then closed his eyes

and nodded

and oh the triumph of  it all

the relief

the joy


as i discovered much  much later

you simply wanted

a room nearer the lift).