Da Last Plesiosaur


Eftir aw dat fechtin,

aw dat movin an hidin an listenin an warnin,

we fund dis lang deep dark loch

awa up idda Nord

whaur at lang last we’d be left tae oorsels,

left in peace.

Or so we thocht .



Oot o da blue



dis muckle chukkie da size o da mune

cam  thunderin doon,

dis muckle stane 

cam whudderindudderinspludderin doon

wheechin us aa,

da hale shebang o us,


wheechin us aa in ae fell swoop

                             cept me

                                            aa cept me

                                                                    aa except me

*     *     *     *     *

Aa dat wis lang syne,

lang lang syne.

Nooadays A cannae even see

bit still

fae time tae time

A poke ma heid oot o da waatir

oot o da cal dark  waatir

an mak a sort o saft lang moanin soon




bit der’s niver ony anserin caa,

niver iver.


No dat A expect der tae be.

No dat A’d ken whit tae dae

if der wis.

Flower Power

There is a Flower, the Lesser Celandine,
That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain;
And, the first moment that the sun may shine,
Bright as the sun himself, ’tis out again!     (Wordsworth)

hossoil 8

This is a stream
a rivulet
a brook
a burn
on whose banks you’ll  find

the lesser celandine
ficaria ranunculus
a favourite
of  both William Wordsworth
and David Herbert Lawrence

and ferns
which purify the soil
cure centipede bites
soothe coughs and wheezes

and foxgloves
dead men’s bells
digitalis purpuria
floppy dock
fairy fingers
which are  diuretics
appetite depressants
cures for dropsy
and can
s l o w i n g
t h e
heart   r a t e
c  u  r   e      o  r
k   i   l   l  .

*    *    *    *

She found the celandines of February
Always before us all. Her nature and name
Were like those flowers, and now immediately
For a short swift eternity back she came.

(‘Celandine’ by Edward Thomas)

I feel the continental drift


I feel the continental drift
of shifting geography:
the sun no longer overhead;
an unfamiliar sea;
a jagged barrier reef surrounds
an inaccesible shore
and ice – how thick I do not know –
where water was before.

Where is that quiet green valley
where heron and kingfisher flew?
A ridge of stone as bare as bone
blocks it from my view.

A flat and recent Sahara
covers remembered hills
and over the top of  my childhood home
the lurid lava spills.

Where is  my  big-windowed,  happy house?
Where my  tall green wood?
All I see now is a dark smoking scar
where home and forest once stood
and a sea of mud the colour of blood
was a lake where white lillies  grew;
volcanic and strange, a mountain range
bleeds over fields  I  once knew


No  feral  forces fed those fires
to sweep my past away;
no howling hurricanes spread the flames
to make night as bright as day.
No irresistible seismic thrust

pushed up that massive range.

Some weakness at the heart of things
permitted all this change.

woman with yellow umbrella



woman with yellow umbrella


winter feb 13 13-02-2013 13-26-52

That’s my wife
suitably all in black
at the top of the stairs
in the snow.
We have come from the graveyard
where her mother is buried,
our first visit since the funeral
some twenty years ago.
Time flies, tempus fugit,
no matter how you say it.

However we are happy enough to be here
happy enough to be anywhere in fact
extinct volcanoes maybe,
but still together, survivors,
a winter couple.

winter feb 13 13-02-2013 13-25-27

I go on chatting
although I no longer have
anything I want to say to her
and she nods and smiles
as if she hadn’t stopped listening
aeons and aeons ago
but we are still there (here?) for each other,
if required.

I remember taking these pictures,
the silence,
the strange, lurid light,
my wife in black with that yellow umbrella
and the snow  falling gently in large white flakes
faintly falling through the universe,
like the descent of their last end,
upon all the living and the dead.




That time of year thou mayst in me behold


when yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
 upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
 bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
as after sunset fadeth in the west;
which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
that on the ashes of his youth doth lie,

as the deathbed whereon it must expire,

consumed with that which it was nourished by.

Magdalen 1

This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,

To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

African Nights

It was one of those Rousseau  nights 
( Henri Rousseau, the painter,
‘The Sleeping Gypsy’ guy)

LANZA (41)mm

still warm,
you could smell and hear and feel  the day’s heat
no wind,
full moon,
and silence

then suddenly calls,
sounds, cries,  noises:
a moon leopard coughing;
nightmare bats screaming  shrill warnings;
a humpback hyena’s crazy cackling;
and nearby
something creaking,
Kroac, Kroac, Kroac,
frog or toad

then suddenly
nothing again,

dark, deep,  creepy silence
and the whole world waiting,
stopped in its tracks,
poised in mid-stride,

listening and watching and waiting
for the banished sun
to rise and resume
and reassure

LANZA (41)


How Ideas Are Formed 1


Here they  come  

from the unfathomed  depths, up

through shade after shade, green 

after green

                                         towards that little patch of blue

                                         that Oscar called the sky, surfacing  beyond

 the  bobbing harpoon boats, surprising

 the platitudinous sea with

their prodigious  skyscraping leaps then



motionless under the troubled waters, unseen

 below the disturbed surface, 

their haunted wailing

absorbed  into  the


of the ever




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.