Sunday, 25 September 2011


it is an autumn evening bathed in sunlight
i am standing in the central reservation
of a busy dual-carriageway
the cars speed by in a blur
i have reached my favourite spot
under a broad horse chestnut
i stoop to conquer
or rather to collect conkers
dropping them into a large bucket
which i have brought along for the purpose
there are so many that i can afford to be choosy
taking only the freshest shiniest largest specimens
many are still encased in their shells
which yield easily under the gentle pressure of my boot
to reveal the ripened treasure hiding within
the browns vary from a warm mahogany to a dark teak
but it seems that the farther i wander
the larger the conkers become
each shell i crunch profers an ever fatter nut
behind me new shells rain down from above with a loud thud
it is as if they cry out
as they are offer themselves to the mad collector
the open-mouthed expressions
of passing motorists and their gawping passengers
seem to reflect my amazement
then suddenly the scene cuts, film-like
and i am watching myself
as if through the eyes of a vicarious motorist
who has pulled in at the roadside
i am spreadeagled across the broad trunk of this fertile horsechestnut
desperately trying to protect her from danger
a group of bedraggled men advances grimly towards me
axes in hands
the tree shudders as an axe rises high in the sky
then all is blackness

Friday, 23 September 2011


Industrialists and environmentalists play the same game
Industrialists lie by pretending there isn't a problem
Environmentalists by pretending the problem can be solved


God does not send us despair in order to kill us
But in order to awaken us to new life


'Where's focking mom?' the nine-year-old boy repeats impatiently
His smooth young face twisted into a nasty snarl
'Stop focking interrupting me!' growls his feckless older brother
Pausing the important conversation he is conducting with a pal
Dressed in a baggy pale grey tracksuit
Leaning back on the saddle of his stunt bike
He is, it seems, oblivious to his sibling's unfortunate profanity

Sunday, 18 September 2011


Stumble forward blindly
Grope in the darkness
Clutch at solid objects
Let go of certainties
Stagger and nearly fall
A sense of disorientation
Noises shotgun and ricochet
False friends call out
Follow instincts
Keep breathing
Dawn will break


Put away the mobile
Power down the laptop
Disconnect the headphones
Switch off the TV

Put aside the Kindle
Disconnect the radio
Interrupt the I-pod
Pause the mp3

Look up at the sky
Find shapes in the clouds
Unravel the mystery

Right here right now
That’s all there is
Right here right now
The magic is

No more barriers and walls
No more obstacles and fences
No more digital dismay
No mechanical malaise

Look up at the stars
And catch the Moon’s gleam
Search for the Milky Way

Right here right now
That’s all there is
Right here right now
The magic is

Breathe a little easier now
Listen to the birds
Taste the briar berry
Tread the solid earth

Right here right now
That’s all there is
Right here right now
The magic is

Right here right now
That's all there ever is

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


To walk among men as a god
To take, to steal and to rob
To wound, to kill or set free
To act with impunity
To deny all responsibility
To don the cloak of invisibility

Monday, 12 September 2011


It is the moment i have been dreading
In fact I've been putting it off for months
The trip to Lifford Lane
The euphemistically named household recycling centre
For the south-western quadrant of the city
What used to be called a rubbish tip
In less pc days of yore
We are here to unburden ourselves
Of two years worth of Tetrapaks
Those dauntingly unrecyclable drinks containers
Cunningly fashioned from paper, plastic and foil
Now we sit in a slow-moving queue of traffic
Which files funereally into this soulless repository
Of human folly and hubris
The cars inch forward one by one to drop off their despised cargo
The funeral director in his high vis jacket
Ushers us solemny into bay three
This is the sad and lonely end of the road
The final resting place
For the intensely-marketed shiny baubles and glittering trinkets
Of the twenty-first century consumer dream
Where death, as always, is the great leveller
Each item equally unwanted and unloved
As we acclimatise our noses wrinkle
At the rancid stench of corpulent black bin bags
Stuffed full of rotting household waste
Now the eyes scan with morbid facination
The rows of bulky TVs and clumsy computer monitors
Abandoned for newer, younger, slimmer models
Next the ears wince then the guts wrench at the sickening crunch
Of crushed metal, shattered plastic and splintered glass
It's all here
The cartons and the cans
The flat batteries and the flourescent tubes
The fat fridges and the flabby freezers
Worst of all, the massive skip behind bay three
Where the dead corpses of electric and electronic appliances
Crush the broken bones of their brothers and sisters
A terrifying hi-tech mountain of PCs and laptops
A tangled mess of cables and plugs
Mangled stereos and hi-fi systems
Brusied video recorders and DVD players
Dented coffee perculators and sandwich makers
Perhaps dead and useless
Or perhaps simply rendered obsolescent by next generation technology
Questions flood the mind
What natural resources were consumed in the manufacture of these goods?
Or should that be bads?
What rare and precious metals do they contain?
What toxins and poisons?
How much pollution was involved in producing them?
Who got ill? What creatures died?
What amount of cash was paid for the stuff?
Where will it go now, this waste mountain?
To a huge hole in the ground
Where it will leach into the groundwater?
To an enormous incinerator
Which will belch more toxins into the atmosphere?
To a giant ghost ship back to China
Where most of it was assembled?
One thing is for sure
It will not just go away
For, as someone once said
There is no 'away'
What was taken in production
Stolen from the Earth
We must ultimately sacrifice
As Gaia takes its revenge
Such is the law of things
Even as the council taxpayer takes the final hit
To foot the bill for the disposal of these disowned discards

Saturday, 3 September 2011