Until it comes

Last night I dreamed that David Bowie called round. He sat and smiled as we unpacked the groceries, then he said, ‘I read some of your poems. That last line. Look.’ Until it comes. He pointed to the words. ‘The best,’ he said, ‘go back and see, the rest is over-stuffed abstraction.’

Photo ©Adam Bielawski

Until it comes
just watch each grass stalk trembling
in the breeze each flower
tiny-petaled delicate as the colours
of the clouds at balmy sunset.

Until it comes
listen to the falling rising notes
that play the staves the hedges hide
drink the juice of birdsong
simpler than symphonies
innocent as babies with their deep eyes.

Touch the wandering breeze
that ripples water into silken folds
and brings the scents of growing things
the shallow hollow in the grass
where something lay a while
until it comes.

And never think about the rest
the ifs and mights and hopes
for something not too dark
how it will be the feathered touch
of silent wings that close our eyes
with breath of owl
until it comes.


A birthday


I watch a red squirrel

queue en panache

pennacchio di piume

light as any feathered thing

leap from tree to tree,

defying gravity

looping the loop around spindle boughs

zip-darting up down

zig-zag of russet streak

and I think of the panache in the stars

de l’audace encore de l’audace

light-streaking across another galaxy

toujours de l’audace

where squirrels are super heroes

and stars shine forever.

Two years

Words shoot across the wind like lovers’ darts,

so many left to say, unsaid,

while in the sky the stars look down on empty worlds

and listen to the echo of a song.

This turning planet once was blue,

turning grey as ashes fall;

there is nothing we can do,

and nothing will ever be the same again.

Listen for the rhythm in the air,

the beating wings of ghostly swans,

carrying the soul of music to the stars

and dance.

The stars look very different today

Husband was having a David Bowie fest this morning when I went out. His words inspired this villanelle.


The stars look very different today,

I can’t see how to paste them in the blue,

They fell extinguished when you walked away.


A million words I wrought to make you stay,

But on my tongue not one of them rang true,

The stars look very different today.


No dreams we dreamed still shine in light of day,

The sun, the moon and stars from hanging all askew,

They fell extinguished when you walked away.


Once we would watch in awe their wild array,

Let their fierce glory pierce us through and through,

The stars look very different today.


The future’s dead like soldiers in a fray,

Now darkness fills the void where comets flew,

They fell extinguished when you walked away.


Where rainbows arced, the sky is dull and grey,

Night falls, its glitter wishing can’t renew,

The stars look very different today,

They fell extinguished when you walked away.



Absolute Beginners


We are absolute beginners

and as long as we’re together

the rest can go to hell.

The leaves whisper heroes

and stars fall in the lake

for nothing much can happen

with nothing much at stake.

I absolutely love you

can they understand?

And my love is your love,

what a surprise.

Don’t talk of heartaches,

I remember them all,

strung out in heaven’s high,

the stars look very different today.

If you say run, I’ll run with you,

for we’re absolute beginners,

nothing will make us stay,

we could steal time, just for one day.

17 lines


I wish I could swim

into the blue, blue electric blue,

but we’re absolute beginners,

heroes just for one day.

Five years, that’s all we’ve got,

so let’s dance,

kick off your red shoes and dance the blues,

cos planet earth is blue

and there’s nothing I can do.

I can remember,

standing by the wall,

It was a godawful small affair

to the girl with the mousey hair,

but wild is the wind,

once we were lovers,

and we could be heroes

just for one day.

Cat star

Remembering, on this day one year ago, two lost boys.


Grey day dawning

and in the sky

a starman rose,

a cat star leapt,

over the double, over-arching rainbow,

with inhuman grace,

dropping away like morning dew,

the miasma of drugs and sleep,

embracing the wild empty blackness,

the star-embroidered blackness,

the silent, velvet-padded blackness

of infinity.

Things that will never die


From the fizzling gaps between the lines,

the stars that fill the silver screen,

where rainbows end and birds fly why can’t I,

the voice falls clear as liquid light.

So far away he must be,

as far as static rocket ships can fly

through the ear

and into the silence of space,

and yet the interstices of life

are full of things that will never die.


Once we were lovers


Quatern inspired by one of my favourites

Once we were lovers, remember?

Time of tangled limbs, sweet madness,

A touch, a word a single glance,

We thought to drown in such sweetness.


The roses tasted of the dawn,

Once we were lovers, remember?

Petals crushed among the sheets,

Left a trace of dark December.


We never saw the gath’ring clouds,

The darkness on the edge of night,

Once we were lovers, remember?

Blinded by the tender starlight.


Honeyed petals all are fallen,

Autumn winds our dreams dismember,

Cold tides wash an empty shoreline,

Once we were lovers, remember?