The Fight for Spain: 1936-9,
PublishedJuly 16, 2012 CategoryPoems of Engagement

The Fight for Spain: 1936-9,

These are the arms of those who touched a sky
From which no time shall darken out their sun;
And quicken, with the blood of those who died,
These living hands for battles yet unwon.

Here speaks, at last, Jarama of their knowing
All freedoms ebbed where Ebro held its line;
Till ‘Hold Madrid’ rang out upon their going,
‘No Spanish orphan dies, who is not mine!’

These do not die, who were in love with living,
Enough to lose it for some others’ gain;
Who gave the world, but did not count the giving,
Its unforgotten images of Spain.

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Enduring Gene
PublishedJune 30, 2011 CategoryPoems of Engagement

Enduring Gene

We come of earth, of ocean and of sky.
Drop this one stitch, some skein of time unravels.
We are the needle’s necessary eye
Through which the life-thread, past to future, travels.

Ours is the gene that cannot be ignored,
That bends the warp of Fate’s incessant spinnings;
Refreshes meaning in the tired word;
Explodes all fraud of endings and beginnings.

Of music still to come we’ve shared the making,
Earth’s restless anthem in which all are singers;
At every dawn and new-tomorrow’s waking,
We are to newer fruits the pollen-bringers.

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PublishedJune 10, 2012 CategoryPoems of Engagement


I will return like a bird from the ocean.
Like the wing-weary migrant that limps from the sea;
With only the thread of an instinct to guide him,
I will return when you beckon to me.

When your voice in the storm is the tiniest whisper,
Your cries on the wind dissolve in the wave,
I will hear, and I’ll know, like the truth of the ages
The call of your love and the promise we gave.

And who else will know how you gave me the message?

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The Open Door
PublishedAugust 3, 2012 CategoryPoems of Engagement

The Open Door

I’ve found no prison for a questing mind.
What chain or lock is there, that is not me?
I am my prosecutor, my defence.
I am my keeper and I have the key.

There is no great leap to some distant vision.
Make not your dreams your master, truly said.*
Tomorrow’s ends are in today’s beginnings,
This moment’s where millennia are bred.

There is no peak that is not its illusion,
While this real, nearer beauty goes betrayed;
This child, this friend, this so familiar blossom,
Jailers an ego-sick pretension made.

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PublishedJuly 30, 2012 CategoryPoems of Engagement


Her spirit shines, even through this dark night;
Helps gently melt these frozen deeps of pain.
Bathes hearts that loved her in her special light
Which, having shone, grows never dark again.
Remembered joys will slowly fill some space
Left empty of such energies and truth;
No future time can ever now erase
Her ageless beauty and unending youth.

The vivacious, dancing American daughter of our friend, Robbie Davis-Floyd, tragically killed in a road accident a few days before her 21st birthday in 2000. Continue Reading »

On Reading AC Grayling’s ‘Mindfields’
Late as it was, I welcomed Grayling’s testimony
To the exquisite complexities of my brain;
These billions of neurons engaging trillions of synapses
In seamless continuity, superfast, no fuss.

The wonder of it is how the nano-physicality
Of this multitude of happenings in my head,
All with space, time, physiological characteristics,
Induce this further miracle of my thoughts.
Thoughts, I should remind you – even mine –
Have neither weight, colour, nor other tangible properties.

Old ‘mind/body’ dichotomies are clearly dead.

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At Greenham Common
PublishedJuly 16, 2012 CategoryPoems of Engagement

At Greenham Common

Three generations of us came
To join the vigil by the Gate;
And say – no, never in our name,
These vile obscenities of hate!

We pledged our pictures to the wire,
And searched the eyes of those inside,
Who guard the fingers that would fire –
Our murder and their suicide.

Have they not children, wives and friends,
And – when the insane order came –
What man, as zero hour descends,
Would feed them to that final flame?

So bring more blossoms by the fence,
More children, as the Spring renews
Our promise to their innocence,
That love will overcome the Cruise!

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All Shades of Green
PublishedJune 10, 2012 CategoryPoems of Engagement

All Shades of Green

The poet sang he’d never see
A poem, lovely as a tree; *
Whereat, some less poetic japer
Hacked it down to make the paper,
On which to read – and so destroy –
The unique fountain of his joy.

Even to climb the lofty peak,
To hug the heavens, cheek to cheek,
And glimpse the golden eagle soar,
May pull, behind me, thousands more;
Perversely churning rock to sand,
His solitudes to Disneyland.

How ‘free’ is ‘freedom’ which impairs
The equal sanctity of theirs?

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Poetic Variations on the Theme of Hope
PublishedMay 6, 2012 CategoryPoems of Engagement

Poetic Variations on the Theme of Hope

What draws the poet like the bee to honey?
What springs eternal in the human breast?
What’s good for breakfast but is bad for supper?
What, with myopic view and trust, is best?

What travels swift, and flies with swallow’s wings?
May triumph over what experience teaches?
Once in a lifetime may with history rhyme?
Make gods of kings and kings of meaner creatures?

What’s better travelled with than in arriving?
What was both yours and mine, of equal worth?
What, if they’re dupes, may turn our fears to liars?

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