My writing

Words on the Wing

Words do not live in dictionaries; they live in the mind.
        – Virginia Woolf
Collected, ordered, pinned
and labelled, like butterflies
in a frame ­– this is no place for words.
Words thrive in gardens
of thought and fancy, free
to migrate, adapt, associate:
common nouns peacock
into splendid modifiers,
strut their colours before
cabbage-white idioms,
stressed syllables flit
from vowel to vowel,
vulgar slang swigs nectar,
late-summer abbreviations
bask in transitive sunlight,
plurals swallowtail,
verb and swoop,
exotic tenses settle
on sun-baked dialect,
fleeting sense darts, lands,
flutters away.

From On the Wing, Offa's Press 2018 



In Sunshine and in Rain 


Some days she’s down, all mud, brown leaves and tears,
on others private, huddled in the mist.
In summer rain she’s zany, fun, appears
to flirt, spins, laughs. Refuses to be kissed.
Her temper blazes when the wind is high,
I flinch at every crash, move plants indoors.
Next day she offers crocuses while I
stand silent by the flattened hellebores.
But when the purple buddleia’s in my eyes
she conjures shadow-pools where clover sings
and in the cool green depths the butterflies
alight on submerged leaves, splash charcoal wings.
Sun-kissed, caressed, entranced, I’m lost. And she’s
a goddess. I fill jam jars with sweet peas.


From On the Wing, Offa's Press 2018 


'Grey' was printed in Issue 68 of The Interpreter's House and is on their website: Grey