Dark Cloud

Looking back,
My life was daisies and buttercups
High jinks and delinquency
Drunkeness and laughter.

I would have had it
No other way because
There was love at the
Heart of it all

The skies were always blue
Except when it rained
But then we simply inhaled
The aroma of musty earth
And waited for the clouds to clear.

But what now?
What apocalyptic mushroom
Is this? Casting an ominous
Umbra across my meadows
Of joy.

From where once the sounds of
Laughter and music tinkled –
Even from the playgrounds
Of my adverseries – I now
Hear the strident roar of
Unreasonable rage.

The daffodils are being trampled
One by one. The daisies and their
Modest beauty are invisible to those
Now blind to such things.
Hard serrated metal replaces soft
Verdant lawns.

My playground of simple things
Has become a theatre. A stage on
Which I fear ever darker deeds will
Enact themselves upon.


Just Enough Brown

She is, admittedly,
Elegant and thin
A face which
Exudes humanity
And grace.
I imagine calm
Intelligence and modesty.

I notice also,
The tan.
Subtle and understated
A hint of mediterranean
Olive and
Just enough brown
To enhance.

Too much,
And one slips into
Darkness –
The funky fathoms
Of black.
Of late nights
and Jazz; dub-wise reggae
Poverty. Oppression, dance.

It’s a little too
It floods the cortex
Of middle England
With sensions too great
To bear.

No, my beautiful
Sister. You’ll need to stay

Just enough brown.

Dancing is Freedom

For the late-night dancers in ‘Lunched Out Lizards’ & ‘Molly’s Bar’, WOMAD UK, July 2017.

I have always loved music
when I was younger
I loved it so much I wanted
To possess it
Drink it in
Own it and know it was mine.

I’d always ask
‘What’s that tune?’
‘Who is it by?’
And rush out and purchase it.
Or so I thought.

I’d watch the boys and girls
Who could effortlessly create
With something like
An envious rage

I would try to emulate or replicate
Musicians, singers, DJs
But my efforts would be a pale fail


I’m older now
And have learned
That possession was a false path
My role was never to own
Or to create music

I love it just as much as I did then
But I now know that my role is
To let it wash over me
To caress me with its beauty and power
Until I reach a point where it
Releases my singular purpose.
My talent.
My destiny.

I dance.
I shimmer. I reflect in movement
What music says in sound
I open my love organ
And breathe in music
Then breathe out motion sheathed
In blissful affection for the world
And all alive in it

Touch me while I move
And I will show you
The kaleidescopic possibilities of love

And joy

So no.
Me, you –
We’re not creators, curators
Beatmerchants or such.

But we dance

And dancing is freedom –
Dancing is love.

What Life’s About

When I was young
I watched adults cavorting,
Drinking, laughing, dancing.

And I thought ‘So. That’s what life is all about’

Now I am middle aged
I have seen old people suffering.
Illness, unhappiness and strife.

And I thought ‘Oh. That’s what life is all about’

I suspect that when I too am
Old, infirm and lonely, I will
Perhaps look beyond my immediate circumstances,
And see something bright and eternal shining through the gloom

And I’ll think ‘Ah. That’s what life is all about’

Waiting For The Fall

The tick
And the tock.

Going on
With the everyday.
Nothing’s changed.
Still the same.

The lies we tell

Feels like
Hurtling towards
Some new tomorrow.

The future shape
That the impact crater will make
How much
Will it hurt


I was sat beside Robert
Roland. He was stripping away
The layers of convention and
Getting to the heart of
His belief in the soul.

He drank champagne
And spoke like it too.

I tripped over the
Extended leg of Lev
He made a joke about
Particles and interference
I made an uncharacteristically
Witty and urbane
Response. He rewarded
Me with conversations
About worlds.

I talked poetry, language
And Africa with Janne,
And God with Peter Atkins

Mary Midgley was there too
And I had to keep them
Apart. She winked at me and
Bared her right bicep.

“I’ve a wicked left hook”
She twinkled mischeviously.

Then Steve burst into the room
Verbally jousting with Tankus
And the Henge. The Correspondents
Appeared and Justin rose from
His dining position and
Manned the decks.

Bruce leapt onto
The table and kicked
The crockery on the floor.

A plate struck Hilary on
The temple and I
Thought he was going to cry,
But with a surprisingly
Deft manoeuvre he jumped
Onto the table top and showed
Mr Bruce how to soca-rumba.

By now Roland was flirting with
Janne and Paul was showing
His muscles to Susan.

David Nutt was rolling spliffs for
Everyone in the kitchen
While Steve Fuller attempted to
Deconstruct the goings on.

The psychologists danced with
Each other and tuneless
Physicists sang.

I ordered another bottle of Perrier
Jouet and took one of David’s joints.

It was going to be a wonderful night.

We Give

We give
We give like the rose
Gives scent
And the tree gives shade

You take.
Take and regurgitate.
Take and claim
As your own.
Profit and analyse
And materialise
And say it was yours
All along.

You create
But you also hoarde
Create barriers of exclusivity.
Accents, breeding, wealth.
Social structures and
Byzantine cultural norms
To prevent
The appropriation on which
You otherwise thrive.

You burn with rage
When you see us playing with
That which has fallen from your bough.

We gave: jazz, blues, soul, reggae, bossa nova, mambo
You created: opera, ballet, classical