Sunday, April 30

Pot of tulips

I move the faded pot of tulips to the back of the garden to hide their shredded leaves and tatty petals. Their red still anchors me.

Saturday, April 29

Afternoon train

There are five of them standing in the gap between carriages - big men with red faces. They begin the same chant at the top of their voices over and over - ea-SY ea-SY es-SY shaaaad-uuuuuup..... their voices carry through the train and slap the other passengers as they go.

Friday, April 28

Thursday, April 27

More closely

His voice is ordinary, and sometimes he is out of tune, but he uses the words and the melody and his guitar and says something we want to listen more closely to, something we all recognise.

Wednesday, April 26


She has come to the right place at the right time, but it is a week early. Her enormous need transmutes to shame and she apologises, calls herself stupid.

Tuesday, April 25

A good place

The tree is a shapely cloud on a tall, narrow trunk, and is dripping with white blossoms. Two purple balloons are nestled deep inside the tangle of branches, snagged on their break for the sky. They have decided after all that this is a good place to die.

Monday, April 24

A strange contraption

It's a strange contraption - two high poles sticking up on either side of a huge trampoline, with bungies running from the top of the poles to a harness in the middle. Various sizes of children are strapped into the harness by a man with big muscles. Something electrical happens and they ricochet up into the air, higher than the tops of the poles, their hair flying, their faces cracked into grins. It's set up next to the river running through the shopping centre - maybe a couple of hundred people are sitting in small groups on the concrete steps going down to the water on either side, eating or chatting. Then a grown-up, with a little weight on her, steps up to the trampoline - she says she's watched the children bounce for two years, she says she's ready. She gets strapped in and gets pinged up into the air where she shrieks a little and then bounces up again, higher. People sitting across the river start to notice her, and by the time she does a backward somersault mid-air there's an 'ooh!' from the crowd. When she steps off there is a surge of cheering: we wish we had the guts, and we are feeling happy for her; we are feeling this all together.

(I've been nominated for Poet Laurete of the Blogosphere by Poetisphere - if you'd like to vote go here. Thanks!)

Sunday, April 23

Parked car, early morning

A full bottle of coke, left on the car roof last night by someone happy and tired.

Saturday, April 22

Lit up

Clutches of creamy yellow primroses, keeping their faces close to the grass as if shy, rise up from the homes of worms and light up the day.

Friday, April 21

Four-lettered word

Rather than the open magnolia trees or the scattering of small white blossoms on the verges, I remember a four-lettered word beginning with 'C' drawn into the heavy dust of a traffic sign with a fingertip.

Thursday, April 20

Three postcards

Three postcards of Iceland: a large building made of ice-bricked domes with light leaking from inside, a blue close-up of the door with antlers set on deer hides for handles, and a close-up of deer, a yellow cloud rising from their hot mouths.

Wednesday, April 19


Wherever I turn there's a curled-up cat - they like to sleep in my shadow.

Tuesday, April 18

Monday, April 17

Rainbow buttons

A bag of white chocolate discs, one side covered in many-coloured hundreds and thousands. They taste of the past.

Sunday, April 16

A slippery slope

A roe deer hesitates on the roadside, and jerks her body back towards the hedge as I approach. I'd like to pull over and stop the traffic, but that would be the start of a slippery slope.

Saturday, April 15

white magnolia petals

white magnolia petals hang from the branches in beautiful tatters

Friday, April 14

The meeting

The squirrel is balancing along the fence at the back of the gardens. Next door is a white cat with a pink collar, sitting on her shed roof. Looking from the window upstairs I can see their meeting coming, and wonder if I should open a window and shout out a warning to the squirrel, but it looks big enough to look after itself. It sees the cat just before the she sees it, and leaps easily onto a steep roof and climbs until it's up near the birds. The cat sits and looks greedily until she gets a crick in her neck.

Thursday, April 13

Wednesday, April 12


He's wiry, with ginger hair, and his face is more lines than it is smooth skin. They speak of a life honestly lived, more or less, which is all anyone can hope for.

Tuesday, April 11

25 Erleigh Road

It's an official-looking building, maybe something to do with the health service. You can see through the hedge and into the car-park, where a young man is sitting alone in his white van and crying his eyes out.

Monday, April 10

Snakeshead fritillaries

The pale fritillaries hang their heads and play their silent music as the evening comes on.

Sunday, April 9

A poem by Mary Oliver

cut out and tacked up on the wall shivers as I breathe


Isn't it plain the sheets of moss, except that
they have no tongues, could lecture
all day if they wanted about

spiritual patience? Isn't it clear
the black oaks along the path are standing
as though they were the most fragile of flowers?

Every morning I walk like this around
the pond, thinking: if the doors of my heart
ever close, I am as good as dead.

Every morning, so far, I'm alive. And now
the crows break off from the rest of the darkness
and burst up into the sky--as though

all night they had thought of what they would like
their lives to be, and imagined their strong, thick wings.

~Mary Oliver

Saturday, April 8

Candy-pink duffel coats

Identical five year old black girls wearing identical candy-pink duffel coats glide past holding hands, as if they've walked straight from the pages of a fairy tale.

Friday, April 7

Spring tree

It probably colours its blossoms to woo hungry insects, but I'd rather think it's simply fond of pink.

Thursday, April 6

Erin at nearly 4 at the seaside

She's still a little wary, and shies away twice during the day when I ask for a hug. Then I fall over, and when I sit up she runs over and wraps her arms tight around my neck.

Wednesday, April 5

They carried her

He has slicked back hair and a sharp suit, and takes a photo of the front of the house before fumbling for a key and letting himself in. The lady who used to live there wore a headscarf that framed her heart-shaped fine-boned face. Her body was a dancer's body, but it was tired of dancing. She always smiled. They carried her into an ambulance and she flew away.

Tuesday, April 4

Spring springing

Silver thrashes her tail at a pigeon on next door's roof.

Monday, April 3

Watching blue skies through the train window

Like a sudden drifting cloud of pale green, the clean smell of virgin olive oil fills the carriage.

Sunday, April 2

This ballpoint pen

This ballpoint pen, with BALLPOINT PEN written neatly along its length, and a ring of tiny white stars before the 'B', also deserves to be written about.

Saturday, April 1

To be taken three times a day with meals

I pull the hundreds and thousands of words in the Saturday papers through me: it takes hours. Afterwards I wonder if I would have been better off taking a single poem three times - once before breakfast, one after lunch and one more as the sun went down.