Seagulls sound like kittens mewling, in the distance they do. 

I live on a council estate inland. There’s a canal though. In recent years before she died when mum would visit I would look at the seagulls and wonder why they were so far in. She told me it was a sign bad weather was coming, they had flown inland to brace themselves against a coming storm. She did this type of advice and information in a matter of fact voice as she wiped down the worktop with a piece of kitchen towel (bounty super absorbent pockets!) and got to reach a child to stop them from falling over with the other hand. Her knowledge of the seagulls of the Irish West fleeing the Atlantic bought to bear in Surrey England. She kept my education going, still telling me to go and see the moon and really look at it as a woman in her 40’s being told by a woman in her late 70’s.

 This week marches were on the move, protests. There are attacks on people because of their accents and skin colour and Gulliver has returned to Lilliput. How funny, we all expected King Arthur and he would reflect our own nobility. Instead we got Gulliver astride a split nation spitting bile at each other. 

Storms are coming, maybe I will ask the seagulls for advice. But then, all they do is fly away and squawk. Maybe they are only good at self preservation, is there a wise animal who can tell me how to weather the storm by finding strength with others. Shame we don’t have elephants here, only long memories and deeper grudges instead of gentle encouragement and no one being left behind.


The Lady & Lord of Misrule

PeaceMay your bed be in silence

That folds around you like egg whites in a meringue 

Like the shaving foam cream from a 1970’s school pudding

That muffles and warms your rest

But then, cloying suffocating and lack of breath

Can bring you to the surface again, gasping.

And longing for the rich brocades of dances that made mathematical patterns on deep red rugs and shining parquet

Rejecting the plastic generation

Taking off your housecoat of nylon shame

And standing naked before camber wick

Longing for the day when a robe of silk or velvet were enveloping and toes were bare and blushed with cold

To rub along a man’s back deep in that slumberous feather bed

Wild hair, no lacquer known and deep growls

Render you the lady of misrule

Pearls of wisdom drip from your lips and no necklace contains your throat

Your voice unfettered rings out chimes the thoughts of your day and your deep deep truth

And your laugh, no one stifles your laugh

You are the lady of misrule and no Lord has ever ruled or will

But still a fine companion he has been that match for match has made your world spin

To and from him you dance but you are always in each other’s circle

And fools are they who see anything less than the connections you make together

That keeps the world going aware of its precipitation or warmth

From writhing within your deep silence and abandon of convention

Your brocade rubs and velvet smoothes your skin erupts

You keep your appointment holding strings of truth you will both tell the outside world

As is your whim who goes and dons the robes of prophecy

And puts forth, it can only be one at a time it cannot be together

Emerges to decree

The weather from their home on the mantelpiece

To the ignorant hordes who know not that in their midst

The Lord and lady of misrule take their pleasure and disdain their subjects worship


asked to writeof young lives lost

shelled and burned relentless frost
happy home to relentless fear

brave face conceals hot tears

once a hug and safety 

the currency you traded

exchanged inexplicable hatred

bones exhausted hope faded
At Marathon

Xerxes honouring father

and so on and so forth

these wars get ever harder

millenium echoes of ‘what’s it all for?’
and weaved into the words of life

new names come

sprung from their strife

our everyday

the balaclava

named from pain frozen hell like lava

became a young boys winter wear

running down streets without a care
cheerfully we sing of barrels rolled

Towns in Ireland myths unfold

a hundred years ago

In a room

a clock ticked

whilst cannon boomed

the heartbeat of a mother waiting to hear

that precious child coming near

the footstep on the path instead

solemnly told her

He was dead
If you see the sight of battlefield

with blood and guts and brain all spilled

sightless eyes who know no pain

Think of the ones who feel it again

and again and again and again
The ones who walk with the field inside flesh

Where their children are killed each day afresh

who cared for them fed them and loved them each day

but when the monster demanded them

waved them away

 Fairy stories talk of scary dragons

 demanding the people hand over their young

of evil archetype make panto players

but still it goes on and on and on

Bravery for an ideal or not is a hard won thing

sometimes pretended, just to get through the turn, away from mother, 

toward an unknown king.