The Iron King

The iron king has his moment,

Bringing a smile to the jester’s

Turned-away face …

But attention is,as always,

On the wizard.

All hold breath when he stands,

Seeing the lumps in his stooped walk.


But the old power is in him,

Skilful fingers summon winds –

That cavort, tease, chill, refresh,

Sparkling colours that blend, bend

And the spellbindings we

Need to help us take up

Plough, chain or sword,

Just when the taking up

Was getting hard.



Who Dares?

My Friday:

Your Wednesday;

But time is harsh,

Allows no detours.

In the window,

His blue shirt

Dotted with rain

Is a familiar man:

Is it someone I know,

Someone I have yet to meet?

I am distracted by

The victory songs

Of impossible imps:

Echoes of history’s

Moon drums and flash

Fingers of thunder.

The past has a future.

Who dares deny it?

Only the desperate and

The truly dangerous.


(Inspired by Who I Am: the autobiography of Pete Townsend, Diwali and the Walsall v Lincoln City F.A. Cup replay))


Small Boys

There’s so much joy,

So much power and beauty,

In the faces of people

Singing together;

And in the big-small spaces

Between the notes.




But the cannons are

Facing east again

And, although we all

Stood side by quiet side

In the eleventh-hour silence,

Small boys will continue

To play soldier.


(Remembrance Day)


Lady of Spirit

At the end of the world,

We paused, breathing hard –

The lady of spirit  –

She helped me float,

I helped her climb –

And I. We looked

Across the lovely, dry rocks

That came from the

Words of God.


(For Deborah)/Petra, Jordan




Rocks That Float

Huge time-passing rocks

That float, like clouds

In a sea of grains.


Friend of the sands,

Whose carpet is

Knowledge and fire

Following invisible corridors

Written in the stars –

By the winds of histories,

And faith.


Desert camp, Jordan, 16/10/2012

The Violet Distance

In the violet distance

Sand eats the sun again;

Soon cold-rock peace

Will settle horizon’s disputes.

Bad-company hero

Told me (years ago)

The sky is burnin’.

I believe – in this

Desert land of faiths –

I begin to understand.

A little bit of desolation

Is desirable on

Access Action Strasse … and

Some minutes with angels

Will weave silk

For the soul.



One for Sorrow.

Was my salute really so poor

That the black-and-white

Felt able to betray me so,

So completely?

Seven flights of seven steps

To bow, trembling,

Before my judgement god.

The desert lords,

Who own the water,

Will have the final word;

Name me




A title that will

March with me

Into eternity.

(Jerash, Jordan)


That Make Us Prisoner

Naming the things

That keep us prisoner

Is not enough to

Make us free.

I can scrub up,

Bend my knee,

Pretend the timber

Is worth the tree,

That gold is

 More valuable

Than the sea.


How much does a feather weigh?

Giving up?

Ask the cat,

That threw it away.