Small ghosts

And of all my small ghosts

Still you persist

My sweet Sammie;

Gladdening my heart

Even as my eyes water

In the glare of the sun.


Still you run ahead

On moorland tracks,

Dancing to the sound of the curlew,

And startling the grouse

Exploding in a chattering burst of panic

From the long grass.


I almost see you, my small ghost,

A joyful, leaping,

An outpouring of love.


A sudden movement in the fallen leaves,

I turn my head to a butterfly

Kissing my cheek with gilded wings.


My lovely, lovely little ghost;

I throw a pebble into the still pool,

And see you dive in a rainbow of droplets,

And afterwards, as the ripples fade,

I hear your distant bark.


And tonight,

As I drift into sleep,

As I fall into the well of dreams,

My hand will remember your tongue

And I will feel the comfort of your warm body

Settling next to mine.



“This is a secret”,

she says,

leaning towards me


“Please don’t tell”

she begs me;

“I won’t”

I reply.


I have my own secrets,

I will keep yours safe

with mine.

I am the priest,

The confessional,

All secrets stop.



Disappointed she leans in,

“Please don’t tell,”

” especially say nothing to”

“I would hate for it to be known”.

She looks at me



and I smile

And say nothing.

An aftertaste of summer.

A heathland, studded with ling and interrupted by butterflies.

An errant dandelion smiling to the late sun

Lone, his fellows long dispersed

On a puff of wind.

Mignonette and willowherb,

Vibrant edges to a fallowed field.


Has Summer really been?

Leaving Autumnal, golden splendour in her place?

Harebells under the ash, and yarrow

Bound by bedstraw,

Green and yellow in the faded grass.


Crisp bracken in the lane,

Drowsing with bees, whilst iridescent flies

Sip brambles amid a flurry

Of wine red rose petals

Falling like dusk.


Take off your mask, my love;

I see you.

The smile on your face,

The fear in your heart.


I see hurt and sorrow,

Rejection and loss.

Take off your mask

And let in the sun.

Let love

Illuminate the shadows.


Those small demons

Thrive in the darkness.

They can only grow

Behind the mask.

In exchange for your heartspace

In exchange for your soul,

They will consume you.


They whisper in your heart,

“You are not worthy”

“No-one could love you”

” Who would want this? “.

Take off your mask.

Let in the warmth,

The light,

The love.


They will fight the light

For they love you too,

These goblins.

They will give you their dark gifts

And you will feed them your pain,

Your life.


Take off your mask, my love,

I see you,

And I am not afraid.

Absolute trust.

“This dog is dangerous

You cannot work with him”,

I am told.


But I can work with this dog.

He will not attack me

I understand his nature.


I will not take foolish risks,

That is not trust

It is stupidity.


He has his own agenda

And is true to himself

As I am to myself.

I trust this dog absolutely.


If I walk into the fire I will burn.

I trust Fire absolutely.


I walk into the storm

I have no protection.

I am wet and cold.

I trust Storm absolutely.


“And do you trust me?” he asks

” Absolutely “.



Imbolc 2019

February rides in under a blanket of snow

Leaving January unmourned, unloved,

Dull and wet on a bed of broken baubles,

Unfulfilled promises,

Trailing sad, tattered streamers in it’s wake.

But February,

Oh, February,

Glorious, vibrant February.

Sparkling in white and hidden green,

Black branches, glistening with snow melt

Against a blue, blue, sky.

Heavy with fat buds,

Sizzling with life, and ready,

Ready to burst into the promised Spring.

Patient sheep cluster by the farm gate,

Their bellies full with hay,

With lambs.

The room is bright with the young sun;

Daffodils in a stone jug overlook the garden.

A pot of bulbs on the table

Soup on the stove

Bread rising by the fire.

Two dogs asleep on the rug.


Everything is coloured by your absence.

In the beginning, a heartbeat, golden

Shining, your sun blazing.

In the silence before the dawn

The warm shadows, fragrant with loss.

The promise, wild and exotic, scarlet

Fading to pink, to white, to nothingness.


Everything is coloured by your absence.

The midday heat, langorous, sliding across the curtains

Heavy with hope, with despair, with lack,

Thick as honey which gleams

And sickens with it’s sweetness.


Everything is coloured by your absence.

A field of poppies

Of the following corn

Of the dust.


Everything is coloured by your absence.

Evening sun, pain bleeding across the sky

Moon’s face furrowed by storm clouds

Disintegrate into pale cobwebs

Of a disappointed night.