Saturday, December 03, 2016

on the corrugated
bike-shed roof
multi-coloured balls

Blithe Spirit Vol.26 No.3 September 2016
an old man shouts
about peace

Blithe Spirit Vol.26 No.3 September 2016
the relentless pounding
of a workman's hammer

Blithe Spirit Vol.26 No.3 September 2016
moving in
no faces in the pictures
that I hang

Beginning. BHS Anthology 2016

Thursday, October 06, 2016


I'm happy to say that I'm taking on a new role as tanka editor of the journal Presence.

Presence has been my favourite journal publishing haiku, tanka, haibun and similar poetry ever since I first encountered it back in 1999. What I enjoy most about it is the way that it encourages and accepts different voices, different styles and different opinions, giving respect to all. Somehow this has been done without ever forgetting the traditions and aesthetics that these forms have grown out of that are, in some sense, timeless.

I will forever be indebted to the founding editor of Presence, Martin Lucas, for his encouragement and for being an inspirational writer and mentor. Even though we only met on a relatively few occasions I considered him a friend and one who's opinion I always placed great store by. His loss was a loss to the whole haiku community.

I'm happy to be tanka editor in particular because I have a special affection for the form. I love the way it combines a similar restraint to haiku while allowing just a little more leeway for expressing emotion directly or presenting a more subjective experience. While I find it harder to write a tanka that I'm pleased with than a haiku, it's also more satisfying when I manage it. I look forward to the opportunity to select and showcase what I consider to be the best contemporary tanka.

safe haven
a blue and white anchor
on the bed-cover

Presence 55 June 2016
woken from dreams
of gentle zephyrs
by a wild wind

Presence 55 June 2016
parallel lines
they never reach the other side
of Abbey Road

Presence 55 June 2016
the dockyards
under a zinc sky
first daffodils

Presence 55 June 2016

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

olive trees
a twist of vein
in an old man's thigh

One Hundred Gourds 4:4 September 2015
Galaxy of Dust. Red Moon Anthology 2015

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

defence stocks rise
another town reduced
to smoking rubble

Presence No.54 February 2016

Monday, August 08, 2016

spring garden
the child inside begins
to share her secrets

Blithe Spirit Vol.26 No.2 May 2016
we travel in silence
while I try not to see
the signs

Blithe Spirit Vol.26 No.2 May 2016
new love
introduces me to
a different kind of blues

Blithe Spirit Vol.26 No.2 May 2016

Thursday, May 26, 2016


It's a nightmare world, freedom is an illusion, I never really got away. I wander in a wasteland and find the old house. All the walls are broken down. I'm frustrated to be back here, trapped here, so I struggle to escape. I struggle in my sleep and find I'm flying. I see familiar places on the ground. The buildings are derelict, the roads potholed, and I'm afraid to come back down to earth. I dream of making contact, tuning in to the calm voice of air traffic control, speaking to someone who can bring me in safely to a place that's not a war zone.

an incoming wave
deposits debris
on the beach

Blithe Spirit Vol.26 No.1 February 2016

Thursday, February 25, 2016

the ocean passes
mysteriously beneath
this floating world

Blithe Spirit 25.4 November 2015
drone footage
can't see through
the fog of war

Blithe Spirit 25.4 November 2015

Saturday, February 20, 2016


Brick dust rising and the sound of heavy machinery from the roadworks, on the far side of the park. A regular beat of metal on metal, four beats then a pause, then four more beats. A saw, rasping, grinding, in short bursts, against something resistant. The machines and the clothing, hard hats and hi-vis vests, flash with light from the low sun. The traffic, reduced to a single lane, stops and starts to the rhythm of the signals, red, amber, green.  I'm drawn with a quality of fascination to the labour of road building, reconstruction, urban orthopedics. The physical forces involved in cutting through, straightening, taking apart to rebuild in a form better suited to future flow. The slow healing of arterial routes.

tall poppies
a brightness beneath
the approaching storm

Presence 53 October 2015
Galaxy of Dust. Red Moon Anthology 2015
passing clouds
travelling without
a destination

Presence 53 October 2015
'Beyond Words'  BHS/Bulgarian Haiku Union anthology 2017
inarticulate desire
the first warm
of spring

Presence 53 October 2015
every day
it takes a little longer
to recall
all the things lost
never to return

Presence 53 October 2015

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Doing NaHaiWriMo again.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

midsummer night
in a room that overlooks the sea
the ebb and flow

Blithe Spirit Vol.25 No.3 August 2015

a soft light
rising long before
the dawn

Blithe Spirit Vol.25 No.3 August 2015
morning calm
a shaft of sunlight
moves across the wall

British Haiku Society Member's Anthology 2015 'Edge'