Category Archives: change

the singing ringing pole

The Singing Ringing Tree‘ (Das singende, klingende Bäumchen) was a strange East German fairy-tale film shown by the BBC in the 1960s. It is also the title of a sound sculpture in Lancashire on a hill called Crown Point above Burnley.

It’s not just the simple rhyme of the title that sticks in the imagination, especially for those who saw the uncanny film as small children, something about its odd atmosphere seemed to resonate. Apparently in a 2004 Radio Times poll it was voted “20th spookiest show ever”, even though it was a story for children.

This visual poem is about an encounter with a kind of life after death. The title is a small homage to the strangeness of that children’s film.

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the singing ringing pole

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Breaking the mould

Breaking the mould

In the box-van back a mirror cabinet
trembles leafy outer worlds under
a roller-back gate of steel, half open,
like the cloth-bound shell of my father’s desk,
a sticking portal to cryptic drawers, tiny shelves,
to faint unsmoked tobaccos of before.

Ahead, and through my windscreen,
outside inside, green shimmers framed
by the mover strapped hardwood mouldings,
whisper hints of a remote Narnian spring.

Breaking the Mould grins in lean sans-serif,
strap-line wry beneath the tailgate logo.
I pray granny’s paper-lined display case
will pass Dens Road’s potholes un-cracked,
that still somewhere seven more years’ luck,
or even fair Cair Paravel, might be found intact.

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old post

windstream whittled

boundary lines surrendered

sculpture on the way

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Stravaigin’ the scrow

handleHow long is the scroll? Continue reading


Telling Time

It’s been quite a long time since I first read a poem to a ‘live’ audience. A few years in fact. Last week I got around to standing up in front of a small group of people in a (fairly) public space again.  The occasion was an ‘echo’ event at DCA where people were responding to an exhibition of the unusual slow animations of the artists IC-98. My poem tries to do it’s own explaining, so, I think I’ll just let it…

In response to an exhibition of work by IC-98. Dundee, January 2016. Continue reading


White heart

11418048-largeThis poem was written after I saw a picture of a ‘ghost heart’. This is a kind of ‘protein scaffold’ in researchers hope to be able use to grow a new human heart which will not have problems with rejection by the recipient’s immune system. It’s a remarkable image, I found it at once beautiful, hopeful, and troubling. (more about ‘ghost hearts’…)
rejection
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White heart

Delicate snowball cradled in latex,
Grotesque confectionary beauty,
Like a glass seed distilled from haar frost,
A harvested death, still unprimed for life.
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Wrapped in an eastern widow’s veil,
A bridal chalice engraved with loss,
Gently cupped with gloved competence,
A denatured vessel etched in air.
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Reborn, bloody, swollen and restarted,
Will this pale ornament seem quite so fine?
Bonny is as bonny dances, pressing
By hot and ruddy, stealing heat from stone.
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The image cusps our movement in-between,
Risky hopes drawn from disembodied flesh.
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Vigiles

visual_verse_logoA short poem at Visual Verse

“Pose set, yet as yet not unbalanced,
A mill swung pivot hinting coy.”

…you can read the whole poem (and others from the same prompt) here…

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