Category Archives: romance

Of the Marvels

This month’s prompt from Wyvern Poets was ‘a found poem’. I’d been looking at tweets by Martin O’Leary with images from HiRISE, an incredibly high resolution camera on the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter.

The pictures are amazing. Some of them make me think of colour field paintings by Rothko, some of lush folds of the richest silks. The titles of the images interested me too. They seem to make an accidental blend of succinct description and (at least to my ears) sensuously exotic place names.

I decided to make a piece that brought these titles and images together with some found words by another famous traveler to strange lands – Marco Polo.

The result was this found poem/video.

With special thanks to NASA/JPL/University of Arizona for the use of their fabulous images, and to Martin O’Leary for @HiRISEBot.

Of the Marvels

Best viewed with sound ON, and better yet, some nice cosy headphones…

More –



Slow dance

I’ve been giving my Soundcloud site a little attention.  There are one or two earlier recordings there, but I’ve also just uploaded a reading of a short new poem called ‘Slow Dance’.

I wrote this as part of a short writing course I attended recently at Dundee University given by the excellent Lindsay MacGreggor (Lindsay has just published a new pamphlet called ‘Weepers’)






On the crosswind leg of my circuit
I’m skirting iliotibial discomfort,
navigating my cranky knees
over the shoulders of the grey-green hill.

When at thirty-five hundred feet
the flying fish rise in silence,
wind shielded in a near gale,
until they skein by my side.

Condensing like a myth
born from Maol’s upland ocean,
in crisp naval monochromes,
three dozen barnacles bank as one.

They vee downwind southerly,
leaving me grinning like a loon.
It’s only a practice ring around,
for their pinions sing of Svalbard.


What good is awe?

Inspired by a short piece in New Scientist about the work of Paul Piff at the University of California.

What good is awe?

imageWhat good is awe?
Not the fluffy kitty kind,
Or a super sized awe-some
Superlative inflated
From good old good.
But The Real McCoy
The visceral mountain,
The vista of tears,
Fear inducing scale,
Time defying strength,
That neither knows nor cares
Standing and wobbling slightly
In the face of raw unflinching eternity.

What good is that?

Turns out you are not
Quite what you were,

Unless you are a Bonaparte,
Perspective shifts.
You shrink –
A little.

There is less visible you
While at the same time
You grow –
A little.

And at least for a twinkle you
Can out step your own eclipse,
Be quicker to lend a hand,
Find more time for the rest,
And see, and hear, and help –
A little.

More than
Good, that’s



The Sound of Merlin


A sliding purr,
Oh yes indeed!
But no tabby here.
Rolls among Royces –
The Barry White of aerial intent.






The title for this tiny poem came from a suggestion that I spotted by artist Ian Spicer. As soon as I saw Ian’s title, I could almost feel the unmistakable throb of a low level Spitfire pass.

May 8th is my birthday – as well as that of personal hero and national treasure David Attenborough (Many Happies!) – but more importantly May 8th 2015 is the 70th Anniversary of VE Day, and of the almost unbelievable relief of a horrifically hard won peace: let’s give thanks and remember.

I happened on this video later… a visceral addition to this post! Some language slightly NSFW, but you do have to have the sound up (preferably LOUD)…


A holdfast moment to bind us in safety,
As bomb-proof an anchor as any cam or friend.

The book was yours years before it held me,
Before Bedivere by the water’s edge.

A once and future trove of line drawn paladins,
Feet thrust into stirrups, pennants and courage high.

Sweeping fifties gothic, like full-plate Cadillacs,
Lances couched to vanquish any doubt.

And that’s me! And that’s you!
At the old house, or on a beach somewhere.

Pinning certainty to the surface of each print
Struck home with a finger like Damascene steel.




February 15th

Together or alone, Carrot
Is mostly a dog walker’s hill.
You can see the three trees from Fife.

But today it’s hoar fog and grey winds.
Twelve roses are anchored at the shelter.
Where someone remembered yesterday.