Category Archives: sound


script1_verticalI accidentally attended a workshop at the very excellent Scottish Poetry Library yesterday. ‘Accidentally’ because the workshop wasn’t exactly about what I though it was – my fault for not reading the small print in sufficient detail once again!  I should have looked up acrostic first (well, now I know…)

stravaigWhat the workshop was about was about image and poetry, but in the sense of using text and other elements to make a poem that is spatial as well as (or maybe more than) temporal.  Well, so to speak…

…clear as mud? Think ‘concrete poetry’ (for example).

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, however, so I decided to give it a go…

To be honest, I felt a bit at sea – I’ve always found this kind of thing quite difficult to get into. But in any event it was good to grapple with it with people who didn’t.  I was impressed by the range of visual and crafting, as well as writing skills that other participants brought to the party. (Of course, having actually got what the workshop was to be about initially, it probably was more likely that they would know where they were at!)

As always though, it’s grand to have a chance to see shiny minds at work. I was struck by a kind of ‘lightness of step’ that I admire a great deal in much of what people were doing. Watching (and listening) to this I sometimes feel I’m gazing at dancers in point shoes bourrée their way past a place where I’ve stomped in with wellies and a view to some spadework.

This morning, however, I thought of a way of bringing some of my partly developed efforts from yesterday together. Of course it took about three and a half hours to make – but here it is, in all its thirty second splendour!  With thanks to Helen and Malcy for a very educational and interesting experience, and to all the other participants, for being rather amazing…




An echoed note bends from my
throated whisper to pipe your name.

In the morning I will see
A curlew fly with purpose, horizon
Perpendicular to the driven path.

His bill less hooked than remembered,
His flight as strong as I recall,
His ghost cry stilled in passage.

RSPB’d data beats decreasing,
Awaits a weirder silent season,
As we glance shivers when you sing.





Beech pools

Inquisitions of rain discover
Cusps in Brighty’s surface.

Shallow lacunae warmed
By fallen silks of beech.




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)…

Present in scent


In the evening darkness
You tap recent grace notes.

Singing moments more clearly
Than the instant of a bulb.

Coffee smooth as an unguent
Heralds near satisfactions.

The air dilutes her presence
Until a key click blooms with return.

If we shared a language
The words would still be silent.

Scents of slow time shadowing,
This longer minded now.




The hobby drone

PtarmiganSubbuteo bombito v. Lagopus muta

“Let’s buzz a ptarmigan!”
Well, let’s not, I crab,
Silently defending,
Inwardly rankling at this sudden
Synthetic intrusion. Continue reading

Flight desk

Flight desk is a poem in three parts. I wondered if I should break it up into three separate posts.  I thought that maybe people like poetry on the web not to be too lengthy. But I then I thought that it’s not such a long poem really, and that, if I was reading aloud, I’d definitely read all three parts together.

So in the end I decided to just post all the parts together. There is also a recorded reading – I’m a bit fluey today, so my voice is a little different 🙂 !

flight-desk Continue reading