recalled her candled cakes

image: Neringa Normantaite


haunted by Holly, your sister,

you never ever saw her

– still, you so missed her.


deep your grief, scary

it’s cause and timing –

desolate you sat on stairs.


abyssal emotion uncovered,

spooked by age similarity

–  four, same as big brother.


recalled her candled cakes

each April Fools Day;

no crying now she makes.


fondly regarded even still,

considered name tattoo,

– void she cannot fill.


against biblical hope

recently you turned –

turn true the telescope.


Older Books Generally Preferred


Welcome world of printed words,

out-of-print authors best esteemed;

older books generally preferred,

echoing from an ‘ancien regime’.


Books once voluminously collected,

shoulder-leaning spines on shelves,

few studied, sparsely inspected:

vain aspirations, hungry inner self.


Bookmarked pages wait in vain,

underscore by scholar autodidact;

spirit of hope, sin of human-stain:

biblio thoughts, travels mapped.


History, biography, poetry and prose,

and some small-press limited editions;

my biblio acquisition finally slows:

fulfilled all book collecting ambitions.


photo: Dora Kazmierak

Anarchic pilgrim

anarchic pilgrim 2anarchic pilgrim

Oh yes! Oh no!

Usually fast, rarely slow

– Louis again on the go!


Sometimes sending useful links,

endless emails or jesting jinks

(too much coffee he clearly drinks)


Too many ideas, never redundant,

too impatient, far too abundant,

frequently passionate… or pungent.


Oh yes! Oh no!

usually fast, rarely slow

– Louis again on the go!


Too many questions, asking why,

alpha-pushy, straining for blue-sky

– Do i hear you silently sigh?


When will alerts cease to bleep?

Doesn’t he ever go to sleep?

Something to share, never to keep.


Where does he get all his zip?

Sometimes an occasional blip –

anarchic pilgrim with bag of tricks.


Oh yes! Oh no!

Usually fast, rarely slow

– Louis again on the go!

Father’s Tie Collection


A selection of father’s tie collection,

light-enhanced, silken sheen glows,

even from a distance, his style shows;

life long his textile trade connection.


Fabric handled with reverent care,

close-examined, weave-pattern strong;

hand woven fabric, all day long,

such woollen craft nowadays rare.


Cardboard boxes hold old wool weaves

in the cramped cottage sitting-room,

homaged, now-absent handlooms:

craftsman’s creed firmly believed.


Wales, a far cry from his teen times

of city skies, fogged factory fumes,

daydreams in war-time classrooms:

he chafed at schoolroom confines.


A first and then a second chance,

art college classes in between,

Arts and Craft visions clearly seen,

textiles homaged, life-long trance.


Silent now those singing shuttles,

symbolic loom reluctantly sold;

providence-blessed hundredfold:

emotional, fond mohair cuddle.


first to smoke a cigarette


first to smoke a cigarette,

first to kiss lips, not for bet,

first across Atlantic on jumbo jet.

youngest of three brothers,

yellow,  allocated colour;

first-favoured by mother.

solo-travelled on country bus,

pirate stations found, another plus;

one-upmanship my trademark suss.

disc disciple, surfin’ sounds,

hated, many hand-me-downs;

furiously fought for: fraternal crowns.

the only boy to boarding school,

rebel runaway, broke many rules,

sank not swam in swimming pools.

family fracturing I luckily escaped,

scarred siblings, equally scraped;

hopeful Hemmings…not hero-caped.

Through warm pools


Our drenched dog runs, creating rings in sea,

distant tidal rope stretches across evening bay,

wavelets throw scarves over shoulders, carefree.

wet sand mirrors the pastel sky display,


Through warm pools our bare feet idly walk,

clouded horizons our spectacled eyes enjoy,

sea gulls gather in government and squawk,

accelerating train whirrs like an electric toy.


Summer temperatures will soon down-fall,

suspended then shoeless tide-out trips,

fireside reading will resume, authors call:

different horizons scanned for seagoing ships.


heaven happily shocks

the author recently commissioned a newly worded gravestone for his three forebears, that accurately reflects the shared chronology of their unhappy endings…


Mid-war easter Monday, such ironic reverse

of resurrection, grandfather’s beliefs faltered,

strangle-hands no longer holy: sin-cursed

  • how barren now, Sabbath-palmed psalter.


door-note stated: police presence required,

grandmother returned from friends nearby,

her sick young son was resting, always tired;

(negative local gossips never nuance as to why).


absent her husband in council semi-detached,

from canal-side walk he would never return,

resolution showed small faith: self-despatch

  • drowned Christian conscience churned.


that midnight, canal dredge sadly revealed

his lifeless body, long-departed troubled soul:

hopefully heaven-bound, emotionally healed;

tell me – does he now in New Jerusalem stroll?


the double family funeral hit Derby headlines,

officiating pastor rebuked clamouring crowds,

widow and older child sought hopeful signs;

terrace tongues wagged, the traumatised cowed.


grandmother later wrote herself out of picture,

remarriage  brought no salvation or solace;

did society, or psychic-self, make stricture?

finally, violent-silenced her Hallelujah chorus.


in “better place” – their small stone suggested

  • absent any muscular scripture that mocks,

that vain grave phrase I personally contested:

revelation text redeems, heaven happily shocks…