I’m not saying bikes are better


Let’s swap our seated places,

quit honking horns and pulling faces,

let’s all extend some kinder graces.


Lets both not break red stop lights,

let’s not trump wrongs against rights,

let’s pray none have to say last rites.


Let’s both apply our brakes and gears,

let all admit their faults and fears,

let’s show appreciation: say “cheers”.


Four wheels good but two wheels best

your left hand turns make me stressed:

cycling should be required for test.


We cyclists have no windows, nor roof,

ride tall in saddle but not aloof:

cyclists skulls aren’t shatterproof.


I’m not saying bikes are better,

I’m not condemning the carburettor –

we’re neither road royalty, nor beggar!


Lawrence Coster: The Apostle of Printing (c. 1420)

Screenshot 2019-05-09 at 19.30.13Screenshot 2019-05-09 at 19.30.13

Included in your crowded CV list:

candle-maker, auditor, and catechist;

by Dutch canals you wooed your beau,

setting her heart and mind aglow.


Then lone-seated, under willows etched,

slowly your sharp knife blade sketched

lovers initials on a branch, sharp incisions

birthed more than mere lover’s vision.


Betrothal present then parchment-wrapped,

cyphers sang in secret, cellulose sap

oozed out from peeled willow wood,

craftsman claimed such imprint good.


Later printed bible, salvation story told,

broke asunder all spiritual strangleholds:

people set free from sin and serf slavery,

freedom preached with godly bravery.


Laurens Janszoon Coster (c. 1370, Haarlem, the Netherlands – c. 1440), or Laurens Jansz Koster, is the name of a purported inventor of a printing press from Haarlem. He allegedly invented printing simultaneously with Johannes Gutenberg and is regarded by some in the Netherlands as having invented printing first. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurens_Janszoon_Coster

Hope Drunk Hearts

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Easter Springtide – Vitali Linitsky (Russian painter, mid 70s)



Ancient terror prophecies, torture proven true:

brow mock-crowned, blood-barbed thorns,

carpenter’s palms, nail-pinioned, chiselled through –

legs smashed, ankles anchored on cruel cruciform.


Eerie sun eclipse, dread-dark that slaughter scene,

Christ’s carcass buried in a borrowed tomb;

male followers fled, female friends stayed to keen

habeas corpus – but no body left to exhume.


Mistaken for mad, miracle-maker, water walker;

all our arrogant assumptions turned inside out:

prodigals restored, resurrection of dead daughters,

our sin-smudged slates wiped clean of doubt.


Hope-drunk hearts bow, hymn in gratitude:

free entry offered into kingdom come,

God’s oratorio without longitude or latitude –

blow loud the trumpet, strike hard the drum!



habeas corpus Literally, the phrase means “[we command] that you should have the [detainee’s] body [brought to court]”

April First Fools?

My wife wanted a Spring-born baby. Holly Hemmings was announced stillborn by the maternity hospital, ten days before her birth….We had prayed for a miracle. Holly was initially delivered by me, at 1 am in an isolated room, on April 1st, April Fools Day.

Her little brother,  aged almost four asked: “Isn’t it true when Jesus returns the baby will be alive?” We taught him bible stories but never taught that particular one. That was our miracle……And I know, that one new morning I will be able to give her an “overdue, long and loving embrace”. …

“He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.” – Revelation 21: 4

ibi 3 (2)

petitionary prayer. heavenly hope.

resurrection stories recalled.

oil-anointed. tear-baptised.

ballooned belly. birth pangs.


faith fools?


nurse absence. semi-abandoned.

sepia sheet stain spreads.

pained postnatal scream.

expected stillbirth begins.

all quiet. dead quiet.


faith fools?


flat floppy face. abstract gaze.

inert body quickly cooling.

lifeless love. breathless baby.

limbs floppy. mouth mute.

offered embrace useless.


faith fools?


cardboard box coffin. doll dimensions.

stencil stamped black cross.

harsh edge. skin sliver souvenir.

limbs petal peeling. raw ripped.

refrigerated. not resurrected…


April first fools?


descent into dark. hope eclipsed.

pinioned palms. body splinter stabbed.

only son broken. mercy mocked.

heaven howled. holy curtain ripped.

barrier broken. death abolished.


Father forsaken?


unwound sheets. perfumed pile.

cool cavern. hesitant angels.

whispered words: risen indeed…

no more tears. the old has passed.

reunion promise when He returns.


overdue, my long and loving embrace!

ibi (1)

Shaftesbury, the Poor Man’s Earl

You shrewdly observed the pathetic poor

that begged, brawled and swindled;

compelled to un-bolt unjustly locked doors:

scripture command and anger-kindled.


Children slept under weaving looms,

and tugged wagons deep in coal caverns,

roasted to death from smoke stack fumes;

parents impoverished by gin taverns.


In childhood, your kind, mindful maid

whispered maternal minded prayers;

despotic father’s ruthless rules obeyed

then you inherited title, became heir.


Laws crafted in House of Lords

gave English children fresh starts;

on consensus committees a chord

struck, re-fashioned harder hearts.


Prior debt damaged your family estate,

tarnished the sterling silver crest:

sold paintings, set service and plate,

tied-tenants were generously blessed.


Energy expended after many years,

indentured labourers freed from hell;

at state funeral hankies wiped tears,

prostitutes and royalty bid final farewell…

Bless, O sonic saints!


                                                                                                                                                         Grigory Sysoyev/TASS


Bless, big brass bell, bless:

slowly toll between earth and clouds,

bless the solitary in busy crowds;

celebrate thy song, long and loud!


Bless, smaller sibling sounds:

Downfall descant soft sensual peals,

bless hands, feet, fingers, heels:

hope pulled rope much mercy reveals.


Bless spirit-sparked icon song:

Ever eager, sonics slowly accelerating,

bless melodic minds, constantly creating,

satiate hungry hearts, no hesitating!


Bless, O sonic saints!

Awaken us from self-drugged sleep,

drag us up from drowning deep,

teach God-hope to treasure-keep.


Why many Russians freeze when they hear bells…



Creaking Carriages, Stuttering Slow


Creaking carriages, stuttering slow,

children wave and off we go,

speed parts their innocent smiles,

blurred black and white platform tiles,

rocking rhythm, cracked record style.


Squat country cottages – you smile so!

Good things in garden plots grow,  

sentried by slap-dash lean to‘s:

mismatched timber, weathered hues

all held by rusty nails or screws.

Shuttling, shouting – engines go!

pistons tandem not solo;

engines applaud, shunting the sun,

pilgrimage long distance now begun,

freighting blessings by the ton.

Soon rural station shouts hello!

Energetic engines start to slow,

window down, burnt peat

and porridge oats in air smell sweet;

cocks crow, cows moan, sheep bleat.

Workers shout that train must go!

Giddy swallows glide down low,

old fashion station in need of care;  

hand shields eyes from summer glare,

manure perfumes Portarlington air…

Words can Harm, Words can Heal

Words can harm, words can heal,

words restore what satan steals;

words can sing, words can spiel

holy words once multiplied one meal.

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Wise words win, terse tongues blunder,

spiteful words pull people asunder;

still small voice, powerful as thunder –

Word-soaked souls no man can plunder.


Screenshot 2019-01-31 at 16.34.10                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Words  can pray, words can plead,

merciful words kill cruel creeds;

words weave stories, words can bleed,

words spur surrender: proud people concede.

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Words bring anger, words speak peace

charters redeem slaves, words release 

words can start, words can cease

hope-sparked words help spirits decease.

Screenshot 2019-01-31 at 16.34.10

Words from the young, words from old,                

words can become prophecies foretold;

words can be timid, or gain toehold,

lumpen like lead or glittering like gold.

From Scrap Planks and Pram Wheels

Screenshot 2019-01-31 at 14.19.25 (1)


From scrap planks and pram wheels

our go kart was assembled,

Forumla One resembled;

brake-slowed by scraping heels.


Roads raced, paths of Ardagh Park,

rope steered, comic-book speed,

short-trousered knees would bleed

after crashes, lad laughs – what a lark!


Traffic infrequent, caution not needed,

Self-propelled, crouched low,

see swift spokes sparkle so:

imaginary engines revved unimpeded.


Records broken every time,

proven by male pull-push pride –

“It’s not fair!” this crushed boy cried,

muffled now motor mouth mime….

Her Loss of Love our Personal Gain

Screenshot 2019-02-01 at 18.52.37



Her loss of love our personal gain,

she sang-screamed deep primal pain.

Janis rocked hard, almost left the rails:

no warning whistle – but heart-wail.


Convention fore-fingered, she didn’t care,

blatantly dismissed modesty: absent brasserie.

Pioneer, prodigy, the first female rocker:

A feminist Mick Jagger, a femme Joe Cocker.


Wilful and defiant, smiling to the last,

promises of promiscuity failed her fast;

her battered heart weary, fully broken:

heaven far away, she failed to stop hoping.


A sobering story: drink, drugs and disarray:

hankering for validation, debts none can pay.

An accidental overdose, her spirit robbed:

song nuances spoke, hearts silently sobbed.