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Fire

Fire 
Like a lover
Licks
In tongues of flame 
At the body
That it burns
And turns to ashes.
It flashes and flickers
As it devours
Its power
Irresistible
By anything in this
Combustible world.
Man is not its master.
Fire will always win.
The brightest blaze
That ever there was
Shone at the start
Of all there is.
And at the end
That blaze again
Will burn until
Fire itself
Burns out.

My Mother’s Birthday

Blessed with beautiful blue eyes, 
Or perhaps cursed, for they brought Him to her,
She was born in July, and died the next month.
The life she led in the years between
Was a full one, though too often
Full of things she didn’t want,
Like loneliness.
Often penniless,
With four bottomless bellies to fill
Still she kept going, working
For food for the family,
Her brood, unwittingly ungrateful
Urchins, unaware of the horrors
Of the adult world,
Of debt and obligation and duty and care.
Finally, we saw it, it was there
Before us, her story. 
What she had done
For us
Despite us
With us
Without Him
Was remarkable.
More remarkable still
The way she hid it from us for so long,
Did it all her self.
Three jobs at once, I recall,
Morning, evening, night,
Just to keep us fed right
In a grim little terrace
On a grimy back street.
He visited once to look around.
“Christ, Rena,” He said,
Which was nice.
But she kept on, because she had no choice.
She clothed us, raised us,
Taught us many things
But not everything.
There are gaps in us all, we are not whole.
Of course, it took it’s toll
And her own inclinations caught up with her,
Would one day kill her,
But the wound that started it,
The beginning of her end,
Was the day that the last of us
Left her house
Forever.

The Job Of Writing

I am not working  
In many ways
I have given up paid employment
Working for someone else 
Seemed to me a bad idea
And even without a wage 
It still does
I know I did the right thing
For me
Work now means
Whatever I want it to
What it means now
Is writing 
And writing
Can be hard work
Can consume me
Can frustrate me
I love it
I wish I could do more of it
But that would leave others
Untended
Unloved
And I can’t do that
So I write the wrong way
In bits
In fits and starts
When the window of 
Precious me-time
Infrequently opens
And too frequently closes
It breaks my heart 
And slows my flow
To a crawl
To scrawl
But that is how it is
How it has to be
At least for now
At least for me

A Midwinter Night Scream

I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been busy finishing a book. It’s done now, and you can get A Midwinter Night Scream on Amazon at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07VGMKHTL.

I’m really rather pleased with it.

The book is a sort of love story, or the story of one man’s love and life and death, though not necessarily in that order.

Here’s the book description from Amazon:

What do you do when everyone you ever loved is dead? Neil’s answer is to drown the pain in drink. When even that doesn’t work, he decides to end it all and join his loved ones. But on his way home he stumbles and falls. He is picked up by a Greeter, who leads him into the Underside, a place where the dead appear to live before they Fall and complete the eternal cycle. The Greeter is Deirdre, a tall, dark, beautiful woman with a secret. She leads him to the Mothers, the guardians of the Underside, who tell Neil he must search the Underside to find his own lost soul. He encounters friends and foes who are neither one or the other, and Revenants, dead people who want to live again, and Necromancers, who want to stay dead forever. He sees a familiar face, and another face that is also familiar, though he has never seen it before. And he begins to see that the only way he will find his soul is through his loved ones. But they are only in the Underside because of him…

I hope you like it. If you do, please post a review on Amazon. And tell your friends. In fact, tell everyone!

A Place In The Country

I live in a house in the heart of a city
I always have, always will, very probably
where acres of asphalt abound and surround me
neighbours in earshot and sightline proximity
whatever I do I know they know about it
whatever they do I just don’t want to know it
where the neighbourhood thug lives within spitting distance
and his rattletrap car honks and beeps for annoyance
where the teenagers wander around until daylight
and the parents don’t bother because they think that’s all right
where bottles and pop cans and pizzas and chip wraps
are thrown on the ground by children who eat that crap
with gardens that grow mainly brat packs and fat cats
whoever would want to live any place like that
not me
I want to live somewhere that’s almost unpeopled
where the nearest they come is a distant church steeple
I want to see only the things that are pleasant
the trees and the moors and the deer and the pheasant
I just want to hear only wind blow and birdsong
I want to smell pines not the spices of Hong Kong
I want to be able to step through the front door
And two minutes later be out of the wild moors
I want to listen to muntjacs and night owls
not neighbourhood parties and screeching and foul howls
so all that I want is a place in the country
a nice little house not too big not too pokey
somewhere so peaceful I can sit back and unwind
and unburden completely this bad state of mind
no chance
I’ll be here until I die
I know I will, no need to lie
no need to hide the awful truth
I’m not a silly callow youth
there is no need to kid myself
I’ll put this dream back on the shelf
but even so I’ll hope and pray
that on some not too distant day
milady luck might smile on me
and let me win the lottery