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The Axe

I’m not a violent man – well, I like to think I’m not. But here was a strange experience, being startled by the realisation that I held such potential in my hand. All I wanted was to buy a new axe to split my logs, the old one’s head having broken from its handle. Suddenly however, I found myself not just in possession of a lethal weapon, but one that seemed to have its own inclinations. And even worse, the power to influence me. I wonder how much that’s a characteristic of all weapons? Well, the poem tells the story, so no need to say any more, except to add that I was further surprised to discover that what I’d written was light-hearted, when the experience was actually quite a heavy one. Still, all ended happily – my wood pile is high and tidy, no one came to any harm and I remain (I think) non-violent.     The Axe   Down there, as far as you can go... There they were, in the distant corner spades and mattocks, scythes and axes – heavy tools, unused and shining stood to attention in

My blog this month isn't a poem – nor even several...

  My blog this month isn't a poem – nor even several. No, this time it's a set of little films of poems. After sharing them with several of you, I apologise straight away if you've already seen them, but you might be interested to hear some thoughts on the matter. And if you don't want to hear me thinking about making films of poems, just ignore what follows and go straight to the YouTube link.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbwJYkDeGIs&list=PLbC1BOoALpN-xyuGJCIAqJjImAi1aAfrY   I hope you enjoy the films. And please tell me what you think! You may remember a couple of the poems appearing in past blogs, with me writing about the possible presentation of poetry in this way. Time was when poetry existed solely as the spoken or sung word – it took some time for it to be written down.  Now, for the most part, it exists and flourishes in both these forms. Recently, and refreshingly, it seems to have been recovering more of its original orality. Now we liv

Barn Owl Pellet

  Barn Owl Pellet   So this is what I’ve ended with. A set of skulls upon my page – two empty helmets still intact which rest on their incisors.   The pack was black, tight-packed in felt, dropped like a bomb which might have scattered bits and pieces, body parts   but as I pick the pack apart finding in fur, nail-clipping ribs, femora from a miniature dinosaur, a mandible with its row of molars   aligned in order like corn on the cob – here’s another to lay alongside – all these little light-weight bones bone-white and clean after their sojourn,   a burial of sorts, I find no trace of flesh remaining – just disjointed skeletal fragments wrapped in fur to protect a delicate throat   now collected into sets. All that remains of once warm mice, shrews and voles, has been gathered up   and rearranged upon this page.   I draw close. That which was rejected – this dusty debris, this residue is momentarily moved by my own

Masters and Servants

  Being almost square, this Holbein portrait is unusual, but there’s more that makes this particular one special.   The life-likeness of a man who lived some 500 years ago; the wonderful textures and freshness of skin, feather and cloth; the intriguing composition and disposition, creating that powerful sense of expectancy, awareness of things about to happen…   The man’s attention is drawn outside the picture – he’s watching and waiting. Waiting for something to appear, some other sort of development, a request, an order even? And, although hooded, so is the falcon, which unable to watch, simply waits.   Robert Cheseman served his master, Henry VIII as his representative in Middlesex.   Sometime after this portrait was painted, he was called upon to go to meet and bring Anne of Cleves to her husband-to-be – an unproductive foray it turned out to be, but that’s another story. (Although interestingly a portrait played an important role in that episode).   Robert Cheseman for his part wa

Palace of Dreams

    South Molton’s cinema, The Savoy, stopped showing films in the 1970s, and after a long period of dereliction was finally totally demolished some twenty years ago.  The site lay bare for ten years before houses were built on it. The Savoy   Just here it was I’m sure a cinema palace of dreams I cannot see now a name from romance where people like us were transported elsewhere exotic exciting real fears tears and laughs white-toothed good-lookers smooth shaven and smart inaccessible beauties to capture your heart jerky cartoons news from abroad with fanfares and announcements from voices assured local advertisements both shaky and still hands held in the dark giggling children nights to look forward to Saturday mornings meet on the steps holding your money queuing to see something we won’t see again I know it was here though there’s nothing to show where the frames told the future what was coming tonight and t