Hands Free

We hold hands with Venus de Milo

Slip gold rings from her fingers

While Alexander takes to his bed

He lies there, a new Nelson of Trafalgar travelling pickled in rum

An obese Lazarus praying he’ll yet be spared walking

“tolle lectum tuum”

We empty-handed jugglers of nonsense

Smell encroachment of rats

Who scratch our bound feet, nibble our ears

Stones, happy at the prospect of action, line our pockets

We’ll return hopeful of new life in the glass house

As spirited goldfinches spread distrust in their songs

A bumble-bee heavy with pollen passes

Bundles home against the warm easterly wind

Keep yew a troshing, mush

Light pours both ways through a closed window


n.b. GloPoWriMo / NaPoWriMo day 5 challenge, (with too complicated instructions to recount here).


“tolle lectum tuum” Latin for “Take up your bed”


“Keep yew a troshing” Broad Norfolk for “Keep going with the threshing” but used as a way to bid farewell, “Go safely”.


CLP 05/04/2020

Day 18

A clear, still night and a tawny owl’s calls are distinctly audible at 2 a.m. The three-quarter moon casts silver light on the bedroom wall through a gap in the curtains.

Day comes with sunshine accompanied, at last, by warmth. I spent a couple of hours soaking up sunbeams stretched out on a bench; birdsong and a hover-fly for company.

When could I last find the time to lie on my back and watch clouds shift shape against the blue sky? August, in a Somerset field, on a blanket with you?

We speak by phone. You ask, “Why aren’t you here?”


CLP 04/04/2020

In Dreamland

Cliché the commentator was taken by surprise

Could not imagine what he was seeing

Could not believe his eyes


The football pitch was purple

Goals were hanging in the air

The ball was a huge fat toffee apple

The referee an old grey mare


Beach huts dotted the terraces

With families at barbecues

Players ran around in waders

Except goalies in platform shoes


At the seven captains’ insistence

Laws of physics were to be ignored

At kick off they ate biscuits

And the whistle simply snored


The fans showed a little interest

When a pterodactyl flew in sight

Chased by a flying winger

Who never shirked a fight


The bustling centre forward

Wore a bustle on his rump

While the tenacious midfield terrier

Stopped to wee on a grass clump


The composed central defender

Was giving off strange smells

That drifted to the Kop End

Launching seventies flares and ringing shells


The clichéd commentator

Was getting all the details wrong

His microphone was a potato

And his watch burst into song


“I’m late! I’m late!” the startled man began to scream

Thinking he was still deeply held in his twisted dream

He ran straight out of his front door onto the busy street

But he hadn’t any clothes on, just slippers on his feet.


n.b. What an www.napowrimo.net nightmare!!! Day 4 poem from a dream / dream poem.


Football: game played with a spherical ball that is kicked.

Goalie: a player who is allowed to use his hands to stop the ball going into the goal net.

Winger: highly skilled player who is usually slight of stature, wirey of frame and tricky, speedy and able to “fly” along the edge of the pitch.

Centre Forward: usually a physically imposing figure, enjoys bullying the opposition and scoring goals.

Central Defender: usually a physically imposing figure, enjoys bullying the opposition and stopping goals.

CLP 04/04/2020

Day 16

From childhood I remember guidance from Richmal Crompton’s “William” stories! How to track deer. It is dusk and as I make my way up the track into the west wind I see two red deer hinds grazing up to my left in the field just behind the hedge. I have my binoculars, but how close can I get? With the wind in my favour I am able to get parallel to them, although one is spooked slightly by an alarmed pheasant. I am able to watch these elegant four-legged athletes more closely until something scares them into a run, (perhaps the approaching Hercules military aircraft on its third recent circuit).

Turning off the track towards the sea, I startle a hare that leaps, jumps then disappears through the hawthorn hedge to my right.

Looking down the slope towards the beach I see a dark shape swinging between the sea and the coast road. One of a pair of the marsh harriers working westward, hunting before dark. They travel low to the reeds, only occasionally lifting in the face of the breeze before dropping lower, gathering speed in the swoop to whoosh along, almost brushing the tips of the reeds as they scan for supper.

Pink footed geese lift off the saltmarsh and land just across the road on the nearest field. Fresh shoots are providing good pickings courtesy of the farmer’s winter work. A pair of the geese had settled comfortably as I walked down the hill, but they are now joined by a flight of five others.

I am about to cross back and head toward the house when I see something bounding along on the land-side of the shingle bank. It picks up another runner, as if in a relay race and they continue belting along, kicking up dust in their heels. My initial thought that these are hares is confirmed when I look through the glasses. I have seen more of these than rabbits in the past fortnight or so.

Of course the pub on the corner is closed. I can see right through empty the building to the gravel of the empty carpark. This weekend coming would have been the beginning of the Easter rush. Schools are due to close tomorrow. A large chalk board explaining the food ordering procedures still stands by the back door to the low-walled garden. It is great place to sit and watch the activities on the marshes in early summer, but these weathered garden tables will be unused for some time yet.

The evening passes quietly. Chet Baker’s “White Blues” and Sun Ra’s “Super-Sonic Jazz” provide the sound track. We share a conversation before lights out.

CLP 03/04/2020