Contactless / Miradas-19

A pamphlet containing five of my poems from the first Covid-19 UK lockdown has been published in the ‘Unmasked Writings’ series by Egg Box Publishing of Norwich.

The experiences of those days seem quite distant now. Having WordPress and you, its lovely online readers and writers, was a central part of the experience and crucial to me being able to maintain perspective. The poems in the collection are hereby dedicated to each of you who has ever read, liked, or commented on my posts. Thank you for being out there.

Alongside a prose poem by André P Hughes, the five poems I wrote in this short collection, appear with beautiful Spanish translations by Aida López Milán. If you would like a copy, please order from Egg Box Publishing:

The publisher is a non-profit organisation linked to the University of East Anglia, all proceeds go into publishing new writers’ work…but not to the writers.

CLP. 23/06/2022

on time

crossing road, stops, waits
leave, or carry it over?
hedgehog prickles sharp


n.b. It’s been some time since I have seen a hedgehog alive. Their natural defence is to stop, curl into a ball then hold still until the perceived threat passes. They have yet to work out that this doesn’t work when approached by motor vehicles.

This beauty stopped right in the middle of the street as I was passing last evening, so I lifted it with barehands and placed it behind a low wall on some grass on the side it was heading.

A few moments later three police vehicles rolled by very slowly and quietly. They turned left and pulled up to make a raid. The hedgehog would have had no chance against that convoy.


CLP 24/05/2022

Balcony Scene


Trust me, this isn’t my doing

You can choose any friend

But family? That’s the bitter end


I could be anything you want

Say the word, we’ll elope

Run from convention’s rope


I come to you cap in hand

profess my love for you on bended knee

don’t worry about disputative families


Yes, he’s my father

I, his loving son

But he couldn’t stop us with a loaded gun


Here I am in plain sight

I fear nothing, have nothing to hide

Take my hand, let's live


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2022 Day Eighteen prompt revisted: Give five answers to one question, without explicitly identifying the question.

on colour

white and yellow hues
lead into flowers of blue
then finally red


CLP 05/5/2022

on time

Is there any plan?
Does there have to be a plan?
River gently flows


CLP 02/05/2022

on time

Woman in Bath by
woodworms after Picasso
What next? Guernica?


n.b. It is thought possible (by some mathematicians) that given enough monkeys at keyboards, eventually one would type out the complete works of Shakespeare purely by chance. That woodworms have bored out Picasso style artwork, who would ever doubt the mathematicians and their monkeys, but who couldn’t give a monkeys?

With thanks to JS for her perspicacity.


CLP 02/05/2022

Collateral Damage

 what would

as we
we'd know
it's all

would we make up
where we 
could offer
necessary apologies
long overdue 
balance our
play music 
say one 
final I


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2022 Day Twenty-eight prompt; Concrete poem. I have to admit to having had such thoughts lately. Day twenty-eight of NaPoWriMo 2022, but day Sixty Three in Ukraine.

CLP 28/04/2022

on friendship

at nights's darkest point
I woke knowing you were here
it wasn't a dream


n.b. How strange and lovely it is to feel another’s presence despite their absence. I woke, reached out and realised this presence was in my heart. I smiled, returned happily to sleep.

CLP 28/04/2022

Aisling of the millpond

unseasonable warmth
petite clouds
white buds pinned to infinite blue
fine grass blades grass by the millpond
prick my pale winter skin
my flat weight crumples daisies
in cool shade
of the willow’s weeping

tumble of the waterwheel
low hum of bumble bees




with eyes closed I see all
the birds I hear
from within this sonorous wall
soft notes
a woman’s song

so tired
so tired
so tired

my head so heavy it cannot turn
my eyelids stuck down by pinks and blues
my arms so heavy they will not move
my legs feel bound they cannot run
my voice clasped tight within my throat
I hear her singing

she sings of lilac
yet to bloom

she sings of lambs
not yet sprung

she sings of hedgerows
nestlings yet to fledge

she sings of the stream
yet to flood

she sings of oak
still to leaf

she sings of the summer
yet to burn

she sings of two lovers
yet to meet

she sings of harvest
we’ve yet to reap

she sings of apples
we’ll collect

she sings of mists
that will rise from dew

she sings of the plough
that will tear the earth

she sings of crows
that will draw in the night

she sings of frost
that will veil the soil

she sings of the fireplace
as autumn leaves

so tired
so tired
so tired

slowly I wake
how far I must go
before I finally reach
my home


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2022 Day Twenty-five prompt: write an aisling.

CLP 25/04/2022

Svetlana Polkadotova

Smart, like a slap to the face.

She suffered fools the way a cat strips feathers from a blackbird hauled indoors through the cat-flap.

When she spoke she held a man's attention, like a foot soldier's attention holds when the Field Marshall approaches down the line.

We'd met by chance, the kind of chance you'd have crossing Interstate 495 in rush hour wearing a blindfold.

It had to be a set-up, the kind of set-up Kasparov would only use on a fellow Grand Master.

I was suspicious obviously, the kind of suspicious a cop gets seeing a rucksack left on the subway.

But there was something about the dame I liked, something akin to the strawberry jam you find on top of Devon clotted cream on a warm scone that you hear about from Limeys.

Maybe it was the blue in her eyes, a blue you would normally only see in a mural when touring the Sistine Chapel?

Or was it that laugh that disarmed me like a Muhammad Ali left jab to my jaw?

Underneath I sensed a heart, albeit hidden the way an eye lens dropped in the Great Plains is hidden.

I managed to hold my nerve, the way a catcher holds a fastball from a Hall of Fame pitcher.

But inside I was shaking; palm trees in hurricane season shake less.

I was putty in her hands that day, putty moulded by a glazier after a bomb-blast.

She held me, not unlike ransomeware holds a bank database.

I knew if I stayed I would end up paying a price, a price only an Atlantic City loser would ever understand.


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2022 Day Twenty-Four prompt: Raymond Chandler similes.

CLP 24/04/2022