Archive for the ‘poems’ Category

Putting grief to words is really a private affair. But after a while, after some months of mourning, with the dark and cold encroaching and  dragging me down, sometimes putting words out there is a help. This poem is no masterpiece. Hopefully, at some point in the future, it may change and morph into something less raw, more complete, more past. Until then, it is this: words and images, unedited, unfinished.

Yesterday a garden

Today a goat

Yesterday you lived

Still – a beautiful, funny, wise, caring dad.

Today you no longer are

Here – a searing absence, an absent presence.

You would have liked my painting

had the marauding goat not come.

wc flower garden wc goat copy

Back in July 2016, I posted about a new version of Humpty Dumpty I had invented on a whim. You can find it here.

This morning I got up and found some new words to another nursery rhyme going round in my head. I jotted them down and then added some pretty primitive sketches.

Maybe I was inspired subconsciously by having seen one-day-old lambs yesterday (ours are late up here), but anyway, I thought I’d post it here tonight to amuse you.


Mary had a little lamb

You never know what will set you off writing. This morning’s combination of triggers was a surprise.

I had sketch-painted a conker in its shell last night while drinking my last coffee before bed. It was only a quick one and could be improved if that were my main aim, whereas it’s only for relaxation and mind-emptying ready for sleep.

But I got up this morning and thought: ‘Must look up the disease that’s killing our conker trees.’

This gave me information just before I finished off reading about the Mad-Song Stanza that rhymes x a b b a. This info was in an article in Writing Magazine – and the only reason I had a copy of Writing Magazine was on account of having noticed a very cheap year’s subscription from iTunes on the PocketMags platform. [Wow – hasn’t this e-platform become brilliant since I last used it. Thoroughly recommended, for WM at least.]

And the only reason I noticed the subs offer was that I had won a competition WM runs (as I mentioned in an earlier post) and wanted to read the judge’s crit of my story! Strange how life happens 🙂

Anyway, the end result of this trigger chain is a little experimental image with a little experimental stanza underneath it. Food for thought too – nature trying to right itself.



The conker tree’s at war

with moths that mine its leaves.

But friendly mites

take killing bites

inside the pupa thieves.

I was messing around with an idea about rewriting nursery rhymes (UK ones, if you’re one of my valued readers from the rest of the world – I don’t know any ‘foreign’ ones!).

The idea was that most of the original lines would be kept and others added randomly, still keeping to a rhyme scheme. Sort of filling them out a bit, if you like! Here I added a bit of background to who he was and why he was on the wall in the first place.

This is the original version:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men

They couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Of course, the real person referred to in this rhyme was, I think, a dumpy, clumsy person – who could have been put back together again – so he’s usually been drawn as an egg, which couldn’t. And that probably followed from Alice through the Looking Glass, where Lewis Carroll drew him as an egg. But don’t quote me on that. It might have been political for all I know!

Here’s my version – with a quickie sketch to go with it 🙂

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

without his friends, without the ball.

They said that Humpty was too small

to play with them – the wall was tall.

He fidgeted, afraid he’d fall,

and when he did, they heard him bawl.

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men

came rushing up in groups of ten.

They’d heard his cry and felt his pain

and thought they’d make him right as rain.

They wrote down how and what and when.

But after an hour and loads more pain, 

they couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Humpty Dumpty on wall

Humpty Dumpty alone on the very tall wall

Comments welcome!

Yes, I know I should be editing. Or writing. Or cleaning. Or exercising. But I have done all those things today and wanted to invent something nice.

I found a print of a tree I shot many years ago. It was a photo, developed in my dark room cellar and later photocopied on an ancient mono machine.This gave it the texture you see here and I brought it into Photoshop and added the green background one day recently when I was playing around.

After that, it sat on my hard drive till this week, when I added some pelicans. I grabbed the image from a seascape photo by Yair Hazout at (where you can get and use hi-res photos free of charge). I cut out his pelican and made three of them, layering each of them once or twice with different blend modes.

Then I brought in a guy I found in the support materials of Manga Studio 5 – now called Clip Studio Paint – and layered him in too. The moon I pulled in from a children’s illustration I did a few weeks ago (you can find it in my portfolio here) because I hate to waste a good bit of art! And then I used a KyleTWebster splatter brush to fling a bit of paint around!

But I’m a writer, you say? OK, so I invented a haiku to go with it while doing the aforesaid exercise (a drippy walk in the rain). It’s a pretty naff poem but I hope you like the image!

screenshot pelicans

sharp eyes




Evolve, elevate, excel

Posted: July 15, 2015 in poems, process, thoughts
Tags: , ,

I came across this slogan recently, although I don’t believe it belongs to anyone in particular. Sounds pretty much like business or coaching speak actually.

Anyway, it immediately hit me that it applies to both my writing and my  art.


I have, over the years, evolved a style. Two actually. One that can be angled at any publication I choose to write articles for. The other is for novels. I find I just write in the voice of the person whose head I am in. Perhaps I always wanted to be someone else!

I’ve tried to elevate my writing so that it flows and has no mistakes and is even interesting to the target audience! I tend to edit and edit and edit again. But then, I’m an editor.

Excelling would, for me, probably mean deciding to go all out for publishing another novel or children’s book and becoming famous! Whether it could happen is immaterial – I kind of got stopped in my tracks by wanting to do some artwork alongside. There’s a cost to everything!


I’m still trying to allow my own art style to evolve. I’ve sketched a lot of biro figures in July with the Twitter hashtag #figurejuly. That’s been fun and works quite well. But maybe there’s more to my style than biro? I like Artpen, moving the soluble ink around afterwards to give form. And then there’s digital. So it’s a work in progress.

When I finally evolve something  that feels to be ‘me’, I’ll try to elevate my work to the next level. I do tend to give up before it’s as good as it could be! Unlike with my editing. I see details that I could have corrected if I hadn’t been hasty.

And then… well, it will be a good few years before I excel. It may never happen – but I’ll have fun on the journey.

In the meantime, some of our trees have had to be felled this week, which grieves me. It was a little forest of tranquility in our grounds. Six down so far, nine to go. The growing log pile inspired this haiku. It combines the art of photo and writing, so maybe appropriate here?

woodpile haiku

This blog has been neglected since my mother died a week ago. But writers write, and so I wrote. Not in public at first, but in the dark of the night, in thought and grief. This is the poem and I’ll just mention the background:

Dad and I watched her iris come out in the garden – a single white iris standing alone but spectacularly beautiful. She and he had waited and watched every year for this one flower. A sort of ritual. Sadly, she died three days before it flowered this year.

She would have been pleased to die on the Queen’s birthday (she loved her) and furious to miss today’s Royal Wedding pageantry – we got our first colour television in order to watch Princess Margaret get married. So today, I have watched for her, and shed a tear. But mostly, I wrote this poem in memory of her and her favourite iris.

I’m no poet but I post it here in tribute to a life well lived. Thanks for everything, Mum.

The iris

Three days –

and then her iris bloomed

yellow-white, a flag unfurled,

yet we missed its coming, pale as death,

on the third noon

counted from when she left.

Throwing off its skeletal form

remote and gaunt,

the shroud of precious petals flared,

and released itself to life.

We heard her then,

after the deadness of her missing –

a softly whispered cadence

wafting on the breeze

curled within a fleeting sigh:

When you see this here

am I.