Selected Poems


A view of Fountains Abbey.

Here was once the malice of monks,
A twisted theology laid low by greed
And overweening pride,
Eternally drawn and quartered,
Racked by sunlight
Under an open plainsong sky,
Presumption brought to book.

Belief and faith is holy-stoned,
Not counterfeit in paint and coloured glass
But in that which lives, and grows around
Where subtle shades of green
Smile out the faith within the stone,
Only Mammon lies in ruins;
Nature gives expiation of her own.

In A Monastery Garden

Riversvale Hall

Riversvale Hall

At the site of a Victorian country mansion – now gone.

See how the woods and ivy claim their own.
Parterre tooth scattered, rooted by sinuous fingers
Posthumously clawing at the ground.
Dishevelled leaves – left-over from the past
Fall, sepia memories under sycamore
Bower above once-sculptured lawns that now
Lie bleak in tombland of a once great house.

What is it whispers in this graveyard grove?
Though murmurings of water sing nearby
“And have you heard the latest bird song?”
I cannot feel the essence of the place.
It is as if those that once dwelt here
Are so remote that nothing more is left
In a hollow no storm can ever reach.

No lighted windows glimmer through the trees,
No ghosts can find it worthy now to haunt,
No watchers, no remnants of antique thought,
No marks even of decay in this forgotten byway
Where vows once taken lie defunct,
Scattered into eternity beyond recall.
Present is, nothing ever lasts.

Spring saplings in new growth
Arrogant and disdainful of the past;
Where even Sycorax would scorn
To imprison Ariel in a tree.
Movement. Now is only moving forward,
Vain longing for a future sans regret.
Here is a place to be alone in!


A poem of one of our northern saints.

Here are the sands that Cuthbert walked
Where seabirds cry the song they taught him;
A man himself afraid – too afraid to cry,
Yet must have wept in secret.
Did he hear above the turmoil and the anger
Within the wilderness, his soul wracked in pain
Of self-induced longing, impatient to be free,
Melded with frailty, alloyed with faith
Yet hardly knowing where to turn.
Are there as many prayers as stars that burn?
Had he that mind’s eye that sees
The ebb and flow of tide as in an instant
Storm or calm, where stars reflected in the sea
Are matched to shimmering candles?
Though some who gaze on sand see only sand;
He, the working of the Hand that grinds it down.

Alnmouth at the spot where Cuthbert was elected bishop of Lindisfarne (AD 685).

Here is a link to more poems for the Amazon Kindle.
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