Extracts from my current work





Three Commercials




Fairy Liquid


What small girl wants to be a fairy now?

With hands that do dishes,

soft as her mother’s brain,

a woman who smiles at sparkling dishes

as if her being was suffused with joy.

And yet, and yet, a folk memory stirs,

a vision of perfect motherhood,

a woman with a halo, child on lap

reaching up to touch the soft smiling face.

It’s the psychology, stupid !


Hovis - Forty Years On

voted UK favourite advert of all time


The boy on the bike, Carl Barlow,

might come for the anniversary picnic

on Gold Hill, Dorset, the houses

still rising like a staircase, cobbles still juddering

bike wheels - would his ears prick up

to the brass band - would Dvorak’s tune

irritate or flood him with how it was

to take and re=take that push up the hill

forty years on, would an Islington fireman

bite into his brown bread without further thought?



Ferrero Rocher


How to manage the downgrade

on a shelf at Lidl, next to the

own brand chocolate digestives

their golden globes dulled

under fluorescent light designed

to highlight a bargain. At attention,

ready for the firing squad of

undiplomatic working people,

reaching with ambitious hands

for a taste of the high life.






Something in the Blood

a chapbook published by Selkirk Lapwing Press


There’s an Italian flavour to many of the early poems in Vivien Jones’ book, plus several haiku and one wince-inducing line in ‘The Mermaid’s Song’, but the collection really hits its stride later on, when she gets much closer to home.

‘Best Medicine’, ‘Belated’ and ‘Chambers Street Museum, Edinburgh’, deal with motherhood and family relationships with a nice balance of gentle humour and poignancy, while ‘After The Music’ and ‘A New Viol’ build on that, with the former making good use of form and repetition, and the latter boasting the splendid line “How I love yew”. When Jones sets about disputing her own line “as if life itself could be silenced”, she’s at her best, a poet engaging with vitality and honest passion.


Matt Merrit in Sphinx Chapbook Review





Fountain ; Bologna




Carrifran Wildwood

August 2012


So this is how it was.

Beyond this point the notice says

Tread softly as the planters did.

The fence is high, high up the

valley sides, no sheep or goat

can graze the young trees,

as once they finally did.


The flitter of young birch,

the fullness of young hazel,

the low U-form of myrtle,

fragrant in the hand,

orange clusters of rowan berries

dipping in the breeze,

speak of the 100 year future.


6000 years, pressed

in a coat of peat, disgorges

a bow, a hunter's joy,

yew from Rotten Bottom,

was it deer, wolf or bear

he stalked in the dusk,

his knees brushing bracken ?


Tracks run two ways,

from the road to the valley head,

one road to and fro, possible to trace.

But the track through time,

that's another matter -

we're making a museum of land,

no life sustains it now.




my first grand-son


Only a quarter my genes

are yours, half my son’s,

who has half of mine.

Such dilution moves you

away from the blueprint

You have the almond

eyes of your mother’s

genes, already practised in

veiling anger, her light

bones are yours too.

At the shopping mall fountain

you bow

in faith to the Spirit

who lives there.

That quickness of mind

that finds geometry common

in tipped over chairs and

music stands, the eye that

measured the guitar

and placed its fat belly

between the chair legs,


that’s pure me,

that’s the tailor who cuts without a pattern,

the cook who measures by looking,

the musician who intuits the coming note.

Little Japanese boy

one quarter mine,

I know you.





This is a piece of flash fiction - a sound bite of words that tells a story in 250 words or less - a great way to practice brevity 


After Æsop : The Oyster Catcher and The Lark



There was once an oyster catcher who spent all his days hiding his stash of sea food under the mud of the estuary where he lived. He was afraid that other birds would find his treasure and steal it so he cried a warning ‘Pik! Pik!’ all day as he worked. One day as he probed the mud laid bare by the falling tide he saw that the sea had fallen away from the top of a bank, leaving it like an island across the water. He straight away began to dig up his oysters and carry them to the island where the wading birds

did not go. Soon he had a deep hole full of food. He was so proud of his wealth he strode up and down the bank preening himself, showing off his orange beak and legs

to the world.

Just then he heard a lark in the sky, ascending towards the sun singing.

‘Why do you waste your time in singing, Lark,’ he asked ‘Are you not hungry?’

The lark flew a littler lower so that the oyster catcher could hear him.

‘I sing in praise of the sun in its golden glory which hatches the bugs I eat – do you not sing to the sea who brings you food?’

The oyster catcher laughed.

‘It was not the sea that fed me. I laboured through the morning to catch my food so I sing for myself.’

And he began to stride up and down the mud again, ignoring the lark, singing only for himself.

The oyster catcher did not notice the tide turning and begin to steal back around his island. Soon it was lapping at his feet and he saw to his horror that his precious hoard was going, going, gone beneath the water.


Moral : Better to trust your treasures in gold than off-shore banks.






I also love photography - I'm fascinated by textures in nature, particularly those I can see on my daily walks around our estuary village.







altro non e'l mio amor on Vimeo.