the stories that need telling fall clumsily

on trails where tributes lie in winding lanes

on cobbled streets of needle-darkened alleys

in shop doorways where sad stories lurch in pain

the stories to remember stumble onwards

resistance plied while truths they serve to give

truths that need the hearing and the telling

giving voice to thoughts of those who barely live

the stories that need telling cause much grieving

these stories they are mourned while others dance

on bloodied, bended knees scarred stories whimper

begging, fighting, pleading, one more chance

the stories we’ve forgotten haunt our dreamscapes

filling us with fear that those we love could be

a story on the corner there but for graces

someone’s child or parent, you or me

the stories sprawled on walls are unenchanting

apoetic in their prose and permanence

these monuments that matter, disassembled

the humblest stories lost to prominence

unhinged of wing they travel like their namesake

foiled phoenix burnt to ashes must reform

soul stories scattered, littered, on rough pavements

barred temples to the place where freedom’s born

the stories in retelling at the tables

where gathered poets present and from past

conserve the memories among the negatives

cave paintings whitewashed over sketched in last

hid among the amulets and tombstones

walking tourist trails or calvary

wounded hearts still beating where they perish

amid stories where condemned fought to be free

a cross upon the cobbles falls embarrassed

that liberty was won by their blood spilled

to keep the stories living, rising ever

that changed the route by courage and by will

the stories that need telling need new focus

perspective in the telling here and now

to those who write the stories worth the telling

the fallen, inglorious, tell us how

their stories find a purpose in narration

where nations find their dignity and poise

old stories sung, retold, with hush and reverence

need new stories magnified by many with one voice

the stories of the rising and the fallen

the stories of the families who yet weep

the stories of the falling mid the rising

such stories thus preserved that we may sleep



The story ended


Where apt beginning should have been,

They pretended


To have dreamt or been or seen all they had seen.

Souls suspended


As nightmare turned into the dream,

Lives upended


The charm when nothing’s as it seems.

Grief, distended,


The tears that fill the seas and streams,

Hope intended


Heaven’s harmony that hoves between.

Lives pretended,


Esssence of the might have been,

All life offended,


Fuelled in furnace of obscene.

Love has mended


Despair that robs serene,

Hands extended,


Self, bespoken, intervenes.

Plying The Yarn

Only a cotton ball, ephemeral cloud puff,

disjointed droplets of hitched illusion,

vast transient mass of unknowing.

Merely threads drawn, from ether drafted,

teased and twisted, plying the yarn,

distaff to spindle.

Simply the twists manipulated,

skeined slivers

executing and shivering,

separating the strands.

Purely an otherworld undertaking,

commissioned assignment.

Only every fibre pulled and plucked

for purpose.

Just words.

Knock On Wood

Kill me with your words

of kindness, abruptly torn.

Starve my soul

of presence, gone.


Deceive, aggrieve,

repent until you’re done.

Then knock on wood,

ere hope shorn.


Belittle love in guile,

Oh! errant knave,

Abstain from pleasures true,

behold the grave.


For want of trust,

belief in price once paid,

confusion lies, bereft

at words unsaid.


Oh, honesty and kindness

where art thou?

Gods lie, distort,

question here and how.


A game of chance,

splendoured by each season,

false deities exposed

to truth and reason.


If truth be told,

expose your soul to me,

no hidden heart

but kindness guarantee.


Should deities redeem

all that they could,

we, mortals, pray and fast,

then knock on wood.

Books In My Mind

Old stories revisited and pictures viewed,

Words known from before, inhaled and imbued.

Classics to keep inside and forever,

Authors of wisdom and words that I treasure.

Turning the pages of yesterday’s books,

Remembering when I first had a look

At fantastical writing from many admired,

Enthralled by the images their stories inspired.

Then turning to new, where words are devotion

Embracing the talent of author’s emotions.

Wondering how they find what to say

In marvellous prose and poetic array.

Searching for new meanings inside the old,

In all of the stories I’ve ever been told,

In all of the writings I’ve ever read,

That now live inside me, exist in my head.

Profusion of persons making a trail

Imparting illusion I breathe and inhale.

Delightful depictions of destiny found

In reading and sorting these books all around

On library’s shelves where they live till I find

Rediscovered treasures I keep in my mind.