“Where are your morals?”, she cried,

Followed by “What’s wrong with you?”

Then another complaint,

Which I did not hear because I had walked away

At quite a pace.

Morals: the code by which we live our lives,

Yet of course we each have our own code,

Our own compass,

A little voice in every mind,

Sometimes ignored.

My code tells me

As long as we are not hurting others,

If we aim to have integrity,

That compass is pointing in the right direction.



Butterfly House

The street outside is cold and grey

While the air inside is humid, heavy,

Full of water drops and a sweet scent:

Trays of orange slices line the path,

Which are nibbled silently.

I try to listen carefully:

Is that the gentle flutter of wings in the air?

Behind leaves and on branches,

Or high up in the air,

We observe the fleeting lives

Of colour, warmth and beauty:

The elusive winter butterfly.

Toothpaste Love

The road to hell is paved

With desires such as yours:

To love me as much as I love you.

I can tell you want to love me more,

More than you really do,

But it is not something you can force.

Love is not squeezed out of the soul

Like a tube of glue

Or that last bit of toothpaste.

We both know that.

Now we have a voice within us

Telling us we are not enough.








Secret Shrine

Through the streets I wandered,

Meandering as I went,

And as I walked I pondered,

What lay just round the bend.


Heat was blazing down on me,

From the August sun,

Let loose on holiday, I was free

My plans for the day all done.


What I then saw before my eyes

I did not expect to find:

A glowing shrine, quite large in size,

Light and darkness intertwined.


Under an arched ceiling, candles abounded:

Plaques of thanks covered the wall,

Cobblestones beneath my feet were rounded,

From centuries of footfall.


Sometimes, without the guidebook

You come across that special place,

Which makes you stop and take a look,

And wonder in its grace.









Little Miss Late

She’s very busy, she has no time,

Perhaps her time is more important than mine.

Rushing about, to and fro-

She doesn’t even know where to go!

Running in circles round everything

Not even sure where to begin-

Or so she keeps telling me.

One of us has to be patient, you see,

To sit around waiting, every day;

Wondering what excuses she will say.

I ran through the drizzle to catch the bus

But she splits her life between all of us,

So we feel quite ignored and forgotten,

Lesser, not as valid, slightly rotten.

I’m waiting at the café now, alone,

While I suspect she’s still at home.


Terrible things striking good people down;

Murder, war, cancer or floods.

While the mean spirited can still prosper,

Finances never better.

You may have a record- breaking IQ,

But stupid things will happen.

Even those who work so painfully hard

All their lives; day in, day out

Still drop down dead before their goals are reached

Deeds undone and mouths gaping.

Because fate is not a game with prizes

For each selfless act we do.

We try to read fate with tea leaves or bones

To see it in crystal balls:

The sensible work out their statistics

Then, desperate, they wish on stars.

We forge our own paths as much as we can

Blind to all that lies ahead

Nor do we know the paths of those close by,

Blinkered, we can only guess.


Every day and with every calculating word you stole part of me from me,

and you bore down on my mind until I came to fear my own thoughts.

Yet they still invaded my brain like dogged soldiers, as I waged a war against myself, fighting battle after battle that I could never win.

Shell-shocked, I felt nothing as you pushed me against the headboard, against the walls.

Always against what I wanted, but it was unclear what I did want.

As if I were rotting, I softened until you could reshape me, bending and twisting me into the image you had of the perfect girlfriend, presented and promised to you in glossy magazine pages.

It was after you went to prison for the final time that I realised how much you’d taken from me; I couldn’t get up by myself any more, even with the curtains open wide and the baby crying from his room.