Saturday, 31 March 2012


Found in the recent clear-out: apparently penned during some long gone, unproductive day at the office.

my inertia is a dog
a gloomy hunkered down hound
immovable by good intentions
put this part of you on a chair
and talk to it therapists may tell you
face him
what? this daft creature?
with the big floppy ears?
this soft velvety clown?
this is my nemesis?
heaving and hauling on his lead gets us nowhere
perhaps if I gather him in my arms then
and give his downy nose
a kiss? this? this
is the inertia that dogs my days?
the obstinate beast of self-sabotage?
dandle him cosset him
hug him close until he stops straining against me
and he’ll stagger to his feet
and wag his tail
and we’ll stride off together
I’ll throw a stick
and he’ll lumber after it
but always the fear
that he’ll sit down again
his ears his bottom
are so near the ground
my inner gloomy hound

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Of all the birds

Seven pm on Saturday, a whole day after the last day was meant to end. A slow day, husbanding declining stamina and patience, quietly finishing the last tasks I’d set myself, and now it’s really done: the last accumulated bits and bobs and goodbye gifts bagged up to take away, a tiny bunch of sage lit to ‘space-clear’ the office I’ve been sitting in these past eleven years, the window opened to let out the smell and, as it floats away on the damp evening air, the Radio 3 concert from Ireland ends with a sixteenth century song, "Of all the birds that ever I see".

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Cape flora

Blooms of the Fynbos, from a South African friend. I wish I could add the smell, which isn't flowery, but a smell of air and grass.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Friday, 9 March 2012

Tasting places, tasting words

In the struggle to come out of my head and feel the world, taking photographs is crucial. In the moment of taking, that's all there is, no division between the object and me. Making pictures with words can be the same, as in haiku practice, focusing tightly on one thing, one moment, with no space for comment. While traditional haiku discourage adjectives, playing on the fringes of tradition I often want to use an adjective as marker of intensification or abstraction, to evoke the taste of an object, scene or place. Behind a camera, behind your pen or keyboard, you can't touch, but you can taste, as well as hear and see - taste literally, the air, but also metaphorically, the mood and associations of an object. There's the taste of words themselves too, their shape and tenor on the tongue: words like obdurate, its consonants and vowels so... obdurate, so hard and icy and determined.

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This (photo taken back in February) is a small submission to the next >Language >Place blog carnival. Forthcoming Edition #14 will be hosted by writer / poet / haiku poet Stella Pierides, with a special theme of 'locating the senses in language and place' - more info here. The deadline for submissions is Thursday 15 March.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

On International Women's Day

If you haven't already, or recently, be inspired and moved by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at her most heartfully eloquent.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


The piece I wrote for Writing Our Way Home / River of Stones is republished, with their kind permission, in the new issue of BluePrintReviewThe creative blending of words and images in this lovely online journal is close to my heart and I've had some photos included previously, but never a written piece. So I'm dead chuffed about this. Looking forward a lot to Issue 29, which will come online in stages.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Time, inexorably

Less than two weeks. Look, stop it!, I tell myself, this fear is out of all proportion! Apparently my stupid subconscious feels I don't deserve a better life and I'll be punished for reaching out to one - closer than ever, at close to sixty, to the six-year-old who placed herself in a corner, having been told so often she was VERY BAD. So close, I think of her and tremble. Ugh. The better things go, the more encouraging the work leads, the more ideas for the future business, its name and mission statement and strategy, the more real it all becomes, the greater the fear. And we're not just talking fantasies of professional failure and destitution here. Oh no. It's all about death. My mind fills with images of pain, implosion, physical decay. Last night I dreamt my skull was cracked across the front, with pieces breaking off like a cracked eggshell. I would say meditation isn't helping. Nothing's helping. Except that I suppose it probably is, since I'm still functioning and mostly managing not to yell at anyone. Anyway, there's no choice. All the boats are burned. No choice but to feel this stuff and do it anyway.

Friday, 2 March 2012

A disused door

descry it imagine it
desire it entice it
and then only then
a disused door
long boarded up
perhaps just perhaps
agree to open?

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Classical carpets

Dark and light; smooth and soft; warm and cold: I always find myself compelled to linger and stare at the windows of this posh Mayfair shop with its classical statues among the expensive Eastern carpets.

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And another photo on qarrtsiluni, with a third 'esque' to come, I hope, later in the current Imitation issue.