A Return to Bleak

A Return to Bleak

I described the weather
as miserably drawn;
a flabby gentlemen
with a moist surface.
Flabbily speaking,
and in short, not at all
an ecstasy of days, and
I sat for a length of time,
taking in the fog’s
indiscriminate power.


Found and remixed, “The Bleak House” – page 374-6, Bell Yard, by Charles Dickens


The Scent of Light

The Scent of Light

The power is gone. Again.
I’m muttering after candles,
scented, too many
Candlelight is a gauze
in this spectral darkness,
and the air stiff
enough to snuff-out a flame.
Scents, breathless rose
and beige wilderness,
a perishing smell,
greasy, ropey with ash
from the hearth with its low
glowing coals strangling red
like a famine’s ache, and I sit
in a tall-back chair
with patches on its cushion,
and its stripe ticking leaking
like a stuffed trout,
and how did people sit
in such gloom
and foul air, and spend
their eyes reading by candlelight.
The scent from the candles
grows sickly – my head aches.
I rattle windows open
to darkness and light rain
and faint wind, and watch
as one flame after
the other flickers,
droops to darkness, and then
the room is blind again.



Remixed from Charles Dickens “Bleak House” and my diary from March 1991

The Human’s Race and B-Roads


The Humans’ Race and B-Roads

The sky is flat today, crushed

and beaten boldest blue, and clouds

by spadefuls exquisitely-turned


in chiselled weather. I pick my way

on polished roads, icy transparent

blue veins reflecting direction.


Ethereal maps without origin or end,

and it matters not which way I choose,

not when you live on an island.




Inspired by Martin Chuzzlewit

By Charles Dickens

The Common Measure of Wind


The Common Measure of Wind

The wind from north, we poke the fire,
sparks’ playful obligation,

sharp blows from east, bedevilled cold,
it is as we observe.

The breeze from west, sea foam is blowing,
conscious always, going lea

soft from south, oft overlooked,
weather clips a broken sentence.



Remixed text from my 1991 Winter Journal
and Bleak House by Charles Dickens






A Change in January


A Slight Change in January

These soaked lanes
are so familiar,
as if known to me from cradle.
I can predict its unevenness,

foresee its roll and pitch
without a glance to my feet.
Change here seems wary,

steady as brown eyes,
and only the appearance
of spring in January
changes the pace of things.

There by the brick edge,
a crowd of yellow crocus
and a smear of icy rain,
and suddenly I am all change.

Morning air floods my head
with much merrier thoughts.


Remixed from Edwin Drood and my 1991
Winter Journal from Bletchingley, Surrey.

v2: Storm Song

Note to Readers: This is a reviewed version of a poem written yesterday for dVerse poets. I’ve altered the enjambments, thereby changing its constrained form to free-form. I think I much prefer this version, but I’d be happy to hear your thoughts. Thank you.


Storm Song

That day had an appetite
for sun shining. Wind blowing. Shadowed
light passing fields flocked with birds.
All those black harps singing. And I knew

this day was too short lasting
when St Mary’s bells spilled the air
ringing. Changes, changes. Ringing
clouds swelling into thunderous sound.








Rewritten from original posted for dVerse

Storm Song


Storm Song

That day had an appetite for sun shining.
Wind blowing. Shadowed light passing
the fields flocked with birds – black harps singing.
And I knew this day was too short lasting
when St Mary’s bells spilled the air ringing.
Changes, changes. Ringing clouds swelled
into thunderous sound.


dVerse wants a broken poem form, so the last two lines of
this Ottawa Rima were ‘broken’ and written  with internal
rhyme. Poem form Ottava Rima abababcc for dVerse

Found/remixed Bleak House and my 1991 Winter Journal

The Melancholy of Rain



The Melancholy of Rain

The bridge at the park is deep to its arches,
unclear the waters churned to movement.
Rain has become that ‘thing’, a beast
of intelligence, and we cannot take our

departure from it. Fields are sapped, sopped
and stand mired and stagnant. Trees hang
melancholy, and all the week long, both day
and night, the earth is punctured.

drop. drop. drop.

I hesitate to linger long in this wet. The air
clings soaked. To breathe it is to drown in it.
Felled trees make no crash as they fall
to ground, the axe no chop or splice, leaves

set themselves in quagmires where we step,
and smoke rises in untidy, lost clouds. Tardy,
my thoughts unhinged by rain, forever rain,
streaked and leadened on this windowpane.

And I smile. Wave. My neighbour walks her
young children to school, all dressed in rain.




Found and inspired from text in Bleak House by
Charles Dickens. Recollections of January 1991, Bletchingly.


A Contagion

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Mark Twain (1835-1910)

A Contagion

My feet settle, warmed by the hearth, there
as the air convulses with thunder. My ears
seize on weather, my heart clutches at rain.
I want to rush into roof arches and beams,
and hide in vesper processions and dreams.

But I’m sat in this too soft, slumped fitful chair,
watching a contagion of dark clouds appear.
Autumn is gone. The streets are swept clean
by unintelligible snarls of wind. And I sip tea.
Quietly. Still as the spoon on my saucer.


Found and Remixed Text:
The Mystery of Edwin Drood,
Charles Dickens and personal
recollections: November 1990,
Godstone, Surrey.

A Spill of Milk

A Spill of Milk

There’s a great fog here.
It fills the valley like milk
spilling into a glass.
Even when you think it’s gone,
it remains
in diluted streaks
hanging on twigs,
and wrapped in tall grasses.
There’s no ridding yourself
of the stuff. It’s grey
and sits dim on thoughts
and ambition.

And I think I hear an owl…




Remixed Found text: “Bleak House” by Charles Dickens,
and my recollections of December 1990, Godstone, Surrey