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


This House Talks


This House Talks

Sixty-eight days
of this impatient rain
and obstinate gloom,

my moods half waking,
occasionally all-blinking,
and February gnaws on.

I reminisce like old women
sat on a shaded veranda
in rocking chairs,
remembering picnic days,

when we felt lazy as heat,
like contented geese.
And I’m interrupted by

those unfamiliar noises
in this gabbling old house,
and I growl them away,

betray them into that
echoing place
where ghost stories
and mysteries are kept.

This empty house rains
noise – this house talks.


reposted from Chalk Hills Journal
first published 13 Feb 2015

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

Winter Hung an Eggy Wobble


Winter Hung An Eggy Wobble

The sun rose
an eggy wobble,
tall and high above shearling rain.

Blown clouds. Lacy. Faceless.
Hanging on a heavy mood.
It didn’t bring the foggiest trust,

just failed tests of lore,
trials by weather, this wintry
form. Those twelve men of jury –

Anointed. Appointed. Weathermen.
They tapped their twiggy sticks
into bony trees and up bushes,

hoping to pry spring’s peep but
all remained a wobbled quiet.
All remained a winter hung.

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






On the High Ridge Scrub


On the High Ridge Scrub

Each day sleeps and wakes in solitude –
it’s motion that instils direction. At least
that’s what I always thought, but it’s not

that simple, he says. He keeps a flock
on the high ridge scrub, and we watch
them from the car. Bursts of rain fill

our heads with hurried sounds, fleece-
tumbled clouds sealing milk-glass sky.
Another storm to carve and wound

the chalk hills, crag the cliffs in a clown’s
tragedy. And there beside the tumbled
stonewalls, sheep bleat – emit a stutter,

a starved beacon to those lost amid
chapped wind and twig scrub.



Inspired by Bleak House Sunday Whirl words: instill, fill, burst,
tumble, glass, sound, clown, fleece, another, wound, emit, seal.


Waiting for the Glazier


Waiting for the Glazier

The glazier comes, although my wait
has lasted all the day. A stone escaped,
flew a small boy’s hand, and it happened
through my kitchen pane. Such fear,

indeed, I saw in those small eyes until
I said it was all poor chance, bad luck,
and the stone’s own fault. And so I wait
through this day, the glazier’s arrival

long delayed. I wait same as air, heavy
with cold as fog levels the ground to grey.
These three months of winter, too prolonged,
and how protracted my journey’s become.




Found and Remixed from Bleak House
and my 1991 Winter Journal

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.




That morning was stripped and untied as wind
swept through the place, objects not tied down caught
up in its howl disappeared beyond my visual border.
It was a sort of natural psychosis,

the sort that fretful artists want to paint.
I expected, silly, to see Death’s blackened eyes,
a face shaded by old character in a deep monk’s hood.
And then as if bled of all its strength, the wind fell,

settled into an easy composure, a posture shift,
as if saying – Behold, I’ve filled your glass half full.
And so the morning went, bruised in the frankest
manner of that spontaneous burst of wind.




Written for A very rough draft which I might rewrite. I’d like to strip it down significantly.

A Squeeze into Rumpled Pleasantries


A Squeeze into Rumpled Pleasantries

I find winter a headache. Constant, earnest,
wanton chess-playing with rascals at the door
and serenely mannered neighbours who give

me significant looks, and no doubt I should
know what it all means, but its manner
and manoeuvre is half lost on me.

May I call you Selma?
… but that’s not my name.

So I squeeze myself back into rumpled
pleasantries just as Mrs Peepy draws
closed her white lacy curtains. I smile,
‘though I don’t think that she notices  …




Found text from Bleak House by Charles Dickens, and remixed
with my 1991 Winter Journal from Bletchingley, Surrey

A Chase of Tea


A Chase of Tea

The children are bundled into blankets
and coats clutching at their ears. So scarce
our thoughts on warmth until all the oil’s
drained. The tank’s but scant remains, mere
vapours I’d surely thank, and this evening
is so cold, and the fire’s gone to ash. I pray
I might find the kettle, and chase off this chill
with tea, as we huddle close in together, the
children read about those three pigs twee.






Found and remixed text from *Bleak House* and personal diaries
from March 1991. A week after moving into our house in Godstone,
we ran out of heating oil. The gauge on the tank was faulty, stuck on full.


A Creak of Complaints


A Creak of Complaints

Sleep was not coming from my bed,
so I rose and dressed, and stepped
into a raw cold morning of soaked
and smutty fog. The front door open,

it creaked complaints, and I started
for the milk. Real milk. Milkman milk.
Glass bottled milk. Two pints a day.
The magpies’d garnered one silver

foil cap, a sufficiently curious object
that caught up their shining affection,
and so flew off with it, and abandoned
the milk to five stroppy grey cats.

They had no more desire to depart
than I to engage in singsong hissing.
Perhaps I should rather return my-
self to bed, leaving the milk to cats.




Found and remixed text from my Journals
of Winter 1991 and “Bleak House” by C. Dickens.

A Happy Settlement


A Happy Settlement

We are laughing children
carrying our smiles like air,
And we believe in first snow,

first flakes falling like blessings
and sticking like a judgement.
We squeeze into knitted hats,
wear woollens that drink-up
rivers of wet, and we run for hills
steep with broadened slopes.

We are children of devoted hope
speeding on sledges, outrunning
parental warnings of caution.




Written for Margo’s Tuesday Tryout. Found and remixed from Bleak House by Charles Dickens, and excerpts from my diary, Bletchingley, Surrey February 1991