1st June 2014

ee cummings sea
Maggie and Milly and Molly and May
by EE Cummings

maggie and milly and molly and may 
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang 
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing 
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone 
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me) 
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea


Maya Angelou 1928-2014


Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.


Emotional Acreage.

Today, I trawled through an old notebook. I am currently working on a personal essay, exploring obsession and memory.  On the 17th June 2011, I copied out these words from Anne Lamott. Their truth made me smile, she uses the verb ‘sliming’ so well.

“Every single one of us at birth is given an emotional acre all of our own…And as long as you don’t hurt anyone, you really get to do with your acre as you please.

If you want your acre to look like a giant garage sale or an auto wrecking yard, that’s what you get to do with it.

There’s a fence around your acre, though with a gate, and if people keep coming onto your land and sliming it or trying to get you to do what they think is right, you get to ask them to leave.

And they have to go, because this is your acre.”

- Anne Lamott




A Man In His Life

by Yehuda Amichai

A man doesn’t have time in his life
to have time for everything.
He doesn’t have seasons enough to have
a season for every purpose. Ecclesiastes
Was wrong about that.

A man needs to love and to hate at the same moment,
to laugh and cry with the same eyes,
with the same hands to throw stones and to gather them,
to make love in war and war in love.
And to hate and forgive and remember and forget,
to arrange and confuse, to eat and to digest
what history
takes years and years to do.

A man doesn’t have time.
When he loses he seeks, when he finds
he forgets, when he forgets he loves, when he loves
he begins to forget.

And his soul is seasoned, his soul
is very professional.
Only his body remains forever
an amateur. It tries and it misses,
gets muddled, doesn’t learn a thing,
drunk and blind in its pleasures
and its pains.

He will die as figs die in autumn,
Shriveled and full of himself and sweet,
the leaves growing dry on the ground,
the bare branches pointing to the place
where there’s time for everything.



Cave side.


Three days earlier, the wind cut through me, the chill slapped my face. I clung to my mother, clenched my eyes shut and fled from that place. The roaring wind was only the ocean and we, the mourners, would always be safe. A lone voice prayed, but I was watching the waves and running up sand dunes.

Three days after, I made my way to the caves. I hoped the ocean would soothe, the relentless rhythms would carry me away.

Instead, I sat on an old tartan blanket, not running or laughing or safe.

Everything, even the ocean, had changed.


In My Father’s House – The Study



When Dad was on his knees, I shuffled quietly past, reluctant to disturb the Spirit of God that circled the inner sanctum.  Sermon preparation had a gravitas, an unspeakable reverence. Often, his baritone shook the walls, bringing heaven to our home,

“When peace like a river attendeth my way, 

When sorrows like sea billows roll,

It is well with my soul.”

His study was modest and clean; a studded, leather, reclining ‘captain’s chair’, a rare nod to earthly opulence. I enjoyed my raucous spins when no-one was watching. Matching books with spines aligned in numerical and biblical order lined the walls; collections of biblical commentaries written centuries ago, held the mysteries of his universe. Endless books he had found and borrowed, cluttered the floor, spilling into other rooms and forming little mountains of divine knowledge. Some still lie dotted around my mother’s home. She can’t bear to tidy him away.

Dad woke early. Sitting in the front room, he would look along the street, resting his briefcase across his lap. He chewed pens of every colour, filling loose pages with his distinctive alliterated sermons. He prayed for neighbours walking their dogs.

Performance was his lethal weapon. Oration was in his blood. His words carried me, the greatest sceptic, scrambling over the fires of hell, into the arms of the shepherd.


On the death of my father.

Things that do not matter, no longer matter.

Time drags me kicking, further from his last dawn,

From those sacred, private hours with the one man I was capable of loving forever.

Sorrow stabs the mundane.

Hoovering: why is this floor so filthy?

I clean it every Tuesday for him coming,

It’s been too many Tuesdays since he’s been here…

And then I remember.

I hoover on, blinded by my own snivelling, hearing his laugh at the top of the table.