'Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.  Robert Frost

'How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.'  Robert Penn Warren.


 I walk into her room and there she sits

Cases packed her car keys on the table.

And powerless to speak for fear of crying

She takes my hand.

Outside it is snowing, flakes fall heavy still.

And I want to tell her that I care

That I mind her grief her silent mourning.

But all I say is ‘Are you ready then?’

She nods looks up at me and smiles.

It is enough.


Prize winner in the Elizabeth Longford Poetry Competition 2013




‘A drink before lunch dears?’

Mrs Halliday asked them in:

Artists, playwrights gathered in her room for gin and chat.

She knew a thing or two about the arts, had studied Freud;

sat for Augustus John, met Lloyd George.

Then she was an image running hurriedly about,

full of passion, politics and the printed word.

Fears and loneliness an absurdity,

 a burden for others to bear, there was nothing she

would not  attempt or dare stage- managing her days.


‘A drink before lunch dears?’

Mrs Halliday invites us in:

Smart thatched cottage beamed with blue checked curtains.

Perhaps our visits help stave off her loneliness

 now her husband is no more.

With drinks in hands, heads tilted listening- style,

 she tells her stories  - of youth, marriage and of sons long gone

to live abroad – what’s more, of grandsons she has never seen.

The sherry bottle stands obedient by her side, the easier to reach for and to pour.   

Published by Salopeot




Every morning he is there,

Stands waiting

Biding his time.


Two crows signal his arrival

Their indignant cries wake me,

And short on sleep

I stumble to the window

Police the lawn

Fend off this handsome visitor.


But he is back!

I can hear him now

His wings fanning the air -

This stalker of daybreak

Of margins of streams and lakes

And our fish filled pond.

 Published by United Press



Daisy embroidered fields

And hedgerows with

Sea happening round corners.


Scented gorse, the honeysuckle,

Those coastal walks

With stones dusty in our shoes.

Rock pools sand-stirred

With shrimps and crabs

Our fishing nets to catch

Sun lodging hot upon our backs.


And in The White House Hotel

Down by quay

A bishop sits sipping his afternoon tea.

 Published by United Press


The nursing home was large

His room was small,

Looked out on walls black bleak and tall.


They planted the trees to cheer him up:

Two silver birches where the old man

Could see them in the yard beneath his window.


And with the plants in place and summer’s

Resurrected skies like brilliant seas,

His spirits rose each time he gazed

On the silver birch trees.


The old man died, a woman took his room

But being old and blind she could not see

The yard, the skies or the whitish grey leaves

Of the silver birch trees.


But at night, with corridors quiet and stilled

She would sit at the open window, would  sit

Listening to that gentle breeze working its magic

Through those silver birch trees.


                      Published by Salopeot


We sit in the dining room

the headmaster and I


Two lone figures surrounded by

notice-boards, shields and silver cups.

He sips his coffee noisily slurping

while I stare throat lumped at my plate.

'Eat up boy, we haven't got all day!'

I drag, prod, lift and load my fork

trembling to my lips.


Two lone figures; the others gone to play

to kick a ball, or join in a debate.

I chew and hold my breath that way

I get it down. 

Another mouthful, two to go

then 'Finished sir.'

I wait silent as his dry eyes police my plate.

The bell.  We rise.

And that was our lunch break!




  You understand, don't you

that I no longer do?

But my eyes smile just the same,

yet I can't recall your name.


Have I met you before?

How much do you know?

How long will you stay?

And why don't you go?


You understand, don't you

that I no longer do?

Yet I feed and sleep and eat

just as you do.


My bed is not my own

that much is true.

The nurses come, they go

some old, some new.


You understand, don't you

that I no longer do?

Unlearning  every day

The narrowing of my view.


When you have gone from here

Your memory still intact

Write on a card my name

and send it back.


 Published by Forward Poetry, Salopeot, and Alzheimer's Speaks