Last Two Poems of 2017


escaping into the night garden I thought – Cassiopeia! hello stars! I said as on so many occasions in other night gardens far away in time & space and then it burst upon me: God stops right here – inside this bag of skin & ancient bone at the surface of my eyes at my […]

REMEMBERING JAMES KIRKUP – PART TWO (R13+)


My dear old friend James swam into my more-than-conscious mind yet again on the 19/20th January 2017 in London when I was privileged to be present at a monumental performance by Ian Pace of Michael Finnissy’s five hour masterpiece The History of Photography in Sound. James is one of the poets recorded/celebrated/memorialised in Chapter Six […]

REMEMBERING JAMES KIRKUP – PART ONE (R13+)


The Railway Bridge after a painting by Brooke Farrar There he stands, the well-known figure Of the total stranger with his back Towards me, leaning on the parapet Of the secure suburban bridge. He stares along the permanent, white Summer rails, the expanding iron thoughts That curve into perspective, signalling The distance and himself, and […]

Haiku Consciousness and Ceramic Ducks (R12+)


Discovering Haiku I arrived at haiku sometime in the 1960’s while I was reading Alan Watts’ The Way of Zen. I was very drawn to his argument that went something like this: in Western philosophy (and, as a result, pervasive throughout western thinking processes) there’s a habitual cognitive dichotomy between thinker and thing-thought, between mind […]

Technological Change, Art, Music and the Human Mind (R11)


One-dimensional Thinking In One-dimensional Man, Herbert Marcuse argues that technological change undermines the true substance of art: the easy availability of its products and their subsequent manipulation, universality of access, the general dumbing down of processes, the seeming ordinariness of ‘how to do it’, crowd mentality, psychological analysis… And the concrete manifestations of technological effect […]

WHY WRITE POEMS? (R12+)


As a theme for presenting a keynote address to a local poetry group this summer I chose to look back over sixty years of my own making of poems. The result was something like what follows and the presentation of a small book of Selected Poems which is available free to anybody who might choose […]

CASTLE GNATS & WORMS (R7)


I wonder if anybody else in the world, except Michael Frayn and myself, remembers Gasbag’s [Mr Brady, Irish] English classes at Kingston Grammar School; he was one of the many great eccentrics there under whose spell I fell one way and another. One day, without telling us what the purpose was, he set us, for […]