Great Sampford

This poem was written on an early autumn walk, with hundreds of dewdropped spider webs festooning the briars



Lace in space

Squadrons of magic carpets

Planing the tangled briars’

Lax galaxy


The U S of A

They speak dollar

(For ‘black’ read ‘no’)

And the fundamentalist fringe

Has broadened to the centre.


There’s opportunity

For all (spelt ‘some’).

Here the surreal is for real

And Nostalgiasaurus – Rex!


Tall cliffs towering

Greensward gleaming

Orchids flowering

Streamlets streaming.

High sun ruling

Blue skies blowing

Dolphins schooling

Blue seas flowing.

Seals cavorting

Gannets stooping

Jackdaws courting

Swallows swooping.

Waves uncurling

Pebbles hissing

Ebb-tide swirling

I am missing


Dancing Ledge



A hand held out, that on its palm

The sun and sea may dance

Their shimmering pas de deux.

They leap – a jewelled filigree

Hangs sparkling on the sky-blue air.

They run – and every pool’s awash

And every crevice filled with sun-drenched joy.

Pink Thrift and white Sea Campion

Pack out the greensward-carpeted

And stoney-seated stalls;

While from the wings and galleries

The Kittiwakes their screaming,

Caves their thundrous, plaudits raise.


A simple place – where

Warmed by sun and love,

As on a mother’s lap, aproned with flowers,

I sit;

Lulled by the soft songs of summer.


And all around me

Kentish air is quick with scented sounds

Whispering all that England was

And all I hope ’twill be


Here laughter and good fellowship

Grow easy with the Hazel, hip and haw.

Good food is on the plate,

Thankfulness in the heart.

Here sleep is rest

And waking – more.



The rhyming (with a few exceptions!) in this poem is first line with third, second with fourth. It is also fourth syllable of the first line with fourth of the third; and sixth of the second line with sixth of the fourth.


Isleof Purbeck


Fetch me across the Haven’s race

From all that’s false and fanciful and new.

A lover seeking only love’s embrace,

I hear again the call, and come to you.


My feet set down on silver sand

By wind and wave compiled, warmed by the sun;

As though from town and city I had spanned

The seas, and found an isle by coral spun.


Beyond, where lie the dunes, each blade

Of grass whispers my name. A lizard darts

With news that I have come, while in the glade

Sweet Gale to do the same, her scent imparts.


To the land-locked Little Sea I walk

Through Jungle where the Royal Fern holds sway.

Great Water Docks the dark-eyed marsh-pools stalk;

None but the tried and loyal pass this way!



So to the high-skied heath, and tracks

That hum and chirp with insect industry.

Setting alight the heather’s tinder-packs,

The Gorse displays its Incan finery.


The sun goes down at Arish Mell,

Blessing with dusk a land where Curlews call.

Now bats, all soundless, weave an evening spell,

And sleep, with gentle hand, enfolds us all.


The stir of Hazel leaves within

The copse opens the thrushes eye and then

His throat. The daystar fades as dawn wears thin

The mists that shroud and hush the world of men.



Then upward past the Agglestone –

A gift from space – an asteroidal crumb?

Or did some vasty giant, like a bone,

Gouge it from Earth’s carcass with his thumb?


I only know, it now marks out

The path to where, athwart the Isle, are thrown

Two ridges that, like a mother’s arms about

Her sleeping child, will guard and keep their own.



Only on these green, sun-blown hills

Does my heart ever sing its native song.

Here sorrows ease and all my being stills;

Here, where the summer lingers, I belong.


And, where I climb Nine Barrow Down,

The Painted Lady sips the Harebell’s cup;

And  purple Thyme diffuses fragrance round

Luring the Lark who dips and rises up –



Up to the crest and widest blue

Where I may gaze and gaze from sea to sea

Nor ever rest my eye on any view

That does not fill with praise the soul of me.


So must the Island soon beguile

My feet to thread their way to Purbeck’s edge.

And gladly I’ll be drawn to rest awhile

At Winspit, Brandy Bay or Dancing Ledge.



Here, graven in the rocks, is scored

The music of the ages, line by line,

And breakers, breaking, sound the ancient chord

That tells of life’s beginnings and of mine.


Liege-lordly stand the towering cliffs

While vassal seas their foaming tribute pay.

Nor would my hand withhold its gift,

For I am more at home, more loved than they.


A Cretan Shrine

By road, by market,

Where the olive grows,

The dolls-house shrine

Makes weak faith firmer,

Glistening white.


Yet tis the dark it

Hoards; and, homely, knows

Things fade when shines

The untempered summer

Sun too bright.


With room to park, it

Focuses. All know

Its mysteries and sign

The cross, and murmur

In their plight;


Touching the ark that

Covenants to those

Who bread and wine

Revere, succour

In the night.


Where life is stark, its

Symbols and those

Painted saints combine,

Wisely, to colour

Faith with – just a little –


The Lulworth Riddle

Lulworth Cove reveals the wonderful strata of Purbeck’s limestone cliffs. This poem, not only tries to speak of the bay, but also hints at my love for it by a kind of ‘stratified’ structure. The first letters of the first three words of the first line give us ‘ILY’. So also do the second, third and fourth of the second, the third fourth and fifth of the third, and the fourth, fifth and sixth of the fourth.


In Lulworth yonder, where the hills sweep down,
The Island’s little yawn inhales the sea.
There rise its limestone yesterdays about the bay.
Timeless as Eden, innocent lagoon, you magic me.