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March 10, 2018



Each answer snappy

with growling overtones,


that changed the timing

of the household beat,


and constant knotting

of pillowcase strings,


as angry voices rang out

down below.


And unsightly fingernails

chewed to the quick;


the dog seeking refuge

underneath the bed.


And the hell of knowing

worse was yet to come.


The physical sickness

stomach nerves brought forth.


The thumping loud

on table’s hardwood top.


as trembles forcing

a urine flow.


The stress of loyalty

seemingly misplaced;


to want to love,

but feelings not embraced,


for fear of harsh words

after all was done.


No need to have 

it all spelt out,


the pattern so familiar

had become,


the outcome obvious

set in cold cement. –


Grandma’s yearly visit

was now imminent !




And come, she did,

and settled in,


as peace and calm

replaced the din.


The dog so sweetly

by her leg,


wagged it’s tail

and sat to beg,


as the household slowly

did uncoil –


the kettle, the only thing

now on the boil.


She played Board games,

and made us laugh and squeal,


and taught us how

to do cart wheels.


She learned about

the things we do,


and listened to 

our point of view.


Then all too soon

her visit through,


and no-one dead –

we all said ‘phew’.


Now twelve months had we,

with older eyes,


before another

love-torn compromise.





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October 8, 2017



Ten years I’ve been without her.

Ten years I have been free.

Still passing her belov’ed Plane tree

that she first pointed out to me.


Ten years of  doing my own thing.

Ten years without reprimand.

Still acting as impulsive as ever,

without being slapped on the hand.


Ten years not hearing ‘I told you so’.

Ten years of missing unconditional trust.

Still re-opening age’d battle scars,

from the times we did combust.


Ten years of heartache and agony.

Ten years it’s taken, til time forgot.

Now at last I’m ready to admit it –

She was right sometimes, but not a lot!


Ten years of thinking it could have been different.

Ten years of knowing it simply could not- 

‘We were too alike’ as she said often –

on that, she hit the spot.


Ten years without my sparring partner.

Ten years on freedom’s trail.

Still a decade on I so miss her –

Mother Dear, I’m starting to wail.


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April 28, 2017



Why go back and seek out ancestors

when living elders you no longer see?

Why retrace steps into the unknown

searching for a lost family tree?


Where leaves long since perished

and branches strangled by mistletoe,

and what you may find out anyway,

you’d be better off not to know.


Why go back looking for heartache

when living isolation on show?

Why not put right what is possible

before being lowered below.


With leaves that long since perished

and where future generations may tread,

so that what they may just find out

will bring them happiness instead.





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February 27, 2017



Don’t let her go to your Ethel’s,

she’ll give her something we can’t give.

She’ll spoil her and make her dissatisfied,

and make her hell on earth to live with.


Don’t let her go to your Ethel’s,

she’ll only get into her mind,

and give her false hope and aspirations,

that when she returns, she won’t leave behind.


Don’t let her go to your Ethel’s,

we’ll bring her up our own way,

scratching each crumb together-

there is nothing more to say.


Don’t let her go to your Ethel’s –

but too late our cry of distress!

She’s already besotted with her thinking,

more so than if we hadn’t cared less!



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December 6, 2016



It’s only me – I’m not stopping,

I really have loads to do.

I shouldn’t even be calling,

but this duty visit I owe to you.


So tell me – how are you doing?

Crickey, is it that time so soon?

I’ll drop in again next weekend,

for ten minutes sometime around noon.


Just text me if you need something,

as my ‘phone’s always on silent mode.

and I’ll get back to you presently,

when I’ve dealt with my work overload.


‘Well thanks for popping in darling;

it’s good to get a glimpse of your face,

Now clear off,  if you don’t mind –

I’m about to watch Bradley on The Chase.




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Our hearts as normal,

ticked away,

as we awoke,

at break of day.


A regular day

like any other,

until the phone call –

God help us Mother!


Fast forward goes

a beating heart;

the mind a jumble –

where to start?


So much to do,

now doesn’t matter.

Alarm bells loud,

disturb the chatter.


The laughter that

was yesterday,

replaced by thoughts

in disarray.


Then to the appointment,


What had the test

results detected?


With baited breath

hands clasped together;

through thick and thin this pair,

seen off bad weather.


Then joy of joy –

the gods align.

No need for panic –

all would be fine.


Though the call to see

the Doctor  a s a p,

nearly was the death,

of he and me.



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November 2, 2016



and Winston called

en-route to the river,

a morning welcome

to deliver.

That Golden Retriever

from across the way –

a trusted pal became

from the first day.


and Penny came by

every now and then-

the name we christened,

a very cute pea-hen,

who visited from

Harcourt Arboretum

at Nunenham Courtenay,

looking for a crumb.


And next door’s cat-

a fluffy ‘black and white’,

in her magnificence

appeared at daylight.

Our Siamese boys

always the first to see

her prompt arrival,

would then alert me.


and our ageing Setter,

when turning grey,

lived out his life

in the best way,

with daily walks

along Sandford Lock-

a place we still re-visit

when taking stock,


of the dreaming spires

and seats of learning,

and autumns bliss,

when leaves were turning.

Though short lived was

to be our stay-

A place in our hearts,

Oxford, to this day.


A life lived through animals

who came and went.

Everyone a gift

from heaven sent.

The joy of nostalgia-

that two-edged sword.

A constant reminder

life shouldn’t be ignored.





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October 1, 2016



Oh weekdays

when I have to face

groundhog day –

that same rat-race.


Oh weekends

when I become a chauffeur,

ferrying son

and impatient daughter.


Oh weekdays

when dear Monday arrives,

and I find stimulation

on which the brain survives.


Oh weekends

when I become handyman,

fixing plumbing jobs

the best way I can.


Oh weekdays

when I return to my chair,

sifting through emails

which become a blur.


Oh weekends

when I yearn to relax

and put my feet up

and play my sax!


Oh weekdays

when chaos starts up

The new MD decides

this old dog, swapped for a pup!


Oh weekends

now I need the family most,

they’re out doing ‘their thing’ –

no sign of Sunday Roast!


Oh weekdays

that were once salvation,

now an unsure future

heading for starvation.


Oh weekends, weekends

now I’ve faced the facts;

and on weekdays too

I’m belting out that sax.


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August 16, 2016



I’ll take this hour God granted me –

Three-fifty on the clock.

A call of nature awakened me.

So quiet the house, just a tick-tock.


I’ll take this moment every time

For ‘now’ is all that’s real.

The family safe and sleeping;

this time is mine to steal.


Though not for long my solitude,

as behind me gently creeps,

one who’s on my wavelength,

with four paws, a vigil keeps.


One who no-one else can see,

but one who’s at my core.

Who gently tempts me back to bed,

to rest my mind once more.




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Well more or less

we’re both alright.

I could say more,

but then why spite


the other half

of this great fraction,

when 50/50

the main attraction.


I love this man

so much it hurts,

although I hate

ironing his shirts.


Not something that

the young ones do

for their dear men,

who love them true.


But for us, tradition

carried on.

Old habits formed

are never gone.


When ‘Come for Tea’

meant ‘Silver Service’,

And Blue Peter starred

dear  Peter Purves.


And slow to change;

our ways that work.

A small price to pay –

ironing that shirt!


And heaven forbid the day

that’s superseded,

when the shirt I’ve ironed

no longer needed!




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