the deer, the spider and the robin

A deer was in the garden this morning, eating, browsing
completely unaware of me gazing out from the kitchen door
this isn't my garden but his .. hers ... his ... who knows
what I do know is that we don't own outdoor space at all
and even indoor space is shared much more than we imagine
as with the very large spider who lives behind my toilet
giving me the heebie jeebies when I get up nightly for a pee.

I have to stay very quiet on the subject of spiders round here
for if the existence were to be discovered death would follow
my secret spider is doing no harm at all, I quite like it there
except when I can't see it in the middle of the night
and sit there thinking it might creep up my leg any second
which just adds that frisson of tension to what is ordinary
and I thought about giving it a name but that's a step too far.

But I share my space willingly and happily for this is not mine
my castle remains on the inside where sharing is not required
but it adds to the richness of life if I do, so I do that too
but there remains the question of whose garden it truly is
and there I'd have to vote for the robin who lives on edge of it
and daily sometimes hourly makes the flight to perch by the door
to look at me standing there and to remind me that this is his.


I know it scares you this thinking bizzo
I know that you don't really want to know
and yet without thought only instinct prevails
are our guts so infallible do you think?

Do you think that we really don't need thought
that it's a pointless exercise in introspection
that we're better off not knowing the truth
which is what exactly, I feel your frustration

Which I share for I want to know too, I do
and yet even if you do suspect I somehow know
I won't let on in case I might be so very wrong
how disappointed will we both be should that be?

So I offer you yet more limpid platitudes
and wait here on the freezing sidelines to see
if you will take the plunge and let yourself be
a person who finally connects to their self within

Which I know is scary and not at all what you want
but healing takes so many forms that we don't expect
like learning we are who we are and yet we're still OK
and that we're lovable even though we're made that way

So although some resolution must yet still be made
we can take comfort in the knowledge that this will be
and even if it's not expected we can somehow yet find
a way to explore it and still arrive at peace of mind.

And isn't that really the point of all this wondering
to arrive at some conclusion however disconcerting
that we really are all right no matter how we appear
that we're OK as people despite how we aspire to be.

This journey we're on may have so many stages and yet
I don't feel so lonely and I'm hoping you feel it too
that however difficult these revelations might yet be
that it's not a foreign land, this is still just you and me.

a daydream

There must some way of truly drawing a picture with words
taking the person reading to a place they can actually see
and seeing, experiencing, almost finding themselves there
like how you get totally caught up in a movie sometimes
where you lose a part of yourself for just a short time
and take that part back at the end for it was only on loan.

It's the part of you that travels in daydreams perhaps
the wishing part, the whimsical, believing, searching part
the bit that wants things that can't be seen or touched
the piece of us that makes us more than who we seem to be
and that's the part of our heart we can take on this journey
so put aside your cynicism for a few moments if you can.

Sit with me in the gentle breeze and look out over the sea
the reef is close by to shore and so the breakers are clear
and near, and the sound is washing ebbing flowing crashing
overwhelmingly noisy and yet the power is in no way frightening
and there are no people here, just you and me, so there's no danger
and no risk of being over-run by our normal everyday concerns.

There is just breeze and sea, and you and me sitting on the shore
and all is calm to all intents ... but the clouds look ... see
the way they build and billow, bubbling up, storming the sky
the presence of the incoming storm need not alarm us though
you see we are here and not here all at the same time
this is the stuff of every day dreams and can take us any time.

angels can be tall tales

I was reading the most beautiful poem earlier on today
It was about how angels fall which sounds about right
it seems that even angels might have feet made from clay
now that is something we don't often think about isn't it?
it reminded me of an incident from my irresponsible teens.

I travelled to a city 3 hours away to visit a good friend
but somehow we got our wires crossed and so he wasn't there
and having nowhere to sleep I headed out to a nearby farm
as I had some stupid notion that haystacks might be warm
They are damn prickly too, but still I lay down and I slept.

Waking in the morning I saw a man, obviously a traveller
who had arrived whilst I slept but who kept his distance
and who on seeing I was awake asked me if I had ever seen
my guardian angel who stood over me as tall as you like
and who warded me against the dangers of the dark night.

Which made me shiver and thank the man before I ran off
for he was not a small person and I was too scared to trust
but I remembered what he said, and told my friend about it
which almost made him crash the car, we skidded to a halt
and he turned and looked at me with a very odd expression.

He told me that he too had seen this strange apparition
some kind of shape, some ghostly presence nearby to me
and had always thought that it was just his imagination
which made me shiver all the more for I can't sense this
I can't see or feel it, I would love to catch a glimpse.

I wonder if we all have an angel in our lives, it may be
but what is it that allows some stranger and some friend
to see what I would so love to see but can't really believe
therein lies the problem maybe you have to believe to see
for an angel must have better things to do than to ward me.

There are people who believe, is it true only they can see
well seeing is believing, but believing without seeing ...
well that is the stuff of faith. And faith just isn't easy
believing on scant evidence might indeed be a fools game
after all one person's hallucination is anothers vision.

take a look ...

a rock

I was thinking about you just now, pondering
remembering what we talked of last night
when the lights were low and the wine open
about how distant you sometimes feel from others
and particularly your family whom you so love
but yet somehow seem to keep yourself apart.

And I wondered about the fear the consumes us
that stops us from connecting with others
especially others we love and care about
maybe it's that care that stops us from venturing
into murky waters where hurt might be caused
so the fear perpetuates but someone must start.

I thought about the person who is most brave
in my family, the one who takes these hard risks
to connect and start conversations with meaning
and I realised that right now that person is me
which both suprised and depressed me in a way
for I have the least to give in so many ways.

You on the other hand have many gifts to share
although I suspect you're totally unaware of this
I ask about how it was that you were there
in the dark days with your father slowly fading
how you managed to convey to him through care
what you could never say out loud in words.

You see a separateness that may not in fact be
for the people around you may be totally aware
of your deep abiding commitment to them all
I suspect you are like a solid rock in their world
someone they always know they can rely on
so you are actually at the core of your family.

And this sense of separateness afflicts us all
although with some there is an even deeper despair
a longing to convey to those we love that we love
that we hold their hearts dear. Such simple words
such a simple message, can it be so difficult really
and you said no, not if you can bear to say it.

And what struck me then is how little you say
even after so many years of friendship between us
and it's always been OK that you don't say much
for when you do it makes for interesting conversation
and the fact is that what you do say has extra meaning
the ones you love love you too, I bet they listen.

light and shade

There's a duality in all of us to some degree isn't there
black and white, light and shade, laughter and tears
I've been thinking about the transition through grief
how to move on after all these years and lay to rest
things that happened to someone who is now no more

The person we were then is not the person we become
and learning to tell the two apart is part of this I hope
a separation and acceptance that the two are not the same
and a deeper realisation that nothing changes in our past
and no amount of willing or wishing can ever make it so

Closure I've heard it called and I guess it's what I'm after
just some peace from the general whirl something lasting
something to hold onto whenever these storms rage within
some way of just walking away into that tranquil place
where nothing hurts and where pain is just some word

Where time stands still and so there is no real transition
just a gentle dawning drawing me back from there to here
an acknowledgement that such feelings can be endured
and in the endurance comes a deeper understanding
that life may not be fair or good or sweet, but it is there

And being there it must be lived rather than just endured
for this gift is undervalued if we miss the important meaning
of the relationship we have with everything around us
we are part of a whole, and although we might not feel it
a speck in the universe we might be someone elses world.

Old grief is sometimes right bang square in front of us
it is stuff we should have dealt with a long long time ago
but without the tools, with too much drowning it wasn't so
preferring oblivion has meant that this has all been stored
and so back to the prospect of finally dealing with it all.

It's like being asked to grow up when I'm already grown
just not in every way well certainly not in this way anyway
I would rather retreat back into oblivion than grieving fully
completely, going through the stages, learning how to heal
learning to deal with reality rather than what I wish could be.

Being a grown up is not appealing when it means all this
why can't I stay in my oblivion, is drowning really so bad
compared to facing up to truths I've spent so long avoiding
there's no transition, no healing unless I take these steps
it needn't come in leaps and bounds, and I will get there yet.

My luthier

I was watching earlier as you carved out new patterns
it's interesting seeing the deepening lines in the wood
the gradual refining as the edges sharpen and rise up
creating channels in which to lay down new colours
I can see how luthiers find such joy in their creations.

Wood and music, it's almost the stuff of a good marriage
for whilst one is solid, can be held and seen the other ...
well music is a balm against life storms, a safe harbour
but at other times an enhancement of the tempest within
an celebration of joy, a reflection of grief, a melodic stroke.

I am someone who is easily lost in the rages of crescendo
whose heart responds to the whisper of a softly played tune
who conjures vivid images from the melodies in my minds eye
who cries hearing the soaring beauty of Faur├ęs requiem mass
there is something about music that speaks to our very soul.

It's a common bond between us two this love of music making
of losing ourselves in the sounds ... in the crashing intensity
and then lightly gently softening to a whisper on the last note
and coming to to find ourselves where we were before we started
and in the sudden silence that ensues we find peacefulness.

So I'm looking forward to seeing this guitar when it's made
will it have that sweetness of tone, the mellowest bass notes
the warmth in the mid range that carries through the scale
and when we play it will it somehow have that extra meaning
because it's the instrument of your heart, of your own making.

a safe haven

I guess I didn't realise that heartache physically hurts
I always figured it was just something people said
but I was wrong, as in so many things of late it seems
for this is a feeling like no other I have experienced
despite having had a share of grief and loss over time.

Coming up to the anniversaries of two very special deaths
and I'm wondering how it is that I feel one way about that
and yet quite another way about this, which makes me realise
that I have totally lost a sense of perspective which helps
for that's something else about heartache they don't tell you.

That it's a form of madness that spins out in your mind
taking you on flights to places you didn't know existed
and robbing you of the sense you were born with, which is why
you have to sit tight with these feelings ... wait and see
what perspective time brings when madness eventually recedes.

So I'll turn my mind to memories that it's coming time to honour
as the anniversaries approach, this year will I hope be different
for in years gone past I've made this time one of immoderation
found in this season a reason to drown myself night after night
to avoid feeling what should be felt, for grief is also healing.

So to honour a memory is quite a different thing from using it
and that realisation is part of the transition towards wholeness
I read somewhere recently that feelings are just feelings, how true
but what struck me was also what a complete misunderstanding
are we not driven by our hearts response to almost everything?

And yet rationality remains and can quickly become a safe haven
when the storms seem to rage and the waves crash in on our minds
we can turn and look ... step outside the feelings and see it clear
catch a glimpse of what has until now been hidden from our thoughts
part of life is death, as is learning to live with some heartache.

A dream stone

As I hold this smooth round stone resting gently in my hand
I can feel a sense of timelessness and history long gone
A stream of thoughts through ages past reaching out to me
A girl with golden hair whose dreams I can almost see
for fragments of those dreams are still warm upon the stone
I can see her dancing, skipping, whirling on the beach

I smile now as I hold the stone and think of that young girl
who asked that it might be given to one who truly understands
that giving honours the giver .. someone who just might know
that dreams are dreamt with determination and concentration
so in a way dreams need not come true to be experienced
thus maybe dreaming and living can intermingle in our minds

There are such risks involved in opening our hearts it's true
but by not doing so we shrivel within and a part of us dies
so that as time passes it gets increasingly hard to resurrect
that part of ourselves that makes us us, that very unique soul
and in losing that we lose much more than we perhaps imagine
for it's that part which has the makings of re-creating the whole.

Sometimes you receive a gift of almost incomparable value
something you can carry in your heart as well as your hand
the knowledge that there are people out there who really know
and whilst knowing understand .. and it's in that understanding
lies the essence of the gift .. the saying of one soul to another
this stone has helped ease someone so might it also help you?

a recurrence

I dreamt of you which was different yet the same
I have been having a hard time of late with dreams
so it was nice to find your cheery self in my sleep
smiling and laughing ... shuffling yourself about
in that funny way you have when you get talking.

I love to sit and watch when you talk you know
your voice sings and your eyes almost dance
you have this endless stream of things to say
so with little prompting from me you're off and away
and words upon words, your talk washes over me.

I do listen as well you know, it's not just sounds
it's not just that I enjoy watching your face either
there's something so compelling about enthusiasm
it's in the flow and rythm, the cadence somehow
making me smile knowing how you usually are.

It's this way you have of intensifying a thought
of putting some new idea under the magnification
of your mind and creating something altogether new
like an explosion from the tiniest firework rocket
your ideas burn bright and stay long in my mind.

We talked about the Giver, you know who I mean
that all powerful being who despite whatever I say
looms large in your mind, and just won't go away
although we both know that no Giver worth their salt
would ever have allowed to happen what did even so.

It's here that we almost part ways for you won't give up
you assert that the Giver is real and within our hearts
but I can't reconcile that idea with what we've seen
and with where we've been, which just can't be said
so this once I hold my peace and let you win.

Which is how I came to know it was just a dream
for the reality is you don't normally talk that much
which is fine by me for I like some kinds of silence
But when I wake up and remember you in my dream
I feel sorry I didn't take this one chance to say more.

I think of you often and wonder how you are
especially since the palace of white coats
where they tried again to use electrical wires
to wipe out things that should never have been
Maybe the Giver could step in, wipe the slate clean.

an exciting prospect

There's something so elusive about contentment
why is it that we feel we have the right to be happy
is it not in the contrast that appreciation grows
so that when contentment does steal upon us
will we only know it's presence through an absense

Is it to be found in the lack of any sense of crisis
a feeling that nothing sinister is looming ahead
if so it's not dramatic and could be easily missed
something unrecognisable if not consciously sought
maybe it's something we can cultivate from within

If it's a whisper we might have to listen carefully
learn to hush our minds and softly quieten to stillness
perhaps in the stillness we might discern at last
that fragile temporary state we so long for ... and yet
might there also be too little excitement there for us

An understanding must be reached if both are desired
for whilst contentment and peace are easy bedfellows
excitement is perhaps something that robs us of both
do we crave exhilaration knowing it comes at such cost
or is it in blissful ignorance that we pursue our thrills

Can we develop a fuller appreciation of contentment
even if we can attain such a state can we retain it
is it as ephemeral as it is elusive, this whispering
and if so then the capturing and holding of this feeling
does seem to be an altogether exciting prospect

Perhaps it's in a circle of meaning as described here
that truths might finally be teased out of the morass
and it may well be that we must come to finally accept
that contentment shouldn't be an absolute aim in itself
although it has an alluring element difficult to ignore

I guess I'm saying that it seems entirely selfish
to pursue something as if it's our over-riding right
when those we profess to love need something from us
and yet I can't help hoping that somehow sometime
I'll learn to listen carefully and hear that whisper too

On reflection

On reading back today I can see how dark some of this writing is.
It can be so hard to articulate the relentlessness of despair,
so when we do it does have a rather desperate feel to it.
What can be so useful about writing is it's a way of emptying,
of facing the worst excesses of those darker feelings.
Learning to feel without necessarily responding.

And so it is a form of learning what should already be known
that feelings pass and the edge recedes when we turn our minds.
Thus learning to turn our minds becomes the crux of it I suppose,
a part of what distinguishes genuine maturity from the immature,
an understanding that in reacting as we do to the general whirl,
we are choosing and in effect abandoning rationality altogether.

I wonder how it would be if we were able to taste the bitterness
of the troubles we can’t even begin to see in the lives of others.
What perspective would it grant us in a fundamental understanding
that life is ferociously hard on many of us in one way or another
and what feels like a very individual struggle is actually universal.
So perhaps the reason we respond as we do is that pain calls to us.

Where then is the role of healing in all this bleak despondency.
How do we learn to travel a new road through the mire of despair.
How can we acquire the necessary discipline so foreign to us,
after so many years of increasingly self indulgent tinkering.
How appealing does the serious practise of discipline seem
in comparison to yet more rounds of the cycle of destruction.

quiet hours

Two in the morning has again become my best friend
Well I say this in that perky tone but the reality is
We are old aquaintances of many years standing
And the only difference is that there are now church bells
Which in years gone by I might have enjoyed
But now only serve to mark the hours of wakefulness.

I could get up and wander about, make myself useful
Or even just sit and read a book, but no I do neither
I lie in the dark and look at the bright moon shining
I draw the curtains back to enjoy the magical quality
Of a light that in ages past was the object of worship
And you can see why as clouds race across the silvery face.

It’s a quiet time, perfect for reflection and for introspection
But what I’d like to do is to find a way to stop the tumult
I would like to slip into the sea of tranquillity and dive
Searching for a deeper peace that doesn’t just dissipate
In the harsh light of reality, or in the noise and bustle of the day
I’d like to find a way to be here and there at the same time.

As the church bells chime four I am still looking, still awake
And I wonder at how the time passes in such contemplation
It’s the lack of rush, the acceptance that thoughts will drift
That there is no need to constantly be of a practical mind
I would like to know how to switch this all off though
I’d like to find some peace in the quiet hours of the morning.

A walk to Stonehenge

How do you fall apart exactly, do you know
is it something obvious and quite dramatic
or more akin to a silent crumbling within
a gradual overshadowing of despondency
a cracking or perhaps a thinning of the facade
an overwhelming sense of can't-be-botheredness.

Is it in the unwillingness to face anything at all
the insistence that nothing matters anyway
does sitting hour upon hour in the darkness count
or should I look for more gravity in the signs
is there more to come, more doom and gloom
is falling apart even possible unless left alone.

And how tiny do the crumbs have to become
how wide should the cracks tear us apart
do we really need to tumble into the abyss
launch ourselves in complete surrender
can I do all this very quietly do you think
I'm not sure I want to be noticed like this.

What are these thoughts that crowd my mind
when I could be drawing comfort from the silence
as I walk slowly towards the ancient stones
standing tall on the summit of this gentle slope
I fight back the urge to surrender just yet
and walk on turning my mind to enjoyment.

In the face of these stark alternatives
I am still in a place where I can choose
where whatever I choose I'm not saying forever
I'm saying for now and that will be enough
oh god I hope so, for my strength is waning
and the prospect of the abyss is almost persuasive.

There's a way of playing inside your mind
toying with might be's that seem quite terrifying
but in playing such games there are hidden dangers
for thoughts precede action so we mustn't proceed
we must exercise caution and take extra care
to play these games away from prying eyes.

I wish I could lean against these ancient stones
drawing strength from the generations past
who've been witness to the endless stream
and whose solidity and unwavering presence
remind me that life really can stand still
and so the edge recedes into the blur once more.

Clarity is a gift I've heard it said and I agree
that in thinking things through it can be a boon
it's just that the flip side is this unstoppable flow
which whilst it helps also draws me away
from the very things I need to focus on
so I stop my rambling and head for home.


I am trying to capture a meaning
Trying to make some sense of it all
I am watching your mouth move
And I'm hearing the words falling
clanging hard and sharp, jarring

It's almost at the edge of my vision
Do you ever see or feel sounds?
I do, and I know that seems strange
I can't think how else to describe it
Except to say that sounds have shape

Well not just shape now I think on it
but texture too, smooth, prickly, undulating
and so listening is more than it seems
and works on different levels for me
But that won't help me now, as I crash

Jarred back to the present I'm caught
by the silence of you awaiting my reply
can I re-wind and listen to what I've heard
or must I admit that my thoughts just then
completely crowded out what you were shouting

It's the harshness of your tone maybe
perhaps the volume too, the abandon
the very real risk that this will escalate
into one of those ... you know what I mean
yet another time of saying the unsayable.

So I turn inwards and walk away inside
to a place where the sounds are muffled
the edges taken off and wrapped in light
so I can carry the weight of meaning
when it finally does emerge into my mind.

Because when you're done we look away
for we both know that this shouldn't be
It really can't be allowed to happen again
the fallout last time was almost enough
to see us walking through the door of no return.

When I finally capture your meaning
I swallow hard and looking at you now
I remember to smile, well almost smile
For such a simple gesture on my part
Speaks volumes of what is in my heart.

A bit of help

When you feel the darkness
seeping deep within you
When you feel like you are becoming
fainter to the point of being invisible
When you feel the essence of who you are
fading into nothingness

Sometimes it helps to stand up
Throw your shoulders back
Look upwards and outwards
See the blue sky and the bubbling clouds
Hear the whisper of the wind through the air
Sense the sweetness of being

When you feel like life can't get any better
than this moment right here and now
When you grin so much
that it's making your face hurt
When you can hardly walk straight
for the exuberant feeling inside

Sometimes it helps to freeze
Open yourself up
Store this feeling somewhere safe
Put it on a high shelf out of harms way
But more importantly ... most importantly
Open wide, enjoy, laugh out loud.

The present is so transitory isn't it
Gone in a flash and taking with it
The extremes of all life has to offer
Often leaving us with a dull sense of loss
For in so many ways this moment
Is also full of what might have beens.

An evening off

I got in last night and kicked off my shoes
wandered through the shambles to our kitchen
where I found a neatly written note on the table
dear you it said, I have borrowed your beloved
he will be safe with me for a few days
please come and join us when you can

Thoughts start to clamour in my mind.
how did she know, was it something I said?
for if it was then I shall be held accountable
for a breach of this kind is viewed dimly indeed
my beloved guards and values his privacy
to what I think is almost an obsessive degree

I stand by the back door looking at the garden
there is peace in just standing and looking
I let the trees soothe me with their solid presence
and consider what to do with my evening off
it seems like quite some time since the last one
and the thought of breaking loose appeals just now

The bottle is sitting on the draining board
cork sticking out of the top, just waiting it seems
I camp out by the back door, standing, battling
how will it help, well it won't but still ... I know
I know because I've learnt so often this lesson and yet
I take a glass through to the garden and walk

Drinking and thinking at these early stages
after a glass or two, there's a softening I guess
an easier acceptance of things I often find too harsh
the insulation and warmth are temporary at best
but I'm left with something, a lightness I suppose
so an evening off once in a while is no bad thing.

The river

Sitting here in one of my favourite places
Watching as the river's waters flow past me
There's something so restful about flowing water
The sound, the currents visible on the surface
The swirling of debris caught in the eddies
Even the nearby road sounds fade as I watch
As I sit and look down almost without seeing

For this is one of my favourite thinking spots
And I come here for it's peace and solitude
Away from the worries and cares of my life
Even a twenty minute break is often enough
To see me re-balanced and ready to go
For I need some time alone with my thoughts
And since I found this spot it has to be here

So meditating one day sitting there as I was
I slowly became aware of a person sitting near
Just from the corner of my eye I caught white hair
and a cane, thick ankles and sturdy looking shoes
A softly shaking voice asked me if I was all right
So I looked over and asked why what do you see
And then I realised that my face was wet with tears.

You can go two ways in a conversation like this
Should I this once dare to say what's on my mind
Should I mention my beloved and how low he has been
and the troubles of my work, money and other things
Would she listen or perhaps turn her face away.
She spoke of swans gliding by, had I seen the moorhen?
And so she brought me back to why I was there.


Why isn't it enough?
I mean, I know it sounds simple
I know it sounds like no answer at all
but beneath some of the simplest words
lies so much more, what can I say?

I can say that I love you still
I can say that I won't leave you
I can say that we will get through this
I can say that I'm doing what I can
I can say that we will work this out

You look away, it is not nearly enough
bloody hell, what am I missing here?
What can't I see for the want of looking?
I can feel frustration fusing with anger
and I can see too the edge of despair

I walk out of the room and downstairs
Because I cannot lose patience now
Now that you are finally here again
I must find a way to be clearer, more direct
My promises are always more than words.

How can I demonstrate what you already know?
By telling you things you've heard before?
By acting in ways you've no right to expect?
Should I shout, rage, rant, yell, or scream.
Should I become someone different altogether?

But how will it help you if I am not me?
I can not promise what I can not do
I just can not be someone like that
How often do I have to show you
the constancy of my solemn promise?

I will find a way you know, I won't give in.
I will break this wall down to reach you
and offer once again the same old deal
and that is just me, for I've nothing more
Nothing I can give you but more of myself.

So I climb back up the stairs to find you
and we sit once more amongst the guitars
I look into your face and say simple things
of love, of hope, of the worth of promises
and I wait shivering inside, will it suffice?

I feel like such a child in the face of this
I try to make sense of your long diatribe
I feel your distress so keenly, it's loud
and harsh and the edge of your voice cracks
as my vision narrows in onto your face.

Fear prickles as I see your face contort
Withstanding hard words hammering down
and yet looking, for I will not look away
I will not buckle beneath such truths
I owe you always this level of faithfulness.

I will not un-listen when you so need to be heard
I can do this, I am this person, this is me.
I will not break faith now, see? ... do you see?
And when tears start to flow I see you once more
the you I know, the you I have been waiting for.

Warmest hugs

It's not far off a year now since that first letter
and what a journey it has been my dear friend
we've had some real ups and downs haven't we?
What a voyage of discovery into another's life
I suppose I could also say into another's heart
and since I'm here I might just say thank you.

For in these letters I have been able to express
things I just can't say out loud and yet you know
now after almost a year of sharing our inner thoughts
I don't feel quite the same kind of fear as I did before
because now I have all your answers as well as mine
and so often it's a combination that is compelling.

I hope that it's the same way for you my friend
that my answers have melded well with your own
to provide that quite unique blend of perspective.
I was trying to think of the words to describe
the very special gifts you have brought over this year
but they are all long words, much too long really.

For it is in the simplicity of being able to tell you
that the reason we are friends is not to be found
in words long or short, but in the way that we feel.
The way that seeing you in my inbox lifts my day
the fact that I look at your picture often and smile
and look forward to another chapter from your life.

I was looking for something last night at home
and I came across an archive file of our letters
I sat and read and read again, it was breathtaking.
Like re-discovering our friendship all over again.
and I will reply to your latest email this weekend ...
warmest hugs to you as always my dear dear friend.


Did you want to say more? Have I missed the most important thing?
There is something in your stance, in your voice, an uneasiness
A shifting of weight from one foot to another and a downwards glance
Even I can't miss the signs of such discomfort, dense as I am.

I trawl through our conversation looking for clues as to it's cause
But I just can't see the wood for the trees, the forest is too dark
and the feeling of foreboding builds as I see your eyes brim over.
Oh god, more tears, more time to be spent here listening to pain.

I feel unable to find the level of patience and compassion you need
It has all gone you see, I feel used up, washed up, totally alone
and yet your eyes drive me to try, for my concerns are not yours
and what sort of friend can't even take some time to sit and listen.

When is it my turn? The thought came into my mind some time later
and though the selfishness struck me at once, so did the truth.
That this friendship is something of real value but also of inequality
for what you tell me I would not tell you, which makes me the coward.

And thus the inequality I perceive is not so much a lack in you at all
but rather a lack in my ability to match your trust, your expectation
and this about-turn in my thinking has led me to an unexpected place
somewhere I recognise, a place of vulnerability and overwhelming fear.

If I open this door and let the light shine in, will I die? Is it so bad?
Why does the level of fear build to such a degree that I lock up inside
Next time you ask "and how about you" I really must try to say more
For I know that only along that path does true friendship lie waiting.

The sea

I've been looking out from the shore for a while now
Looking for signs of you out there amongst the waves
Sometimes I think I see a splash of colour, your arm perhaps
Or maybe your hand waving. Are you waving or signalling?
How can I tell from here where I'm waiting in the silence
This is just no good at all, worse than useless in fact.

I take off my shoes, never mind about getting wet, wade in
Strike out from the shore in search of the gentle man
And should I find you out here, what then my love, what then?
Will you and I learn to float on our backs and look at the sky
Will you laugh when I ask you to try such childish things
For in acting like a child we can come to a place of healing.

I see you here far from the shore, it looks so distant right now
I make my way over and look for signs that you know I am here
The look of your despair washes over me and I feel the undertow
But I can not, will not sink here into the depths of your misery
I will find a way to offer more than my company against this thing
I won't let it be that you must learn to swim such distances alone.

I must strike for shore, I won't try to persuade you right now
I can see that your focus is too far within, your energy too low
I will try to build something of use, some kind of raft maybe
Something to float out to you next time, some way of staying
For I know that this loneliness must be killing you too out here
The simple things I have to offer aren't enough, but I miss you.

I miss the way you look at me when coming out of the shower
Eyes squinting through the steam, is that you, you ask ... as if ...
I miss giggling under the covers and making up jokes in the dark
I miss feeling that you are here, I miss feeling there is an us
I feel my reserves depleting and know I must stop looking inside
I must find a way of fighting this darkness before it takes us both.

Or shall I just leave it as you ask. Shall I walk alone along the shore
Knowing you are out there, knowing that the undertow is so strong
Is it enough that you can see I am here, shall I light a fire?
Mark the place of safety with light, heat and the warmth of my heart
Shall I swim out and float near you to show you again how it's done
The undertow scares me too, but I will fight it, please try too.

My Valentine

Sometimes I look over at you with a completely detached stare
I know it un-nerves you when I do that, since you told me so
But it's not like I don't see you doing the same thing is it?
You know that song .. the one you belt out when playing the strat
Neil Young has such an incredible voice which I know you relate to
Am I imagining the extra emotion you give to it when you sing
how does it go now, that song ... Love The One You're With?

And that's what I wonder about when I see you with her still
it seems there's a quality that isn't there when you look at me
and the way you are when chatting on the telephone,
even without looking I can hear the smile in your voice
and so the lyrics unbidden pop into my mind and resound there
"there's a rose in a fisted glove, and the eagle flies with the dove
And if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with"

I was starting to think that this might in fact be the case for us
and that the reason you stayed isn't deep abiding commitment at all
More a realisation that the options are no longer what they once were
and since she's gone you might just as well make the best of it with me.
But does it lack passion, zing, an edge of excitement and of uncertainty
I can never be the person she is, if I'm honest I can't even get close
Is the person I am so very at odds with the dream you hold so dear?

So when you said "will you"? I was more than a little shocked I suppose
I had been thinking once more that your plans lay elsewhere altogether
and I was beginning to resign myself to the prospect of our separation.
Imagine my suprise, my joy, my fear, my uncertainty, my doubt, my love.
For in the end after all we have and continue to be to one another
one thing holds true for me, and that is the love I have had from the start
I don't know how you did it, but that day you rocked up you stole my heart.

And so this Valentines Day feels odd in a way, well more so this year
as you have withdrawn and are now elsewhere whilst seemingly also here
and I am waiting to see your return. I am waiting to see if you want to even.
And that sadness that I felt before is back, that same old doubt and fear.
I'm wondering if you almost prefer to stay there in the shadows of your mind
than to be here with me. It lies heavy on my heart these long silent days.
Would you rather I just left you alone in your self induced solitude my love?


Angry faces looking at me
Resentment boiling up
I don't blame them
This is just shit news
And so I keep my calm face on
It's the very least I can do.

Meetings all day today
What a joyful prospect
F*ckwit Fiona no doubt with me
Telling me how tough she finds it
to deal with so much aggression
and so I really must stay calm

She needs my false confidence
that everything will be OK
I haven't mentioned the punch
or the egg throwing incident
Christ if she's scared now
She'll run for the hills if I do.

So take some deep breaths
and away we go again
on the frightful merry-go-round
of meetings, tears and grim faces
it won't get easier any time soon
so settle and let battle commence

And so here's the first lucky one
sitting looking at his shoes
I know this feeling, so calm face on
It's not good news I'm afraid, I say
We'll be cutting hours and also your pay
and on top there'll be no paid holiday

Since you are down and almost out
I must also tell you
that you have been selected as at risk
of losing your job in the redundancy round
Take some time and think it over
Would you like to go home now?

Up he stands I won't shake his hand
Made that mistake already
and ended up sprawled on the floor
and I shan't risk that outcome again
so out he goes and I turn to see
tears streaking down her face.


Having coffee one evening with someone I don't know well
she looked over at me and asked if I knew whether I was loved.
It was a strange turn to the conversation from safe to perilous
and my silence was not as she suspected, of offence taken at all.
I was thinking back to the early days with my kind and gentle man
who still spent many a long evening with his old flame back then
and I remembered just how that feeling of incredible doubt felt.

I'm not sure that I said the right thing at all that night
It's hard to know how to respond to such an immediate risk
of saying too much .. or more likely listening far too little
The instinct is always there to read solely the surface meaning
and shy away from what lies beneath .. huh .. what a coward eh?
I wasn't really much help as I couldn't think of much to say
so I just sat and listened to a long tale of serial infidelity.

I guess sometimes you get so desperate to talk about things
that once you start you just can't stop, and so out it all poured
and the tears flowed and the only thing I could think of to do
was to open some wine and talk about the things that actually matter.
And that evening I learnt something of a new form of loneliness
and so the wall between aquaintance and friendship tumbled down
and I saw how a fundamental breach of trust rots into your very soul.

There's a problem being a trusted person, and I felt it that night
as I lay in bed and reviewed what I'd said for I needed to ensure
that I had not broken a confidence from a conversation I'd had before.
I know the man concerned as we have been sort of pals for some years now
and he has on the odd occasion alluded to his "away day" activities
to which I've said nothing at all, for who am I to judge such things.
Still, keeping two sides of essentially the same confidence is awkward.