Outside the General’s office, confined to a knot in the hall of assumptions, thin shafts of sunlight cut the eye from a slit in the wall. Clearing my throat for this session, a foot shuffle reverberates on the in-breath, tummy jitters on the out.

Here’s a knocking indeed…

Lift the latch
open the door
or suffer that eternal duel.

If a man were keeper of hell gate, he should have old turning the key.

Damn colly-wobbles. I’m too bloody aware of myself!

I said come in!



I don’t have the paper.


Lieutenant Yardstick, Sir!

At ease Yardstick.

Pull back the curtain to a field of show
in pause I look away to the floor
scuffed shoes still saddled in snow.

No Yardstick here… sorry, not in the book…
Must be
Posted… where?
Enlisted on a gold star, sown to ribbon and bow
Nothing by that name here
Should be…
Is there a story?
Background, organisation,
a time and place,
that mercenary incident,
Not sure what you mean…
Melody and rhyme don’t make a name without cause,
come on, think it through,
a reason for the turn
everyone’s got a story, man!
Mumble, grumble…
Speak up.
What’s yours?
Mine! Don’t be so forward, lieutenant.
Sir! You mean all heart and no shirt, sir!?
We’re not those kinds of people.
That’s reasonable.
Too much focus on presentation, the cat walk distracts…
our model loses focus…
I absconded, sir.
What did you say?
I left the troop
That’s treason!
A story…
No doubt
Consider this.
Sugar the pill
sweeten the blow
already beaten
before you go…
we value, liberty, identify a fix…
hemmed in, pillared, wracked up and smothered
broken, mended
you’re numbered and coloured
any which way…
I’ve no alternative.


You’re under arrest for missing the point.

Cut and sliced from the get-go
displaced by the magsman…
inhibition’s a word overused and abused
for one-upmanship….
a tall story the controller holds year in year
dictated by name
measured in numbers
the lesson of anger and fear
don’t worry
their excuse is a ruse
another man’s hurry
an act of contrition
made clear…
running hot and cold
put down and backdated
flushed to a drain from the rear.

They’re all over us
Back on the ropes
I’m all in
a head full of noise
hell of a din,
the stooge who burns circles up in the loft.

Stop that!
You’re too stooped
too low
get up.

Under your council
I’m an easy bend to break
hiding my head
in your distract
I burst into tears
roar with laughter
conjure some masquerade you want to see
a dance-an-drama
down on one knee
a few crumbs of acknowledgement
anything to please.

Until further notice
there is silence.

This renounced stillness
levers a heavy heart,
where the vacant apostle
apprehends the keeper’s lodge
I remain beholden
foundering awhile
in exile
poised to the return
shock dissipates
head oscillations
on the breath,
views, hopes, dreams,
colours, shapes, a theory
drives logical, illogical action
a force so strong it moves me and the hitch
to go down to the lake.

From Muse-Maker’s hollow
we travel a river
regarding that lake
in readiness for rapids, the rough ride ahead
our plan marks a powerful say in how we follow the map
a paint-spray of thought can help or impede the journey
everything shines, or else it goes flat
something familiar
an articulate lap
searching for power
by the second
on the hour
this ebb and flow of mind
scales every note
one on one and one of a kind
bebop, classical, to it’s a wrap
that manifestation realising the blind
a nonsense
or some great articulation
that warrants some
well-meant attention
builds or destroys the line of wisdom…
lift, right, turn at the sign
breakdown to breakthrough
a deluge of thought can unleash war
release the doves
from bombed-out, burnt-out remains of what’s gone before
leaving those left behind, who get to say what’s next
up on that podium, caught in a spell
unless they break
a thought maker’s hell.

Still, your lantern silence roars.

Foreshore of the lough
the moon peaks
into that which is… there is I and I
drawn to embody the mirror speaks
a specular broach waxes and wanes
billowy clouds drawn in on the spin
bring a fleeting glimpse to the star on the rim,
that luminous orb
a unanimous glow
crowns Pen and Cob
in this valley below
they take the parade
our king and queen
upon a carpet of jewels
the silvery glade before them
their cygnets follow
one by one, in line and rank
those downy fluff cloaks keen to take flight
scrabble together to mount Royal Bank
around the bend, hidden from sight
they advance a secret feathered nest
wayside of comforters shallow
raven clouds come again
stealing majestic sight from the crest of the night
the eclipse’s shadow sweeps across slate
until a single sparkle of light
hits the black speculum plate
a nip at the surface
prompts an elegant furrow
illumines shift
the small bay window
’tis a labour of love
our house on the hill
call it life everlasting
a transient drill
drawn to ground
from the thought maker’s will.

This mysterious hour
brings the advent morn
awake at the cay
ceremonial gems
sees tears where she lay
those pearls of dew
drip from the blade
quenches thirst
for the fast to be made
a ticker-tape cheer echoes in on the wind
the eye of rite
marks the first swift on the wing
a genial breeze
brushes song in the trees
out on the bough
the chaffinch touts time
with a peep and fink
mother hedgehog waddles out from tawny leaf cover
stretches sighs and twinkly blink
these nights of slumber ebb away
robin cries heartily to awaken the other
sleepy heads might yet have their say
another chance
to master the day.

Come rain, snow, slippery mists, a peppermint blue
we’re here to sing every note true
a change of heart
celebrations anew
your trumpet blast sounds
the crackerjack’s horn
riding in on white horses
heralds the dawn
for one and for all
’tis no mistake
this symphonic call
between low and high-season
something’s afoot
wide-eyed and awake
calm of mind
casts the sword o’re the lake
a butterfly fling
the love maker’s sake
deep within
Excalibur’s reach
easy to miss
our pearl’s breach
’tis no mistake
this sweet chariot remains
an easy song to break.

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