Darkness at midday, night in the morning –

darkness that can be felt – the ninth plague –

a new decade begins – the third of the twenty first century –

fire on the hills – an orange glow in the sky –

clouds – with darkness on the one side and light on the other –

spiralling – terror – mountain ranges – a phoenix

consumed – what of the life within them? The Lord

said to Moses, When you return to Egypt, see that

you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have

given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart

so that he will not let my people go. Our leaders – is

this their destiny? Ancient rites renewed each summer –

loss and rebirth – but this is something unexplained –

the finger of nature – a miracle – a glory in a dark cloud.



Little Ice Age



to another







now ice





sleighs and sleds


with skaters






heavy with



the Mute

of Kampen –

a witness



Henrick Avercamp (1585–1634), the Dutch artist, recorded these events in a series of paintings.






The sun appears each day –

wonderful – each night

the stars. Marvellous – this

certainty. But what of us?

Each awaits a sinking sun.

But this reality – a multitude –

constellation after constellation

disappearing –

for this is what will be.

The prophet spoke –

assuring us of this impossibility –

and yet it is – for this the scientists

conclude – humanity overwhelmed.

Waves on the sea appear and disappear.

Unspoken, unforeseen – the singular becoming

universal. Before the equal sign a plus or minus –

can we now change the operation –

the many speaking – a multitude

appearing like the stars.


Jeremiah 33:19-22


Virgin Annunciate


Crowned with gold

Her beauty seen

Hands folded

Eyes downcast

A moment of eternity –

The one who was and is





secretly –




before the



one by one





a question –

a reply


fixed gaze

of an angel







on earth

as it is




of living



a boy



the rise

and fall

of the sun






Behind our house a curve of railway track,

beyond, a wooded landscape, rising steeply.

I crossed the tracks and wondered through the blackened

scrub, I found a path, and followed, keeping

to its twists and turns. The landscape changed,

misty grey then openness. A tiny

path emerged, departing from the main,

delicate, above, the tranquil sky,

I followed, soon a view of distant hills.

Why am I writing this? Beyond

our world is something more. Or this – infilled.

Reality. When lovers sense a fondness,

their individuality transformed, what is

becomes what will be, and will be what is.




Star – yesterday today – and yet –

tomorrow. Time expands – one becomes

a multitude. And yet – alone: a sun

in blue. A point – timeless – light – bright

and clear. Yesterday my forefathers

saw – I see today – my children’s children

witnessed the same – for time in circles

bends. Mary said: where am I? – looking

at the sea – a single boat – sunlit.

I answered – like the boat – an unknown

place. She, on the veranda, half shadowed –

asked again – where am I? Is this our place –

lit by a star? A circle’s centre. A light-filled

moment – before and after – unknown.


Open Space


At ninety three a life is simplified.

Soon after dawn awake, a shower, a slow

walk up the drive – the paper fetched, a shave,

porridge, a cup of tea. He’s not alone –

a partnership of over sixty years –

in golden light she sits with him, transfigured.

Heidegger philosophised a clearing –

an open space within a forest – rigour

marked his thinking, no necessity

for proof, instead a discipline – from darkness

light, in hiddenness a radiance.

My fathers sees a cloudy sky – an ark

of dark divinity – all that is human

replicated in all that is inhuman.