And honeycomb,
Sunlight syrup pouring from a tap,
The little step I stood on to turn the handle,
The burr of spinning frames, the whole scent of summer was
Slicked along a spool of thread, the burr of blades through paper piles,
The chair I bought to help my back; the whole scent of summer is
Sunlight pouring through tall windows,
Book glue, and

The King of the Copper Mountains

Once, I travelled very far.
I thought I might find the place
Where to earth there fall the stars.
Crossing wood and rising moor,
There I happened on a door.

Grand and old, with gold engraving,
Furred with moss and snail-jewelled,
At first I thought my eyes were failing.
I weary knocked upon the frame,
Which softly asked me for my name.

I replied in great surprise
And from within the door unbolted;
There before my very eyes
A hare stood cautious, trembling.
And in I wandered, stumbling.

A gentle passage, sloping down
Silk and silver on the walls,
I followed that hare underground
And at the levelling below
My footsteps, helpless, had to slow.

Great bronze arches overhead
As trees, with emeralds set for leaves
And over all the mountain red;
Silken banners trailing through
Like waterfalls of sapphire blue.

Cosy rugs beneath my boots,
The patterns bright with valiant tales,
The weave as thick as ancient roots
And across this vibrant floor
Lay every beast of land and shore.

Above them all, a kindly face,
Eyes so old and sparkling
And suddenly I knew the place.
I settled near the old king’s knee
And told my story wandrously.

That night I’ve never slept so well;
In rooms upon the mountain peak,
Horizons over every fell
For me to follow in my sleep
And stars above his mighty keep.

Title and theme taken from ‘The King of the Copper Mountains’ by Paul Biegel


The sunlight is warm again
And there is colour in the world,
A welcome and a welcome back,
We see the same strange earth anew.
The sky is curling, crystal blue,
The almond trees in bloom
And I will paint again,
Small hope,
For you, for you, for you.

The Woman in the Top Hat

I saw her spin in the crowd,
A wraith in tailcoat and top hat
Drifting, smiling in the smoke,
Her arms lifted in praise,
In grace.
Her silver-topped cane a sweep
Of starlight
And in her silence,
In the way she turned
Like a turn of the wind,
Like heartache,
I heard music.

Lovesong for Bristol

City night of stars and dancing,
City bright with voices laughing,
Thank you for the hillside places
Where I’ve watched the storms roll in;
Thank you for the hidden spaces,
Secret to keep memories in.
I have stood with heart in wonder,
I have skipped in roaring thunder
Safe within your bastion walls,
Your towering art, your gentle falls
Of water down the cobbled streets
When rain and rays of sun beat down
In wild veils, adorned the town
With weather like a dancing partner
And dragons in the wind.


The pastel air is peaceful
And though we know the holiday
Is nearly over, still we here can breathe
And hear the gulls.
Still, we here can hold the moment
Peacefully, and say
‘We will carry this happiness
Through louder days’.

No One Has Gone Before


The blue beam cut down
Jadebright upon new moon night
And all the watchings

The water thrummed thick
Oilsmoke in climbing shades
The beam snake twisting
On its skin.

The ship moved slowly
Whaledeep in star shadows
Hauling the echoes
Through time

Three shapes suddenly
Cutaway the moonbeam bright
They are lankylong
All fingers

Bulb-blown eyes agape
Gazes grasping in the hold
Seeking watersight
And knowing.

Time flies heavily,
In this belly, centuries
As only empty
Vessels know.

Fleeting dusk-shapes flee,
Flicker-fluid light
Follows. The watchers

Credit to the ‘Star Trek’ franchise for the title line and the premise of the poem.

I Refuse

Will you dig beneath the mound?
Will you dare to enter down?
Will you dance upon our soil?
Pour a little of our oil?
Will you eat the golden fruit?
Will you pluck it from its root?
Will you join us in our game?
Will you tell us now your name?

The Witches’ Market

In the corner of the market
Duck beneath the ivy arch
Into dusty verdant perfume,
There you’ll find a witches’ storeroom.
Endless bright and pungent spices,
What they cure they will not tell.
Winding words and bargain vices
And they too eager for the sell.
If you can, ignore those pages,
Find instead the leaf-vein cages,
Delicate and doorless they
Each hold a hapless, formless fae.
Bring me one such silken lantern
Take it to the river clear
And if its spirit you return, in turn
I’ll make the price less dear.

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