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Traversing Rainbows



it’s a long long way

to the end of the rainbow

best keep your feet

on the violets and indigos

red through yellow sticks to your shoes like clay

and it’s surprisingly heavy

for light


and of course you shouldn’t look down

better to focus

on those shimmering bands of radiance

that ripple and swirl

beneath your footsteps

or the freeform clouds that vaporously drift

around you


it helps if you sing - naturally

any old show tunes

by long dead crooners

or ladies with sparkling eyes and thick red lipstick

that’s why over tin pan alley

the rainbows were always

the brightest


you may find yourself growing weary

but on no account lie down

sleep will come too easily

your dreams will be packed with detail

but rainbows have this habit of disappearing

you may wake to find yourself

falling to earth


and then there is the descent

as you draw towards the end

it’s slippery and there’s nothing to hold onto

rainbows don’t come with handrails

you need a steady nerve

and save the best of your songs

for now


as you approach the end

you can peer down to that marvellous plain

that no one can reach by land

and when at last you stand there

the ache in your muscles will ebb away

clarity will infuse your mind as you breathe the air

of gold


This poem appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of

Tears in the Fence magazine.

Her Shrine


framed in pastel flowers

a princess

raised in the pink

to a queen bee destiny

stares through mascara

across the desolate lane

low cut dress

night out, family occasion

big camera smile

the picture atop

her shrine


it’s up on the hill

where fly tippers shed by night

ashtray contents lie by the roadside

plastic bottles slowly degrade

and strange foams

collect in the gutters

it’s by the bwlch, the cut, the gap

trays and vases for flowers, a stone book

a child’s broken windmill toy

and her face atop

the shrine


she stares through her mascara

at potholes, nettles and bracken

no Disneyland, no fairy castle

even the farms here seem near dead

land degraded by

mine-disturbed springwater’s seep

fields rented to horse owners

for their little princesses to ride

in hard hats and pink wellington boots

with barely a glimpse for

this shrine


she loved without discretion

to mam and dad’s despair

did she go up there willingly?

did he cajole her, force her with threats?

did he know what he was going to do

up there on the bwlch, the cut, the gap?

her brothers found the body

it was no accident

that brought with a florist’s art

to this roadside

its shrine


dense rain slaps the ground here

rich moss and thick ivy thrive on wizened trees

brambles reach to wrap around

the first picture they mounted on the fence post

indistinguishably blurred by damp

its poem of praises and bitter regrets

reduced to a smear of dissolving ink

a cemetery gravestone will outlast all this

but up here on the bwlch, the cut, the gap

the elements embrace

her shrine


(RIP: Jenna Louise Watkins.  1985 – 2007)



This poem appeared in issue #44 of South Wales poetry magazine Roundyhouse.

Himlayan Balsam


a delicate invader

with a soft smell like coriander

and sweetly curling flowers

of mauve and white

moves into the territory

and with such gentle persistence

smothers the opposition


Another one that appeared in Roundyhouse 44