Diary fragments

I’ve not been here for a while. I’ve been working, and writing, and I’ve been thinking about a few things. I’m looking through the pages of a bargain notepad I obtain a week or two ago. Here are a few extracts

1st May 2015
How exciting it is to be a poet! How lucky I am to be able to attach sails to the roof of the house, and, when the wind is right, to sail away.

4th May
My son abandons the L.S  Lowry imitation drawing he has to do for homework (good as it is.) When I check on him he has written a beautiful poem which includes the line ‘light spills from a quarter cut moon
sliding through cracks and illuminating matt black/ rooms with its dim light.’  The poem ends when light is ‘snatched away as the cut across the dark clouds is healed and the world is black again.’ The boy is ten.
An absolute  natural.

5th May
Note- Terroir – a word that denotes the quality of a place that makes the wine it produces different from any other wine on earth. No science or objective analysis can pin down what exactly make one slope so different from another.

6th May
Pleased to have poems on an internet magazine ‘Clear Poetry’. Always lovely to receive positive feedback – the internet is so good for publishing and communicating.

7th May 2015

from Blessingway –  The Holy People of the Navajo (who called themselves the Diné , meaning ‘the people’ ) would say these words before  embarking on a new undertaking

I am walking along the trail
I am walking along the trail
before me, it is blessed
I am walking along the trail
behind me, it is blessed
I am walking along the trail
above me it is blessed
I am walking along the trail
below me it is blessed
I am walking along the trail
all around me it is blessed
I am walking along the trail
on the trail it is beautiful
I am walking along the trail

7th May

I’ve been thinking about the qualities I like to see (or feel) in a poem.
The phrase ’emotional resonance’ has been in my head and I don’t know where I got it from. I think it means that a poem should vibrate somehow inside the reader as if he or she were a struck tuning fork. There should be an emotional response,  an empathic response brought about by recognition
of human elation or grief or vulnerability or loss or joy. It is not necessary for the experience of reader and writer to be the same. And other types of poem can be effective too. If a poem doesn’t have this quality, I might still like it if it tells me something I didn’t know, or tells me something I did know in a new way. Or if an image in the poem is so striking it hits me in the eye and stays there.

7th May

New Walk magazine arrives- loads of brilliant poems. I sometimes forget that I love other people’s poetry!

8th May

Trying to understand why people vote for thirty two billion pound cuts in public services and the continued selling off of the NHS.  This means,among other things, that their children and grandchildren’s schools will be hit  (assuming they are state schools.) Anger, forgiveness, sadness, anger, forgiveness. Seeking solace in music.

8th May

A teacher I’ve never met wrote to me to tell me one he used one of my poems (August 31st 1961) as a model for his students. In his e-mail he includes (with  his student’s permission) a fabulous poem written by a young woman doing her A levels. The poem takes the idea of my poem, i.e , a birthday date, and puts it into the context of history. Her poem is fabulous and I am elated that this talented teacher has been able to utilise my work to inspire his students.

8th May

Proofs for Magma 61 arrive. Invited to London next Friday to read.
Decide not to go. Decide to go. Looking forward to meeting new people
and seeing people I know.

9th May

Someone has been stealing poems again. It’s all over social media and ‘Write Out Loud’. The person in question defends themselves by saying  something about how they got caught up in their sources and the pressure to publish when they have been copying someone else’s work and changing a few words. I don’t have this problem. I’m not sure I understand.

9th May

Wrote a poem and am pleased with it. Will probably read it at Leicester Shindig! in a week or two at the launch of Crystal Voices anthology. Looking forward to seeing friends.  I’m off now to look at it again..



  1. After having enjoyed this post, I began re-reading some of your older posts and was struck, this time more so, by the photos posted alongside; funny and entertaining and so apt. Thank you for the time and trouble you took to find and include them. It’s not often that we read something fairly serious that raises a smile at the same time. All best, Lesley


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