To get across a life, it's bridges we build,
span the daylight of our waking days
with alliances, compromises,
negotiate our walking routes,
cut avenues through the undergrowth.
These hours are lush like vegetation,
alive and drinking the succulent rains
that swell the raging rapids of desire,
the swirl and boil of racing, constant hearts.
These bridges can be made of ancient stone,
a huge suspension wrought of iron and steel
or merely a plank placed across a stream.
All have two purposes; to set us free,
so we can feel the joy of coming home.

Making Time

Making Time

It started with just night and day,
hunting, sex and sleeping,
keeping wolves at bay
and, when the sun came up, relief.

Then someone noticed how
moons repeat their wax and wane,
put things into sets, accounting,
and after things, came time.

And after time, more time,
finer and diffuse, better able to
regulate our lives,
even pinpoint God,

till we could tell how long
it takes an atom to comb it's hair,
grow paunchy, gruff, and die.
How time thins the more we manufacture it.
Licks Poems


A contribution to Ronovan’s decima challenge 38, with Bash as the prompt word on rhyme line D.


We often find ourselves ashamed
knowing we're members of a race
that barely shows a human face,
our consciousness twisted and maimed.

Uneulogised, unknown, unnamed,
the heroes of our human kin
retain this knowledge in their skin;
the reddening of cheeks abashed,
confounded dreams and ideals dashed,
condemned to darkness held within.

A Christmas message for my wife.

For Christmas I would give you all the earth,
the planets shining jointly in the West,
the low sun crouching in the clouds
behind the cleansing rain beating 
gently on our window pane.

But most of all, and all that's best,
I give you treasure for your warm heart,
my ancient love to lie there, repeating
again and again
that never, in this life, will it depart.

An Old Friend Passing

I have on an old tee shirt that I've worn
these many years; it's threadbare, stained and torn.
The dye has faded, it used to be coal black
but it's lost it's rigour and the neckline's going slack.

When I take it off tonight it's for the bin
or cut up into rags for polishing.
And I'll feel like giving thanks to this thing
I spent those many years being in.


      When you said ‘let’s burn the bonfire’ we’d built for Guy Fawkes night even though the small ones were ill; not ours of course, who were grown and gone but Stan and Wilf, our ‘secular’ children, I have to admit, I was none too pleased. My counter suggestion to go to the pub, celebrate half-term, your week’s respite, your cooling off, was met with the pursed lips, perfected over the years and employed to ward off such ideas.

    So, out you went as I still struggled into my boots, papers underarm, matches held astrike. By the time I arrived it was already ablaze and you were shifting branches from one pile to the next to prevent the incineration of hedgehogs, your orange face filled with fire.

    We spent an hour or so feeding the flames on a still night as a massive sky absorbed the smoke of a million atoms heading towards the stars. And I imagined Cranmer, who had, only that afternoon, looked down on us from his pious Oxford perch, feeling first the warming of his toes before the flames got a grip, soon consuming in that hot revenge the cries he must have made. I tried to imagine, with all the lifting, lugging and lurching, accidently throwing myself into the fire as some sort of sacrifice the god I’ve never known wished to extract, for me feeling curmudgeonly at not going to the pub.

Licks Poems

Tripping with the Magi & Power Tower

A contribution to Ronovan’s decima challenge 334. Stable being the tricky rhyme on rhyme line D. Greedily, I have made two this week.

Tripping with the Magi

Three Magi travelled from the East,
beyond the land of Palestine,
beyond the Dead Sea's viscous brine,
each carried on a hump-backed beast.

Each one of them, some kind of priest,
bearing gifts from a Persian king
as if it were a christening;
carried straightway to a stable,
witnessing the birth of fable;
miraculous Lord of the Ring.

Power Tower

When Babylonians aspired
to build a temple touching sky
a certain god asked questions why,
from where such hubris was acquired.

She said 'It's not what I desired,
demolish, scatter all the stones,
make sure each one of you atones
for mocking me; it's unstable,
damn this Leaning Tower of Babel.'
(Off stage: hear polyglottal groans....)
Licks Poems

A Way

For the Ronovan Decima challenge No.33 
Prompt word - Blind on rhyme C

A Way

Revealed religion is a way
of mapping out a path to peace,
those seeking to have love increase
on pilgrimage to judgement day.

Who judges though is hard to say.
Uncertain but yet hardly blind
we raise our children to be kind
and hesitate to know a god.
Like Frost, we take a path less trod,
a way evolving, not designed.


My contribution to the Ronovan Decima Challenge 31: 
Sleep on B rhyme


Forgive me. I used to awake
to the sound of your smile asleep
beside me, a smile buried deep
inside me. Now there is an ache
embedded there for my mistake.
And years do not diminish how
I lightly tore apart the vow
we made while looking at the sea,
the moonlight sealing silently
a love that was - but is not now.
Poems Polemicks



Revealed religion is a way
of mapping out the road to peace,
seeking to have love increase
until the judgement day.

Who judges though is hard to say;
there's much opinion on that theme,
which strand is paramount, which scheme
affords the greatest sway.

There're many actors in the play,
their scripts confuse and agitate,
add little to the great debate
of whom to disobey.

Rabbis, priests, muezzins, grey
with worry if they've got it right
in their promotion of the fight
for souls, are rarely gay.

They, no doubt, fret that they'll betray
their version of a vengeful god
who's liberal with the wrathful rod
in this grim affray.

Yet most of us, we know we're clay.
Uncertain but yet hardly blind,
we raise our children to be kind,
then quietly decay.