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    • Black Friday
      Who considers this American import matches the idea of ‘Seasonal Goodwill’?   Black Friday, the official day to be suitably depressed by buyers and sellers greed. Not to be confused with The Black Death, but similar in effect.        
    • A Young Ornithologist’s Primer
      This poem was written after my wife Jean said that she would write a children’s book called ‘That Bastard Bird’   PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS READ.   See the big bird. The big bird’s name is Percy. Percy has big feet. Percy’s big feet scratch in the garden. See […]
    • Simple Joy (for Jacqui Jones interactive artwork at The Undercroft)
      This poem is itself an interactive response.  Jacqui liked the reference to ‘simple joy’ in my poem Migration Counterpoint and decided that concept would be the subject matter of the interactive installation she was to display in The Undercroft in Norwich, for the 2015 Norwich Fringe Festival.  When she told me that I wrote and […]
    • Cycles of the Light
      National Poetry day’s theme this year was Light, and Suffolk Poetry Society invited me to join some of the other members to read poetry and celebrate the day in Aldeburgh.  We took turns to read on the circular staircase of The South Lookout on Aldeburgh beach in perfect weather, warm sun with the light shining off […]
    • Migration Counterpoint
      Sandlines  ( www.breakingnewground.org.uk ) operated a series of writers workshops in The Brecks, to promote the rich variety of landscape, fauna and flora that can be found in this special landscape.  I took part in one, which was based in the BTO centre in Thetford, and led by Lois Williams and Melinda Appleby.    In spite of […]
    • The moment before
      No explanation is needed for this Haiku, its all in the image.     Wonder in a glass where do you enter delight the clean spoon hovers    
    • Out of Order
      A chance meeting gave me another dimension to our politicians’ crusade against welfare expenditure.     PLEASE CLICK ON THE ARROW BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THIS POEM.   I find it difficult  to socialise when undressed. Body image, lack of calcium when very young, the dislike of goat’s milk  curving my spine. I adjusted my […]
    • Restoring Vintage — A Tanka for Rupert
      I recently wrote this poem for my youngest son, Rupert.  He sent me this photograph after riding to the top of one of the hills on the Sussex Downs. A Tanka  is an extension to the 5-7– 5 syllables of the Haiku, with two final lines of 7 syllables each that change  the direction of […]
    • Regeneration
      Poems were requested on the subject of ‘Renewal’ to be read at the recent Suffolk Poetry Society’s AGM.  I wrote this poem for the event, but there were so many people wanting to read their work that I decided not to join the queue, and now show it here instead. You can click on the […]
    • Artists model
      Today I have had a new experience, which is always welcome at my age.  I sat as a life model for a group of artists.   The last time I had my image sketched was by a ten minute street artist in Beijing in 1996 (see image below).  I am not sure my mother would […]


The simple act of looking is one of the most complex processes that our body carries out.  It is also a perfect illusion, because it convinces us that reality is universally identical.



brown eye 2

How convinced we are that what we see is true.
We think, if nothing else, we can believe our eyes –
but these light receptors have a coloured history.

In raw, unknown, pre-historic seas
simple celled life rose to the surface,
drawn to the Sun’s life-enhancing light.
Infinitesimally genes were imprinted
encoded to recognise yellow and blue,
the only  hues  in those drab millennia,
all other awareness was shaded to grey.
Aeons later  the block was unlocked, as
within the eyes of  dominant Primates
constructs of cones and rods evolved
the spectrum bloomed in reds and greens.
A spectacular uplift in visual perception,
new  selectors for fruits or danger alerts.
An extended palette,  whose  combinations
gave their distant descendants the Earth.


We now know  colour is a personal  illusion –
a brain production,  managed by memory
events and language, modified by mood.
Each of us lives in a uniquely coloured world,
where we  can map and match individual shades,
but  never  can know what other people  see.
Chemistry and physics structure  our vision
in subtle interactions and juxtapositions
creating perception in our cerebral cortex.
How complex the process; how certain we are
of the self-confirming power of sight.


Dragonflies rise from the warm sandy path
bejewelling the  heather’s flowering brevity.
an undulating Yaffle cackles as it flies
– red, green and yellow swoops over purple.
This vibrant  kaleidoscope cites my reality.


Yaffle’ is the onomatopoeic name in the Suffolk dialect for the Green Woodpecker 





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