Two Bumble Bee Poems


composed by a foxglove—
for a bee

RoseBay Willow Therapy


A Jovial Evening

I remember my Galileo moment,
viewing Jupiter through a telescope.
A sphere, the sunlight on it’s surface
gradually curving into deep shadows.
A pale red smudge around the middle
and most strikingly, four bright moons.
I now had proof, it was real.
“It’s half a billion miles away”, I said
as I showed you.
And you said,
“Huh, those five dots?”
As my axis shifted and sent me spinning
in a mercurial orbit towards the pub.

An August Presence


have taken to the skies —
noctilucent zenith

A Ship Launch

When I was seven my Granda took me to see a ship launch.
Hundreds of folk with union jacks and nautical smiles
flooded the streets of Wallsend and floated along
buoyantly down into Swan Hunter’s shipyard.

The Queen Mother was there in a posh frock
and some said she looked bonny in her frilly hat,
but Granda said, “Cannit see it meesel son
and anyways the days bonny enuff for us.”

We hadn’t come to see the fashions of a royal
but royalty fashioned in the building of a ship
on the banks of the Tyne in a yard of wonder.
Standing there in astonishment I absorbed it all.

A faint salt breeze beneath the river’s stench,
colliding steel clatters the seagull’s screech.
Acetylene flames spit sparks against the sun
as an oil drum thunders down a metal ramp.

A rhythm, a pulse, alive.

Boisterous klaxons scream a pathway clear,
forklift trucks scurry between the legs of cranes.
Frenzied shouts deliver instructions
as dismantled scaffolding collects in a heap.

A rhythm, a pulse, alive.

Electricity crackles, sparks and arcs to fuse,
the white hot welders flame rumbles as it burns.
Syncopated hammers beat a ragtime groove
as a distant pneumatic drill trembles the ground.

A rhythm, a pulse, alive.

Everywhere beaming smiles
beneath hard hats on hard heads.

Everywhere pride.

And at the centre round which all else orbited
HMS Ark Royal stood silent, slumbering on the slipway
an anaesthetised behemoth soon to be awoken
and set free from the hammer and the anvil.

Enormous serpents of rust lay coiled in her shade
set to strike should she still need a final shackling
before a river baptism and the seas confirmation
opened all points on her compass to endless horizons.

Lost in swirling thoughts of ships at sea
I missed the crescendo countdown,
bottle smash and cheering.
A hand shaking my shoulder brought me back ashore
just in time to see the skyline slowly moving
as the giant grey beast woke up moaning.
Gathering unstoppable momentum.
Down and down shaking the ground.
How she howled as her metal shuddered
and how she screamed the rest of the way
until she met the river with an almighty thunderous
boom that sent a wave surging towards the far bank.

Then, without warning
there came a furious rasping hiss
and in an impetuous rage
the serpents gave chase.

Violently jolting and shedding their skin
as they uncoiled and hurtled to the water,
leaving behind a thick cloud of rust
that hid everything from view.


the haze cleared to reveal


A decayed wasteland, half a decade’s dilapidation.

Workers, wizards, fond well-wishers vanished
and in their place half dismantled cranes lay strewn
across the storm-battered yard, roofless fabrication sheds collapsed
onto seaweed carpeted slipways, scaffolding poles and pylons
toppled, power cables ripped from concrete, concrete ripped from earth
the whole damn forest all upended.
No saplings, no roots, no life except rats—bigger than ever
—and the stray cats that refuse to leave the home they’ve known for years.

“Wu used to build ships here ye knaa”,
Granda reminds the cats as he hands out
the last of the food we brought for them.



Without Laces

Uncle George told us
he couldn’t remember
how to tie his laces
and we all laughed.

Next day he had a stroke.

Now I wear slip on shoes.

Street Life In Summer

These streets are best avoided,
they narrow to a bottleneck
that swarms with the wrong type
endlessly pounding the pavements
eagerly looking for their daily fix.

There is nothing in this world
that can save my worried soul
for here come the tourists.

Everywhere I look, tourists.
Smiles as wide as the Atlantic,
big shiny eyes full of wonder
and muscular camera holding necks.

Yellow rain-coated, baseball capped,
kilted, sock and sandal flaunting tourists
with questions inside questions on top of questions
about haggis, bag pipes, monsters and “lake Loch Ness”.

“Can haggis fly? How big are they?
Have you seen Nessie? Where’s your kilt?
Say something Gaelic?”

“Amadain, Amadain” I tell them.
They ask me what it means.
“I am English, I am English”, I reply
and they shuffle off with a disappointed groan.


A faint salt breeze beneath the river’s stench,
colliding steel clatters the seagulls screech,
acetylene flames spit sparks into the sun
as an oil drum thunders down a metal ramp.

The Sistine Chapel – Virtual Tour


The Sistine Chapel – Virtual Tour

“In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.”
– from ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ by T.S. Eliot

Click on the link above and once there you can use shift key to zoom in, ctrl key to zoom out and the arrow keys to navigate.

It is my latest obsession – I think it might be contagious, so pass it on.

Purple Blues – Prince