A gossamer belt
I felt
Long ago.
Oh how thin
Is the divide twixt virtue and sin!

A dress it was
Because she called it so.
Her name I do not know
Although I remember the gas fire,
The carpet rough and my desire.


The Glorious Inefficiency Of Local Bookstores

“The elegiac atmosphere is part of the appeal. This bookstore, this artifact from a more literate past, serves as a reminder of values that have, in America, faded like pages in a weathered volume. The small, independent bookstore is simply a place out of sync with contemporary culture, chiefly because its very being emphasizes an appreciation of quietude, romance, and the kind of glorious inefficiency upon which the best of human life rests”.

At the age of 49, (my 50th birthday looms, should that be lurks? Ahead), I can relate to much of the above article. I can recall visiting such places in the company of my late grandfather and browsing. To this day I still relish the scent of bookstores.

Some 15 minutes walking distance from my home, there sits the Bookseller Crow on the Hill, a great independent bookshop, https://booksellercrow.co.uk/. Not only does the Crow stock books, it also carries a range of audio CDs, calendars and postcaards depicting the Crystal Palace and surrounding area.

Independent bookshops are, from the perspective of authors a great place to get one’s books into. Particularly for independent authors, it can be difficult (frequently impossible) to get the big chains to stock one’s work. Consequently I am grateful to The Bookseller Crow for stocking my collection of poems, “My Old Clock I Wind”, http://moyhill.com/clock/. Its good to know that people in the area in which I live can see my books on display in my local, independent bookstore.


There Was A Young Lady Of Harwich

There was a young lady of Harwich
Who entered into marriage
With a sailor called Lee.
And when he went to sea
I comforted that young lady of Harwich …

There was a young lady of Harwich
Who entered into marriage
With a man called Hope,
But being unable to cope
She escaped with me in my carriage …

“Disabled” By Wilfred Owen

Yesterday (20 July) I came across “Disabled” by Wilfred Owen, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/57285/disabled. As someone who is himself disabled (I am registered blind), I was interested to see how one of the great poets of World War I portrays disability.

In “Disabled, Owen describes a young man who enlists in the army while underage, is terribly wounded (he loses both legs and its implied his arms also). Returning to the UK he is institutionilised and (the poem implies) his former joys, including any prospect of a woman’s love are at an end:

“Now he will never feel again how slim
Girls’ waists are, or how warm their subtle hands,
All of them touch him like some queer disease”.

In the above lines, Owen falls into the trap of assuming that disabled people are sexless, an idea which still persists to this day amongst some people (including the so-called educated sections of the population). Throughout history disabled people have (to state the obvious) had sexual relations both within marriage and outside of that institution. Here Owen is projecting his own view of disability onto an unnamed and depersonalised individual who has been horribly injured in war.

Having said the above, it remains as true today (as it did in Owen’s time) that many people will not entertain the idea of entering into a relationship with a person who has a disability. However it is by no means unusual for someone who is disabled to have a non-disabled partner (as a visually impaired man most of my relationships have been with sighted women).

The poem ends on the same sad note, that of a man who has lost all joy in living, including the possibility of finding love:

“Tonight he noticed how the women’s eyes
Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.
How cold and late it is! Why don’t they come
And put him into bed? Why don’t they come?”.

(For an interesting article on the poem please see this piece on Disability Arts Online, http://disabilityarts.online/magazine/opinion/war-poem-disabled-wilfred-owen/).


Words fail me, but this poem speaks for itself.

Rachael and Christopher were my children
I carried them within my womb,
I loved them with all the love I could give them.

I knitted garments to warm, protect them,
Knowing they would be coming soon,
Rachael and Christopher were my children.

Their tiny bodies within me were hidden,
In my heart there was always room,
I loved them with all the love I could give them.

One dark black day I was hit and beaten,
By my own mother, they were doomed,
Rachael and Christopher were my children.

Things were forced into me, I was bidden,
Never to make life again, I was scum,
I loved them with all the love I could give them.

It didn’t take long, soon I was ridden,
I saw their bodies in the gloom,
Rachael and Christopher were my children.

In anguish I weep, when you hear me, listen,
My babies are now…

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There Was A Young Lady From Bangkok

There was a young lady from Bangkok

Who wore a very short frock.

A tourist called Paul

Fell off a wall

At the shock of that very short frock!


There was a young lady from Bangkok

Who wore a very short frock.

A bishop called Paul

Said “angels will fall

At the sight of that very short frock!”.