At Dreams End

Best to bottle then?

Nicer not to thrust and hustle?

Count cherries in the yard

chink a little

trace my life line

with a smooth finger tip?


No more boom cha

rika rika

dim dim dim whoosh

No more lashing, beating, fending,

roaring, bombing out,

seething, slashing, burning?


Just the gnawing tinnitus of a discarded dream.



I had a sister once,
she was a river
babbling whilst I slept,
athletic to my slower gait.

We passed the hours
side by side,
I, a breakwater
for her bubbling enthusiasm.

Maybe a cloud eclipsed
our ebullience?
Our shared water ebbed,
flow interrupted
by foolish underwater rivulets.

We could have navigated
the ocean together,
but time stole my sister
or perhaps the tide,
and on she flowed

leaving me
with sea mist in my eyes.

The Birth

Nine o’clock clammy night

black as welsh cattle.


Came to us talking of imminent birth

Out there, he said. Were we up to it?

Yes, he would be along later,

– after Match of the Day.


Moon rising, we met his lassitude

with a casual ‘maybe’,

but quick mac’d and booted,

torches flashing on the cow-licked field.


Hello, giant moon-blessed shadow.

We stopped; the cow stood, bearing down,

breath hard and harsh,

she minded by sympathetic aunty.

Shush, then, Charlie black cat,

mischievous annoyance

grass-dancing around her

black belted body.


Eleven O’Clock. When?

Inexperienced midwives, we,

watchful and distant, waiting.

Then came striding,

wielding giant forceps, he,

confidently night-wards.


One o’clock: Mucoused arms

deep in steaming buckets.

In our stinking, straining

eye bulging exhaustion,

we came of age

as the calf slipped from her, to be

tongue-tickled in warm, damp grass,

aunty traipsing off to herald the new arrival.


He, tired, emotional, nodded thanks,

and we, looking back, reluctantly retiring,

whooping, giving high-fives and mooing.