shallow photography of dried leaves
Photo by Alan Cabello on



The plant you gave so lovingly
Is dying on my windowsill.
I swear it’s not a metaphor,
It’s just a drooping hellebore.
I tend the plant so lovingly,
And steadily it goes downhill.
I swear its thrips and fungal pus
Are meaningless in terms of us.
This poor maltreated gift you chose,
This sacrificial Lenten rose,
Is no barometer of woes
That gnarls and twists and guilts.
It’s just a plant in dying throes
That cannot blame or presuppose.
The only thing this flower shows
Is soil that’s poor in silts.
I swear our love still blooms and grows,
As surely as this other wilts.
Whatever the bards or historians say,
It’s not the pot-plant of Dorian Gray.



Honeymoon at Niagara Falls

woman wearing grey long sleeved top photography
Photo by Artem Bali on


Honeymoon at Niagara Falls

We shared a kiss at Cautley Spout,
Amid the rush and spray –
The waters leapt and splashed about
And we were swept away.
We fell in love at Hardraw Force,
The falls upon the fells,
And watched the beck descend its course
With tinkling wedding bells.
We were engaged at Corra Linn,
Beside the change of grade.
We took the plunge and dived right in,
And let our hearts cascade.
There’s something in the water
That attracts us to each weir.
We’ll face a fair few cataracts,
But never shed a tear !

Love in Letraset

green and black industrial machine
Photo by Wendelin Jacober on


Love in Letraset

She asked if we could correspond –
She asked of me in Garamond.
She wrote how long her pen had dried –
She wrote it out in Franklin Wide.
She thought my slugs were growing cold –
She thought me that in Goudy Old.
She wept how I was needed back –
She wept it all in Cooper Black.

She’d search through slab and Monolith
To strike upon her perfect glyph,
And thought I could be just her type:
A heavyweight, not Candy Stripe.
When I wrote back, she liked my scans;
No Dingbat, I, nor Comic Sans –
My quick brown fox was framed and pressed,
And from her font my text was blessed.

She inked her heart across my page,
Italicized, in 10-point gauge,
In boring secretarial –
But god, I loved that Arial.
I flew upon its static chill,
As if she’d signed in Baskerville.
Her monotype shall answer me
As fine as Blackface Chancery.

Composited in forme and mould,
Our love is set in Gothic Bold –
We’re written on such plates as these,
My mistress of the matrices.
I place my serifs on your sort,
Your metal hot, your kerning taught.
You shape my bowl and soothe my stem:
My Century, my Requiem.


Valentine Sestina

image by Sandi Ward


Valentine Sestina

Carrots, caulis, spuds…I’ll need some more,
A pack of coffee – fairtrade ?  It should say.
They’ve haven’t any left ?  Well, that’s a bore.
A loaf of sliced should last till Saturday,
Three pints of milk, or should I get in four ?
It’s only sold in litres, anyway.

An rosy apple keeps the doc away,
Although, I ought to see the dentist more…
Oh yes, some roses for the special day,
And juicy steak – perhaps some sirloin boar.
The things we have to do to simply say
The things we’ve said so many times before.

Honestly, what do we do this for ?
Did great-great-grandmama, back in the day ?
And must our children’s children evermore,
Until the very Earth has given way ?
But who would ever wish to be that bore ?
And so we bite our tongues and never say.

Is money to be made from love ?  I’ll say !
It brings our brashful boasting to the fore:
We peacocks strut and dance the night away
And when we’ve had enough, we cry for more.
But better to be Caesar for a day,
And when the tide must rise, to ride its bore !

But don’t let bonhomie become the boor,
Who talks too loud and always gets his way
By swinging round a verbal two-be-four –
Instead, let your initials have their say
When paired upon a lovers’ sycamore.
But there I go, just jawing on all day.

Now strawberries are good for five-a-day –
Such passion-fruit the steamy hothouse bore…
Champagne, of course – is this a good one, say ?
No garlic, though…oh my, it’s almost four !
I need to get this supper underway,
To make my wife become my paramour.



Dry Love

arid barren clay cracks
Photo by on


Dry Love

I try to extol your virtue –
And oh, what virtue, fulsome virtue !
But though I rack till I hurt, you
Form no vision or flirt.
And all my labours exert to
Bring on nothing but dirt,
With nary a trickle or spurt to
Dapple your laundered skirt.
Your beauties just won’t blurt through –
From I, your lover inert.

Like Lockwork



Like Lockwork

You slide your shank in slow and smooth,
To dock upon the centre-post;
And now a gentle twist affords
To ease your teeth between my wards.
Your bit precise in ev’ry groove,
Your diamond-pick a torsion ghost:
A skeleton to probe my fob,
And whispers through – an inside job.

You push your shaft deep in the plug,
And stroke my barrel from within.
My tumbler spins, my cams engage,
My deadbolts throw and springs assuage.
My keyway holds your bittings snug
To activate each driver-pin
To line the shear as each is shipped –
Then enter in –  my locks are tripped.



The Love that is Possible

heart tattoo


The Love that is Possible

How much do I love you ?
More than a little, but less than hyperbole,
More than a tittle, but less than some verbally
Spewing of sugary platitudes oozily,
Brewing its treacly flatitudes boozily.
Not I, my love, to quack with such canards unchecked;
I love you so much for your questioning intellect.
How much do I love you ?  Too much for such plundering –
I love you this much for your wonderous wondering.

How much do I love you ?
More than a fancy, but less than the stars,
More than some chancy allusion that jars.
More than a sunset ?  A pointless debate,
To score and gauge beauty by some common rate.
Not I, my love, to shatter the laws of the galaxy;
I love you so much for your mocking of poetic fallacy.
How much do I love you ?  Such answers are always a crutch –
I love you too much for me ever to tell you how much.