Stories, prose, poems

A day in the life of a trouser-finisher

2nd March - re-categorised Semi-fictional account of life in a Victorian Sweatshop

A girl named Ana

Pro-Ana is a name for community websites supporting those with an eating disorder - often referred to by users simply as `Ana'

A kind of therapy

What to do when the counsellor cancels...

A life unlived

another version of a previous posting

A lonely man

on getting to know more about L S Lowry

All my seasons of grass

with Wimbledon just round the corner it got me thinking and reminiscing..

An unknown soldier

I recently found a photo of a relative killed in France in 1916 aged 22. Seeing his face looking back at me I kept thinking about him and wishing I'd known him


it won't always be so I know


Three people I remember in particular..

Black & White (IP)

This is an old piece I re-discvered in the archives - it seems to fit the IP criteria so hope I'm not cheating!

Ciara aged five and a bit

`The moon is like a smile'

Cold turkey in a clinic with no name, 2000 (IP)

Valium withdrawals in a very strange clinic conforming to Rudolf Steiner's principles of Theosophical medicine. This was not at all what I was expecting....

Colouring Gaugin

When I think of you my thoughts are yellow tinged with red, not the cool shades of lemon or cadmium (like the yellow Christ) but more the warm ochre of golden light on lady-skin


with a little help from Damien Hirst (though of course he doesn't know it)

Dear John

this one's for a close friend who recently passed


choosing to die the Dignitas way


all my unborn babies no obvious connection but inspired by a line from Keats

Feeding the ducks

Heavy with him and you...

Girl by the lake, standing

"Before us stands yesterday" - Ted Hughes: The Crow Above quote doesn't have much to do with this poem - I just liked it.

Goodbye to the Cherry Orchard

On a warm fragrant May morning Anya tiptoes through her special place, one hand lifting swishing skirts free of the soft earth. My sunshine, my Spring she thinks, watching the light

Green (IP)

Green box for this, Black box for that Swing bin for something else and The big bin for everything not in the others - But nobody ever calls Each week I consult my leaflet
Poem of the week


Have you ever been happy in your life? She asks, and it doesn't take long remembering... the moment, one moment of nothing much - a boy, a girl and a baby in a buggy;


reflections on my 25th move

Home is where the art is

I knew just where I was this time yesterday - the old familiar smells of linseed turps and oils, sounds of easels dragging over dusty floorboards - clips klinking, restraining
Poem of the week

I couldn't bear for you to be cold

I can't believe it's really you in this hospital bed in intensive care, eyes closed and oh so still; a machine breathing for you and a geometric pattern

I don't like porridge

Last posting for a bit, until I get my act together. This is one of those childhood memories that never goes away.

I'm a painter not a writer

I'm a painter not a writer an artisan art-maker splat-splashing my concoctions Pollock-like big and bigger.. See my multi-coloured multi-layered landscaped mindscaped pebble-dashed

If you only knew

how it was


Imaginings John Did you ever imagine How it would be When Maxwell's silver hammer Finally struck home? In those last moments Before your life ebbed away, Did you see them

In the art gallery

I won't say which one

Jubilee hats

a re-write that may well not be the last but determined to get this to work somehow


with a little help from my friends, John & Paul of course. Wednesday morning at five o'clock as the day begins - Lennon/McCartney


more on a yellow theme

Listen now

and listen well I don't want you wearing black wear purple orange or red instead - no big black crawling chariot holding up traffic strap me atop a bright red sports car

Living with trains

Morning breaks As sweet bird songs lure me Forgetting that nature fakes It's prelude to the real overture. So I wait For the first train, Moving soft and swift,


forgotten how to just a few practice lines

Madwomen in an Attic

Here I am, me and four other women all huddled together in an attic. How, why or where I have no idea; neither have I any recollection of events leading up to this incarceration.

Me, Matisse and the Snail (IP)

Re-hashed version of previous piece - am now deleting version 1 as no point in having two Snail pieces around and I think this one works better (I hope).

Mia and the colour purple

If I could paint you an aura it would be in shades of purple, subtle with a touch of violet and a delicate hint of mauve; all the colours you love, sweet Mia, little dreamer,

Missing You

These words have been a long time coming...

My Mother and The Man

He was always there when I got home from school. I would know by the smell of tobacco smoke and the laughing and coughing that it was him in the kitchen with my mother.

No daisy chains

Pink Floyd meets John Bunyan, in a manner of speaking

Not cherries again (IP)

Cherries, you say? But I've been there done that already. I even got the T-shirt (you know what I mean). I said my goodbyes before killing off a whole orchard


No idea how to categorise this one so I'll leave it open to interpretation..

On looking at a painting by the Cornish artist Peter Lanyon

Inspired by a recent visit to Tate Britain. Peter Lanyon died following a gliding accident in 1964 at the age of 46.

On the edge (IP)

This is based on face. A rare venture into prose so not at all confident - please feel free to criticize.

One Night Stand

Morning after the night before.. a further slight edit 15.1.11


Pink stains on a grey Winter sky Brown-green grass Strip-teases the communal lawn Yet still the orange-red rowan berries Hang heavy from the bare grey-green twig-branches

Poppies for my daughter

Re-write of last year's version -not at all sure about poem but determined to crack the `add image' option. Hope it works...

Portrait of an artist, sleeping

remembering a fellow art student from my college days back in the 70's
Gold cherry

Resurrection (IP)

I believe I saw you


ROOMS BY THE SEA (after Rooms by the Sea painted by Edward Hopper in 1951) So after all it was you Edward Hopper who took me to the sun and coloured me a room

Saints and Sinners in Margate

my roads less-travelled are signposted Margate, where the saints and sinners dwell...

Saturday's child

One from the archives, re-written

Scenes from a marriage

A long, long time ago...

School Doctor

I stand there dressed only in my regulation school knickers. I am shivering and ashamed as, although I am eleven years old, I still have no breasts.

She said, he said

what's in a word

St Ives, Summer 1993

This is becoming an annual event a celebratory ritual; another Cornish idyll. In Topsham Devon a job ends, the rain spills, I paint all night, sleep all day.

Stuck on you

This is an edited re-post at my daughter's request as she too is a big Elvis fan and January 8th is his birthday...

Sunday Bloody Sunday

a personal response to Andy Murray's loss to Federer in the Wimbledon Men's Final - probably destined for the delete button as it's a bit cheesy...

The Canine Rival

We could be alike Our emotions are so similar Staring each other out You look away first Yet it’s obvious Your relationship with him Has already outlasted mine

The flautist

a special moment

The Late Miss Rigby

She is all the lonely people hiding behind doors, walking at night, experiencing life vicariously through lighted windows and television screens. She has watched him from
Gold cherry
Poem of the week


Nursery rhyme: "one flies east, one flies west, and one flew over the cuckoo's nest"

The Optician

My mother, always an embarrassment to me, takes me to the Optician. I am thirteen and have recently been unable to see the blackboard at school without squinting.

The poet and the art teacher

based on personal experience of being a teacher in an all-male prison in the 80s. Apologies to all shaven-headed tattooed people reading this...
Poem of the week

The sadness of tulips

a bit late for Spring, or perhaps not
Gold cherry

The Silent Witness

As many of you already know, my daughter Julia (who wrote as Overthetop1 on Abc) died suddenly in May whilst on a short unescorted outing from a Mental Health Unit. She was due to move into a care facility in the community very soon, and as yet the cause of her death is still unknown. She had been to a cafe near the hospital for a sandwich, and the cafe owner, seeing how unwell she was, followed her out. Unfortunately Julia never made it back to the ward. Later the cafe owner told her sister and I what happened before we got to the hospital. Coral Jane

The Tired Dancer

The tired dancer resting, took up her brush and created a choreography in paint and collage where her free-moving spirit could meander at will through clovered valleys and stormy hillsides,

The way we were

unfinished symphonies

Those Sunday Visits (IP)

the sort of kissing that's not very enjoyable to a child


The problems of involuntary benzodiapine addiction & withdrawals have again hit the news (front page of the Times,1.10.12) prompting me to post this, scribbled in a notebook two years ago...

Trust (IP)

There you go again my little one, swinging high swinging low flying through the air, waiting for me to catch you like I always do. Will this set you up for life or somewhere
Gold cherry

Venetian Interlude (IP)

unknown man in the Piazza san Marco


another look back to childhood - this time a long way back

Watching the candle burn

August 6th: one date, different years, distinctive for two members of the same family - one lived a very short time, the other much longer - both imperfect
Gold cherry

Yellow for my daughter

An edit of an old piece I want to re-post in memory of my daughter Julia Jane Macpherson who died suddenly May 18th. She also wrote on this site as Overthetop1. Coral Jane
Gold cherry
Poem of the week


The recent loss of my firstborn has brought back the pain of another loss...
Gold cherry
Poem of the week


And so it is as a planet mourns and the grey sleepless days and nights of grief and isolation build to an inevitable crescendo In Spring, the daily...
Gold cherry

Killing the killers

Not for the faint-hearted. Just a way of releasing the anger regarding the preventable death of my daughter resulting from the side effects of a drug now known to be responsible for over 400 deaths a year.