The Alter Between Us

A poem

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

How you loved me once
yet you knew nothing of love
the handfasting, cleaving

For our child, I had to eject you
breaking my heart to protect
now no one loves me to the end

You bully me still, yet I care
no thanks for needs met
ego is still your inner enemy

Published in The Lark


Your Kiss

A poem

Photo by Annette Sousa on Unsplash

Your mouth brushed mine as I slept
alert, at once, my eyes stay closed
not sure how I should respond
but your kiss seduced my senses
I was blinded to the future your lips posed

The tangling of lips and of tongue tips
sensations shooting all through me
faint taste of wine, yet it was you
intoxicating me with guile and lust

sense left me captive to your sensuality

Where that kiss led was dangerous for me
unseeing, I passively allowed treachery
our love was short-lived but the price
was long drawn out, with such malice
by the one who was left to feel jealous

Published in The Lark



A poem

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Sweat runs through her hair in droplets
Coursing downward from her face
Heat is sultry velvet to her skin
Touchable air, thick its stroke wets
Lungs feel emptied, breath sucked out

As she lies spent then gasps rising
To snatch what life she can
Into the frailness of her fram

She reaches for breath to draw in
Through the splutters, every rasp
Fills with oxygen once again then wait
Shallow fast lifts of her ribs
Until the next rising in gasps
To snatch what life she can

Published in The Lark


The Book That Separated The World

Causing death and untold suffering

Photo by Ryan Klaus on Unsplash

In the 1970’s, probably earlier, Asians began to migrate to Britain. They could do so easily, being from the former British Empire. They brought families or sent for them later, after they had a home and a job or a business.

The British called them Asians or, in the perjorative, Paks. Their children wanted to fit in and went to school and then university. Meanwhile, an Asian writer had a problem getting a book published as it was so controversial. Finally, The Satanic Verses was published in 1988. It was nominated for prizes and won some awards. Salman Rushdie, the author, made lots of money.

Life in Britain carried on for Asians, but fearing unrest, Rajiv Ghandi banned the import of the book in India and in 1989, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ruhollah Khomeini, declared a Fatwa against Salman Rushdie. A fatwa is an order to kill or murder.

The reaction was powerful because the book refers to verses in the Quaran to do with three Meccan “goddesses”. These references in the magical realty book are considered to be blasphemous as Islam is monotheist and that could not be tolerated by the Ayatollah Khomeini.

Life for young Asians continued normally for a while, but when going home from university for term breaks they found their mothers were upset, so they went to mosques to learn more. For some, this simply deepened their faith in Islam while others became what we term “radicalized”. In Britain, we now call most Asians “Muslims” and other people of smaller religions are called by the name of that religion, but we don’t call white people “Christians” as most are not.

Over a period of time these radicalized Muslims gathered in secrecy and planned to punish the non-Islamic world for the insult made by Rushdie, and for the hedonistic lifestyle they believe we live. They learned how to fly aircraft and entered many countries legally for the purpose of terrorism.

The first we knew of this was the explosion in the PanAm flight that came down over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1989. But the most notorious act of terrorism was September 11, 2001 when aircraft were flown into the World Trade Core in New York, the Pentagon, and another plane failed due to the heroism of passengers who overcame the terrorists, but perished with them in a crash into the fields of Pennsylvania.

President G. W. Bush foolishly called these attacks an act of war and invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. This led to acts of terrorism in Britain, France, Germany, The Netherlands, and Kenya, to name the worst affected. Tunisia had an attack too, although it is a Muslim country. Many European tourists go there. The London Underground had a train blown up in July 2005, while two buses were bombed simultaneously. On bridges, vehicles were driven into people on the sidewalk three times, a soldier was knifed and beheaded, and a bomb was detonated at a concert. A van with a bomb was driven into Glasgow airport, and France suffered much the same fate.

In all the acts of terrorism, many Muslims were killed too. But Salman Rushdie, in hiding, was untouched. However, people involved in the publication of his book have been killed.

It was last year when Rushdie was attacked while on a stage in New York, that I learned the history of the book he wrote, knowing it would upset many, many, people. I heard British Muslims tell how they decided not to fit in any longer, although many did not take up terrorism. I listened to facts I had not known as I was living overseas where news is less concentrated.

My own feelings are not important here. I have lost those I love in the acts of terrorism. I have to remember that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. But no one needed freedom from anything in this case. Just a Caliphate to rule.

The West is against censorship and very for freedom of speech. I am too, but I take responsibility for what I write. Salman Rushdie has not. I cannot excuse him, but neither can I condone the terrorism in so many countries, by bombs, aircraft, vans, and knives.

There are so many Muslim countries and emirs. But one Muslim in England insulted them knowingly and caused so much death. I have writer friends who say Rushdie is a great writer. I read “Midnight’s Children” and found it quite unspectacular. But mostly, in my writing community, we get on with writing. I am mainly a Poet, but prose writing and essays are increasingly in my repertoire. I love to write about nature.

This essay has been brewing for months but encountering an Afghan writer here on Medium has given more understanding of the Muslim way of thinking. I owe him a debt of gratitude. Thanks also to a Medium staff writer.

Please note that this is an overview, not a detailed study. For that you can use websites and books.

Thank you to BBC Radio 4 for interviews with Muslim men, discussions about censorship, and other incidental pieces of information.


Like Star Dust

A poem

Photo by Blair Fraser on Unsplash

You seemed to fall out of the sky
into my life, wanting to die
I took you, loved you, taught you,
your eyes seemed like star dust

Glittering sadly, tears never far away
unworthy of being loved inside

I tried to turn that tide
to hold on to the star dust

So fragile, yet so brave not knowing
how you should behave in company
that cost you your freedom from the past
I’m really missing the star dust

Published in The Lark



A poem

Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

We are so misunderstood and taken for granted
we comprise only one in one hundred folk
rare, like diamonds, shining brightly
or trodden on in the noisy crowded room

We have no dark side, no vendetta to execute
vengeance is not for us, we love the relationship more
we say sorry knowing we are correct, out of love
but will be truthful about it if we trust you

We trust too much and get hurt too frequently
understanding what others do not see, feeling for others
we are creative, caring, loyal, loving, laughing
Alone frequently, we need our solitude to refresh us

We are passionate people, in love, in causes, nature
is our world of choice, at peace walking alone

Feeling deeply, we can be hurt but forget easily after “sorry”
a second hurt reminds us to stay away from the source

Tough too, like diamonds, we dig deep for resilience
we endure until the end, but back away from trouble
We know we’re not perfect, we are self-aware,?so please
take the time to know us, and we will be your reward

Published in The Lark



A poem

Photo by Mockup Graphics on Unsplash

I am dry, I am telling you, my friend
Dry as sticks in the desert
Ready to burn for warmth in the night

I am dry from bleeding my worry
She could have died, do you realize
I am dry as a dead tree

No leaves, no sap
Hollow on the inside
Dry as straw lying in the sun

Waiting to be gathered
I am dried out from hearing of death
In war zones, in gun-toting lands
Where the bullet is king

Dried from the news of children killed
I am dry, don’t you hear me
Women raped, men raped

War crimes, suicide, murder
Dried from pouring my love out
Like an oasis, but effect no change

I am dry I cry out to anyone who’ll hear
Dried by what humans do to humans
In war, in jail, in the system

I am dry and can be dry no more

Published in The Lark


Missing You

A poem

Photo by David Hofmann on Unsplash

Words fail to describe my heartache, my pain
it was a physical shock when you cut me dead
my left shoulder will never feel the same
since my body recoiled, screaming your name

The lies you tell, the fiction you shouted at me
for four years, killing me literally with your words
A Polish man saved my life, but again your onslaught
the hurt in my shoulder remains and will not go

Flesh of my flesh, I know you so well, my mind
drifts to memories, so many, a lifetime of them
disbelief, shock, hurt, forgiveness, anger, love
so many feelings conflict, still adoration for you

Admiration for your gifts, the talents I nurtured
watching you run, dance, swim, loving what you do
self-efficacy I taught you, truly beautiful to behold
so many times that what you were told, so I said it

must dwell inside, and it did, does, I hurt too much
I could drown in this ache, suffocate in your shouts
of abuse, all fiction, all lies, 
your years are written
in my file,
 evidence of your fibs, your made-up truth

Yet tomorrow I would embrace you so tightly
you are written on my heart, a lunar pull to you
speechless I would comfort you still more
Bone of my bone, light of my life, you carry my heart

Published in The Lark


Quaking War Zone

A poem

Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

Shock of falling homes while sleeping
collapse, crush, death does not discriminate
Earthquakes decimate, destroy, deconstruct
Thirty-three thousand dead and counting

A newborn baby rescued brought
the mother back to life, 
such is the power
of motherhood
yet such is rare, dying asleep
in their beds, expecting a dawn to wake them

Morning unveiled the dead and dying
the wailing of grief and loss, the suffering

Earthquakes strike, and leave a country struck
Hunger follows and dirty water next

Some say it is nature’s way of controlling the population
Not like famine which is man-made until now
with extreme weather events, floods, fires, freak
events, all man-made, but not the quakes

I lost count of my Earthquakes, so many in all
twenty-five seconds was the longest, under a table
stand in a doorway, shelves falling down, don’t go out
Never anything like this one, mass murdering

Published in The Lark


Louise abducted

Louise came to live with me a week ago. Yesterday, she was abducted. So easily exploited, so vulnerable.

And my home is now a mess. Her room stinks and has so much stuff. And she brought boxes of snacks to my study and didn’t empty them out.

How I will sort this I have no idea.


From A Transparent Blue Sky

A poem

photo from author

What was it that compelled me to read your book
I knew of you, but not how much we have in common
eery, and yet we have never met

Our families are linked, we are one degree of separation
you are descended from royalty, the Queen was kind to me
yet you have declined her invitations

Not her hospitality when your family needed it
we are all flesh, blood, and bone, with scars
not just corporeal but of the mind

Your twin was blown up in a boat off Ireland
my twin never saw the light of life, 
abandoned me
to the living, with its stones to stumble

My father’s eyes welled with tears, I paid attention
too young to comprehend your loss, already known
in my life, I had to pull my own bootstraps

How was it I heard about your book and wrote to you
I don’t recall, except the compunction, the need
to read your tale, so brave yet neglecting self

Your loss was unique within your family, alone
I feel a hint of what you experienced, but not the same
post-traumatic stress is such a mindless disorder

Published in The Lark

Dedicated to Timothy Knatchbull


The Poem Writer

A poem

Photo by Nicolas Messifet on Unsplash

Snapshots of the street in word pictures
memories of longing and heartache
words that can make a person’s heart break

Pictures of a family life on the page
generations recalled with nostalgia
journeys made in iambic pentameter

Writing in rhyme does not a poet make:
it is the observing, the feeling, empathy
caring enough to pen the difficulty

Maybe moody, or not, but thoughtful, yes
mulling thoughts over, writing drafts,
wood piling the words that make mes

Telling it slant, as Dickinson once said
from this angle or that, or both at once
writing tight, not wasting a word that’s laid

Performn’t sacrifice a poem for the rhyme
words paint the image, not the slime

of sugar sweet saccharine sounding lines

Alliteration is one big part, the rhythm too
but rhyme can make the picture a shame
doggerel written in all but name

Who writes the poem, is an observer
of nature, trees, birds, the human condition,
writes truth and then it is no longer theirs

Published in Lifeline