Live and think differently and the world will be different


DEADSTONE is my new collection of poems, published in January 2015.

The overall theme of the poems is loss, but the poems themselves are very different in character to one another.Deadstone - front cover (small)

Loss is the theme of Deadstone because as biological beings we are prone to loss. Over time we lose our youth, we lose our hair, we lose our eyesight, we lose our hearing, we lose our health… we lose our minds; too often we lose control, we lose our temper, we lose all sense of proportion… and in the end, always we lose our lives.  We cannot get out of here alive.  From the moment of our first intake of breath we are doomed to a final exhalation which will see us dead.  In the smallest fraction of time that is gifted to us, the time of our lives, we waste, we trash the great majority of those extraordinarily precious moments in arguing, fighting, squabbling, sulking, moping, groaning, watching TV, eating rubbish, being bored, being violent, warring, raping, murdering.  It’s what we do.

It’s all here – madness, murder, war, suicide, prostitution, perversion, animal cruelty – because here is hell on Earth.  Only a species as corrupt and grotesque as humanity could contrive to turn the promise of life into an unceasing nightmare of violence, viciousness and hatred.  In a universe so vast there is nothing so morally abhorrent as a human.  We may point to the Cathedral in the heart of the City, the sculpture and painting reverently presented in the museum, reflect on the grandeur of the greatest music, and thus praise our glory, but I’m looking over there at the abattoir and hearing the screams and I’m walking across the battlefield and feeling the crunch of bones underfoot; I’m seeing the rich man pour another glass whilst the poor child yells in horror and dies from thirst; I’m shaking my head as the faithful say their prayers and ask for mercy as the knives are sharpened and the terrified, tied animals are murdered to appease some alleged and invisible, unknowable, unseen, unheard, un-responding “god”.

The first moments of a new life, whether human or non-human, seem to offer so much that is rich and glorious, so much that could be good.  Consider the first steps of the lamb and the calf or the chick broken free from the egg, or the perfect calm as the new-born human rests in the arms of his or her mother.  But then humanity gets in the way, and gets in the way of everything, and ruins it all.  We take what is good and in our taking we destroy.  We manifest misery and make merry with mayhem and murder on a colossal, catastrophic scale; we embrace the globe not in compassion but strangle it with our cruelty –  one eye on our profits and the other on our pleasure, and never mind the blood spilt, the throats cut, in the pursuit.

Life is monstrous in its ridiculousness and in the despair and trauma it invokes in those who feel.  It allows the cruel and the violent to wreak havoc on the vulnerable and the defenceless.  It suggests that mercy and compassion could be the measure of our kind, but shows that brutality and mercilessness are the base standards for our behaviour.  Where love should prosper, hate is too often the only response offered; where acts of kindness should be done, only indifference is gifted.  Life, so impossibly unlikely in a universe of trillions and trillions of dead planets, is made a mockery of suffering by ignorance and arrogance.  All that the poet can do is tell his or her tale, and in the telling the words turn to stone at the grave of the promise of life, and in the retelling small flakes break from the headstone and float and fall through time, and we breathe them in and tread upon them, and those tiny slivers of stone create our soul.

We come up out of the ground, borne by the dead, made by the words our ancestors spoke, and back to the grave we will go…


DEADSTONE – published in January 2015, available here

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