A Haiku for my Mother

My hands kneading dough                               

become your hands in cloudy              

puffs of wheaten flour.

The Black Dog

The black dog growls

His shadow falls across me

My lips can’t move to speak

Slack-limbed I lie

Drawing painful breaths

The black dog snarls

Joy has disappeared

Love is pale, smothered,

Fear and nameless dread

Invade my shivering soul

The black dog bites

I am consumed.


Tinted warm by rose and amber light

Melanie smiles and pouts her painted mouth

Exotic spider, webbed in scarlet silk

She wears the face of Venus, Helen, Circe

Drawing one-hour lovers to extol her grace

And wit. She lends her body, listens, comforts

Promises a paradise of lust

The door lets in the shocking light of day

Melanie leaves, her pockets full of gold

Her eyes are clean and cold and bold

And know the sorrows of the world.


A touch of colour and my face

Jumps into focus

Don’t look too close –

Disintegration has begun

And death will lend it speed

Until my bones are bare and

Waiting for the second coming

 (And won’t my pale bones

Jump and rattle

Expecting light and mercy

New flesh to cling and bring them

From the dark

No mercy from the scald of light

No paint can hide

The fright behind my eyes.