Wednesday, 11 December 2019


Living on a surface
scraped clean by time,
the geology of generations,
the faint striations of what was
once perfected and worn away
to nuance and supposition;
not one scratch, a truth,
an approximation
of the silence
of a ghost.

Sunday, 8 December 2019


and sympathy
never enough to forestall
the crumbling remains
of yesterday

Wednesday, 4 December 2019


Falling, in the bleak rain,
this uncertain weather,
under a barometer of sky
where altitude pressures air
where clouds in turmoil
twist fog around the sun,
an arc as fluid as time’s days,
time’s years as rounded
as the planet’s shoulder,
the empty horizon a shrug,
disquiet and disinterest
hunched beneath it.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019


I never was a joiner;

I hacked my way ahead
in a mockery of carpentry
time running out,
my repairs merely running;

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

forest fire

             a rainforest burns
        and rain no longer falls
a broad sweep of machinery screams
        its half-track creak cries out ‘timber’
    jibes jibs at trees older than breathing
                it lurches and dives
                      a predatory steel bird
                  spawn of dinosaurs
                      a descendant lizard
          extinction in every rusted scoop

Thursday, 14 November 2019


more water
in the dark-channeled sea
as the tide-race shifts
parallel to the shore

the flood’s convergence
clasps the beach-head
scours its precious stone
tearing it like an appetite

and in the ebb
everything is laid bare
laid drenched and dead

kelp beds wrack fronds
seaweed limp with exhaustion
and water’s absence
passive and patient
for change

more water
drains from hidden places
while blue sky
slack in the shallows
darkens the gullies
where sea must return

more water
swells low to high

more water
under gravity
and the pull of moon
or sun
or the drag of bedrock

all the inertias of earth
in waves of change
in their rising
and their falling
repeat these hours until
tomorrow’s new sea runs
and brings its reckoning
its wet accounting
its tides
© BH, 2019

I read a book about tides on my own very special Scottish island (where tides are important): Tide: The Science and Lore of the Greatest Force on Earth by Hugh Aldersley-Williams. Very informative. Made me think about the volumes of water heaving across the surface of the planet, We have, at most 5 metres, here. Elsewhere, anything goes; influenced by seabed topography, oceanic currents, landmass… And not even as regular as we think. Still, regular enough for me, its rise and fall organises life there - shopping, visits to the pub, scrabbling visits to the foreshore. 

Rising ever higher and scouring the margins of ground never before reached, I wonder at its relentlessness. More water, that's for sure. How could anyone deny it?

Wednesday, 23 October 2019


money will rain
on the dispossessed…

after the rich
are awash with it
a trickle will come down
from the favoured
to the rest…

Saturday, 12 October 2019


this room
this office room
where droplets in the air condense
like vague ideas and run down walls
where obedience and protocol perspire
vaporous guilt complicit mist settling
on the hard-worked bent-headed
lower orders desk-bound slaves
breathing for want of anything
else to do

Friday, 11 October 2019


the turtle swims among debris
in a deep and poisonous murky sea
and it’s so unfortunate that the turtle
turns out like humans to be mortal

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Thursday, 3 October 2019

this morning

this morning
I saw the sun filtered through trees
in the hour before its light touched
the white walls of my house

Sunday, 29 September 2019


sky is water

cold inside me
shivering speech
nature’s idioms
chill and muttering
in my blood


rain falls
threaded from heaven
a heavy mist on the eyes
rough ropes binding sky
to a promise of weather
no climate can keep


a rush of blood
from the head
faint-hearted, limp-limbed
more like dead


there is
a narrative in rock
erosions of history in lines
striated faces at the wild world’s edge
lines seldom spoken
not a word for

Thursday, 22 August 2019

not cloud

not cloud
but a heaven of suns
rise or set
some saint walked
some fiddle-player stroked
bow over string
a bright hollow melody
turned the blue of sky
white with vapour
on a reel of heaven
a dance of sunrise
an air of air
© BH, 2019

Duncan Chisholm, the fiddle player, posted a sky over Galicia (with hashtag #SantiagoDe Compostella). I thought about skies, fiddle-players and saints walking. I wrote this in reply.

days to come

days to come
you will find out how
today’s days and minutes
laid the odds for our future

Monday, 19 August 2019

Slugabed Binion

Slugabed Binion from her bed by a brown-stained dresser wakes to morning. Wisps of dream still trickle from her teardrop eyes. Her thin, fair hair hides its grey in the time it takes to comb and comb, to brush away the truth. It falls in hatched straight lines and masks her silver with its gold. She sighs and puts a white hand to her face, the pale lip trembles in a memory till the red stick paints today across the edges of her smile.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Ozymandias Recycled

A traveller 
mocked a king,
beside the sand
round which cold passions
command decay
and said,

‘Frown away,
sneer, half despair,
look on the desert sands,
sunk and level;
bare the lip,
read these lifeless words
far from those stone remains
that met the wreck of things.

Monday, 22 July 2019

almost gothic

seaward dusk

a woman
hair spun black
as midnight

a man
as lost youth

by a river
hearts full
of their own
deep mystery

a dirt road winds itself
slowly uphill

a dovecote a ruined mill
the river’s mouth
its crumbled jetty
granite cliffs gullies
swollen water

one kiss on cold crimson lips
black ruin on the horizon

stone-cracked corridors
a spiral stair

sea stacks and seabirds
crying on the wind
wild terrible waves

step by step up winding stones
a window open to darkness
clouds across dying daylight
Venus falling

love’s fierce dream
the apex of desire
mouths and veins
skin and sinew touching

a whisper a pulse
a river of tears flooding
a fist clenched for passion

nothing will harm you
nothing can kill you now
nor ever again

he felt her absence
his arms full of shadow
© BH, 2018

Written as a poem submission on a Gothic theme. Now much revised. Hopefully chiseled to an essence.

The source was Slains Castle and I had considered 'slains' as the title but I couldn't get it to work. Instead, I opted for 'almost gothic' from the Steely Dan song of that name.

I had to wait and see if this one won any prizes…

…but it didn't. So, eight months later I've released it into the wild. Fly, my beauty, fly!

Wednesday, 17 July 2019


white as cumulus,
people the clouds;
expressions drift
with the weather;
a dark nimbus
shadows their eyes.


plantation woods
bracken banks and
rising into

Sunday, 14 July 2019

in search of…

someone went in search of
in the lines of a book
   between cracks in creation

Sunday, 16 June 2019

crocodile frack

Country rock weeps through fractured veins
deep in the mantle and, still, nobody gains, 
except those whose need for treasure
is no natural force: liquid under pressure,
breaking surface like a sweat of fear….

Nothing, but nothing, to be seen here…

Thursday, 13 June 2019


throu the fog a bou-hocht carl an his bull
gang slow in the back-en dag ‘at haps
the sair-aff black-affrontit cottar-touns

an gangin doon the orraman sings
a luv-sang o illtricket luv
‘at spiks o a ring an the hairt it braks

och, the year’s back has struck the simmer deid
an the haar rowes up but twa grim shaddas passin

From ‘Automne' (1913) by Guillaume Apollinaire. after a translation into Scots by Paul Malgrati – see over
© BH, 2019

Paul Malgrati offered a translation into Scots of the above. I couldn’t resist an attempt at translation. Like before, the result is different again. That’s the way with language, minds and poetic form in general.

I got the thumbs up on it from Paul, so all’s well. Plenty room for expression.

You can read Paul’s original (and Apollinaire’s)  here…

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Last on Poetry24

I had nineteen poems published by Martin at Poetry24 in 2018. Nine more  in 2019 — the latest, and last (because Poetry24 is closing for submissions) is: I read the news today. It was also the last submission Martin at Poetry24 put up. I'm honoured.

I read the news today - news and news and news… the news never sleeps

"…the whole world weeps, sheds water from its fractured veins, 
finds its bedrock shattered or under pressure, under duress, 
it oozes blood, a blood-like fluid, a thin extraction, 
the Earth’s crust sobbing, mortally wounded by stabs of greed"

Sunday, 28 April 2019


The names for far we bade, pauchled,
syne they sealed oor mous wi saicrets,
made us sweer an, throu oor ain obedience,
thirlt us tae their schemes.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Bang, Bang

Bang, bang, you’re dead, the children said;
it‘s just a toy, says a boy to the policeman;
but whatever he saw, it was against the law.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019


above the clouds
warrior rain gathers
and waits to soak winter’s bones
with heaven’s blood falling
on cold hard ground
a life for a life


clouds of springtime
unfold their petals as vapour
a bloom-like mist on once-bare trees
and the turn of a year passes
its one moment of being
as yet uncommitted
to memory

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Poetry24 April

I had nineteen poems published by Martin at Poetry24 in 2018. Eight more so far in 2019 — the latest, published on 18th April, is: not even the captain.

not even the captain - I couldn't keep quiet about Brexit any longer…

"lost souls on a heaving swell where an incidental tide
drags us drifting between land and open sea
not even the captain — going down ship and all"

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Love Dare Not

there is no good news
for the rhapsodised
nor for their lovers nor ourselves
who are also artists and buy love
like cheap concrete
cumbersome stone
to build our phantasms with

Doors and Ways

Can’t be room for everyone…

We think…

Monday, 11 March 2019

return to earth

in the place where
blue turns black where
sharp stars stab the night where
haze on the horizon curves where
the planet bends beneath inscrutable heaven

Poetry24 March

I had nineteen poems published by Martin at Poetry24 in 2018. Seven more so far in 2019 — the latest, in March for International Women's Day, is: Invisible Woman.

Invisible Woman - the gender data gap - the world measured by geeks (mostly men)

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

For the Journeyman

The road’s black business runs thick with the hoarseness of tyres,
with the rattle of high-sided vehicles, the lull of household names,
storage, haulage, shopping malls, cheap components, chain-store
halls, white goods, car parts, sofas, beds, special moments, turn out
the light, sleep-well-my-darling, just one more night’s breakneck
hurtling through this two-lane highways’ sun-set drawn-out dusk.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Poetry24 February

I had nineteen poems published by Martin at Poetry24 in 2018. Six more so far in 2019 — the latest, in February, are: Eschaton, priceless love and Underclass. Coming soon (I hope) - jihadi bride.

jihadi bride - grooming, radicalisation - call it what you like…

Eschaton - part of Poems for the Planet. Doom and gloom and the end of days…

Sunday, 17 February 2019


Yes, I remember Grantham—
The name and the association—
Because one day in the autumn
Of a year, my train connected.

Shunted on some railway triangle
This way, that way, forwards and back,
Till I ran across bridges to travel
North away from Thatcher’s England.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Sea Change

shore to shore
an ocean rolls its silence up
conceals its secret places

from us

Friday, 15 February 2019

Undying Art

Poetry was never dying:
always alive, it lay sleeping
in doorways, stepped over
by people looking somewhere else.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019


the truth
has finally dawned
no-one calculated
the cost of the wind
as we should have
building for

Saturday, 2 February 2019


January cold taxes the purse.
February remembers love for a time
While winter deals its worst.
March gives us reason
For changing the season
As wind blows through like a curse.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Poetry24 2019

I had nineteen poems published by Martin at Poetry24 in 2018. Here's the first of 2019 — Perihelion —  and the second – Artifices of Intelligence on the Poetry24 website. A third – Tanks 1919 – on the 31st January.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Poison in the Stone

in the stone
poison in skeletons
shells and remains

Art Poisons the Artist

shells in shards, shaped like striated musculature
she carved them from the flesh of beaches
with husked sand, carapaces and skull segments
tied and strung into Adam’s bones
with the dust of grinding suspended in the air
and chipped flakes of cartilage silting her worktops
she breathed life into her work while particulates
drained her own life to an ebb like a quicksand