Archive for May, 2011

La Petite Mort

Posted in Poetry on May 29, 2011 by belfastdavid

On the back seat of a car, in a secluded clearing,
with the theme song from ‘Local Hero
playing on the stereo, two people
couple with such intensity
that for a moment the forest falls still;

the woodpecker pauses in his drumming,
wood-nymphs cover their eyes
and their ears with their wings,
and a robin, nearest to the scene,
begins to doubt his own ability.

Meantime, a sparrowhawk,
searching for other prey, looks down in wonder,
wonders if, for those two people,
life will ever be the same again, then swoops
to change the life of a coal tit for ever.


First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 15 – Inner Circles

Posted in First I Dreamt the Journey with tags , on May 25, 2011 by belfastdavid

Considering the construction of different relationships with time caused me to reflect on the use of time, the use of energy. Was I using time or was I desecrating it? Was my energy, a limited supply, being used constructively or was I wasting it?

Discussing this with the beautiful fairy she picked up a hard stone from the floor of the cave, walked to a blank wall, and scratched a series of concentric rings on the wall – a small one at the centre and circles of increasing size around it.

Pointing to the innermost circle she said “That represents you, the core of you, the essence of you, the you that you really are. The next innermost circle represents the people, the places, the activities that are most important to you, the next innermost circle represents the next level of importance right out to beyond the final circle where reside the the people, places and things which are present in this world but which are of no relevance to you. People, places, and activities may well move from one circle to the next as changes occur in your life and it is likely that the more inner the circle the more static it is liable to be. Nonetheless they are all subject to change.”

Then, before I could ask a question, she vanished. She is prone to do that. I have come to realise, that when she does that, she has given me all the information I need. Working out how to use it is down to me.

Studying the circles and gradually mapping my life against the circles – slotting people, places, and activities into what appeared to be appropriate circles – it soon became apparent that although the circles are present in all our caves, the content of the circles is unique to each and every one of us. It was not possible for me to use some one else’s map and apply it to my circles.

Considering placement in the circles, the answer to my original question about use of time and energy began to emerge – they should be directed towards the innermost circles because those were the most important areas of my life.

And this realisation, itself, lent import to placement. I became very aware of the impact of movement between circles, of my previous tendency to permit admission to an inner circle of people who had by no means earned the right to be there. I became aware also of my tendency to dissipate time in outer circles because the people or activities there provided what seemed like an entertaining diversion.

The circles are carved indelibly on the wall of the cave – the beautiful fairy made sure of that. The content of the individual circles is down to me and is subject to change. I must make certain to re-visit from time to time and to make adjustments as necessary.

Before inviting any one or any activity into an inner circle, and be sure they only arrive there by invitation, I must be sure that they merit the invite. And should time and behaviour prove them not worthy of that place then I must be prepared to move them out again.

Only by making these adjustments can I make good use of time and energy.

 Audio Version at

Red Bus Cafe

Posted in Poetry with tags on May 22, 2011 by belfastdavid

Diesel fumes, motor cycle growl,
screech of brakes, over-revved engines,
generator chuntering in the background.

And penetrating it all
the smell of bacon cooking.

I could be a vegetarian
if bacon grew on trees.

The red bus cafe is in a layby about ten miles outside Leeds on the A64 between Leeds and York. It has been there for as long as I can remember and, according to Leeds natives, for much longer than that.
This poem was selected to be included in a project whereby poems were printed on boards and hung in the waiting rooms of Leeds hospitals – they were moved round every few weeks. I have no idea whether they are still there – perhaps I will take a walk down this week and have a look.
I was prompted to post it because it is to be included in an anthology of work by the Leeds writers’ Circle to be published later this year – in time for LIPPfest we hope.


First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 14 – Solitude

Posted in First I Dreamt the Journey with tags , , , on May 18, 2011 by belfastdavid

Amidst this ebb and flow I became aware that there were of periods of solitude, either forced or sought deliberately. Aware that periods of solitude were the result of choices I had made, decisions I had taken along the way.

It was necessary for me to make a different relationship with solitude. Previously solitude had been experienced as darkness; as aloneness. It is certainly a place where familiar shapes dissolve.

By accepting this I can make different use of solitude. I can decide whether it is to be a lonely place or a place alone, a place of sloth or of creation, a place of deep regret or of reflection.

In reconstructing my interaction with solitude I became aware also that I was making a different relationship with time. Previously solitude had appeared to stretch before me like an eternity. This did not have to be the case.

I can snatch five minutes of solitude in the midst of a busy day and use it to reflect and renew, thus emerging restored as if after a period of long, deep sleep.

I can slow down or speed up time such that long periods of solitude become productive, constructive and appear to have flashed by, often catching me by surprise in the process.

It is easy to choose periods of solitude and to use them in this fashion. Yet when solitude appears enforced we lose sight of that perspective. We can stand in a crowd and feel totally alone or we can suddenly find ourselves on our own when we did not expect it. Solitude in those circumstances can appear black, can appear frightening.

And yet if we are capable of manufacturing changed relationships with solitude and with time when we choose solitude then we have proven we have the ability to do that. We must choose to use that ability.

Audio Version available at

Hotel Dining Room

Posted in Poetry on May 15, 2011 by belfastdavid

The lady at the next table for dinner,
somewhat on the largish side,
responds to my Good Evening,
waits for her husband to get seated,
then sends him back to their room

for a magazine, from which
she proceeds to read,
out loud, with comments,
recipes for desserts and cakes.

I pass on my sweet course,
glad to get away.
Clearly largish
has not been achieved
by accident.

First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 13 – Ebb and Flow

Posted in First I Dreamt the Journey with tags , on May 10, 2011 by belfastdavid

Reflecting on these and other battles it has become clear to me that there is a rise and fall, an ebb and flow in all things.

Nature itself in its seasons has a pattern of renewal, blossoming, maturing and death followed by renewal again.

So it is too in my own life, although not necessarily in tune with nature’s seasons. I have periods when energy levels are high, when ideas burst forth, periods when plans come into fruition, periods when maturation allows things to settle into my subconscious and become part of who I am, and periods, fallow periods, when energy levels are low and I need to allow myself to recuperate.

I must accept these fluctuations, go with them, understand that they are natural patterns and not fight against them.

Highs and lows are part of these patterns, and I must learn that this is so – not get so carried away on the high that I fly too close to the sun, or sink so deep into the low that it becomes a bottomless pit.

Sometimes it can feel like a roller coaster, and I suppose in a way it is; but knowing that I am on a roller coaster allows me to enjoy the ride even if, some times, I must hold on very tightly.

I do well to study natural patterns and to learn. If I watch a child grow I will notice periods of rapid growth followed by consolidation periods, followed again by rapid growth. A child too, learning to walk, will in the early stages when it wants to get somewhere quickly, drop to its hands and knees and crawl. Yet it will persist in learning to walk, knowing intuitively that is the better option in the long term.

All growth, all learning follows these patterns – we make rapid progress then seem to plateau and we can become discouraged. Yet if we continue to work we will be laying the foundations under the plateau that allow the next period of growth.

My most immediate teacher of natural patterns is the sea. I have places I can go, either physically or in my head, which allow me to watch the pattern of the tides and to learn their significance.

The tide comes in,
the sea roars and boils,
crashes in great waves on the strand,
beats itself against the sea wall,
throws great clouds of spray skywards,
demonstrates its enormous power,
its incredible energy.

Then it goes out,
everything is still,
the tide driven back from the shore,
distant ripples at the sea’s edge,
the energy seeming all spent,
the power – not gone, just rebuilding,
restoring, re-energizing.



 Audio version available at

Speech Therapy

Posted in Blogging with tags , , on May 6, 2011 by belfastdavid

Speech Therapy is a site which exists to promote the poetry talent of poets from the North of Ireland.

It began life as a printed magazine but has now evolved into a blog format e-zine.

Some of my poetry was included in earlier print editions.
Some of my poems are included in the latest incarnation.

I am delighted by that and delighted to promote the site.
Go visit. There are some very talented poets included.