I’ve been going through some poems, tidying parts up, preparing them for the ritual of submission. It occurs to me that a lot of them are about death. That’s not because I’m overly worried about it; on the contrary, death seems to me the catalyst for life. Put it this way; if no one died there would be no room for new life, new people (or whales, to follow an earlier post). The world would be full of nursing homes.

We need to look at it differently: life is for the living. Take more out of each day, instead of grasping at unknown futures. Yes, you might win the Lottery – chances are that you won’t. Yes, you might be run over by a bus – chances are that you won’t. The living are resilient: animals, plants, human beings all cling to life, as if it must mean something. As it does. So enjoy it while it lasts.


A coughing, spluttering fit;
a nervous, high laugh.
A sign of spring – bird song;
a sign of winter – long scarf
wrapped around the throat.
A sharp frost, a dull pain;
there are signs of life in me,
signs of death too, age
creeping up, as winter does
then leaves, as life should do
by transition, not by this sudden
snatch of death, the soul away
the body cold, the crocus old;
end of the short, short day.