Category Archives: poem

Another Coffee


Over and across from the coffee shop

was a coffee shop

What a strange idea she got – in her head

To leave one coffee shop

And cross-over to the other

With hardly a time gap between


But – she did it

To her own surprise – she did it

“What kind of nonsense is this” she thought

Ordering a Latte but not in a tall glass

She never liked tall glasses


Whilst collecting her drink

She glanced round the room

As though the room could speak

And tell her why on earth

She had gone for another

coffee elsewhere?


So finding a space in the busy place

She sat staring straight ahead

Hardly even wanting the coffee

Just at this point…” she thought

In this story…” she thought

“Something should justify this move”


But instead the traffic noise outside

Drowned her in her own thoughts

She struggled through her drink

Not knowing what to think

Soul sale


The dark sales pitch – 

“You are that person

With a small circle of friends

Here’s a chance to make money

Here’s an opportunity to realise

That we can promote you and yours

What have you got to sell?

Also what do you want most?

Pray tell us that – as well

Here’s an opportunity

To give the clothes off your back

What’s your name by the way?

Is it Jack? Well Jack…

Today is your day

You have met me at the right time

You will benefit greatly

Just sign on the dotted line

It may be your soul for sale

But souls are dispensable

Think what you will be left with

Loads of money and possessions

Your soul in prison to stay

But prisons are – nicer today”

(Mark 8/36)

Coming over?



Friends were coming over

The long pause of waiting ended

A knock came to the door

It wasn’t the friends who were coming over

It was a parcel delivered by a man

Who held the parcel in his other hand


While handing the ‘sign here in digital print’

To the receiver who tried to sign – but it didn’t

Operate the way it should – so she stood

And tried to shake-off embarrassment

“It’s ok it never works” said the parcel man

So X marked the spot – like in a map or plan


Then in she came parcel ’n all

Only to discover while opening the same

That the friends coming over made it quite plain

That the present was an offered appeasement

They couldn’t make it today

Truth is – they were never coming over – anyway


East Belfast you are in my blood

You with your sectarian turmoil

I could never get


Mine is just an ordinary memory

A childhood spent

As it could only have been

[A stable home provided]


I did play my cowboy games

On the green green grass of home


Sliding up in height

Into the Sixties era


And all the false hope it gave – seeming so grand

Getting branded with the sixties brand


Oh hippiedom! – half adopted by me

We sired you when we had the time


And espoused with lip service

Your so called freedom


Yet emotions rose in the music then

Telling us all was well


Turn on – tune in – drop out

Whatever did that mean?


‘Cause our Sixties was the Belfast kind

After all – we still had to work


Parents guided – to ‘serve your time’

And get a bank balance of some kind


But America – do you answer for a lot?

As your philosophies were bought by us

‘Dyeing’ them a different colour


Also imitating Beatle-ish young men

Stones apart and Dylan-esque outlooks


All paid their dues

To give us hero’s full of flaws


But now I think of

Those streets I walked


Into the town we did go

Posing –

but our pose was with a watchful eye


Looking out for the bad guys

Who didn’t ‘get’ the bell-bottoms


Was it youth’s exuberance that

Gave the Sixties it’s smile

Our did the Sixties give us ours?


Was it the generated utopia?

All make-believe – within


As pop-till-you-drop

Was lost along the way


I had mates

And we three

Stuck together

like supportive crutches


A duet, a trio, or alone

At different seasons


At times

Striking-out individually

Looking for adventure


As pubs were crawled-around

And new friends found

With secret language


We knew them

“Hey man!” and two

fingered peace

All (minus the bad) –

Was not so bad


Looking back – can’t go back

Looking forward – can go forward


Sixties gone

The drug man – now gospel man

Told me he would relive the Sixties

As he missed them first time round

in the drug haze

Sixty-two – to Sixties he has returned

Sixties of a different kind


I draw my pen to a close

‘Cause that nostalgic streak

Must be put away for the day

It’s only the wanderings of

An older man

You are too young to understand?



There he is again

In the distance

Trudging – always trudging


Trousers wide – half hanging down

He is moving house


Twenty times I have heard this

Two years have gone

“Problems man…problems…’


He has not moved house

He will not move house


“You’re a good man…” he tells me

(I bought the coffee again)


He swept many streets –

new pin – clean

He trudged then too


Retired – he still trudges

In the park today

Walking the long way round


I see him in the distance

Staring at the person he is addressing

They too will listen


As he unfolds his repertoire:

‘I’m moving house’

‘Problems man…problems…’

Perfect explanation

Perfect Explanation

‘If I get over this then I will know…’

‘I will take stock and so…’

[…Continue to the next configuration]

It seems life’s parts have no explanation

Unless you can figure it out

Coming to a place where there is no doubt

You will drift on incomplete – until you meet

The One who knows it all

“You have told me that –

Why tell me again?”

Or so I used to say

But now my confusion has led to this:

I throw in the towel

Knocked out in round three

Fallen on the wayside

The wayside pulpit did tell

The perfect explanation

With the woman at the well

‘I who speak to you – am He!’

Fellowship of the pen

Fellowship of the pen

Ok so look –

we might

[or we will] –

never meet

So friendship

is incomplete

But the buddies

of the mind

are of a

certain kind

When romantic


goes to and fro 


but not

as in


Rather as in


Though limited

in capacity

and realism

Is not to be

scoffed at


Because I might

have a word

for a

weary traveller

where you’re sat

And that –

Might swing



of doom

Giving you


or strength

to mount

the next hill

and free-slide


the other side

Words would be

all we have

But when

softly spoken

and not harsh

In them

there can be


wholesome –

that will last

II Timothy 2/24




And all mixed up – they be

But mixed up is par for the course

You share your mixed-up-ness

And they will share their’s

And all will be revealed of

How mixed up all be

Albeit not all at once

Or the mixed-up-ness will

Clearly not be clear

When the mixed-up Conglomerate

doesn’t display

The individual mixed-up-ness

For all to see

Moving in Grey


The painting came first – then the poem

People moving in grey

Blue coats – red coats – orange coats


But moving in grey

Going about their business

Concentrated looks 

Or in puzzlement and inertia


But moving in grey


People trying to lift the morning

They try remarks

Sly remarks – dry remarks

But all fade away


Moving in grey


Lunch-break – a time to rest

Feet up

Hands move across lunch tables

“Pass the salt – sugar or sauce”

Cuffs scuff as they move away

Time to go back


To moving in grey


The weekend is reached

Another week gone

What to think about now

As we travel on


Moving in grey


Somebody stood out

They got out of grey

Only to return to


Moving in grey


Zombie-isation of the world

Means all feeling and morals go

‘No colours anymore

I want them to turn black…’


Nobody will admit it

But that’s the craic

Through this metaphor I say:



is moving

in grey

Progressive Panic


There it is – bang-up-to-dateness

Fully informed (I am not)

Enough seen – enough said

The screwdriver is prising the can lid

And more garbage is falling out 

Who can contain the upsurge?

All things negative

Dressed in fancy clothes

Plausible in devilish disguise

Limited heads can’t get beyond

To the higher wisdom

But still the narrow minds

Dote on the limited view

All spirituality stripped down

To cold concrete reasoning

Compassion a lip-service phenomena 

The selfish heart guarantees

One-upmanship mastery

Until the odds divide and conquer

All deceived – deceive no more

For the day of reprisal will arrive

And who can stand the fullers’ soap?

Meantime back at the world

The rampant chaos jitters and pulls

At the hearts – pulled apart like treacle

Some reaching madness and screams

Who can take this and effect it for good?

When the very chassis of our beings

Are shaken to the core

Reach out! – reach out now – for The Rock!

That’s it – fall on Him

Mighty and tough – soft and gentle

He will receive you – have the faith of God

Reach out! – reach out now – for The Rock!

Quickly – before it is too late

Who can stand His coming?

The Rock calls to you – there is water here

But flesh will not strike it

Or cause it to come forth

Faith – a sword to smack aside the unbelief

Arms outstretched – now pummelled to humility

We enter a surge of joy

Brought to the broken heart

As The Lamb takes away

The sin of the world

And gives you an abiding place

The wind is alone

The wind is alone

The one-hinged gate swings in the wind

No one around – the wind is alone

No-one there to see this – no human influence

So the wind grows bolder by the minute


Now it decides to play with the gate further

The gate resists – as best a ‘one-hinged’ can

Slowly as the wind beats it up

The screw-nails start to submit


It’s getting worse now

They have reached their last three threads

And suddenly like a disgruntled bully

The wind departs


[moral of the story: hold-on –

three threads might be enough]