For Love, for you…


Without You                              by Adrian Henri

Without you every morning would feel like going back to work after a holiday,
Without you I couldn’t stand the smell of the East Lancs Road,
Without you ghost ferries would cross the Mersey manned by skeleton crews,
Without you I’d probably feel happy and have more money and time and nothing to do with it,
Without you I’d have to leave my stillborn poems on other people’s doorsteps, wrapped in brown paper,
Without you there’d never be sauce to put on sausage butties,
Without you plastic flowers in shop windows would just be plastic flowers in shop windows,
Without you I’d spend my summers picking morosley over the remains of train crashes,
Without you white birds would wrench themselves free from my paintings and fly off dripping blood into the night,
Without you green apples wouldn’t taste greener,
Without you Mothers wouldn’t let their children play out after tea,
Without you every musician in the world would forget how to play the blues,
Without you Public Houses would be public again,
Without you the Sunday Times colour suppliment would come out in black-and-white,
Without you indifferent colonels would shrug their shoulders and press the button,
Without you they’s stop changing the flowers in Piccadilly Gardens,
Without you Clark Kent would forget how to become Superman,
Without you Sunshine Breakfast would only consist of Cornflakes,
Without you there’d be no colour in Magic colouring books,
Without you Mahler’s 8th would only be performed by street musicians in derelict houses,
Without you they’d forget to put the salt in every packet of crisps,
Without you it would be an offence punishable by a fine of up to £200 or two months’ imprisonment to be found in possession of curry powder,
Without you riot police are massing in quiet sidestreets,
Without you all streets would be one-way the other way,
Without you there’d be no one to kiss goodnight when we quarrel,
Without you the first martian to land would turn round and go away again,
Without you they’d forget to change the weather,
Without you blind men would sell unlucky heather,
Without you there would be
no landscapes/no stations/no houses
no chipshops/no quiet villages/no seagulls
on beaches/no hopscotch on pavements/no night/no morning/
there’d be no city no country
Without you.

photograph by Rose Cook

All the way to the very bottom


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All the Way to the Very Bottom



People are for love.

They are for meeting.

They are for looking out

of their skins at each other.


People are for uncovery.

They are for gazing.

They are mirrors, bridges.

They are the other leaves on the tree.

They are for being not-me

like an apple is not an orange.

People are not for peeling.


Together we are people.

It is a puzzle, this drawing need

this holding and this unease.



poem and photograph Rose Cook


Autumn, new beginnings.



Fox Days




His father gives him an old hunting coat –

scarlet, moth-eaten, the one he used

when he was ringmaster one summer.


Our son assembles his outfit –

a girlfriend bends, narrows her eyes

to apply makeup to his upturned face.


She kohls his eyes, lengthens lashes,

burnishes his lips cinnabar, finally sprays

to rust-redden his hair, already gelled wild.


He stands to adjust flame ears,

pulls on the geranium jacket.




In the autumn, having left home, he rings,

he says out on the dark road, he can see a fox –

there, there right in front of him,


as if I can see, as if I am with him.

He asks how it is now.

I say fine. It is time to let go,


so these reassurances

that all is well,

while under it


a vixen finds her den empty,

cubs gone – left or taken

the heart cannot tell the difference.




poem and photograph Rose Cook

Post a Poem a Day for 5 days: Love and the Flight of Birds


For the next day of the Post a Poem a Day for 5 days Challenge here is ‘Love and the Flight of Birds’ which is in my poetry collection Taking Flight (Oversteps Books, 2009) and I nominate Shawna Lemay to post one of her poems every day for 5 days and tag someone new each day.


Love and The Flight of Birds

Just lately I find myself
falling in love
with birds.

Is it their different flight,
their glide, slow soar,
the double bounce and hurry-up
over the tree,
their fragile legs,
enviable wings –
is it about longing?
But then, love is always about longing.

When they visit,
perch first in one tree or another,
I recognise them from their shapes
as lovers do, feel gratitude
that they come to me.

I break bread, tip seed
for these creatures of shattered air,
glossed instinct,
bones light as leaves,
wonders to gaze on,
then fly again.



poem and photo Rose Cook

Yuletide greetings as the year turns


They Call This

by C.K. Williams


A young mother on a motor scooter stopped at a traffic light, her little son perched on the ledge between her legs; she in a gleaming helmet, he in a replica of it, smaller, but the same color and just as shiny. His visor is swung shut, hers is open.

As I pull up beside them on my bike, the mother

is leaning over to embrace the child, whispering something in his ear, and I’m shaken, truly shaken, by the wish, the need, to have those slim strong arms contain me in their sanctuary of affection.

Though they call this regression, though that

implies a going back to some other state and this has never left me, this fundamental pang of being too soon torn from a bliss that promises more bliss, no matter that the scooter’s fenders are dented, nor that as it idles it pops, clears its throat, growls.