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Selected poems from
"Cheese, Ice, a Knife and Life" 1999

This first collection, published in 1999, takes Douglas Adams book "Life the Universe and Everything" as a starting thought to explore the fundamental emotions and values that characterise human experience. The cheese board being a fine place to contemplate the meaning of life!

The selection here looks at childhood: "Sleep or Shutdown" (familiar to Mac and PC users) looks at sleep patterns of children and adults. The "Making of Children" was inspired by the birth of my first daughter, while "African Dimension" contrasts the indulgence of the rich and lazy against the aspirations of the poor and hopeful.

Sleep or Shutdown

Is there anything quite
as beautiful as
a sleeping child?

It’s not the appearance
but the presence
of a pure fresh being
not quite being

Where are you now
you once energetic
trainee human?

Away with the fairies,
out for an extended recharge.
Not in - please leave a message.

But grown-ups sleep
as if they were
trying to be in
but can’t quite
make it.


Busy with reality,
on temporary shutdown.
Engaged - phone back later.

And that is the attraction -
sleep-charging for action
rather than
sleep-induced postponing
of inaction.

Is there anything quite
as beautiful as
sleeping like a child.

[Requested by Priscilla]

The Making of Children

When I think of you
child that I made
by procreation, recreation
and protection;
my joy, my flesh,
a piece of my gladness -
when I think of you,
it is joy, peace and gladness
that I want for you -
not the envy
noise and madness
that clamour from outside.

It is for your making
that I made you
more making than I
can ever make for myself:
make life, make friends
make love, make fun
make money, make song
make art, make up
make believe, make true
make it good, make it through
make it, make it new.
It is for making, I made you.

So my advice to you
is to steer clear,
step aside, my child
and avoid the ‘ready made’:
made for you, ‘made in China’,
made you do it, made you not,
made you angry, made you stray,
made you go, made you stay,
made you fat, made you bent,
made you straight, made you gay.
These ‘mades’ are all unmakings;
unoriginal, borrowed or sold. 

So make it you business
to make it yourself -
and don’t be made
by someone else.
But the real trick
is to make without unmaking
someone else -
for that is joy,
peace and gladness.
The other kind
leads to envy,
noise and madness.

[Read on the occasion Christy's confirmation, 12th May 2007.]

African Dimension

Deep from the heart of Africa,
from whence once I came -
the cradle of evolution and civilisation.
Deep from that cradle
comes a cry on TV,
hungry, wounded or dying
from yet another tragedy.

I flicked the channel finding my refuge
behind my democratic screen:
film, news, comedy, game-shows
(still fearing that Africa might invade
on Europe’s southern shore
demand their debts
and even ask for more).

I must remember to give a little
when the next TV appeal comes around.
Congo, Barundi, Ruanda,
Sierra Leone, Mosambique
Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan.
Too little, too late,
still hoping Africa can wait.

Then the doorbell rang
and I switched off the 2D TV
to meet a real multi-dimensional human being
on my doorstep.

To my surprise it was a six year old
African girl.
She did not break down the door
demand payments or excise my guilt,
but indeed she did invade
with singing and dances - her cavalcade.
And I gave her what I owed her -
not aid,
but a little respect
(deep from the heart of Africa).

[Following visit of African Childrens' Choir]


Christy, Canada, Summer 2006