Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Bordeaux Bay by Guernsey-based artist Tony Taylor

Wednesday, 29 August 2018


Anyone who’s read Philip Larkin’s excellent poem, Mr Bleaney, will be acquainted with that eponymous elderly gent who ended his days, a lodger, in a tiny upstairs room of a stranger’s house. 
Sadly, there’s many a poor soul who’s finished up that way.
Back in the early 1990s my friend, the late Terry O’Brien, was one such individual: a man in his early sixties who’d lost his home, savings and status as a consequence of a disastrous late marriage.
While I was writing this poem, Terry's ghost lingered in my peripheral vision but my real focus was on G B Edwards, the enigmatic author of one of the Twentieth Century’s finest novels, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page.
Gerald’s final years were spent as a lodger in a house just outside Weymouth in Dorset. 
Whilst the poem isn’t based upon G B Edwards’ actual circumstances*, it was certainly influenced by them.


He could be short-tempered and cold.
He’d say, Too dear at seven quid,
and other times she would be told,
I’m leaving! But he never did.
At times he seemed to rule the house.
Lodger from Hell, she’d tell her spouse.

An old man, elderly, she’d say
a writer, something of that sort.
Is it a novel or a play?
My bloody masterpiece! He’d snort.
The manuscript on ruled foolscap,
some days he’d call a load of crap.

He was an inconsistent man:
one moment charmer, next a boor.
A solitary, without a clan,
with old-school manners, but piss-poor.
He’d leave his light on half the night,
brew pots of tea and write and write.

But all of that was years ago.
He’s dead and buried with his debts.
His book is in the shops, although
it doesn’t sell well, she regrets.
A book’s no substitute for life.
He’d have been better with a wife.

Friday, 24 August 2018


Venice, La Serenissima, a city that I have visited many times, is celebrated in a newly-published book, First Spritz Is Free, available at
Editor Kathleen Gonzalez has gathered together reminiscences, adventures and dreams in this delightful collection of essays from various contributors including novelists, bloggers, musicians, photographers,tour guides, historians, and more, each with an abiding love of this beautiful and unique city.
I’m proud to announce that my wife, poet Jane Mosse, has contributed a chapter to this impressive collection.
You can find more details at

Saturday, 18 August 2018


I've just finished reading a novel entitled Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, a novelist, poet and playwright of astonishing range and power. 
It's set in America in the 19th Century and addresses the systematic genocide of the native population by European settlers. 
Days Without End is an enthralling, if harrowing, read and it put me in mind of a poem I wrote a few years ago, Song of the Sioux, which you'll find below.


Once there were men and buffalo
that nourished us, that fed the tribe.
The land and all it could bestow
was ours. The Elders now describe
it as a Paradise on earth,
harmonious, our place of birth,
before the white men came to kill
our buffalo then break our will.

We dwelt in tribes, our rivalry
divided us: such was our plight
when faced with well-armed cavalry
our indecision, like a blight,
unmanned us, so our young men died,
our old men raged, our women cried,
while they, that force none could withstand,
came, massacred, then stole our land.

In retrospect, I see it clear,
we lived in childlike ignorance.
The world had changed but we, I fear,
refused to see the evidence
while, all the time, approaching fast,
the railroad with its piercing blast:
the Future coming, smokey-haired,
to catch us only half prepared.

Thursday, 16 August 2018


Sad news today. The death of Aretha Franklin has robbed the world of an unforgettable voice.

Here's my favourite track from The Queen of Soul.  

Saturday, 11 August 2018


This poem, a Double Tetractys, was written in response to a challenge: to combine a Double Tetractys with a Univocalic poem.

The Tetractys consists of five lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 10 syllables (total of 20). It therefore follows that a Double Tetractys consists of ten lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 10, 4, 3, 2, 1

The Univocalic is a difficult and very obscure form of poetry in which the writer uses only ONE of the five available vowels, A, E, I, O or U. No other vowels are allowed.

I took the easy option and chose the vowel E.


the wren,
her clever eye,
her sweet essence. Deep, let her sleep be deep;
there, let the green hedge be her perfect bed;
the rye, the reed,
be her screen;

Friday, 3 August 2018


It's said that Guernsey's absence of light pollution makes us more aware of our place in the universe.
Irrespective of whether this is true or not, we certainly enjoy wonderful views of the heavens when night falls.  


Her book lies open while she sleeps.
I smile and slip a bookmark in
then set it where books rest in heaps,
arrange the duvet round her chin,
switch off the bedside light and then
go back next door, pick up my pen.

I should sit down to write or do
all those small, necessary things
day’s end throws up, start to review
the challenge that tomorrow brings,
instead, I step outside, commune
with night’s sweet strangeness and the moon.