Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Bordeaux Bay by Guernsey-based artist Tony Taylor

Wednesday, 26 December 2018


My recent visit to Cornwall provided me with an opportunity to visit the graves of two significant and much loved Twentieth Century poets, Charles Causley and Sir John Betjeman. 

A rhymer at a poet’s grave,
I wonder what unwritten words
lie buried with the great man’s bones.
Would those fine verses we admire
be overshadowed were his voice
to reawaken and declaim
some better poem than his best?
Sir John, beneath this ornate stone
in his beloved Cornish ground,
knew life is far from infinite,
that poems and passion, too, must die.
The great man, dear man, gentle man,
who said his piece and rests in peace,
now lends his pen to other men

while I stand here, amid the dunes
that guard his grave, my coat a shield
against the wind, and hear the sea
declaiming words that end in waves.

Tuesday, 25 December 2018


Here's a little poem for those of you who hope to receive a gadget from Santa this year.


Once, Three Wise Men went on a quest
to seek and find the Christ-Child, blessed,
they took with them the new “must have”,
a camel-friendly, cool Sat.Nav.

A Guiding Star said travel East
and, as its radiance increased,
they harkened to this Bright Informer
and muttered, “Guys, we’re getting warmer!”

But hark! The Sat.Nav disagreed:
due North was what it guaranteed.
So off they trekked on camel-back.
(Alas, they were on the wrong track.)

They’d brought, as gifts, diamonds and fur
(sadly, no Frankincense and Myrrh)
and fancy jewellery, gold-plated,
to clothe the Christ-Child when located.

Instead of East, they galloped North
and that is why these three, henceforth,
those Sat.Nav-trusting Un-Wise Men,
were simply never seen again.

Friday, 21 December 2018


My travels in England earlier this year brought me to numerous places of interest: fine old pubs, rustic churches and tiny, peaceful hamlets far removed from the angst and clamour of urban life in the UK nowadays.  
One of the most tranquil and visually pleasing villages I visited was Grantchester, of which the poet Rupert Brooke wrote:
          Stands the Church clock at ten to three?  
         And is there honey still for tea? 

... the famous, closing lines of his poem The Old Vicarage, Grantchester.

Jane and I arrived in Grantchester on a particularly rainy day and took refuge in The Green Man pub where I jotted down the opening lines of my own “Grantchester” poem.


Like waking in a former time
from dreams of future-shock and fear,
I stare at streets devoid of grime,
expecting spray-paint to appear
on gable-ends pristinely white,
with no graffitied words in sight.

An ancient pub, a village hall,
with thatched roof, nearby meadowland,
recalls a time when this was all
the norm: a peaceful, car-less land
without fake-news or food made fast,
with fixed foundations built to last.

Friday, 14 December 2018


Paris has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. It looks as though les gilets jaunes have begun a modern-day French Revolution.
Here's a short piece of fiction about a drunken incident set in Paris in happier times.


The Parish Church is full to bursting. Light pours through the ancient stained-glass windows. The glorious notes of a Beethoven Sonata fill the air.
I glance down at Chuck Berry’s shoes as the Minister’s voice intones those familiar words: Who gives this woman? I answer firmly: I do. 

It was Nineteen-eighty-something. I was a young man, free as air, making my way around Europe in what I suppose you’d now call a ‘gap year’. I’d arrived in Paris and, after a month of tatty, one-star hotels, decided to splash out and stay for one barely-affordable night at the Hotel d’Aubusson on Rue Dauphine.
I spotted him when I was checking in: Chuck Berry, the Poet Laureate of Rock ‘n Roll, making his way to the elevator. He was dressed in a white suit and carried a small valise. I’d heard he was careful with money and usually travelled from one gig to another without an entourage, employing whatever session musicians were on hand for his live shows. After all, the adoring public came to hear the legendary Chuck Berry: everything else was just sonic wallpaper.
My room on the third floor was as luxurious as I’d expected and I treated myself to a hot bath and a few drinks before heading out for an evening’s excitement in the City of Light. As I waited for the down-elevator, a door opened along the corridor and Chuck Berry stepped out, saw me and nodded. He set a pair of shoes down outside his door.
I’m sure it still happens in the best hotels nowadays: you leave your shoes outside your door, a porter takes them away, polishes them and returns them. Anyway, they did that thirty years ago, the last time I was able to splash out on an hotel of that quality.
Paris at night was a place of delight and wonder. I stumbled back around midnight having imbibed one too many cocktails and rode the elevator up to the third floor.
Outside Chuck Berry’s door sat his newly-polished shoes. In my inebriated state I couldn’t resist the temptation to slip off my own shoes and try Chuck’s on. Amazingly, they fitted me perfectly and, in that surreal state alcohol can foster, it seemed natural for me to leave my own shoes outside his door and walk away in those shiny wingtip brogues.
I woke the following morning with a thunderous hangover and noticed the shoes by my bed. I grabbed them, fought down a wave of nausea and embarrassment and set off to apologise and return them.
I was too late. A maid was busy cleaning Chuck Berry’s room when I arrived and enquiries at Reception confirmed that the great man had checked out.   

I’ve had them nearly thirty years now: these shoes. Wingtip brogues in soft two-tone leather, a bit flash maybe: probably quite old-fashioned ... but I’ll never part with them. I wore them when Jill and I were married and later when each of the children were christened, and today I’m wearing them again at Anne, our daughter’s, wedding.
Nowadays I don’t feel so bad about pinching them. I’ve bought enough Chuck Berry records through the years to pay for them ten times over. 

Now listen to some great music at 

Sunday, 2 December 2018


Youth and age briefly glimpsed each other one April Sunday when I was walking in the lanes around Bordeaux. 
I wrote this poem when I arrived home.


A child stands by a windowpane,
looks down through Sunday rain, as I
trudge slowly down a rural lane,
head bowed, beneath a leaden sky
like a too-laden hammock slung.
Though April, spring seems yet unsprung.

I glimpse a movement to the right,
glance up and see him standing there.
He waves, perhaps to be polite,
and I wave back, return his stare.
I think how much he looks like me
when I was his age, guileless, free.

I trudge along against grey rain
that threatens to engulf the day,
then hesitate, look back again:
my likeness-child has slipped away
back to his games, his screen, his book.
I’m hardly worth a second look.