Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Bordeaux Bay by Guernsey-based artist Tony Taylor

Monday, 29 April 2019


Back in the days when youngsters played outdoors unsupervised and war-game consoles were the stuff of science fiction, we learned some fundamental lessons about the reality of life and death.
As my late father frequently remarked, "Experience is the best school but the fees are often high."



With catapult, once school was finished,

I went to hunt in woodland, high

above Belfast, in summer light

and heard, among leafed branches spread,

a blackbird, singing like a bell.

I took aim, shot; the missile flew

... unerringly, my aim was true.

With awful suddenness it fell,

all broken. Exultation fled,
to be replaced by sickly fright.
I knelt to watch it slowly die.

Within me somewhere, light diminished.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019


I find Philip Larkin's poem Mr Bleaney a haunting one, particularly as I grow older and become increasingly aware of the isolation and consequent loneliness that so many fall prey to.
My own poem, The Landlady's Tale, taps into the anxiety that many older people feel as time slips steadily away.  


These were the only things he had.
I put them in a cardboard box.
Just what he wore. I thought it sad.
Apart from extra pants and socks.
A good innings at eighty-one.
We never knew he had a son.

He always was a quiet chap:
no trouble, liked his mugs of tea.
He’d come down to my door and tap,
Fancy a cuppa, Mrs P?
Before you go, forgive my cheek,
he didn’t pay his rent last week.

Saturday, 20 April 2019


The unseasonably warm weather, more June-like than April, puts me in mind of summer days in the garden at home in Belfast long ago and the fun we had when father watered the flower-beds. 


We scattered, screaming, laughing too,
not really wanting to escape
the chill, refreshing water spray,
like dazzling rain, the hosepipe threw.
My brother giggled like an ape:
in bathing togs, we danced away,
then, panting, watched the water spew.
With Father, we would laugh and jape
while summer days drifted away
and we, like watered lupins, grew.

Friday, 5 April 2019


Beachcombing, whilst generally pleasurable, sometimes has its sad moments. One such is recorded in this poem.

Photo by Peter Kenny



A gull dead on the old slipway,
its whiteness shabby, neck snapped,
pale eyes expressionless, remote.
A gull stone-dead at Bordeaux bay:
a length of fishing line has trapped
both its legs. Debris from a boat.

Gulls live short lives, brutal and grim.
It’s hard to mourn something like that,
or care; to not be disdainful.

Dying entangled limb with limb,
helpless, starved, is a cruel way.

That its death would have been painful
beyond belief, makes the heart bleed.

A piteous and pathetic end,
here on the slip where I found it,
moves me to, gently, lay seaweed
over it, like a wreath, and bend
to gather stones to place around it.