Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Bordeaux Bay by Guernsey-based artist Tony Taylor

Thursday, 30 May 2019


Poetry shouldn't be a competitive business but we humans are a competitive species so there's a tendency at live poetry events to want to be the best.

SMALL CHANGE                                                                

When words are called for, verse or poetry,
I rummage in my pocket for small change
and promptly offer up a handful: 

here are my poems, these sundry coins ...

It’s strange
to see them there, 

so lacklustre and dead,
those dull ten-pees, those drab pathetic twos,
that shone so very brightly in my head.

My hard-earned verses, rhymes, opinions, views,
have not much sterling value, so it seems,
while other, bolder people’s money screams.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019


The rainbow is an important symbol in the Bible, representing a promise of protection from God to Noah and to future generations.
In modern times it has been appropriated by various groups so that its Biblical significance has been obscured, if not lost.
This poem seeks to reclaim the rainbow’s original symbolism. 



A dappled frog croaks
a prayer for rain. Rain falls.


We set out walking in the afternoon
with small provisions and light waterproofs
in sturdy boots because the ground was rough.
We climbed uphill, below we saw red roofs,
and stopped to eat when it was opportune,
then off again when we had had enough.

As we walked on, the rain was left behind: 
a rainbow spread before us like an arc.
The day grew bright, I felt my spirits rise.
the air was charged by some elusive spark.
We clung together, fingers intertwined.
The world seemed new. We viewed it with surprise. 

Friday, 17 May 2019


I read this poem at an open-air venue beside beautiful Lake Orta in Italy several years ago when Jane and I attended the Poetry On The Lake Festival, a prestigious annual event  attended by leading figures from the world of contemporary poetry. It has proved an enduring favourite.


Crouching in attic gloom,
where skylight beams illuminate their pool of silver dust,
old leather suitcases doze like alligators
dreaming their prehistoric dreams.

They sleep soundly having eaten up my father’s life ...

the photographs, the hearing-aid and collar studs,
the safety-razor with its rusted blade,
the letters
and the wallet with the ticket stubs ...

yet I am so afraid
that when I kneel beneath the skylight
to prise apart those sagging, alligator jaws,
the life that I will find compressed within
will be too small
to match my memories of him.

Saturday, 11 May 2019


As May advances and the island's weather warms, I've noticed one or two hardy souls braving the waters at Bordeaux Bay.
I'm not a keen sea-bather myself and tend to confine my aquatic adventures to swimming pools, preferably heated ones, and even then only with great reluctance. The sea itself is far too cold for me.
Early exposure to the much-vaunted pleasures of outdoor pools, notably dear old Pickie in Bangor, County Down, left me with strong reservations about that type of rash outdoor activity.  


Beneath his feet the board seems live,
responsive to his weight, his step,
and looking down, so far beneath,
the water, like a massive eye,
ice-cold, unblinking, ocean-blue,
stares back at him, so small, so high:
a diver, fragile as a bird,
fast-breathing, poised, to fall or fly
into an eagerness of air
that courses through his wayward hair.

He pivots on the high board then
and launches out in salty wind,
through years of childhood flown away
like voices calling from below,
into some strangeness that begins
with laughter but will end in tears.

Pickie Pool, Bangor, County Down.

Saturday, 4 May 2019


Jane and I have spent many hours visiting galleries and museums in Europe over the past few months and, amidst a profusion of great art, I find myself drawn to portraiture in preference to landscape subjects. 
There's something about the human face and its expression, as captured by the artist, that I find beguiling. 
I've used this splendid portrait by John Singer Sargent purely to illustrate the following poem about a mysterious lady and a jobbing portraitist. The picture currently hangs in the Scottish National Gallery and I'd love to see it in the flesh, as it were, so perhaps we'll have to add a visit to Edinburgh to our itinerary.



Such a pensive face, I hear you whisper,
and yes, the lady has a thoughtful look.
We stand together, marvel
at the artist’s skill and brush-technique
while you, with smartphone,
take a picture of her portrait
so that her image travels further yet
in space and time
from Exeter, two centuries ago,
with snow beyond the windows of a room.

There she would sit, while he,
with brush and paint,
would huff and puff to justify his fee.
That pensive look
he captured
defines her now
and we imagine that she dreams
of some lost, wayward love
when maybe she was simply fretting
for a missing glove.